Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7709/Phi

Posted by John on July 1st, 2011

John.

As usual a good crossword from Phi.  If anything the clues are even better-constructed than usual: they can all be explained easily after the event, although they are not necessarily always easy. One or two words are less than common, but the wordplay makes them all very manageable.

When I had finished solving online the message that appeared referred to a full house. I can’t understand this at all: there seems to be no connection with poker, and so few politicians are mentioned that it’s obviously nothing to do with a full house of MPs. Something very cunning is going on. Probably not particularly cunning, actually, probably blindingly obvious.

Across
1 SLA(N)G
4 ANALGESIC — a (legs I can)*
9 FO(R)EMAN— a foe man is, rather fancifully, the opposition, hence the question mark
10 C(AMER)ON — an unusual abbreviation for American, but it’s in Chambers
11 C(E{xiles})AUSES CU
12 HO{t} USE
13 FLYWHEEL — (why)* in (flee {va}l{ve})
14 WI(LSO)N
16 handraiL IS SO Marked
18 T(HAIL)A ND — the US state is North Dakota
21 CUDD{l}Y — Chambers gives four meanings of cuddy (none of which I’d heard of): one of them is a cabin on board ship
22 PA {d}RAS(A)TIC — def ‘living off another’ — the only clue I’m not totally happy with: does drastic = unsparing?
24 COCK PIT
26 EXURBIA — (burea{u} I)* around X — an exurbia is a residential area (usually prosperous) outside the suburbs of a town
27 DARTAGNAN — dart (aga{i}n)* n
28 ENSU{r}E
 
Down
1 SUFIC — (c{oncern} if US)rev.
2 AL{l} READY
3 GAMES THEORY — (Geometry has)* — I thought it was simply game theory, but the plural is given in Chambers as an alternative
4 AGNUS DEI — which is part of the Mass — (sung)rev. in (idea)*
5 AC(CRU)E — appropriate that this week we get a tennis clue
6 GEM — (m eg)rev.
7 S TR(A)USS
8 CON DE(M{e}N)ED
12 HOISIN SAUCE — (Cuisine has 0)* — had never heard of hoisin sauce, but it was about the only thing the answer could be, so it had to exist; sure enough, it does
13 FOL(IC(AC)I)D
15 TH(IR(T)E)EN — referring to the number at the Last Supper
17 SIDECAR — (as cider)*
19 ANTI-BES{t}
20 S POT{i}ON
23 C(H{urrying})ASE — a nice &lit.
25 PEA{k}

10 Responses to “Independent 7709/Phi”

  1. caretman says:

    Well, John, I’m as blind as you are when it comes to the theme for this puzzle. But it is clearly solvable without recognizing the theme. For 22a, I considered that a drastic cut in the budget would mean that no one was spared, making ‘drastic’ equivalent to ‘unsparing.’ Maybe a stretch but I imagine other responders to the blog will have better examples than I just gave. It was an eminently fair puzzle and quite enjoyable, so thanks to Phi.

  2. sidey says:

    I think it’s the telly programme House.

  3. kloot says:

    The theme is House. Well worth watching for the unsurpassed level of grumpiness from Hugh Laurie!

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, John, for your blog.

    Well-clued and entertaining as always from Phi. I’ve never seen the TV programme, but I have read that Hugh Laurie was well-received by US audiences. Didn’t matter though – perfectly enjoyable puzzle despite my ignorance of the theme.

    I liked AGNUS DEI and DARTAGNAN. I didn’t bother looking up CUDDY because it couldn’t be anything else, but for me, it’s a North-East dialect word for ‘horse’.

    I didn’t have a problem with ICI in 13dn, but I have noticed that a number of other setters are using ‘old chemical firm’ these days, since ICI haven’t been around for a good few years.

    Fine end to the week, thank you to Phi.

  5. flashling says:

    Oh the TV programme House? Never seen it, anyway easy enough for me after yesterday anyway.

    Did hmmm a bit at ICI. Have to read the paper on the wasy home now!

    Thanks John/Phi

  6. scchua says:

    Thanks John, and Phi.

    Like others, no problems completing it without knowing of the theme. Favourites were 12D HOISIN SAUCE, one of the first in for me; 27A D’ARTAGNAN, one of the last in; and 18A PARASITIC. Adding to caretman@1, I think “drastic” describes something at the extreme, where there is no tolerance or spare, and thus “unsparing”.

  7. Thomas99 says:

    Of course! How could I miss the House connection! Especially with Cuddy there – a word I only know in that context. My favourite’s Cameron – and Doctor Ceausescu of course, he’s very dashing.

  8. John says:

    My apologies for misleading everyone. I think that the message referred to a Full House, not a full house. That would have made it easier; for some, but not for me: I have never seen the programme, although I think very highly of Hugh Laurie and he was wonderful in Blackadder and wonderful as Bertie Wooster.

  9. Allan_C says:

    As caretman says, solvable without knowing the theme: just as well as I’m still not sure what it’s all about. Though I thought I saw a mini-theme emerging in the SW corner with CUDDY, COCKPIT and SIDECAR which are all somewhat confined spaces.

  10. Phi says:

    This came about because I was fascinated to see Hugh Laurie as House (quite unlike anything he’s done hitherto) and then realised that most of the characters had surnames that were either words, or perfectly reasonable crossword entries – always a good opener for a ‘ghost theme’. I had hoped the use of CUDDY when CADDY was much more obvious might have provoked a few people to look for the the theme.

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