Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,649 / Phi

Posted by RatkojaRiku on April 22nd, 2011


Solving today’s crossword has made a not insignificant contribution to my vocabulary, both for new words in the language (such as at 6 and 15) and for words which have doubtless been around for a lot longer (such as at 8 and 18). In three out of these four cases, I worked out the solution from the wordplay, although I didn’t know the acronym in 8 either and had to search Chambers for the solution to complete the puzzle.

I looked in vain for an Easter theme – perhaps there’s something lined up for tomorrow’s prize crossword instead?

Incidentally, I hadn’t come across this grid before, with a high number of long entries and yet with the first letters of many entries not being checked, thus heightening the challenge for the solver. Having a Q in a checked square in 5 and 14 is a rare treat, not to mention an X in 1 and 21; 5 and 14 kept me guessing for a long time and were the last clues that I solved (other than 8, of course). My favourite clue was the very compact & lit. at 7.

*(…) indicates an anagram.

6 WEBISODE WE + BIS (encore, i.e. in music, a direction indicating that a section is to be repeated) + ODE (=poetry); according to Wikipedia, a webisode (web + episode) is a short episode which airs initially as internet television as opposed to broadcast or cable television.
8 ARNICA A + RN (=lot of sailors, i.e. Royal Navy) + ICA (=modern artists, i.e. Institute of Contemporary Artists); according to Chambers, arnica is “the tincture of a composite plant which is applied to sprains and bruises (but not to open wounds)”, hence “natural remedy”.
10/2 SIDELINE DELI (=food store) in SINE (function, i.e. in maths)
11 NIGHTSHIRT *(<sleepwea>R + THIS THING); “ultimate in” means last letter only is used; “possibly” is the anagram indicator; & lit.
12 SUBSTRATUM [*(BUST) + RAT (=scoundrel)] in SUM; “broken down” is the anagram indicator.
14 QUIP <e>QUIP (=kit, as a verb; “giving off Energy” means the “e” is dropped); the definition is “crack” as a noun meaning joke, wisecrack.
15 CROWDSOURCING [*(OUR WORDS) in C C (=couple of Conservatives, i.e. 2 x C)] + IN + G (=government); according to Wikipedia, crowdsourcing (crowd + outsourcing) is “the task of outsourcing tasks to an undefined, large group of people or community”, hence “community production”.
17 SMUT TUMS (=corporations; “backed” indicates a reversal); smut originally meant soot, dirt, hence “pollution from burning”.
18 CLERESTORY C<hurch> L<eaders> (“openings for” means first letters only are used) + ERE (=before) + STORY (=news item); according to Chambers, a clerestory is “an upper story or part with its own windows, especially the storey above the triforium in a church)”.
19 ALTARPIECE Homophone of “alter (=change) + peace (=silence)”
21 EXPEND [X (=times, in maths, as in 2 x 3 = 6) + PEN (=writer)] in ED (=editor); the definition is “waste” as a verb.
22 LIGATURE *(GAULTIER); “new design” is the anagram indicator.
1 OEDIPUS COMPLEX “Freudian idea” is the definition; the solution provides a cryptic definition to the remainder of the clue “pseudo one, apparently”, in that OEDIPUS is an anagram of PSEUDO + I (=one) with “COMPLEX” as the anagram indicator.
3 CORNERED [<ca>R (“finally” means last letter only is used) in CONE (=traffic marker)] + RED (=like No Entry sign, i.e. in colour)
4 BANTAM ANT (=soldier possibly) in BAM (=hoax)
5 ON THE QUIET ON (=working) + THE + QU (=queen) + I.E. (=that is, in Latin) + T (=tense, in grammar)
7 EIGHTSOME REEL SOME (=a few) in *(HERE LEG IT); “wildly” is the anagram indicator; & lit.
9 CARRIAGE RETURN Definition: “how the author starts a new line”, i.e. when using a typewriter/word processor; cryptic definition: “what the ball guests wanted before departure”, i.e. for carriage to return to pick them up.
13 SHORTCAKES *(TACK) in SHORES (=coastal areas); “variety of” is the anagram indicator.
16 RE-EMERGE REE<f> (=rocks; “most of” means the last letter is dropped) + [G<ravel> (“source of” means first letter only) in MERE (=lake)]
18 CUPIDS I’D in CUPS; “in one’s cups” means drunk, hence, cryptically, I’D is in its CUPS.
20/20A PIT-A-PATS [TAP (=source of water) + A (=one)] in PITS (=mines)

12 Responses to “Independent 7,649 / Phi”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog RatkojaRiku – fairly gentle puzzle, my favourite was CORNERED. BTW, I thought ‘complex’ was the anagram indicator in 1 down in the construction used. Did not spot a theme, tho Phi has had v subtle ones in the past and I did wonder if there was some reason 20/20A was put that way rather than starting with the across clue which would also have fit. Thanks, Phi.

  2. caretman says:

    Thanks RR for the blog. Agree on the gentleness. This is the first puzzle I’ve done with such an influence from neologisms arising from the online culture. It had so geared my thinking that 9d (an expression that seems so old-fashioned now) was my penultimate in. 8a was last and gotten from the definition; I’m glad you explained the ICA which I expected was an initialism but didn’t bother to look up. On 16d I thought REE came from REE, which is also most of a synonym of rocks, but yours is surely what is intended. I particularly liked 18d. Finally, on 5d, here in the states the common expression is “on the QT”; is that also used on the other side of the pond?

  3. caretman says:

    Oops, I see that my comment on 16d didn’t come across in the way I typed it. I had thought REE came from removing the LS from REELS, still leaving most of that synonym of ‘rocks’.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, RatkojaRiku. I too was half expecting a Phi theme, but it appears to be just the usual Phi excellence.

    I think the setter has mentioned previously that he likes to include neologisms from time to time, and I was pleased to get both WEBISODE and CROWDSOURCING from the wordplay, never having come across either. I never knew that CLERESTORY was a part of a church; I’ve always known it from the GWR railway carriages with the sticky-up window bits on the top. Probably comes from playing with my train set instead of going to church when I was a lad.

    Needed you to explain CUPIDS, so thanks especially for that.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Yes, caretman, ‘On the QT’ is also common in British English.

  6. Wanderer says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku and Phi, this was thoroughly enjoyable. OEDIPUS COMPLEX a marvellous clue, I thought. Special mention for the two broken grid entries at 10/2 and 20d/20a. Both were of the same type, with a container going round the outside; but what I discovered is that if I can actually see SIDELINE written out in full, I can immediately spot that it’s DELI in SINE. Arranged as it is on this grid, by contrast, I found it almost impossible to “see” what was going on. Perhaps this just demonstrates that I need visual confirmation more than other solvers, but those clues did provide a level of complexity (and satisfaction) for me which I don’t think they would have if they had not been broken.

  7. scchua says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku for the blog, and Phi for an enjoyable puzzle. Quite straightforward, the last one in being the contemporary term in 6A.

    Favourites were 15A CROWDSOURCING, another contemporary term, 1A OEDIPUS COMPLEX, another one of those clue-like answers, and 9D CARRIAGE RETURN.

  8. bamberger says:

    Flushed with success at solving the Guardian, I tried this and only got 12a for sure,.
    For 17a I knew the answer had to be smut or tums but couldn’t decide which and obviously without checking letters, I could only pencil both in.
    5d the answer occured ot me but I couldn’t see the wordplay so didn’t write it in.
    Thought 6a, 15a, 18a and 4d very hard -didn’t know bam=hoax.
    Thanks for the extremely helpful blog.

  9. Phi says:

    20D/20A went that way for symmetrical reasons – the double clue for SIDELINE went in the Acrosses, so this one went in the Downs. Which means it isn’t symmetric in the grid, of course – but then I was never one who thought that symmetry was just an added-on folderol to a grid, but something to be played with.

  10. flashling says:

    Thanks RR and the others in my quartet, whose blogs I’ve missed whilst incapacitated. Silly fall and broken ribs, lots of pain and morphine! Got bam from bamboozle and worked from there. Roll on next week – wonder what day we’ll see Phi?

  11. Allan_C says:

    Grasping at straws for a theme but with the 10/2 and 20/20a arrangement could one say the grid was 3?

  12. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks, nmsindy, for pointing out my slip with the anagram indicator at 1, which has been adjusted accordingly.

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