Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,763/Phi

Posted by Ali on September 2nd, 2011


I started solving this on late-night public transport after a few drinks and thought to myself that it seemed quite tough.

Having re-visited it to finish it off this morning, I think it’s fair to say that it wasn’t just the beer’s fault. This was quite tricky in parts, with a number of unfamilar words (for me at least), e.g. VOTRESS and CHEAP-JACK.

No complaints about the clues though, with Phi on top form as always.

1 INCISIVENESS – I C(aught) in (VISI[-o]NS SEEN)*
8 ROOFTOP – ROOT OP around F(ine)
9 PAUCITY – UP rev. + A CITY
11 POACHER – ACHE apprehended by P(rince) + OR (soldiers)
12 DRINKER – DR. + [-p]INKER
13 ID EST – ID[-l]EST
16 NARRATIVE – A + R(olls) R(oyce) in NATIVE
19 BALTI – BALTI[-c]
21 VOTRESS – R(uns) in VOTES + S(econd)
23 PROFUSE – PROF (academic) + USE (employment)
24 LONG TON – LONG (pine) + T[-ree’s] + ON (feasible)
25 AVARICE – A (one) + C(atholic) in VARIE[-s]
1 ISOLATE – I SOLE carrying even letters of bAiT
3 SUPERMINI – SUM about PER + IN (fashionable) + I (current)
4 VAPID – AP(parently) in VID(eo)
5 NOURISH – [-ho(use)]NOUR + IS H(ard)
6 STICK TO – STICK (criticicm) + initial letters of Theatre and Opera
15 CHEAP-JACK – HE (man) in CAP (top) JACK (car tool)
17 RETINAE – E[-xcitemen]T + IN in EAR, all rev.
18 ASEPTIC – CAPTI[-v(ery)]S)*
19 BUOYANT – U(nited) in BOY + A N(ew) T[-eam]
20 LOUTISH – [-c]LOUT IS H[-ospital]
22 SUNIL – L(ecturer) + IN US, all rev.

13 Responses to “Independent 7,763/Phi”

  1. NealH says:

    Very much a puzzle where it was important to be able to work out the wordplay rather than guess than answer from the definition. I’m glad I resisted the temptation to put retinas for 17 down or I’d probably never have finished (incidentally, I think it’s only the ear that’s reversed in that rather than everything).

  2. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, Ali, and Phi for the usual enjoyable puzzle. I agree with NealH re comment on wordplay esp for the new words to me that I verified after. These were VOTRESS (which is in Chambers) and SUNIL – a man’s name (Sanskrit) – it also is in Chambers in the names section.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, Ali. I didn’t find this one too tricksy: the V in GRAPHIC NOVEL was a big help with VOTRESS, and I play cricket with a SUNIL, so that one came easily. Lovely puzzle, in which IN CAHOOTS made me laugh.

    Thanks to Phi.

  4. Conrad Cork says:

    Further to K’s D, my favourite restaurant is run by a Sunil. That’s why he did the catering for my wedding all those years ago.

  5. caretman says:

    Thanks, Ali.

    Yes, this must have been a horses for courses puzzle. I found this mostly pretty straightforward and made steady progress through it. I slowed myself up by putting in ‘antenna’ initially in 17d without seeing how it parsed (mainly because it didn’t, of course). But I’m with K’s D @3 about VOTRESS the root of which I could recognize.

    Thanks, Ali, for explaining 5d that I now finally understand 5d. My final one in was SUPERMINI, since for the longest time I was having a blind spot around ‘a’ = PER, a common enough usage in crosswords.

    Thanks, Phi!

  6. flashling says:

    Last time I saw Supermini it was in an Anax I blogged back in February, with Conrad C making a claim to shame about the name in the comments! Spent too long trying to justify Tamil instead Sunil holding up the SE corner a bit, rest of it was quite a quick solve for me. Thanks Ali & Phi of course.

  7. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks Ali. Clearly horses for courses as caretman says. I started this on the iPhone on a crowded Tokyo train, which is hardly ideal, and was all done in an enjoyable 20 min. whereas I have given up on a few Indy puzzles recently. I felt that the wordplay was very precise, without that vexing ambiguity that other setters torture us with. The only word or reference I didn’t know was VOTRESS but that’s what it had to be. Favourite was IN CAHOOTS.

  8. superkiwigirl says:

    Thanks for your usual entertaining bog, Ali, and for another entertaining puzzle, Phi.

    I got through this fairly quickly this morning, but struggled with my last one in (SUPERMINI) and was also a bit bothered by VOTRESS.

    The difficulty (I won’t say “problem”) with SUPERMINI is that I keep forgetting that in Crypticland “problem” very often = “SUM”: mea culpa of course, but I’m slightly less happy that here “a” = “PER” (which I have always thought was more properly a substitute for “each”). I see that others above find this ok, so maybe risk being the only soldier in step?

    AS for VOTRESS something more significant to report: this was obviously the only letter combination to work earlier today when I was doing the puzzle, but I thought that I would check it afterwards with the “online Chambers”, as it wasn’t a word that I’d encountered before. There was nothing doing there, however (“word unrecognised”) so clearly this didn’t accord with the entry in the printed version of this dictionary referred to above by nmsindy, but Google revealed an interesting footnote: apparently this “is a common misspelling” (since 1596!) of the word “votaress”. Tonight, though, when I looked again at the “online Chambers” homepage, I found that it’s undergone a complete facelift during the day, and it looks as though it might now be a much more useful source for those of us who are restricted to solving via the internet. Time will tell, but I would be interested to know what others think.

    That aside, there were some very nice surfaces here – favorites included IN CAHOOTS and ROOFTOP.

  9. Phi says:

    I think the 1596 misspelling may be where I get VOTRESS from – in AMND, Oberon and Titania fight over the changeling boy (as you’ll recall) whose mother was a votress of Titania (but ‘being mortal, of that boy did die’). Shakespeare definitely requires just two syllables, so I surmise it started as VOT’RESS. Good pedigree for a typo!

  10. superkiwigirl says:

    Good Evening/Good Morning Phi,

    How lovely that you have joined us at 225. It’s always really appreciated when we hear from one of our Setters.

    Just to put your mind at ease, however, I wasn’t for a moment trying to make anything of an (apparent) missspelling dating back more than 400 years (interesting though that might be, especially if its origins lie with the Bard – or should that now be the Earl of Oxford? Heaven Forbid!)

    No, my point was that, up until now, I’ve been somewhat disappointed with what I’ve managed to find when searching the (free) “online Chambers Dictionary/Thesaurus” – so often it hasn’t yielded the same results as the printed works (fair enough of course!) Maybe that’s about to change, though, as I’ve seen tonight that there’s now a “Chambers App” available for just £4.99 on iTunes, which promises great things.

    Time will tell – in any event, I’ll buy myself a copy of “the real McCoy” next time I’m back in the UK!

  11. Phi says:

    The free Chambers isn’t the BRB – as far as I can judge, it’s the slightly odd 21st Century Dictionary (which was pointed at a gap in the market I didn’t myself think existed) – but it’s handy as an online source (and seems to be bundled with the Firefox browser at work).

    Chambers 12 via Amazon now scheduled for end September. I’d be looking for a head to roll at Hodder for getting that bit of the market that wrong.

  12. Allan_C says:

    Quite a difficult one by Phi’s standards, I thought. Had to resort to an anagram solver for INCISIVENESS, which then helped with some of the down clues. Took ages to twig SUPERMINI, though – I was trying to think of an Italian or far eastern car marque (as being likely to end in ‘i’). But I got there in the end.

  13. Graham Pellen says:

    9AC is UP rev. including (“involving”) A + CITY.

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