Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7723 by Morph

Posted by NealH on July 18th, 2011


*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, CD=cryptic def, DD=double def, sp=spoonerism

1 across was nicely topical and there was the usual inventiveness from Morph (12 across and 3 down were particularly neat), although I found 20 down a bit groan-inducing. The slightly obscure lat was used twice in both 6 and 7, although the clues were linked and 7 was very good.

1 Siphoned: DS< (=Detective Sergeant) around iphone (=mobile). I was a bit dubious about recalcitrant as a reversal indicator, but it comes originally from an old word recalcitrate, which means to kick back.
5 Kaiser: (Rake is)*.
10 Nay: DD.
11 Outfielders: (Free suit old)*. Long leg is a cricket fielding position.
12 Investment trusts: “In vest men trust” around [pocke]t.
13 Gust: Guts with t moved (slightly upset).
15 Abbreviate: Br (=bridge) + I’ve< (= one's backing) + a(=american) in a bet*.
18 Wind Energy: Windy (a slang word meaning nervous) around green*.
19 Merc: Crem[e]<.
22 As Sick As a Parrot: CD (poll = parrot). I thought we were back with Monty Python for a second.
25 Perorations: Per[f]orations.
26 Die: Eid<. I thought Eid was a specific Muslim festival, but it seems to be just a general Arabic word for festival.
27 Defuse: (Feed us)*.
28 Hegemony: Hedge money with D(=500) + E(=Euro) separately removed.
1 Sinking: DD. I was a bit confused initially by the “jumped up” part since porn baron=sin king seemed adequate, but I suppose a sin king might be someone who has gone beyond being merely a porn baron.
2 Pay TV: Yap< (dog = woofer's sound) + t[weak] v[olume].
3 Oboist: ‘Obo + ‘is T.
4 Estimable: ([b]est I’m able).
6 Ablative: Ab + lat + I’ve. Ab is pretty well known, but lat (short for latissimus dorsi) a bit less so.
7 Speculate: Sue with pec and lat around the U (her heart).
8 Rosette: O setter with r moved to the front.
9 Girn: GI + RN.
14 Sans Serif: S(ucceeded) + fairness*.
16 Rigmarole: Rig + Ma + role.
17 Red Cards: DD (playing cards and football sendings off).
18 Wrapped: DD.
20 Cattery: Hom of Qatari (allegedly).
21 Hassle: Ass replacing O in Hole.
23 Arty: [P]arty (starting with its second letter i.e. beginning late).
24 Rodeo: &lit. Rode + O.

10 Responses to “Independent 7723 by Morph”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Neal, and Morph for an enjoyable and witty puzzle.

    4dn is [b]EST I’M ABLE and in 18dn I think WRAPPED is a homophone [for broadcast] of ‘rapt’ [sent].

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, Neal.

    Great start to the week from Morph. Just right for me, anyway – I found it tough in places, but ultimately gettable. Some very inventive wordplay: I specially liked PAY TV (‘woofer’ for dog made me laugh), and SICK AS A PARROT (ditto ‘poll’).

    I too initially questioned ‘recalcitrant’, but my Thesaurus gives ‘contrary’, so fair enough.

    I have always thought QATARI was pronounced CAT-ARE-EE, with the stress on the second syllable, but since if I understand it well, Morph’s proper job involves dealing with that part of the world, I’m sure he’s right. But too much information can be a dangerous thing: knowing the above, I spent far too long trying to shoehorn Mohammed KARSAI into 5ac.

    Fine puzzle, and not a single reference to the royal wedding in sight …

  3. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, NealH, and Morph for the puzzle which I thought was quite hard. Favourite clues, RED CARDS and NAY, where I think there is a homophone.

  4. lenny says:

    Thanks Neal. This was a cracking puzzle from Morph. I found the SE particularly difficult with the substitutions and subtractions of Hassle and Hegemony and the outrageous Cattery.I read this as a DD with “home for Persian” being the first definition.

    I only knew the word Gurn so Girn went in on the wordplay. I thought Girn must be a variant but, in fact, it is the other way round.

  5. Thomas99 says:

    Apparently Qataris would pronounce “Qatar” with a stress on the first syllable, with the word sounding more like “cutter” or “gutter” than “catarrh”. So perhaps “cattery” for “Qatari” isn’t so wrong after all. As Kathryn’s Dad says, Morph should know (although I don’t think you should necessarily always try to imitate the residents – we still don’t say Paree, after all…).

  6. walruss says:

    It can’t be ‘in vests men trust’ around T: I shall go to the puzzle and check the clue. Cheers Morph for a nice puzzle, and to Neal H for his blog.

  7. Cumbrian says:

    Hi walruss @6. It’s only one undergarment, so it’s IN VEST MEN TRUST around T.

    I found this tough and couldn’t complete it in my allotted time, and I’m generally too impatient to come back so I used the reveal button on a few. I did get SICK AS A PARROT which gave me a good groan for its use of “poll-wise”, and was my favourite clue. I hadn’t come across GIRN, having only ever seen GURN (thanks lenny @4 for the info); AFAIK the fine art of Gurning through a horse collar still flourishes in the West Country.

    Thanks Morph and NealH

  8. Wanderer says:

    Thanks Morph and NealH. Difficult but fun.

    Was there not a Rupert Murdoch mini-theme lurking in the NW corner? Not just in the overtly topical 1a, as noted, about police/mobile/tapped, but also in 1d: “Jumped-up porn baron in decline?” When RM bought The Times, by which time he already owned The Sun and NoTW, I remember lots of reaction along the lines of “Who is this jumped-up porn baron buying The Establishment Newspaper?” The “in decline” bit then becomes nicely topical as well. And the solution at 2d, PAY TV, also fits in.

    No doubt I am just reading too much into it, but I kept looking for more.

  9. NealH says:


    18 works as a double definition because of the theatrical meaning of “wrap” – to complete the filming of something – although your explanation is also valid.

  10. Morph says:

    Thanks Neal, and all for your comments. I wrote the puzzle in May, so it was quite fortuitous (prescient?) that 1ac becamse so timely. As for 1dn, I’d better not comment!
    Re the pronunciation of Qatari, I think the Arabic is between cattery and kerTARy, and Chambers lists both, so I felt I was on fairly safe ground running with the homophone. I think cattery was what I heard most frequently when I was in Doha last month.

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