Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,643/Phi

Posted by Ali on April 15th, 2011


Great stuff as ever from our resident Friday setter. Elegant surfaces, excellent wordplay, no quibbles. All good.

It may be coincidence, but is that a setter’s name Nina that I see in the top row?!

5 SLANG – SLATING less IT rev.
6 BOMBSHELL – M(oney) in BO’S HELL
9 BLOATED – A (article) in LOA in BED
10 CADAVER – A D(ead) in CAVER
12 POOL – OO (rings) in PL(ace)/td>
14 INSIPID – I N(ote) + DIP IS rev.
17 TABITHA – Hidden in stridenT A BIT HArsh
19 SARI – S[-a f(ellow)]ARI
21 PEACH TREE – PEA + CH(ildren) + [-s]TREE[-t]
25 AGRIPPA – AP. rev after A GRIP
26 CAMPION – PC rev. around A.M + 1 + ON (working)
28 TAINT – A (one) in TINT
2 AGITPROP – G(overnment) in AIT + PROP
3 USED UP – U.S. + [-f]ED UP
4 LEAVE OUT – Cryptic def.
5 SABBATIC – BA (graduate) + T(ime) in(BASIC)*
7 MYCROFT – MY CROFT, i.e. not your farm!
8 LORE – LO (see) + RE (about)
13 HAZELNUT – HAZE + (UNT[-1]L)*
15 STAIR ROD – STAID about final letters of passengeR undeR embargO
18 BEHEMOTH – H(ot) in BEE + MOTH
20 IMPALE – 1 + P[-etition] in MALE
23 REIN IN – RE + 1 in INN
24 HARE – SHARE losing S(seconds)

16 Responses to “Independent 7,643/Phi”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for the timely blog, Ali. The parsing of STAIR ROD had eluded me, so thanks for that as well.

    Usual Phi elegance and precision, but I struggled to finish the SW corner. Got there in the end though. ALFA ROMEO stood out today for its clever surface.

    Just a couple of tiny typos: I’m sure you meant BOB in 6ac and LOT in 9ac.

    And to prove that the internet doesn’t rule the world, I’ll wait for another human being to tell me here why MYCROFT is a detective’s brother.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi K’s D
    Mycroft Holmes is Sherlock’s brother.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Gaufrid. You can rule the world today, then.

  4. anax says:

    Very good stuff from Phi. The Nina led to Paul Dehn (see bottom row) the screenplay writer, but in my tired state very late last night / early hours of this morning I couldn’t spot anything else in the grid.

  5. Phi says:

    There is something else, but bravo for getting Mr Dehn as a starting-point…

  6. Mick H says:

    Hadn’t heard of Paul Dehn, so I thought maybe Phi was reminding his friend Paul to buy some tofu.

  7. NealH says:

    After yesterday’s exercise in frustration, it was nice to get back to something which was solvable in a reasonable amount of time. This one fitted quite neatly into my lunch break, with only the parsing of stair rod causing me a few problems until I spotted staid around the outside. I hadn’t heard of Paul Dehn, although he seems to have been quite prolific. Unfortuntely, there don’t seem to be any of his films obviously hidden in the grid.

  8. flashling says:

    Agreed with Neal #8. My only thought was that one of Mr Dehn’s books was Quake Quake Quake after last week’s Christchurch rebuilding puzzle.

  9. Lenny says:

    I was pleased to find Phi in a gentle mood today. The only problem was of my own making in misremembering Sherlock’s brother as Mygrove, so Tabitha took a bit of teasing out. I was doing an old FT crossword in bed last night where there was a very similar “In flight security device…” clue for stair rod so that got me off to a flying start today.
    I noticed the two detectives and Paul Dehn. I tried Googling Tabitha Peachtree to see if she was an amateur sleuth create by Dehn but no luck.

  10. scchua says:

    Thanks Ali for the blog, and Phi for another enjoyable puzzle.

    About the “something else”. The last time I suggested a theme in one of Phi’s puzzle, I was hopelessly off-target, so I’m wary about suggesting this, and there’s no guarantee I’m not off this time as well. Is it something to do with the “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” which has “Mycroft” and “Campion” in it, with the possible connector “as”. Sorry if I’m off, but can’t see anything else.

  11. Tor says:

    I think clues 9 and 10 might provide some useful starters if Googling for a theme. Lines 11 and 13 could be of benefit too.

  12. Tor says:

    That should be lines 7, 11 and 13.

  13. ele says:

    Thank goodness for Phi. After feeling my brain had turned to mush all this week apart from Dac on Weds, I finished this in reasonable time, with only the hiccup that I was convinced that 20d was ripple (on no other grounds that it fitted the definition I admit) which threw out 19ac. Liked Stair Rod and Behemoth particularly. Thanks to Ali as well for the blog.

  14. Colin Blackburn says:

    Missed the Nina completely, even now I’m none the wiser beyond PAUL DEHN. I just checked my grid and I seem to have PACE instead of HARE. It doesn’t fit quite as well but I put it in quite early and as it didn’t hold me up on getting the two intersecting words I had no reason to question it!

  15. Phi says:

    I should come clean on this (sadly) somewhat obscure one. Tor has pointed you to the relevant bits of the grid.

    Paul Dehn was a film critic and opera librettist who turned out comic poems etc throughout his career. His lighter pieces were collected in a book ‘For Love and Money’, and it’s one of the most consistently funny books I’ve read (having stumbled on a copy in a second-hand bookshop in Hastings; Hastings UK, that is, not NZ). His most famous piece, ‘Alternative Endings to an Unwritten Ballad’, consists simply of repeated attempts at a final verse of some macabre poem culminating in the discovery of the corpse of a Mrs Ravoon (allowing some mellifluous rhymes – the BLOATED CADAVER rises from ooze like a ‘monstrous balloon’, for example). The verse managed to go viral well before the invention of the internet, spawning multiple imitations, and a rather perplexed Dehn often had some difficulty asserting authorship.

    You have enough info above to Google it, and I urge you to do so.

  16. Colin Blackburn says:

    Many thanks Phi! I must admit that Googling simply “bloated cadaver”, as I first tried after Tor’s hint, does throw up some interesting sites. It seems to be a song title popular amongst various flavours of metal bands. The band finding itself at the second hit on my search has a name that cannot be repeated in polite company, never mind on this forum! This put me off searching further though I can now see “of” “mrs” “ravoon” in the grid!

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