Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,715/Phi

Posted by Ali on July 8th, 2011


A nice themed puzzle from Phi, which provided quite a challenge even though I cracked the key clue fairly early on.

I freely admit I needed to have a quick look in my thesaurus to remind myself (or learn) the names of many of the pasta shapes that appear here. I’d never come across ZITI or PICI before, but at least we had some of the classics (LASAGNE, RAVIOLI, MACARONI) to help with the initial grid fill. Just a shame that there isn’t a pasta called AURA which would have made all the across clues thematic.

7 ZITI – ZIT (spot) + 1
8 TAGLIARINI – TAG (identify) LIAR (story-teller) IN 1
11 PASTA – PAST (historic) A(merican)
15 AURA – A URANUS without SUN rev.
18 RAVIOLI – A VIOLI[-n] after [-p]R[-om]
21 PICI – PIC(ture) 1
25 PENNE – PENNE[-d]
29 CONCHIGLIE – CONC(entrated) on HIG[-h] LIE
30 NOSH – NO + SH (quiet)
2 MISFIT – F(ollowing) 1 in MIST
3 ET AL – ETA L(eft)
4 WIMP – This must be W(omen’s) I(institute) + P for soft, but not sure where the M comes in
5 FRASCATI – (ASTI C[-a]RAF[-e])*
9 GAELIC – G(ooh) + CELIA with A promoted
13 LINAC – L(eft) IN A C[-orner]
14 IRATE – I think this is a triple header – 1 RATE, IRATE and I.R ATE
17 AVIONICS – A(ustralian) + 1 ON in VIC’S
19 LENINIST – 1 N(ationalist) IS in LET (advanced)
20 ANIMAL – A + MA in NIL
22 IMPROV – I’M PRO (for) V(ery)
24 LARYNX – LAX around R(ailwa)Y [-statio]N
26 EVIL – [-we]EVIL
28 CHEF – C(onervative) + HEF[-t]

15 Responses to “Independent 7,715/Phi”

  1. flashling says:

    In 4dn MP is medium soft – less soft than just P

  2. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Ali

    I think 9dn is G + ALICE, with the E[nglish] promoted

  3. Cumbrian says:

    I had 9dn as G with Alice, with E for English promoted.

    I got nosh and pasta soon enough, but after that I found the puzzle deeply irritating for trotting out some rather obscure menu items requiring reference to a list of pasta types, not all available from the wordplay. Not helped by ziti (doti? diti?) crossing with the most obscure composer I’ve never heard of, made more obscure by the possibilities of which letter to drop from “mock arias”.

    Sorry – didn’t enjoy this one!

  4. scchua says:

    Thanks Ali, and Phi.

    Sort of mixed feelings on this. That’s the thing with themed crosswords. Once you’ve got the key, the related clues lose half of their appeal, there’s less tease, just strip. You’re left with just the wordplay. I liked 9D GAELIC, 5D FRASCATI (you’ve got pasta, wine and music), and 23A CANNELLONI.

    To elaborate on flashling@1, M=Medium, as eg. clothing sizes, where there’s XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL.

  5. Eileen says:

    Re 4dn; mp is a musical direction – mezzo-piano – not so soft as p – piano or pp – pianissimo.

  6. Martin says:

    Ziti, yes pici, no. I can’t find this in any dictionary, including the (online)OED. Nor is Cimarosa a composer with whom most of us will be familiar, I think. As Cumbrian says, an irritating little number. Is Phi pasta his or her best?

  7. ele says:

    Thanks Ali and to flashling and Eileen for expaining 4d. Once I saw the theme, I tried to do this strictly from the wordplay without looking up pasta types and I think to be fair to Phi all were obtainable from the wordplay, given that it had to make some sort of Italian word, even 7 and 21ac. And I’ve heard of Cimarosa :)

  8. Phi says:

    Well, ziti we actually had in the house when I did the puzzle, along with a type I couldn’t find any ready reference to anywhere, so be grateful I didn’t try that one – it’s what comes of going to the regular Italian food fair they have here in Wellington – you bring home lots of packets with intriguing collections of letters on. But I admit to not having come across pici before either. Nor have I actually eaten tagliarini – but, without being an especial fan of pasta – I have tried all the rest.

    Cimarosa was an important opera composer in his day, though you tend only to get Il Matrimonio Segreto staged these days. On a par, for me, with all those references to current soccer players that others seem fond of.

  9. Wil Ransome says:

    I’m right behind you, Phi. Prefer Cimarosa to Rooney any day.

    Pici?? Not in Chambers, nor in the list of pasta types in Chambers Crossword Companion. Nor Bradford or the COD. Where is it to be found?

  10. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Ali,
    I have to admit to cheating on this one – used Chamber’s Crossword Lists for some of the answers.Couldn’t find PICI but it was pretty obvious from the wordplay.Still enjoyed parsing the answers after ‘cheating’.

    To my mind Cimarosa is not that obscure,as Phi rightly says,an important opera composer in his day(over 80 operas).Il Matrimonio Segreto is a very funny light opera.
    He also wrote a lovely Messa Da Requiem, well worth checking out if you like sacred music.I think most of it is available on Youtube,here’s a link to the Ingemisco

    Thanks Phi,for that rarity – an Indy puzzle without a soccer reference!

  11. caretman says:

    Hi Wil @9. I too had to cheat to confirm the final pastas in this puzzle. I found PICI by searching wikipedia for ‘types of pasta’ and getting directed to

    There’s even a picture of it under ‘Long Pasta and Noodles’, and it’s described as very thick, long, and hand-rolled.

    It’s interesting to see which forms of pasta people seem unfamiliar with. ZITI is quite common over here, for example, and I’ve encountered all of the pastas clued except TAGLIARINI and CONCHIGLIE (actually, from its description I’ve probably encountered the latter as well but not that name for it). I tried to solve as much of the puzzle as I could without referring to references, but finally did need to go there for the last few pastas (and for the important opera composer; I must confess that I’m one of those solvers who know nothing of *both* opera composers and football players so I’m out of luck either way). Although most of pasta clues didn’t do much for me (other than ZITI which I enjoyed as soon as I solved it), there were a lot of down clues that I liked a lot. Thanks, Phi, for the puzzle!

  12. scchua says:

    #4 & 5. Sorry flashling and thanks Eileen. Of course that’s what mp is! Having said that there was pasta, wine and song, my mind then went AWOL :-) .

  13. flashling says:

    Sorry should have said mezzo piano for MP thought it was better known. Didn’t spot the gaelic cock up. Thomas99 seems to spot all of mine.

  14. scchua says:

    PS. #12 (written hurriedly just before breakfast). Now that I’ve finished, in my defence, can only say that I originally got the answer as “not so” = “medium” = M (size) + “soft” = P. Then blindsided myself into thinking (wrongly) that flashling had gone the same route.

    Interesting that recently I made the obverse error. Tried to parse “following year” as FY instead of F + Y.

  15. nmsindy says:

    I saw the clue led v directly to PICI (I suspected Phi was trying to make it very easy for us because of the obscurity of the answer) but then could not find it in dicts. A specialised pasta internet site confirmed it. Quite an achievement to fit all the pasta in and not too difficult a puzzle overall once the theme was seen, which I did fairly early on.

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