Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,616 / Phi

Posted by RatkojaRiku on March 15th, 2011


When logging on to the Independent website this morning, I had to do a double-take: had I slept for three days and woken up to Phi’s usual Friday crossword or had the unthinkable happened? Indeed, the unthinkable had happened and Phi’s crossword slot had been moved to Tuesday.  I immediately began to wonder why this was the case and began to look for a theme that might justify a switch to Tuesday. Despite cracking the theme, I see no reason why this puzzle should have been published today, but then perhaps the Friday puzzle this week will have a date-specific theme?

As for the theme of today’s puzzle, in 4/26, 13 and 14, although I worked out the answers for myself, I needed Google to fill in some of the background. The single-movement Warsaw Concerto was composed by UK composer Richard Addinsell for the 1941 film Dangerous Moonlight (subsequently released as Suicide Squadron in the US), which starred Anton Walbrook.

An enjoyable puzzle overall, with the kind of tight, economically crafted clues so typical of Phi. Incidentally, I am not sure why “on” would parse as “ready” in 12: any ideas? I also wondered if the definition in 21 is whimsical, since I associate the expression more with criminal than with legitimate activity; my edition of Chambers offered no help here.

*(…) indicates an anagram

4/26 DANGEROUS MOONLIGHT *(US MONITORING HEADLONG); “in a crash” is the anagram indicator; see Preamble.
9 LORDLINGS [L (=left) + IN + G (=government)] in LORD’S (=cricket ground).
10 RASTA Hidden in “mantRA’S TAntalised”; “some” indicates a hidden answer.
11 GAS MAIN SMA<ll> (60% of “small”, i.e. three letters out of five) in GAIN (=benefit)
12 DELIGHT L (=line) in DEIGHT<on> (=thriller writer; “not ready” means “on” is dropped); the reference is to British thriller writer Len Deighton.
13 WARSAW CONCERTO WAR (=conflict) + SAW (=observed) + CONCER<n> (=worry; “endless” means last letter is dropped) + TO<o> (=as well; “not quite” means last letter is dropped); see Preamble.
17 MURDER MOST FOUL *(MURMU<r>S FORETOLD); “various” is the anagram indicator; “King being removed” means R (=rex) is dropped; the reference is to Act 1 Scene V of Shakespeare‘s Hamlet, where the ghost urges Hamlet to avenge his father’s death.
20 ACRONYM CRONY (=mate) in [A (=American) + M<inesweeper> ("heading" means first letter only is used)]; radar is an example of an acronym.
22 OBSCENE OB (Bo=man, i.e. a familiar form of address for a man in US slang; “brought about” indicates a reversal) + SCENE (=public argument, as in to cause a scene)
24 BILGE G (=German) in BILE (=irritability)
25 BLIND DATE BLIND (=screen, as a verb) + DATE (=fruit)
27/1 SPELLBOUND SPELL (=time, i.e. a period of time) + BOUND (=jump)
1 BALL GOWN [<a>LL (=entirely; "topless" means first letter is dropped) in BAG (=holdall)] + *(NOW); “crumpled” is the anagram indicator.
2 UPRISER U (=university) + PRIS<on>ER (=captive; “not about” means that “on” is not used)
3 DELTA DEL<f>T (=Dutch town; not following means that “f” is dropped) + A
4 DINING CAR DIN (=row) + IN + *(GRAC<e>); “reformulating” indicates an anagram; “most of” means not all letters are used.
5 NOSED NO<i>SED (=rumoured; “I dropped” means the letter “i” is not used); according to Chambers; to noise is a literary verb meaning to spread by rumour or word of mouth.
6 ENROLMENT ENRO<n> (=notorious US firm; “mostly” means last letter is dropped) + [M (=millions) in LENT (=advanced, e.g. money)
7 ON SIGHT O (=zero) + *(THINGS); "sorted out" is the anagram indicator; the definition is "without asking questions", as in "to shoot on sight".
8 SMART SMART = PAIN (as a noun) and SENSIBLE (as an adjective); & lit.
14 ADDINSELL *(LANDSLIDE); "injured" is the anagram indicator; see Preamble.
15 NEOLOGIST *(LET <c>OINS GO); "rolling" is the anagram indicator; "dropping cents" means that "c" is not used; the definition is "coiner", as in to coin a new phrase.
16 BLUEBELL BLUE (=down, i.e. depressed) + BELL (=ring)
18 UTRILLO ILL (=unwell) in *(TOUR); "misguided" is the anagram indicator; the reference is to the French painter of cityscapes Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955).
19 OVERAGE O (=love) + <a>VERAGE (=mean; "to dismiss one" means "a" is dropped)
20 ALBUM AL<l> (=entirely; "almost" means the last letter is dropped) + BUM (=dreadful, in N Am slang)
21 MR BIG M (=male) + [B (=book) in RIG (=rig)]
23 SIDES Hidden in inteSE DIScussion; “some” indicates a hidden answer; “upset” indicates a vertical reversal.

13 Responses to “Independent 7,616 / Phi”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi RatkojaRiku

    In 12ac I equated ‘ready’ with ‘on’ in the sense of being willing to participate in something, as in “I’m ready/on/up for it”.

  2. scchua says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku for the blog, and Phi for a delightful puzzle.

    First one in was 13A WARSAW CONCERTO, then 14D ADDINSELL (composer that wasn’t obscure to me), leading me to think of a musical theme. Upon completion, the theme turned out instead to be cinematic. There were: 4A DANGEROUS MOONLIGHT, the shell of 11A 12A GASLIGHT, 17A MURDER MOST FOUL, 25A BLIND DATE (more than one movie of the same name), and 27A 1A SPELLBOUND. There were also non-mainstream films 22A OBSCENE, 3D DELTA, these are not so well known, so they might just have been coincidences.

    Favourite clues were 20A ACRONYM, 1D BALL GOWN and 19A OVERAGE.

  3. NealH says:

    I hadn’t heard of Addinsell, so struggled to work out the anagram. I did wonder if he’d also composed the music for Spellbound, but it appears not. 17 across was very neat.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I did enjoy this – had to flirt online to understand the theme, but happy with that because I learned something.

    MURDER MOST FOUL was extremely clever, and ALBUM made me smile too. I noticed when I checked out the film that this year is the sixtieth anniversary of its release; not sure if that’s relevant or not.

    I think MR BIG just about works in a business context too, although I prefer the inexplicable TOP BANANA.

    Thanks to both setter and blogger.

  5. nmsindy says:

    Unfamiliar with the theme here, but with the help of friendly wordplay, got all of it out, except for having to look up the composer that was an anagram of landslide. All very good, favourite clues, ACRONYM, ON SIGHT, MR BIG. Thanks, Phi, and RatkojaRiku.

  6. walruss says:

    No Ratko, I can’t see why this one would have to be today either! So I’m going with you, that the Friday puzzle is something else. A nice puzzle today though, in Phi’s quite straight syle.

  7. Lenny says:

    This was my fastest-ever Phi solve, helped by a friendly theme with which I was very familiar. Most of my solving time was spent in working out Delta as I worked through all the possible Dutch towns such as Dolma (famous for its Greek restaurants) and Delia (twinned with Norwich). 15 was a new word to me, but I obviously am one.
    I am not convinced by the conspiracy theory that the hidden theme is cinematic. If you key any word or phrase into IMDB you will find a surprising number of corresponding films. To give you just one example, there are six films called Delta.
    Department of useless information: I used to live in Den Haag and commute each day to Rotterdam. The train stopped at Delft on the way. The guard always used to announce it as Deleft. I never found out whether he had a vocal impediment or whether this is, in fact, the correct local pronunciation.

  8. ele says:

    Had to look up the composer too when I got home, but the rest went in pretty easily. Thanks to Phi for the usual enjoyable puzzle and thanks to RatkojaRiku for explaining Delta. I was so glad to get it in the end that I didn’t look too hard at the why. First in was Murder most foul, and last in was acronym. It’ll have to be something special on Friday.

  9. RatkojaRiku says:

    @Gaufrid – I wondered about that, but I wasn’t sure that “on” as a synonym for “up for” was part of my active vocabulary. Maybe I’ve lived outside of the UK for too long to know whether it’s part of anyone else’s!!!

    @all – the broader cinematic theme hadn’t dawned on me either – perhaps Phi will drop in later to reveal whether the other cinematic references were intentional or purely coincidental?

  10. flashling says:

    Thanks R for the blog, odd, had a slow start, couldn’t see anything to begin with and then it was all done. Loved the Murder most foul. So what has Eimi planned for Friday? I have a good inkling even if no tip off.

  11. Phi says:

    I was looking at (not even listening to) a CD of great cinema piano concertos, and the fact that DANGEROUS MOONLIGHT was (9,9) struck me, and then that SPELLBOUND split into (5,5) and that 9 + block + 5 gave me a row of a puzzle. I also decided that I could readily get WARSAW C in as well, and that ADDINSELL fitted was a nice find. There’s an aborted attempt at the composer of SPELLBOUND too. Nothing else, though I was aware that MMF was a film and spent a bit of time trying to work some form of comp anag of M RUTHERFORD around it.

    Who knows what Friday’s theme might be?

  12. Allan_C says:

    This was more to my taste than Monday’s offering. Wonder if Phi was listening to the same CD as mine of piano concertos from the movies?

    btw the Warsaw Concerto was composed for the film after the producers failed to get permission to use the Rachmaninov second; David Lean obviously had more money or more clout a few years later for Brief Encounter.

  13. Scarpia says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku
    … and Phi for a very entertaining puzzle.
    I got the 3 linked clues fairly quickly which made the rest of the puzzle quite easy but I still found plenty to enjoy.
    Theme made me dig out the c.d with the Warsaw Concerto that I have (played by Christina Ortiz).I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it,after not listening to it for years.
    Allan_C – thanks for the Rachmaninov fact,the piece is obviously Rachmaninov influenced and that compounds the link.

    I guess Friday’s puzzle will probably feature a big red nose.

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