Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,721 / Phi

Posted by RatkojaRiku on July 15th, 2011


I particularly enjoyed solving and blogging this Phi puzzle, my first Phi for a while. An initial perusal revealed only a few (short) entries, then a lot of solutions came in a flurry, after which the last few words, including the short entries at 23, 25 and 27, kept me guessing at the end.

The mini-theme of the puzzle – the “graduates” at 9, 11 and 17, and potentially their professor at 23 – eluded me until I had solved 9, whereupon 11 and 17 inevitably fell into place. I have scoured the grid in vain for other possible references to the Potter stories, but the problem may be my scant knowledge of the books.

My award for the most fiendish clue this time goes to 25, although my favourite, one of the easiest to solve but with a beautifully smooth surface reading, is 16.

*(…) indicates an anagram

1 OPUS Reversed and hidden in “workS UP Outlines”, as indicated by “partly recalled”.
4 CHIFFONIER *(RICH OF FINE); “working” is anagram indicator; a chiffon(n)ier is an ornamental cabinet or chest of drawers.
9 HERMIONE GRANGER *(MORE GIN) in [HER (=woman’s) + ANGER (=rage)]; “spilled” is anagram indicator.A note after the clue tells us that 9 is one of three (undefined) “graduates” to appear in the puzzle. The other two graduates of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series are to be found at 11 and 17.
10 ANGLO-IRISH *(SHARING OIL); “unexpectedly” is anagram indicator.
12 HEEL HE + E(vi)L (“heartless” means all but initial and last letters are dropped); & lit.
13 KIEV K (=king, i.e. in cards and chess) + I.E. (=that is, abbreviation of id est) + V (=very)
15 GENERALIST GEN (=information) + ERA (=time) + LIST (=itemise)
17 RON WEASLEY *(ONE LAWYER’S); “crooked” is anagram indicator; see 9.
19 GASH GAS (=its, i.e. hydrogen’s, usual form) + H (=hydrogen)
20 WHIP W (=with) + HIP (=joint); a “whip” is a preparation of whipped cream, eggs, etc; cf Instant Whip.
22 ECOTOURIST [CO (=company) + TO + UR (=historic city)] in *(SITE); “ruined” is anagram indicator.
24 TRANSPOSITIONAL POS<t> (=mail; “most of” means last letter dropped) in TRANSITIONAL (=interim, as an adjective)
26 YESTERYEAR YES (=certainly) + [RYE (=whisky) in TEAR (=hurry)]
27 TIER TIE (=cup game) + R (=run, i.e. in cricket); the definition is “seats in stadium”, terrace.
2 PAEAN 2 x A (=article) intermingled (“in two places”) with PEN (=writer); a paean is a song of praise, thanksgiving or triumph.
3 SIMPLE VOW *(WIMP LOVES); “wriggling out” is anagram indicator; a simple vow is a more limited, less permanent vow than a solemn vow, hence “religious commitment”.
4 CLOSING DATE [LOSING (=failing) in CD (=recording)] + AT + <loos>E (“expiry of” means last letter only)
5 IBERIAN ERI (IRE=passion; “rising” indicates vertical reversal) in [I + BAN (=stop)]
6 FOR FO (OF; “lifting” means vertical reversal) + R<estrictions> (“first of” means first letter only); the definition is “supporting”, in favour of.
7 NINTH Hidden in “BeethoveN IN THe Choral”; “contribution” indicates hidden answer; & lit., since the Choral Symphony was indeed Beethoven’s Ninth.
8 ELEVENSES [EVEN (=still) in ELSE (=other)] + S (=special)
11 HARRY POTTER HARRY (=hound, as a verb, i.e. hector, harass) + P<ursue> (“beginning to” means first letter only) + OTTER (=river creature); see 9.
14 IRON HORSE I (=one) + R (=runs, as in cricket) + ON + [R (=right) in HOSE (=Tube)]; the definition is “old train”, defined by Chambers as “worn-out circumlocution for a railway engine”.
16 LAGER LOUT LAG (=convict, as a noun, i.e. prisoner) + ER (=little hesitation) + L<ocal> (“heading for” means first letter only) + OUT (=released, i.e. out of prison); the definition is boozer, as in drinker rather than drinking place.
18 LOOK-SEE OK (=satisfactory) in [LOSE (=drop) + E (=tab, i.e. abbreviation of tablet, especially of the drug Ecstasy, hence E)
21 PINOT TO + NIP (=some whisky perhaps); “on reflection” indicates reversal.
23 SNAPE SNAP (=they match, i.e. exclamation when matching pairs of cards in snap) + E (=small English, i.e. abbreviation); Snape is a village near Aldeburgh in Suffolk; incidentally, Professor Severus Snape, a teacher at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter stories, was named after this village.
25 PAR PA<i>R (=2, -1 should be read as an instruction to delete the “i”); the definition is “It’s most often between 3 and 5”, referring to difficulty of holes on a golf course.

10 Responses to “Independent 7,721 / Phi”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, RatkojaRiku, for an exemplary blog – needed you today to explain CLOSING DATE and PAR (which has earned its corn as a solution in the Indy over the past 48 hours).

    I’m guessing that this was timed to co-incide with the national launch of the last Harry Potter film today (in the UK, anyway) – Kathryn’s brother has reserved tickets for this afternoon. It was on the easy side once you’d guessed the theme: for me the way in was to get ANGLO-IRISH, see HARRY, and then off you go (if you’re familiar with the graduates, of course).

    ECOTOURIST and the cleverly done LAGER LOUT were ones I liked today. And your mention of Instant Whip gave me an A la Recherche du Temps Perdu experience from my childhood – but a rather sickly one, unfortunately …

    Thanks to Phi for a fun puzzle. I’ll show it to Kathryn’s brother when he gets back and see if he’s impressed.

  2. Cumbrian says:

    Thanks for the puzzle and the blog.
    CHIFFONIER went straight in, but the rest of my first pass left me staring at an awful lot of white space, and I had no idea what the clue for 9ac was telling me (measuring jugs perhaps?) However, RON WEASLEY dropped out from the anagram, and after a few moments of complete bafflement the penny dropped with the reference in 9ac. I’m not up to date with the latest at Hogwarts, so I’m not aware of any graduation, but if that fearful oik Weasley made it then the tiresome swot Granger was a shoo-in, and Precious Potter was bound to have passed. I missed the connection with SNAPE, so thanks for pointing that out.
    Last in was PAEAN, which was a new one for me and one where the clue only made sense after I’d convinced myself the word was correct; a clever clue, though. 25d might have given me a problem if it wasn’t for yesterday’s golf lesson from Radian.
    I liked TIER for no particular reason.

  3. scchua says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku and Phi for another nice puzzle.

    I was like K’sD in getting Harry as the first, immediately followed by the other two. Favourites were 24A TRANSPOSITIONAL, 28 YESTERYEAR and 16D LAGER LOUT. For a moment, I thought the different spellings of whiskey/whisky in 26A/21D in the online version were going to be of significance, but looks not.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I didn’t spot the different spellings, scchua. I had kind of assumed that whiskey was the US spelling (but you drink bourbon, I guess), because I got the YESTERYEAR clue from remembering the lyrics to ‘American Pie’ by Don McLean:

    Them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
    Singing this’ll be the day that I die …

    Whiskey is the Irish spelling as far as I know.

  5. flashling says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku, didn’t get the 2-1 device in Par so thanks for that, the 3 Graduates were last in as I’m not a Harry Potter fan, having not read any of the books and only seen half of one film but the blanket media coverage meant I knew the names. Otherwise a faily gentle puzzle from Phi.

  6. caretman says:

    Thanks, RatkojaRiku. In my case, Ms Granger went in straightaway since I tried to think of who would be a set of three fairly well-known people all graduating right now (I doubted Phi was writing a puzzle themed around the graduation of perhaps his daughter and two of her classmates) and after deciding it wasn’t some group of royals came up with the Harry Potter books. The rest was pretty straightforward although I didn’t understand the wordplay for SNAPE (I’m not familiar with the card game) so much thanks for explaining that. I was pleased to solve LAGER LOUT from the wordplay since it was another unfamiliar term, so I particularly liked that one. I agree that 25d was a fun clue that I initially got from the crossing letters and then figured out how it worked. All in all a fun puzzle from Phi!

  7. scchua says:

    Hi K’sD@4, I’ll have a single malt, thank you! :-)

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Get to one of our get-togethers, scchua, and you’re on … but Phi is always very precise with his clueing, so I’m sure there’s some reason for the different spellings.

  9. Cumbrian says:

    I’ve been having a quick Google and from a few sources it seems rye whiskey (with an E) is common in the US (as an alternative to Bourbon), but rye wouldn’t appear in a whisky (without an E) from Scotland, where a nip is of course a commonly used term, along with dram. So the difference in spelling appears to tie in with the use of rye and nip. Clever stuff. For further intellectual research, there’s a site called (I kid not), or purely in the interests of science, of course, practical research into the differences could be time well shpent.

  10. Paul B says:

    Yesh, but don’t shtart with Laphroaig – leave it ’til the end.

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