Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,811/Phi

Posted by Ali on October 28th, 2011


Great stuff as always from the ever dependable Phi. Pretty tough in places, but all clues as sound as a pound. I can’t see anything hidden in the grid, though its shape suggests there might be something going on.

6 HURRAH – HUR[-t] + RA[-s]H
7 SATORI – I + ROT + AS rev.
9 INSANE – IN SAN + E[-pidemic]
10 THEMATIC – THE MAT[-r(ight)]I[-x] + C (i.e. 100, or X times X!)
11 CROUPIER – 0 UP in CRIER – &lit.
16 DORCAS – ROD rev. + CAS[-e]
21 RASIN – 1’S in RAIN
23 ASLEEP – EEL rev. in ASP
24 TUCKET – TUCK (eats) + E[clair] + T[-orte]
1 ARIA – ARI[-d] + A
2 CADER IDRIS – CAD + DIRE rev. + SIR rev.
3 YALE – Hidden in exemplarY A-Levels
4 NO-MAN’S-LAND – NO[-r]MANS + L(ine) + AND
6 HUNDRED – HUN (foreign invader) + DRE[-a]D
15 YORKIST – K(ing) + I in (STORY)*
20 IDEA -E(uropean) in 1 DA[-y(ear)]
22 INKY – IN K(entuck)Y

27 Responses to “Independent 7,811/Phi”

  1. flashling says:

    The dead tree version is a jigsaw with a twist…

  2. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Phi for an enjoyable puzzle and Ali for the blog. My favourite clue definitely 11ac.

    14ac: Worth noting that the insertion of S and ET at different points is clearly clued as “interrupted intermittently”.

    24ac: Following a discussion earlier in the week, note how the plural noun “Eats” perfectly defines the singular noun TUCK.

    My one grumble today is with 7ac. The clue is perfectly sound, but did not give me enough information to construct an obscure word with confidence. I was trying to do something with -A-OGI. Given flashling’s comment @1, maybe there was some additional help in the paper version which downloaders did not get. Can anyone comment on this?

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Ali.

    Tougher than usual for Friday from Phi, with a strange grid and some unusual words. Something’s up, but I can’t see what. The completion message indicates that it’s Phi’s 1000th puzzle, (for the Indy, I presume) so there’ll be something in there.

    Phi’s always a pleasure to solve, and in this one I thought NO MAN’S LAND, HUNDRED and STORYTELLER were all very good.

    Congrats to Phi on the landmark, and I wait for flashling’s cryptic remark to be explained!

  4. Richard says:

    Absolutely brilliant. Took a while for enlightenment to dawn in 7ac, but otherwise OK (and pleasantly hard). Not sure if there’s anything hidden in the grid, but apart from the 1000th puzzle message I note that the first letters of each clue are in alphabetical order.

  5. Conrad Cork says:

    The dead tree has a preamble.
    “Clues are arranged so that the initial letters of their answers (which must be fitted in jigsaw-wise) spell out a celebratory message.”

    Which is ‘Phi’s thousandth daily cryptic’.

    Pity the software for the on-line version isn’t up to the job. E-solvers missed a real treat.

    Fantastic puzzle for a fantastic achievement. Congratulations Phi on the puzzle itself and the feat of the initial letters of clues being in alphabetical order (as Richard says @4).

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Twenty-six clues, twenty-six starting letters – that’s a great spot, Richard. I’d never have seen that.

  7. Conrad Cork says:

    Pelham @2. One person’s obscure is another one’s blindingly obvious. I get so many obscure (to me) pop culture references cropping up in puzzles that it is a relief to get a word in my everyday vocabulary.

  8. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks to those who have given us information about the paper version, which certainly adds to my appreciation of the puzzle. Online solvers can now pick out the message by inferring the order of the clues from their starting letters. Whether the additional effectively checked letter in 7ac would have helped me I cannot say.

    Conrad @7: I take the point about all of us having different vocabularies. You will note that my comment was worded to indicate a subjective reaction to the clue.

  9. Stella Heath says:

    I was mystified by these comments until the last one, by Pelham Barton. thanks for clearing that up, and congratulations Phi.

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    That is an astonishing achievement.

  11. Allan_C says:

    Having recently taken to solving the Indy online (as I now have the i to do as a dead tree version) I obviously missed out today – oh well, you can’t win ’em all!

    But congratulations to Phi on not only achieving an alphabetical clue list but also 1000 daily cryptics.

    I have to own up to using a word finder for SATORI – a new word to me. But then, Indy cryptics don’t just amuse, they’re an educational experience!

  12. nmsindy says:

    I had the dead tree version – as well as the introduction message I saw the clues began with the alphabet in order. It was still very hard – not surprising with all those constraints, I guess. As one who I think has tackled the whole 1000 – if memory serves, Phi began to appear in the daily cryptic after first appearing in the Inquisitor series (called something else then) in the paper – I must add my congratulations and say I was expecting to solve it as one of Phi’s trademarks for me is that everything is always so rigorously fair.

    Thanks for the blog, Ali.

  13. amulk says:

    I did the paper version of this and as I am relatively new to this sort of puzzle I did not fully understand the initial instructions: ” Clues are arrange so that initial letters of their answers (which must be fitted in jigsaw-wise) spell out a celebratory message”. Could someone please explain what jigsaw-wise means in this context as I had some trouble deciding where to put some of the answers.

  14. Conrad Cork says:

    Hi Amulk

    Jigsaw-wise means you solve the clues and then use them as if they were pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, deciding where to put them in the grid.

    Not as hard as it looks if, as there are here, first letters in common, and only 1 clue of 13 letters.

    It sometimes helps to sort the answers by length before starting to consider where they go.

    Hope this helps.

  15. amulk says:

    Thanks Conrad. That’s more or less what I did, using the unique 13 letter and 11 letter clues to get started, but put a couple of the 4 letter answers in the wrong place which held me up.

  16. nmsindy says:

    There is a standard puzzle type known as an ‘alphabetical jigsaw’, associated esp, I think, with Araucaria. Entry method is like today’s ie put them where they fit. The difference from today’s though is that each ANSWER begins with a different letter of the alphabet (each being used and only once).

  17. flashling says:

    Looks like Conrad has explained my cryptic comment, at one a week that’s nigh on 20 year’s worth so a big thank you to Phi for the sterling service. Found it rather tougher than usual as each clue had to be solved cold and many were quite convoluted.

  18. Jan says:

    Thanks, Ali, and well done, Phi – the n/paper version must have been great fun and would have stopped me entering JUNKET (which does, sort of, fit the clue) at 24a.

  19. Quixote says:

    Congrats from (the only other?) (S)indy millenarian. Two bus journeys worth (into and out of Oxford for choir practice). Enjoyed it!

  20. nmsindy says:

    Yes, I doubt if there is another Indy millenarian. The paper is 25 years old, as recently celebrated, which is 1300 weeks more or less. There’s never been a time, that I can remember anyway, that setters have appeared more than once a week so about 20 yrs’ consistent appearances would be needed. The only candidate that would occur is Dac, a fixture on Wednesdays with some exceptions in recent times, but looking back on the site I notice that he celebrated his 200th puzzle in 2007. Now, if this blogging site had been around since the start in 1986, we might be able to put figures on it all but I’d say Phi and Quixote are not only on their own in 4 figures but unlikely to be joined by anyone else for quite a while.

  21. Wil Ransome says:

    Lovely puzzle from Phi today and I’m very glad I didn’t do it online, although if I’d been blogging I’d have been very happy to be able to do it online with the numbers, because without them it took ages. Not like a normal Phi at all.

    I can never understand why setters do things like setting all the clues starting with a different letter of the alphabet. Lots of people never notice this, and in any case the solver doesn’t have to do anything. It’s very clever, but it just seems to make it harder for the setter. Although in this case there was no artificiality, as one might have expected.

  22. Bertandjoyce says:

    We were a bit late starting this evening but cannot let the puzzle go by without a congratulatory comment to Phi! This proves the value of the dead tree version – it seems that anyone solving on-line will have missed Phi’s message and all the fun of the jigsaw. It would be really good if more people bought the Indy and boosted the circulation. It’s a great read!!

    Thanks Phi and Ali

  23. Paul A says:

    On the train with dead tree version, clues in alphabetical order, had answered several but only entered the long ones… At work, a thought, how does the online grid handle clues with no numbers?

    Had a look… MISTAKE!! Avert your gaze… the clues are numbered, so almost spoiled it..

    Congrats to Phi, I must have done a fair few of the 1000. Way back I liked Aelred on a Tuesday, happy days

  24. Phi says:

    Thank you for your comments. I thought I’d subvert the alphabetical jigsaw format as a way of marking the 1000 (golly, X was fun…though I do rather like how I got out of it, to be honest). Why do it? Well, I feel sure that if I’d produced a normal puzzle and then said: ‘Oh, and that was my 1000th’ someone would have asked why I hadn’t marked it in some special way.

    It is Phi’s 1000th – but it isn’t the 1000th Phi (next month something different is going to be associated with the 1000th Phi as well, I hope, but I’m pretty certain it won’t be anything you expect). NMS (for once) is wrong about setters not appearing more than once a week – but had he said pseudonyms he’d have been OK. There are just a few Pedros dotted around, including 3843, following a Phi at 3842, so I can even claim one instance of consecutive days, thanks to another setter (Mass, I think) missing a deadline.

    The first one, if anyone’s counting (OK, I am), was No. 1033, on Saturday 3rd February 1990, a week earlier than I was promised, so I got a pleasant surprise when I bought the paper that day!

    On with the second thousand, then.

  25. sidey says:

    I hope I’m not too late to say thank you Phi for much enjoyment over the years.

  26. Mark B. says:

    Congratulations to Phi for reaching his 1000th, and congratulations also to those who’ve had the pleasure of solving his puzzles. As for Ali’s comment about things hidden in the grid, the last four letters on the bottom row spell EASY. I’m sure for Phi, it is!

  27. nmsindy says:

    Re Phi’s comment at @24, I’d forgotten about Pedro, and also forgot when writing the note that Albipedius and Lucifer often appeared in the same week, both, I think, being the late Richard Whitelegg. Because of his sadly premature passing, I don’t think he would have got near the 1000 mark however.

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