Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,697 / Phi

Posted by RatkojaRiku on June 17th, 2011


I wasn’t on Phi’s wavelength as much today as I normally am, but I think that I got there in the end!

There were more new words to me here (1A, 3, 13, 17 and 21) than in the average daily cryptic, which made my job harder, although tight wordplay throughout made it possible to work them out.

I am not sure about the anagram indicator in 27, or that 9 is truly a double definition, so any help tightening up the parsing would be appreciated.

My favourite clue today was the neat & lit. at 26, which was the first clue that I actually solved.

*(…) indicates an anagram

1 MICRO-MINI [CRO<w> (=exult; “endlessly” means last letter is dropped) in MIMI (=opera heroine, i.e. in Puccini’s La bohème)] + NI (=IN; “returning” indicates a reversal); a micro-mini is a very short miniskirt, hence “skimpy costume”.
6 TWIN TWIN<e> (=cord; “cut down” means last letter dropped)
10 DROOP DR (=doctor) + O (=round) + OP (=operation)
11 AUDIO DISC S (=second) in [AU (=gold) + DIOD<e> (=electronic component; “cut down” means last letter dropped) + I<ntegrated> C<ircuit>]; the definition is simply “recording”.
12 IMPASTO I’M PAST ‘O’ (=I’ve reached ‘P’, i.e. when working through an index)
13 PLACKET LACK (=something missing) in PET (=favourite); according to Chambers, a placket is “an opening in a skirt, shirt, etc for a pocket”.
14 A SHOT IN THE ARM Definition is “encouraging event”, i.e. a boost; “in that it wasn’t the chest” is encouraging in that a (gun)shot to the arm is less dangerous than one to the chest!
17 ALPHA PARTICLE APART (=separate) in *(EACH PILL); “after treatment” indicates anagram.
21 NETBOOK *(BET ON) + OK (=satisfactory); “working” is anagram indicator; a netbook is a small, low-cost laptop computer.
22 TOOLSET TOO (=also) + [<workshop>S in LET (=allowed)]; “rear of” means last letter only.
24 AQUAPLANE A + QU (=question) + AP (=apparently) + LANE (=road)
25 IBSEN I (=one) + B (=book) + SEN<t> (=enraptured; “all but” means last letter dropped)
26 RINK Hidden in “curleR IN Kirkcaldy”; “some” indicates hidden answer; & lit., in that curling is a sport played on ice that is popular in Scotland.
27 DIONYSIAC *(NOISY ACID); & lit.; “becoming” “parties” appears to be the (unusual) anagram indicator; dionysiac means loud, boisterous, drunken, after the Greek god of revelry, Dionysus.
1 MADRIGAL MAD (=wild) + RIG (=equipment) + AL<l> (=entirely; “almost” means last letter dropped)
2 CROUP C (=caught) + <g>ROUP (=pop performers; “no good” means the ‘g’ is dropped)
3 OPPOSITE PROMPT [IT in OPPOSE (=to be against)] + PROMPT (without delay); opposite prompt is the right-hand side of the stage as seen by the performer, hence “section of theatre”.
4 IDAHOAN [I + DAH (=had; “to rise” indicates a vertical reversal)] + [A in ON]
5 IN-DEPTH I + [DEPT (=department) in NH (=state, i.e. New Hampshire)]
7 WHISKY MAC WHISK (=what stirrer may do) + *(MAY) + C (=cold); “upset” is anagram indicator.
8 NICETY Y (=yard) + TEC (=detective) + I + N (=note); “brought up” indicates vertical reversal.
9 LOCAL AUTHORITY Double definition: LOCAL AUTHORITY is COUNCIL AND WORDSMITH (=authority, expert) IN PLACE (=local); AUTHOR (=wordsmith) in LOCALITY (=place)
15 HEARTBURN HEAR (=try, i.e. a case in court) + [B<ad> in TURN (=new direction)]; “onset of” means first letter only.
16 TECTONIC *(ETC) + TONIC (=booster); “cooking” is anagram indicator; “dealing with (the Earth’s) plates” is definition.
18 AWKWARD <h>AWK (=belligerent) + WAR (=conflict) + ’D (=had, as in I’d said); & lit.; since a belligerent person would wish to cause rather than avoid war.
19 ART DECO *(TRADE) + CO (=company)
20 UNFAIR <f>UNFAIR (=entertainment venue; “that’s lacking in leadership” means the first letter is dropped)
23 SUSHI US (=American) in SHI<p> (=on board; “dismissing soft” – p for piano in music – means the ‘p’ is dropped)

11 Responses to “Independent 7,697 / Phi”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, RatkojaRiku.

    9dn is an insertion of AUTHOR in LOCALITY – my favourite clue today. I found it a bit harder than the usual Phi, but all gettable. I was pleased to solve three clues where the words were previously unknown to me from the wordplay: DIONYSIAC, OPPOSITE PROMPT and IMPASTO, the last of which really made me smile.

    We’ve had a very good week in the Indy this week, imho. Thanks to Phi for finishing it off for us.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    PS I took ‘parties’ to be the anagrind in 27ac. In the sense that when you go to a party, you ‘shake it all about’. Or something like that.

  3. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks very much, Kathryn’s Dad, for 9 – I have adapted the blog accordingly. If I had managed to solve this clue, it would doubtless have been a favourite of mine too!

    This was a good example of how one just can’t see the wood for the trees once one has got an idea into one’s head. I just couldn’t get away from the idea of authority and wordsmith both being experts of sorts.

  4. ele says:

    I found this more difficult than usual too. OPPOSITE PROMPT was the last one in as I got distracted early on by ‘stalls’ for ‘delay’ – probably a clever misdirection by Phi. 9dn was my favourite clue as well. Thanks to Ali for the blog and Phi for the puzzle.

  5. nmsindy says:

    In the light of those comments I might have been lucky today as I solved this quite fast. I think, K’s D, you might see IMPASTO again, a word the meaning of which I learnt from puzzles. Thanks, RatkojaRiku, for the blog and Phi for the puzzle.

  6. lenny says:

    This was a quick solve for me with only Opposite Prompt and Placket being unfamiliar. I, too, liked the clue for Local Authority. The clues for Impasto and Unfair were hardy annuals but the Impasto joke, in particular, bears repetition.

  7. Conrad Cork says:

    Fortunately The Bard came to my aid over placket. In King Lear, Edgar, disguised as a madman says (amongst other things)

    ” keep thy foot
    out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen
    from lenders’ books, and defy the foul fiend.”

    Still good advice, even today IMHO.

  8. Mustyx says:

    Straightforward, but with all the usual elegance from Phi. LOI was Opposite Prompt, of which I hadn’t previously heard and which doesn’t appear in Chambers but, strangely, is in the electronic New Oxford American (marked as a ‘British’ word) that came with my Mac computer.

  9. ele says:

    Re placket – it’s still in use in dressmaking, for the side slit you put a zip in a skirt. More common perhaps in the US, which is where all the dressmaking patterns came from when I used to make clothes.

  10. flashling says:

    Thanks R and Phi, first run through did very badly, second it went very quickly. Can’t see a theme but no doubt Phi knows better

  11. Phi says:

    Nothing hidden in this one, at least not consciously. I think it was one where, to alleviate the dread of starting a blank grid, and to avoid coming up with a ‘theme’ I seeded it with an entry in a list of ‘interesting words to clue’ that I maintain. Sadly, they often turn out to be interesting only as in the ‘may you live in interesting times’ definition, but in this case it was PLACKET, which I knew of as the strip down the front of a shirt where the buttons sit, which is nearer the ODE definition than Chambers’. I was concerned about LOCAL AUTHORITY where the cryptic elements remain etymologically close to the defined elements (LOCAL/LOCALITY in particular) but I think it just about works.

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