Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7638 Morph (Sat 9-Apr-2011)

Posted by beermagnet on April 16th, 2011


I’m not sure but I think this is his first grid in the Saturday Prize slot. I certainly found it tougher than usual for a Morph, (only 4 answers entered on first pass and only 9 after the first pint) and had to rely on slogging out the long anagrams to make progress, and that’s only right for a Prize Crossword.

Morph appears about once a month and usually (always?) has some kind of theme, often political. In this puzzle he is bang up-to-date and celebrates the “Arab Spring” with material alluding to recent uprisings against various totalitarian regimes (plus a few other political references). While I saw the scattering of references in the clues, the true beauty of the whole was not apparent till I finally got 1 Across, as an appropriate last answer. Great stuff.

1 LIBERTY Right integral to turmoil affecting leadership of six countries here? (7)
Last answer entered and even then it took a while to fathom the wordplay. This 1 Across, both clue and in particular answer, is central to the theme. Anagram (turmoil) of R[ight] and L I B E T Y from the “leadership” of the six arab countries mentioned throughout the clues: Libya Iran Bahrain Egypt Tunisia Yemen
5 COUGARS US cargo transported in Pumas (7)
(US CARGO)* AInd: transported.   First answer I entered
9 MARXIST-LENINIST Revolutionary form of existentialism, rejecting originator and embracing our own ends (7-8)
(EXISTENTIALISM – E + [ou]R + [ow]N)* AInd: form of. Def: Revolutionary.   A long-slog-anag with the twist of having to deduce where the other odd letters come from.
10 SHABBY Dirty books discovered in carriage (6) BB (books) inside SHAY (carriage)  One-horse_shay
11 PARANOIA Fear a Hebridean hip-hop comeback? (8)
Reverse of A IONA (Hebridean) RAP (hip-hop) Def: Fear. Remember, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.  I expect some people might point out that rap is not really the same as hip-hop – anyway it gives me a chance to stick in a link to MC NxtGen’s excellent Rap on the subject of the NHS reforms
12 SANDWICHES Puts the squeeze on smooth West Indies before game is cut short (10)
SAND (smooth) W[est] I[ndies] CHES[s] Def: Puts the squeeze on
14 KEPI Stupid Boy’s cycling cap (4)
PIKE “cycled” around (e.g. via IKEP) to make KEPI (cap). Pike is the youngster in Dad’s Army known to Captain Mainwaring as That Stupid Boy.
16 ARCH A wealthy investor’s principally going to be shrewd (4)
A R[i]CH Def: Shrewd. RICH=Wealthy I=investor’s principally
18 STONEMASON Same, not different progeny for one producing a chip off the old block? (10)
(SAME NOT)* AInd: different. SON (progeny)
21 INEDIBLE Lie in bed, tossing and turning after such food? (8)
(LIE IN BED)* AInd: tossing and turning. Rather nice &Lit though simple enough to be one of the few I got early
22 ATHENE Goddess explaining how to begin aerobics? (6)
The word AEROBICS begins with AE, that’s A then E. I have this kind of device before, but this one took me ages to see and resulted in the biggest PDM groan.
25 INVITED AUDIENCE A divine duet – nice arrangement, select crowd (7,8)
(A DIVINE DUET NICE)* AInd: arrangement. One of the long-slog-anags
26 YARDMAN Farm employee reversing cart succeeds, not taking ages (7)
(DRAY)< MAN[ages] (succeeds – ages) Def: Farm employee. I had this ready to put in from the Def and DRAY< but couldn’t see how MAN was formed. Put it in when crossing letters confirmed it, but only really understood when doing this blog
27 TIGHTLY Idiot twisting with passion has nothing to lose in “Strictly” (7)
(GIT)< (idiot twisting) H[o]TLY (passion nothing to lose) Def: “Strictly”
1 LUMPS Puts up with recession being dealt with in a top-down way (5)
SLUMP (recession) the S moving to the bottom. Def: Puts up with, as in “Like it or lump it”.
2/24 BARGAIN HUNT Bahrain government in trouble, world body taking interest finally in what goes on in souk? (7,4)
(BAHRAIN G[overnment])* AInd: in trouble. UN (world body) [interes]T. For a long time I had PERSIAN GULF on my mind simply from the letter count and ref. to Bahrain. Then I got the checking U, and then the R, and then the N, and then spent ages trying to justify it… Shabby finally got me out of that dead end
3 RAINBOWS Movement in Iran gives way under pressure – but there are signs of a brighter future (8)
(IRAN)* AInd: Movement in, BOWS (gives way under pressure) Def: Signs of a brighter future
4 YETI Until now, one’s not proven to exist (4)
YET (until now) I (one) Another nice little &Lit. This one took me much longer
5 CAESAREAN Originally Roman section of southern district in French city (9)
S[outhern] AREA (district) inside CAEN (French city) Another where I went down a dead end. With C—A—N in place I fixated on Carcasson thinking it might be an acceptable spelling of this French city which undoubtedly dates back to Roman times
6 URINAL Women can’t stand going there (6)
Does this CD work these days? See
7 ADIPOSE Perhaps a bowl of hummus with poultry’s no-go, containing fat (7)
A DIP (a bowl of hummus) [go]OSE (poultry no go) Def: containing fat. One for the Dr Who fans: Tardis Wiki – Adipose
8 SITUATION Change to Tunisia’s state (9)
(TO TUNISIA)* AInd: Change. Another early answer. A nod to the  SI Situationist International?
12 STABILITY It’s time Libya shifted balance (9)
(ITS T[ime] LIBYA)* AInd: shifted. I spent too long failing to get an anagram of (TIME LIBYA) before realising.
13 COTYLEDON Putting bed on north side of yard encouraged embryonic leaf (9)
COT (bed) Y[ard] LED ON (encouraged) Very clear def: embryonic leaf. A word that you come across if you listen to Gardeners’ Question Time.
15 EMPTYING Egypt minister thrown out in vacation (8)
(EGYPT MIN[ister])* AInd: thrown out
17 CLEAVER Conservative splitter – and another (7)
C[onservative] LEAVER (splitter) Does he mean conservative or the PFJ?  Excuse to link to well known Monty Python Life of Brian clip
19 SHEA NUT Fish – what’s turned up as raw material for soap (4,3)
(TUNA EHS)< TUNA (fish) EHS (Eh? as in What? so Ehs = Whats)
20 VICTIM Foil for Reeves and Minchin (6)
Def: Foil. Charade from VIC Reeves and TIM Minchin. Most of you have heard of Vic Reeves, but if you haven’t seen much of Tim Minchin there’s plenty worth having a look at here Tim Minchin videos Late news: The schedule has just been published and I find he is headlining the first ever Comedy Prom.
23 ENEMY Opponent of reform in Yemen (5)
(YEMEN)* AInd: reform

6 Responses to “Independent 7638 Morph (Sat 9-Apr-2011)”

  1. jetdoc says:

    No specific comments (it’s difficult to remember a week after solving); just saying I really enjoyed this challenging and topical puzzle. Thanks, Morph; and to Beermagnet for the meticulous blog.

  2. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was a magnificent puzzle, one of my favourite Indy puzzles of the year so far. Such a well-constructed theme as you say and wonderful clues all thro of which my particular favourites were ARCH, STONEMASON and CAESAREAN. Right for a Saturday too as quite tough. Thanks Morph and beermagnet.

  3. Polly says:

    How heartening to read that the superbrains found this a challenging puzzle: for me it was pretty straightforward, especially when compared with recent Saturday crosswords. (I’m still barely halfway through the 19 March Nimrod, but then I do have a life, and I realize I’m not your typical solver…) Thanks, Morph, for restoring my self-confidence, and Beermagnet for the excellent blog. I didn’t get the wordplay for 27 ac but the rest was beautifully clear.

  4. scchua says:

    Thanks beermagnet for the blog, and Morph whose puzzles have been tough but do-able (given time), and this one was v. satisfying.

    Last one in was 1A LIBERTY – was trying to fit “VI”, or “SCH” or even “SC” when all the required letters were there before my very eyes! Favourites were 9A MARXIST-LENINIST, which was cracked after having M_R_I_T; 18A STONEMASON – liked the defn. and 4D CAESAREAN – another nice defn.

  5. Allan_C says:

    Nice one, Morph! Liked KEPI, which was my first one in. And thanks, beermagnet, for the blog, particularly the explanantion of 11a, which I got without fully understanding the clue.

  6. Uncle Yap says:

    I was ‘defeated’ by KEPI and had to come here for the explanation. Thanks Beermagnet and Morph for a wonderful solve, altho’ a little late

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