Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7679 / Phi

Posted by Gaufrid on May 27th, 2011


I only head a short while ago that flashling is unwell, and unable to blog, so apologies for the delayed appearance of this post (which has been produced in somewhat of a hurry so please excuse any errors).

An enjoyable puzzle with some pleasing surfaces and a theme of Shakespearean characters, some well known, some less so. I solved 7ac and 11ac from the wordplay early on and this quickly gave me 8dn, which I entered then parsed, and the theme.

Most of the characters I had met in previous crosswords and a list of characters from Shakespeare in one of my reference books was used to confirm those I hadn’t, apart from 8ac and 16ac which were missing from the list and for which I required Google’s help for confirmation.

7 TAMORA [detec]T AROMA (smell) reversed – Titus Andronicus
9 CADE hidden reversal in ‘disputED ACcount’ – Henry VI Part 2
10 STARVELING STAR (lead performer) VE[i]LING (hiding after one walks out) – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
11 HERMIONE HER (woman’s) O (love) in MINE (for me) – The Winter’s Tale
12 TYBALT BY reversed A L (line) in T[ex]T – Romeo and Juliet
14 HERO H (hearts) ERO[s] (most of Love) – Much Ado About Nothing
16 TOPAS TO SAP (weaken) reversed – Twelfth Night
18 IAGO I (Independent) AGO (in the past) – Othello, The Moor of Venice
19 CASSIO ASSI[st] (support disposing of religious man) in CO (company) – Othello, The Moor of Venice
21 AUFIDIUS IF reversed in AUDI (German car) US – Coriolanus
23 EARL RIVERS R (king) I (one) in *(REVERSAL) – Richard III
25 PETO PE (exercises) TO[o] (as well not entirely) – Henry IV Parts 1 and 2
26 FLUELLEN FLUE (chimney) NELL (girl) reversed – Henry V
27 ARTHUR ART (skill) HUR[t] (injury taking little time) – King John
1 GARAGE EG (say) A RAG (newspaper) reversed
3 PASSPORT PASS (authorise) PORT (wine)
4 CRAVAT CRA[m] (lot of stuff) VAT (tax)
5 KEEL dd
6 CORNFLAG CORN (bad jokes) FLAG (fail) – another name for a gladiolus
8 SHAKESPEAREAN SHAKE (brandish) SPEAR (weapon) E (English) AN (one)
13 BLIND SPOTS L (lake) in BINDS (difficult situations) POTS (vessels)
15 ERASABLE ERA (time) SABLE (black)
17 SOFT-SOAP F[orays] in SOTS (drunks) OAP (elderly person)
20 ORIOLE O (love) I (one) in ROLE (part)
22 UNTRUE [p]UNT (bet losing penny) RUE (regret)
24 LEEK dd

13 Responses to “Independent 7679 / Phi”

  1. 4across says:

    Thanks for blog and puzzle, enjoyed this one, after initial horror at expectation of struggling with the theme, but as it worked out 8dn was my first solve then fairly straightforward, though some characters unknown to me, the word plays were good.

  2. scchua says:

    Thanks Gaufrid for the blog and Phi for the puzzle.

    Like you, 7A TAMORA from the wordplay led to 8D, after which the rest of the acrosses were obtainable from the wordplay, and those I was not familiar with were easily confirmed from the references. That’s the trouble with themed crosswords where once having got the gateway clue, the rest becomes a bit mechanical. Still, favourites were 13D BLIND SPOTS, 17D SOFT SOAP and 2D HONEYMOONS.

  3. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks for the blog Gaufrid. A nice puzzle, with all the thematic answers deducible from the cryptic indications.

    I think 5dn and 24dn are really reversals of each other rather than double definitions.

  4. anax says:

    My appreciation of this puzzle is as much technical as for the excellent clueing. At first sight the wealth of Shakespearean characters might make one believe this was fairly easy to construct – not so, especially with an open grid like this. It’s amazing how quickly just one 4-, 5- or 6-letter slot can completely spoil the chances of successfully filling all of the down lights; that Phi has managed it here is pretty amazing.

    Top effort.

  5. walruss says:

    I hope that wasn’t a pun about ‘mechanicals’ schhua! As Anax says a good puzzle, although Shakespearean themes in daily puzzles are not exactly uncommon! Still, a good enough one for me, and good stuff from the Independent once again. Get well soon, flashling, and a happy Bank Holiday to you all.

  6. Tokyocolin says:

    Thanks Gaufrid for stepping in once again.

    I solved a few of the across clues (Hermione and Tybalt) and realized what 8D would be before even seeing the clue.

    Normally this would be the point I would give up but I found the down clues very easy and with the crossing letters the characters were revealed without many problems. The wordplay portions of the clues were cleverly done so I actually enjoyed inventing and confirming the character names. Aufidius is a good example. Never heard of him, but that is what the wordplay led to and sure enough – a hit. I hope I remember him next time.

  7. caretman says:

    Thanks for stepping in, Gaufrid. Obviously, my education is not up to everyone else’s here; at least nine of the characters I had not heard of before (not counting 8a and 10a which aren’t names). I got in from wordplay for 7a (figuring TAMORA was more likely than TRUODO), 9a, 10a, and 11a. In most cases I could solve the other acrosses from the wordplay and crossing letters but in a couple of cases my solving skills were inadequate and I had to resort to online references. There were some excellent clues here and all of the lights were solvable (just not necessarily by me). CORNFLAG was new to me, as was OAP for elderly person (I thought maybe it was OA as an abbreviation for old age, and P for person). I agree with PB @3 that 5d and 24d were just reversals of each other, but they were so easy from the clues that they went in as a pair quickly. Definitely a good workout for me, thanks to Phi.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks first of all to Gaufrid for stepping in (here as well as in Another Place!) Secondly, get well soon to flashling. Thirdly, this wasn’t my cup of tea: a gateway clue where 7 of the required 13 letters were solutions dependent on you solving the clue wasn’t a great start. I congratulate 4across on getting it as his/her first solution, but even when I’d got it after three of the acrosses fell, my enthusiasm was waning a bit.

    I’m not an ignoramus about the Bard and his works, but this was a bit too obscure for me this morning, although I accept that the clueing of the 8dns was on the whole generous. And if the theme doesn’t engage you, I suppose you’re more likely to throw in the towel.

  9. flashling says:

    quick visit to say thanks Gaufrid and others for the wishes, alas a 24 hour bug has got me. Looks like Gaufrid has had a busy day….

  10. ele says:

    Glad it’s nothing worse flashling. Hope you feel better soon. Thanks to Gaufrid for the blog. The fact that these were minor Shakespearean characters was excellent, as agree with scchua that otherwise it could have been a bit mechanical once the theme was sussed. Having got Arthur as the first across clue, I got sidetracked by medieval knights until Aufidius and Iago came up. And even then took a bit of time to see 8d although Phi could not have made the wordplay clearer if he’d put it up in neon. Doh! So thanks to Phi for another great puzzle.

  11. Thomas99 says:

    I particularly like the fact that Fluellen has been given a leek. Can’t see any other linkages, except Hero will be going on a honeymoon I suppose. I don’t know what the Surveyor surveys; if it’s ships then keel is appropriate too, I suppose…

    I did enjoy the crossword, and thanks for the blog.

  12. Phi says:

    Once I’d decided to do it, it was an interesting grid fill. [Sir] Topas was my main concern – not really a character (actually a pseudonym), I was denying him his Sir, and he’s often given as Topaz. But I realised the gods were smiling on me when, faced with S_R_E_O_, I thought that there couldn’t be a surveyor in Shakespeare, only to find that one does indeed amble in to have a word with Henry VIII (OK, OK, so perhaps not quite as Shakespearean as the rest). I didn’t look for minor characters particularly (Tybalt, Hero, Cassio, Iago, Hermione and even Starveling are all reasonably prominent in their respective plays), but the exigencies of grid construction forced the others on me. But while I wouldn’t have rejected title roles had the letters led me there, none came my way.

  13. Graham Pellen says:

    Not mentioned by anybody that OAP in 17D stands for Old Age Pensioner.

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