Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,658/Phi

Posted by Ali on May 3rd, 2011


Phi has been shifted around the schedule a couple of times recently, although I suspect we find him on Tuesday this week not because of the Bank Holiday, but because this was a much tougher puzzle than usual.

I’ve always been a words-not-numbers type of person, so my knowledge of 15As has never stretched much beyond the most famous ones (18A and 19A for example). I therefore struggled with this puzzle and also found some of the non-thematic answers very tough. One query aside (at 1A), the clueing was however as good as always from Phi. It wasn’t until I came to blog that I realised that there were so many single letter deletions, nearly every one of which is dealt with in a different way in the wordplay. Excellent stuff.

8 FERMAT – I think this is RM in FEAT (exploit), but not sure why RM = jolly?
10 SIZZLING – S[-w(omen)]IZZLING
11 GANGLY – GANG + L[ikel]Y
12 VON NEUMANN – (MANOEUV[-re])* about NNN (3 notes)
14 LAIR – L(iberal) AIR (attitude)
15 MATHEMATICIAN – A (one) + THEMATIC + I in MAN (fellow)
18 VENN – Hidden incoVEN Now
22 DEPICT – Hidden in extendeD EPIC That’s
23 FIGURINE – FIG (fruit) + URINE (water)
24 LAGRANGE – LAG (delay) + RANGE (coverage)
25 TURING – TUR[-n(ew)]ING
1 MERINO – Hidden in sumMER IN Otago
2 AMAZON – AMAZ[-e] + ON (regarding)
3 ATTITUDE – T(ense) in [-l(ecturer)]ATITUDE
4 THUG – H(enry) in TUG
5 IMOGEN – I + GEN about MO
6 LLANELLI – L(eft) LANE + ILL rev.
7 BODLEIAN – BOD (chap) + LEAN (lacking resources) going round 1
13 AWAIT – A(merica) in A WIT
15 MAECENAS – (CAME)* + SANE rev.
16 TANGIERS – TAN GI[-v(ery)]ERS
17 IRANGATE – (REAGAN + IT)* = A great anag.&lit
19 PATINA – PA + TIN + A
20 ORRERY – Outer letters of OtheR RarE RotatorY
23 FLEA – Initial letter of Everglades in FL(orid)A

17 Responses to “Independent 7,658/Phi”

  1. Wanderer says:

    Thanks Ali and Phi. Excellent stuff and a pleasure to encounter a theme not often seen (at least by me) in crosswords.

    One quibble: if I understood the central clue correctly, MATHEMATICIAN is defined as SCIENTIST. Surely they are very different animals?

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, Ali.

    I thought this was a great theme; I don’t mind famous composers or the collected works of Jane Austen, but it’s nice to see the other side featured occasionally. However, I’m with Wanderer in thinking that mathematicians are not scientists.

    The gateway clue wasn’t obvious, but once I got VENN then it became so. I did know most of them, but the clueing was such that I could get the ones that I hadn’t heard of.

    ORRERY is a word that keeps cropping up in crosswords. I’m familiar with it because it’s one of Derby’s claims to fame, featuring in the famous (and beautiful) Joseph Wright painting. It’s here if you’re interested:

    And if you have a look, it gives a nod to one of our greatest scientists, Isaac Newton.

    Someone’s probably beaten me to it, but ‘jolly’ is a colloquialism for ‘Royal Marine’, hence RM.

  3. beermagnet says:

    Jolly is a nickname for a Royal Marine (RM) as explained here:
    Royal Navy terms
    (I can’t help thinking Surgeon-Captain Richard Jolly OBE (ex-RM), who turned up when I googled, must’ve had a hard time of it.)

    Fantastic puzzle. As a numbers rather than a word man, it was MAECENAS who I’d never heard of and didn’t get (I have now wiki’d him).

    As far as I’m concerned mathematicians are the quintessential scientists as seekers of the truth, so I’m OK with the def.

    [I see KD beat me to it. Never mind.]

  4. lenny says:

    This was an entertaining effort from Phi. I thought he made it a little easier than usual in deference to the fact that most of his solvers are probably more skilled in words than in numbers. The wordplay for the mathematicians themselves was very clear. I recognised all except two, although I must have heard of Lagrange as I managed to pluck his name from the ether. Presumably Hamilton is Sir William Rowan Hamilton, Irish physicist, mathematician and astronomer.

    I was not too twitched about the equation of mathematician with scientist. All three of our normal reference dictionaries describe mathematics as a science.

  5. caretman says:

    Since my background is mathematics, all of the mathematicians were familiar to me. I did spend a long time trying to make 25 ac into NEWTON (I had N for ‘new’, TON for ‘not new’, EW for ‘direction’?) before finally determining from crossing words that I was going the wrong route entirely. As with K’sD @2, I had a nearly blank grid until I got 18 ac, then the key word became apparent (and I was impressed that Phi found THEMATIC in the middle of MATHEMATICIAN). My favorite clue was 17 dn, an excellent &lit. So thanks, Phi, for a puzzle that was right up my alley, and to Ali for delving into numbers in the blog.

  6. scchua says:

    Thanks Ali, for the blog and Phi for an enjoyable puzzle – great clueing. They say music and mathematics have something in common, so it may not be so surprising that Phi has come up with this theme.

    It was also 18A VENN that led me to the theme. Was pleased to see Phi including TURING and VON NEUMANN, two pioneers of the computing age. Favourites were 23A FIGURINE, 2D AMAZON and 3D ATTITUDE. Looks like the numbers people are dominating this blog!

  7. Hounddog says:

    Well, my Mathematics degree is a BSc so I must be a scientist. Didn’t help me remember all the names though. Couuldn’t figure out the wordplay on Tangiers either.

  8. nmsindy says:

    I saw the theme straightaway when I got FERMAT from the first clue and counted the number of letters in MATHEMATICIAN. Quite tricky in places but all clear in the end with the less familiar names clued in a way that you could (eventually) work them out from the wordplay. Thanks, Phi, and Ali for the blog.

  9. flashling says:

    @hounddog #7 my Mathematics degree is an BA (or MA if I want to pay the fee sometime) but I still consider me more scientist than artist and mathematics itself to be an Art.

    Think this is a tuesday bump as it’s more blatantly themed than many of Phi’s offerings and thus fits nicely the Indy’s themed tuesdays.

    Only had to check Maecenas when I got home, as I couldn’t remember him.

    Thanks Ali for blog and Phi for a quick search through the cobwebs in my brain for some mathematicians.

  10. ele says:

    Venn was the way into this for me too and all the names were known. Finished this one in well under an hour on the commute, which is good going. Liked 1d as although simple it’s clever as Otago is real sheep country with lots of merinos. Thanks Phi for the entertaining puzzle and Ali for the blog – and for explaining wordplay to mathematician. I still don’t understand the wordplay for Tangiers though.

  11. beermagnet says:

    ele: 16D TANGIERS: Sunbeds are “tan givers”, take away the V for very (not very evident) gives you an African city

  12. ele says:

    many thanks beermagnet – i never thought of tan givers. Was working on ‘sounds like’ tanners.

  13. Wil Ransome says:

    The usual excellent fare from Phi. No major criticisms, but why bother with ‘Regarding’ in 7dn, since the library itself is called the Bodleian rather than the Bodley?

    I thought 17dn was wonderful.

    In the blog Ali I think it’s really (manoeuv{re} n n n)* for otherwise how is the fact that the n’s are separated taken care of?

  14. Phi says:

    I’m with beermagnet on mathematicians being the quintessential scientists – whatever universities may say in their degrees. This puzzle arose from a grumble from a blogger here who complained that there were never any themed puzzles about mathematicians. Well, there’s one now.

  15. ele says:

    Gauss said that “mathematics is the queen of the sciences”, so there you go..

  16. Ali says:

    Thanks to all for the comments, corrections and pointers, and to Phi for revealing the inspiration. Good to see that we bloggers can influence puzzles.

    And I’m with the maths = science crew too. Biology, chemistry, physics, maths – I was bad at them all at school, so it must be that I’m just not a scientist!

  17. nmsindy says:

    Maths is the background of quite a few setters, Monk and the sadly recently departed Viking, to mention just two.

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