Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7757/Phi

Posted by John on August 26th, 2011


As always a nice solving experience from Phi. My heart tends to sink when I see that many of the clues refer to some other clue: one is always slow to get started and what if I can’t get it? But in this case it was pretty straightforward and everything followed easily.

I notice that whenever a word is split in half across two answers each of the halves is a word in itself. Phi does it here, and it’s quite a common device of Cinephile. This seems to be a convention but nowhere have I seen it stated that it should be so; I suppose it would be a bit inelegant if the parts of the word were meaningless, as in the very early crosswords.

5 CHAR L{i}ES — A boy’s name
9 MURDO — (rum)rev. do — so straightforward that I got this at first reading, but Murdo seemed a bit odd and at that time I didn’t know what 5/25 were, so entered nothing
10 TYRE GAUGE — (Great guy)* e{xperts} — a car tool — the ‘with’ is a link-word, something I don’t really like at all, but it has been explained to me and reluctantly I suppose it’s just about acceptable
11 NICOTINIC — nic{e} 0 (it)rev. nic{e} — rather an unusual word but wordplay that makes it all easy enough
13 TH(‘EM)E
14 CONJUGAL RIGHTS — (Joust charging {lanc}e)* — &lit. whose ‘rudeness’ is very much in the Azed style
17 DIVERTISSEMENT — (it)rev. in divers se(men)t
21 conflICT I Conceded — the word ‘some’ is always a giveaway and this was the first clue I solved even though I’d never heard of the word, which presumably is the adjective from ‘ictus’. Which shows how slow I was to get started if this was the first one in: the ninth
23 NIL EG RE {m}EN
24 ANAEROBES — ((bore an) in sea)rev.
26 RAITA — (1 in tar)rev. a
27 BENT LEY — a car
1 DOMINICK — mini in dock, in other words a car in dock or a car on trial possibly, hence the question mark: a boy’s name although the k is unusual but not unknown, and I was fearing some Shakespearean allusion
2 A FR IC AN — fr for frequently is unusual but quite OK — &lit.
3 SHORT FUSE — S{ocialism} (for the US)*
4 ASTON MARTIN — (I start man on)*, a car
5/25 CARBOY — (bar)* in coy
6 A R(G)OT
7 {c}LOU(DES)T
8 ST{ill} EVEN — a boy’s name
12 CHRYSALISES — ch R (I say less)*
15 GLEN GARRY — two boy’s names (or should it be two boys’ names? Either, I think) making a type of hat
16 STAND A RD — a car
18 INT RA(1)N
19 EMERITI — (I tire me)rev.
20 BI(CAR)B — my mother always swore by ‘soda bicarb’, but I see that bicarb is not short for it (it’s short for bicarbonate of soda) but is an acid salt of carbonic acid
22 CYRIL — a boy’s name, lyric with the first and last letters swapped

11 Responses to “Independent 7757/Phi”

  1. superkiwigirl says:

    Many thanks, John, for your usual fine blog.

    I’m afraid that I had somewhat mixed feelings about today’s offering from Phi, but possibly that has more to do with the after effects of yesterday’s remarkable effort from Tees (which was always going to be a hard act to follow).

    I decided to try and begin with 5/25, and managed this easily enough thanks to 24a, the definition of which seemed pretty clear. However, I am still puzzled with its parsing, because I don’t understand why “tidal wave” = “bore”, assuming that “one”= “an. Perhaps someone can enlighten me please?

    Otherwise, well I’m glad that French is my second language rather than German, given that, as here, cryptics often require one to appreciate that “German” is simply shorthand for “g”, whereas a knowledge of actual french vocab seems de rigeur.

    I wasn’t all that happy with clues like NICOTINIC, ICTIC and DOMINICK but yes – rude it may be but CONJUGAL RIGHTS is a very clever &lit, so qualifies as my COD.

    Thanks for the puzzle, Phi. Not my favorite one that you have given us, but still enjoyable in many respects.

  2. Handel says:

    Bore = a steep-fronted wave caused by the meeting of two tides or by the constriction of a tide rushing up a narrow estuary.

    I was lucky enough to see the Severn Bore once when staying with my granparents in Bristol – very impressive it was too!

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    This wasn’t my favourite ever Phi either. The theme just seemed a bit random to me – cars and boys could have millions of possible answers. I couldn’t get the gateway clue(s) for quite some time (I know, it wasn’t hard) so was excluded from solving the themed clues.

    And of the four crossing letters in CARBOY, three are from clues which require you to have solved the gateway clue before you can attempt them. I know I’ve chuntered on about this before, but I do think it’s a bit unfair. CONJUGAL RIGHTS was good.

  4. NealH says:

    It took me a while to figure out the parsing of Dominick – I could see too many other names in there like Dom and Nick – but apart from that this was fairly straightforward once you’d cracked the car/boy clue. I thought it was quite a clever device and very much enjoyed the puzzle, even if 14 was going a bit too far for me. No clue stood out, but there was a lot of well designed wordplay that lead you very satisfactorily to the answers.

  5. nmsindy says:

    Maybe I was lucky but I got the CARBOY clue straightaway, thought it was an easy enough clue. Favourite clue DOMINICK which was also my last entry. Yes, John, I agree those separate parts have themselves to be words, looking at the solution next day would be very inelegant if not IMHO. Thanks for your blog and thanks to Phi for another pleasing puzzle which I did not find too hard.

  6. redddevil says:

    I’m very much in the KD camp here and didn’t get the gateway clue until quite late. I even considered ditching the whole thing having solved STANDARD and GLENGARRY and still not the gateway! My subsequent solving was badly hampered by having LADDO at 9 ac and ALGOL at 6 D both of which fitted their clues perfectly but were wrong.
    Not my happiest experience!

  7. flashling says:

    Found this quite easy really, got the car-boy right away liked the dominick but sure I’ve seen it done the same way before somewhere. Bit of a change from Tees yesterday. Thanks Phi/Wil

  8. amulk says:

    12a was nonsense. ’em cannot be used as a synonym for “those vulgar people”. For example I could say ” ‘Em crossword compilers at the Indenpendent do not know what they are talking about”. That would make ME a vulgar person, not the crossword compilers. Of course, it need not necessarily invalidate my opinion. 😉

  9. Pelham Barton says:

    amulk@8: I do not remember having any concerns with the clue for THEME when I was solving this puzzle, but the clues are no longer available on the Independent website. Can you remind us of the full clue?

  10. Allan_C says:

    Amulk and Pelham – the clue was “Message in article about those vulgar people (5)”. I took ’em’ to be a vulgar way of saying ‘them’, i.e. ‘those people’ and the rearrangement of the word order as a little bit of licence.

  11. Pelham Barton says:

    Allan_C @10: Thanks. I was wondering if there was any way of getting the clue to parse as THEM + E, but there clearly is not: it must be EM in THE.

    Chambers (2008, p. 500) gives ’em (inf) pronoun them; to them. I agree with Allan that the word order needs to be taken as a bit of licence. I find it a good deal more acceptable than indicating an anagram by an imperative verb after the anagram fodder.

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