Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7806 by Morph (Saturday Prize Puzzle 22 October 2011)

Posted by mc_rapper67 on October 29th, 2011


This was just a masterpiece of a straight good-old fashioned cryptic crossword puzzle – no themes, ninas, linked clues – just some wonderful surface readings, diversions, and plenty of self-contained ‘stories within clues’. In my opinion, you coud pick this up, drop it on the (inside) back page of the Grauniad and stick ‘Araucaria’ under it…

(I haven’t come across Morph before, so I hope I’m not showing my ignorance and it isn’t actually just another moniker for the Monkey Puzzler himself – is it?!)

Anyway, this was a pleasure to solve and blog – hard to pick any favourites – but: 24A with Conservatives and Liberals forming a coalition with ‘internal opposition’, was right on the button; 18D with the Oxford and Cambridge crews jostling for position before Hammersmith Bridge, in the Boat Race; 10A evoking an ugly picture of fag-ends in an ashtray; and 23A – very philosophical and navel gazing! Why are we here? What is it all about? Ask Herr Nietzsche at 15A…and 17A recalling Jack Nicholson in the Shining…’heeeere’s Johnny!’

The &lit-ish nature of some of the clues helped me jump to a few answers without fully parsing the clues – until I wrote this up – such as ASHTRAY, NIETZSCHE (once I’d worked out how to spell it), GAME SET AND MATCH. 26A was lovely in its brevity, and I think the wid-ow end-ing in ‘ow’, like ‘how now brown cow’, was my last entry. 25D (IMAM) and 21A (BAGEL) were probably the weakest links, and the enumeration could maybe have given the hyphens in EYE-TEETH, and DAMP-COURSE,  but one shouldn’t quibble.

There you go. I liked it – thanks Morph. What did everybody else think?…

Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
9A GRASS UP Blow whistle on pitch? It’s over (5,2) Blow whistle on /
GRASS (sports pitch) + UP (it’s over)
10A ASHTRAY A place to throw ends of Lambert and Butler away in (7) &lit /
A SHY (a place to throw), containing TR – ends of Lambert and Butler – plus A (absent, or away)
11A OFF CHANCE Not much likelihood of drink shop bringing in tea for parasitic hangers-on (3, 6) Not much likelihood /
OFF LICENCE with LICE (parasites) changed to CHA (tea)
12A VALET Check if there’s a pound in the dresser (5) dresser /
VET (check) around A + L (pound)
13A ENDOW Widow does like cow as present (5) present /
Both widOW and cOW END (with) OW
15A NIETZSCHE Philosopher reinterpreting Zen cites Hegelian principle (9) Philosopher /
anag (i.e. reinterpreting) of ZEN CITES + H (first, principal, letter of Hegelian)
16A POMADES Hair products used as potty cleaners, reportedly (7) Hair products /
PO (chamberpot, potty) + MADES (homonym of MAIDS, cleaners)
17A ABOLISH Throwback is entering a hotel, producing axe (7) Axe /
A + H (hotel) around BOL (lob, or throw, back) plus IS
19A DACHSHUND Reject quiet rotter, barbarian and finally low-down dog (9) Low-down dog /
DACHS (SH – quiet- plus CAD – rotter, all rejected) + HUN (Barbarian) + D (last letter of anD)
21A BAGEL It’s edible part of cabbage leaf (5) &lit/it’s edible /
hidden word in cabBAGE Leaf
23A NO USE Sense existence ultimately futile (2, 3) futile /
NOUS (sense) + E (last letter of existence)
24A COALITION Conservative bringing in a Liberal – it leads to internal opposition? (9) &lit (and some!) /
CON (Conservative) around A + L (Liberal) + IT + IO (first letters of Internal Opposition)
26A INSIDES Batters guts (7) double defn /
double defn. – IN SIDES are batting, in cricket terms, INSIDES = guts
27A COGNATE Dance in eastern clubs coming to west from the same source (7) from the same source /
E (eastern) + C (clubs) around TANGO (dance) – all turned Westward
Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
1D IGNORE Cut head off foreign revolutionary (6) Cut /
anag (i.e. revolutionary) of OREIGN (foreign, with head off)
2D WAIF Very thin person with a condition (4) Very thin person /
W (with) + A + IF (condition)
3D ESCHEWED Was ruminant holding up rest essentially left alone? (8) Left alone /
ES (rESt, essentially) + CHEWED (was ruminant)
4D OPEN-AND-SHUT CASE Bare bones of how to pack court hearing without much drama? (4-3-4, 5) &lit/double defn /
Simply open and shut (suit)case to pack it; open-and-shut court cases usually end fairly quickly and undramatically
5D GAME, SET AND MATCH Abandon mad changes to team – nothing’s going to bring victory (4, 3, 3 , 5) victory /
anag (i.e. abandon) of MAD CHANGES T(O) TEAM. less O (nothing, zero)
6D CHAVEZ Czech Republic to take in South American leader (6) South American Leader /
CZ (International Vehicle Registration for Czech Republic) around HAVE (take)
7D FROLICKING For kinky, use of the whip might be light-hearted playing (10) light-hearted playing /
FRO (for, kinky) + LICKING (use of the whip)
8D EYE-TEETH Sounds like IT got cash finally – they’re sharp (8) they’re sharp /
EYE TEE (homonym of IT) + TH (last letters of goT and casH)
14D DAMP-COURSE It might protect bay where the going’s soft? (10) &lit-ish/double defn-ish /
A DAMP (race)COURSE might have soft going; and a DAMP-COURSE  might protect a bay window 
16D PEDANTIC Adhering strictly to the rules, badly captained Athletic must be kicked out (8) Adhering strictly to the rules /
anag (i.e. badly) of CAPTAINED, minus A (Athletic)
18D OXBRIDGE Universities are rivals on paper before Hammersmith? (8) &lit/Universities /
OX (noughts and crosses, rivals on paper) + BRIDGE (Hammersmith)
20D STEADY Exciting dates with unknown partner (6) partner /
anag (i.e. exciting) of DATES, plus Y (unknown)
22D LINNET Winger gets ball, in the end, where he wants it? (6) Winger (as in bird) /
L (last letter of ball, ‘in the end’) + IN NET (where a winger (footballer) would want the ball)
25D IMAM One’s a Muslim leader (4) &lit/Muslim leader /
IM (I am, one’s) + A + M (leader, first letter, of Muslim)

11 Responses to “Independent 7806 by Morph (Saturday Prize Puzzle 22 October 2011)”

  1. Allan_C says:

    No, it’s not Araucaria, and Morph appears to be a lone operator with no other pseudonyms. 7d would have put me in mind of Punk/Paul.

    I would have enumerated 14d as two words without even a hyphen; ‘damp course’ being a contraction of ‘damp-proof course’ – originally a course (layer) of harder bricks in a wall to prevent water rising, though often now a thin layer of plastic or similar material.

    Otherwise, I’d agree with all your observations in the preamble, even down to working out how to spell Nietzsche! Thanks,mc_rapper67 for the blog, and Morph for the puzzle, of course.

  2. crypticsue says:

    Morph sets equally stunning Telegraph Crosswords under the name of Micawber. ALways a pleasure to solve one of his puzzles and this one was no exception. Thanks to mc_rapper67 fr the review too.

  3. mc_rapper67 says:

    Thanks for the comments, Allan_C and crypticsue.

    I do the Saturday and Sunday Telegraph prize cryptics, but I have never seen them ascribed to a named/psuedonymed setter – they just have numbers…as do the Saturday Times cryptics, although the Sunday Times cryptics are now named, so maybe it is just a matter of time…

  4. sidey says:

    drop it on the (inside) back page of the Grauniad and stick ‘Araucaria’ under it…

    One of the more eccentric opinions I’ve read on these boards. A bit like comparing Anax and Azed.

  5. Paul B says:

    That’s nothing more than Snidey. As a rule your remarks are quite useful, correcting some of the very few blogging errors we get at 15/2, but here you’ve slipped out of character, managing to slag off not only the blogger but two really excellent compilers. I’m sure you didn’t really mean to do that.

  6. sidey says:

    Excuse me. I was not slagging off anyone. My point was simply that Morph’s style is as far removed from Araucaria’s as Anax’s is from Azed’s.

    mc_rapper67’s blog is exemplary. Perhaps I should have said that before commenting.

    I am actually rather upset that you lowered yourself to make a childish corruption of my username and managed to misinterpret my intention so radically.

    If mc_rapper67 or any of the setters I mentioned feel that I insulted them I apologise sincerely.

  7. Allan_C says:

    mc_rapper67 @ 3; the Telegraph has an additional cryptic (The Toughie) on Tuesdays to Fridays, which does name the setter. As well as Morph, other Indy setters turn up there, including Nimrod and Quixote (under differsnt pseudonyms). A full list can be found at

  8. mc_rapper67 says:

    All – thanks for the feedback – and I didn’t mean to spark off too much of a debate by comparing this to an Araucaria…I was just trying to show that I thought it was a bit special. In fact, ‘Araucarian’ is a hard adjective to pin down, as he does often do themed puzzles and long intricately linked clues – but in between, he often just puts out a plain self-contained classic – like this one.

    Paul B @ #5 – thanks for defending my honour, but I’m certainly not offended at my opinion, and it is just an opinion, after all, being called ‘eccentric’ – so no offence taken from sidey @ #4.

  9. Paul B says:

    Well, okay then. Pot-valiance rather than gallantry it may have been at that hour of the night, but people (including me) possibly ought to be a bit careful lest, ahem, amibiguity creep in.

  10. Paul B says:

    … and ‘ambiguity’, of course.

  11. sidey says:

    You certainly weren’t ambiguous.

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