Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,601 / Phi

Posted by RatkojaRiku on February 25th, 2011


This Phi puzzle did my blogging confidence a world of good, after I had emerged last week battered and bruised from my tussle with Nimrod. Nonetheless, I found this a challenging and enjoyable solve, with a fairly accessible thematic element.

I identified the theme at 28 early on, although a good number of the symphonies referred to in the puzzle were unfamiliar to me – I’ve added the composers for anyone else whose knowledge of classical music is as shaky as my own.

The NE corner revealed itself first to me, followed by SE, SW and finally NW, with the sole exception of 25, where the definition was new to me. My favourite clue was 23 for the clever spotting by Phi of (almost) two synonyms in the formation of a third word. Incidentally, I’m not sure how the verb in 24 would actually be used – does it refer to a compass??

*(…) indicates an anagram

1 CIVILIAN [I + VILI<fied> (=disparaged; “not half” means only half the letters are used] in CAN (=prison)
9 HEROES HER + O<n>ES (=individuals; “not number” means the letter “n” is not used); the Heroes Symphony was composed by Philip Glass in 1996.
10 ESPANSIVA ESP (=curious powers, i.e. Extrasensory Perception) + *(AVIANS); “affected” is the anagram indicator; the Sinfonia Espansiva was composed by Carl Nielsen in 1910-1.
11 EPIC EP<idem>IC (=widespread outbreak of illness; “not the same” means that “idem” is not used); the definition is huge, used adjectivally, i.e. impressive, large-scale, as in an epic achievement, epic journey, etc.
12 SCOTTISH *(COST IT) in SH (=mum, as in “to keep mum”, remain quiet); “involved” is the anagram indicator; the Scottish Symphony was composed by Felix Mendelssohn between 1829 and 1842.
13 EROICA ERO<t>ICA (=exciting material; “excluding tense” means the letter “t”, i.e. an abbreviation for a verb tense in grammar, is not used); the Eroica Symphony was completed by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1804.
14 DE REGLE *(LEG) in *(DEER); “destroyed” and “broken” are the two anagram indicators; the French expression “‘de règle” means “according to rule”, hence “following rule”.
16 RHENISH *(HIS ‘N’ HER); “variety of” is the anagram indicator; the Rhenish Symphony was composed by Robert Schumann in 1850.
20 GOTHIC GOT (=achieved) + HIC (=expression of drunkenness, i.e. representation of a hiccup); the Gothic Symphony was composed by Havergal Brian between 1919 and 1927.
23 ROMANTIC ROM<p> + ANTIC (=capers, i.e. two words for caper; “one unfinished” means that one of the synonyms does not appear in full, i.e. the “p” of ROMP is not needed); Anton Bruckner originally composed his Romantic Symphony in 1874, for example.
25 DUEL DUE (=almost at hand) + L (=long); according to Chambers, “satisfaction” can be defined as “the satisfying of honour, as by fighting a duel”, hence the definition in the clue is “satisfaction, as it were”.
26 LENINGRAD *(LEARNING) + D<ance> (=heading for “dance”, i.e. the first letter only is needed); “moves” is the anagram indicator; the Leningrad Symphony was completed by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1941.
27 PRAGUE PR (=priest, i.e. an abbreviation) + AGUE (=an ailment); the Prague Symphony was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1786.
28 SYMPHONY S (=second) + YM (=my; “recalled” indicates a reversal) + PHONY (=fake); the definition “orchestral piece” provides the key to the theme of this puzzle.
1 WISEACRE [IS + WE (=bridge team, West and East) + [R (=king, i.e. rex) in ACE (=top card)]; according to Chambers, a wiseacre is “a simpleton quite unconscious of being one”.
2 LIMPET IMP (=pest) in LET (=allowed); quirky use of “throttle” to indicate a container-and-contents clue.
3 BIENNIAL I (=one) + *(BEAN IN) + L(=line); “hybrid” is the anagram indicator.
4 INSIGHT SIGH (=resigned comment) in <h>INT (=clue; “with no aspiration” means that the letter “h” is dropped)
5 PHRASE R (=right) in PHASE (=stage)
6 FREETOWN E (=European) in *(WENT FOR); “trading” is the anagram indicator; Freetown is the capital of Sierra Leone.
7 CELIAC  AILE<d> (=was sick; “mostly” means last letter is dropped) in CC (=a small amount, i.e. cubic centimetre); “on reflection” indicates a reversal; “celiac” is the American spelling of “coeliac”, a person suffering from the gluten allergy coeliac disease.
15 ETHOLOGY The letter “e” (=energy) of THEOLOGY (=religious discipline) is repositioned to form ETHOLOGY (=science of character).
17 HOMONYMS [O (=old) + NY (=New York)] in HOMM<e>S (=French men, i.e. the French word for “men”; “not English” means the letter “e” is dropped).
18 SKIDDING S (=son) + KIDDING (=fooling around)
19 IRONIST ON (=working) in [IRIS (=something flowery) + <tex>T]; “end of texT” means last letter only is used.
21 OEUVRE E (=energy) in <L>OUVRE (=museum; “not Lecturing primarily” means the initial letter “l” is not used).
22 CALLER Definition is “visitor”; CALMER (=less agitated) has one of its letters changed (“showing small change in character”).
24 NORTHS NOR (=and not) + T<he> H<ungarian> S<inger> (“initially” means first letters only are used); definition: “selects Pole”: according to Chambers, to north is “to turn or move north”.

14 Responses to “Independent 7,601 / Phi”

  1. schua says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku for the blog, and Phi for another knowledge-expanding puzzle.

    16A RHENISH was familiar, and the wordplay was easy enough, leading to the theme. But the last couple of 28s ie. Espansiva and Heroes needed confirmation after getting the wordplay. Favourites were 12A SCOTTISH, 4D INSIGHT and 17D HOMONYMS. NORTHS as a verb was very hard to reference.

  2. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for yet another so so comprehensive blog, RatkojaRiku. This was extremely hard but I got there in the end. I thought the clue to INSIGHT was absolutely top drawer. Thanks for the puzzle, Phi.

  3. Lenny says:

    This was really tough despite the fact that the theme was right up my street. I even knew the Nielsen and the Havergal Brian although I am not sure that I have ever heard the Gothic symphony. I failed on the Glass though. I thought Haydn must have written a Hermes symphony somewhere among his 104. The ME(N)S wordplay seems to work too apart from the missing apostrophe on individuals.
    It’s quite an achievement by Phi fitting so many theme words into the grid so it’s not surprising that some of the filler words De Regle and the American Celiac are a bit obscure. Thanks for the detailed blog RatkojaRiku.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Another full and much-needed blog, RatkojaRiku, thank you.

    I got there, but really struggled. SYMPHONY was my first in, so fair play to Phi for an easily solvable gateway clue; but my knowledge of classical music is five miles wide and one inch deep, so a number of the symphonies I could only get from working really hard with the wordplay. But it’s a cryptic crossword, so I can’t really complain about that.

    And I know you shouldn’t say ‘this was much harder than a usual Phi’ because setters shouldn’t be stereotyped into ‘easy’ or ‘hard’ and should be free to explore themes that interest them. But this was much harder than a usual Friday cryptic Phi.

    INSIGHT, as nms said, was excellent; also liked OEUVRE. If the Indy is looking for customer feedback, then I’ll say that I will always enjoy a theme-free Phi puzzle; there’s never a shortage of ninas and themes each week from the other setters.

    Pedant’s corner re 7dn: as Kathryn’s younger brother will tell you, coeliac disease is a result of an auto-immune response. Coeliacs are intolerant of, but not allergic to, gluten.

    Thanks to Phi for the puzzle and a good weekend to everyone.

  5. bamberger says:

    Having completely failed on todays FT, my mysery was compounded when I tried this but failed to get 28a and only got 2d. Ah well it’s only a game.

  6. flashling says:

    Mostly easy stuff from Phi with 28 easily unravelled, didn’t know 7d in either spelling and guessed norths from the wordplay. Thanks for the blog and to Phi for the puzzle who I hope hasn’t been too badly affected by the Christchurch earthquake.

  7. rodders says:

    Thanks for the blog but today a waste of time for me – gave up as soon as I got ” symphony ” as my knowledge of classical music is zilch.

    Win some & lose some I guess !

  8. Phi says:

    I thought this would get a little more opprobrium than it has done (so far) but it’s a sort of response to the regular pop and soccer themes to keep you on your toes. I don’t do themes all the time – a lot depends on how much time I have when I sit down to grid a monthly batch – but it’s nice to throw one in from time to time. One that’s coming up was prompted by a grumble on this site…

    Incidentally, there is an Epic Symphony on record (as it were) – but I thought a shift into the brass band repertoire might be a step too far. It’s by one Percy Fletcher, should anyone choose to look.

    I commend the Espansiva to you – an unusually happy symphony. And the Gothic is also well worth a listen when you’ve a couple of hours to spare. I was at the first live performance of the Gothic in 28 years just before Christmas, in Brisbane. We fairly narrowly missed the rains there, and now, as flashling notes, there’s a closer natural disaster for us to observe with appalled fascination. But NZ has a track record in cities recovering – the Chch quake occurred almost exactly 80 years after the last big one, and the city affected then (Napier) is flourishing now. As a result of being rebuilt in the 1930s it has rather more Art Deco than I personally can tolerate in a small space, but it draws enthusiasts from across the world. It does make you wonder what the rebuilt Chch will look like, though.

  9. ele says:

    in defence of Phi’s definition of celiac disease, I think there is some disagreement among immunologists about whether it is an allergic or an autoimmune disease – it has aspects of both. My most up to date immunology textbook has it in the allergy chapter. Thank you Phi for the puzzle and RatkojaRiku for a much needed blog.

  10. Scarpia says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku and Phi.
    I thought this was pretty tough even though the theme was right up my street.As Kathryn’s Dad says above,the gateway clue was quite easy and I expected to sail through this.Good on Phi to pick some lesser known examples from the repetoire.
    I’ve never heard the Gothic,possibly the largest symphony ever written.A live performance must be some event as more than a thousand musicians are required to perform it!The only Havergal Brian I know is the comedy overture ‘The Tinkers Wedding’ probably about as different from the Gothic as you could get!
    Nielsen has a reputation of being ‘modernist’ but I find his symphonies very much in the romantic tradition and quite accessible.
    INSIGHT was my favourite clue,very cleverly worded.

  11. Allan_C says:

    Opprobrium, Phi? Not from me as a music lover, even if some of the symphonic names did take a little teasing out. The clue to 13a reminded me of the (possibly apocryphal) reference in Another Newspaper to a concert including “Beethoven’s Erotica Symphony”. And one (definitely not apocryphal) typo in the programme of the music society I attend, referring to Wagner as an “immoral genius” rather than an immortal one!

  12. Scarpia says:

    I must admit I am pleasantly surprised at the lack of harsh comments on this puzzle.Phi took a bit of stick here for an artist themed puzzle and poor Brummie over at the Guardian got a right hammering for his composer theme.
    Allan C – Wagner has often been accused of immorality in his private life and in his music.He can’t be accused of immortality as he is certainly dead. :)

  13. Allan_C says:

    Scarpia, Wagner’s clearly not literally immortal, but devoted Wagnerites (not that I’m one) certainly regard his genius and his music as such.

  14. Graham Pellen says:

    Two minor points (or perhaps the same one twice).

    1D is IS in WE, not IS + WE.

    3D is 1 in BEAN IN*, not 1 + BEAN IN*

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