Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7819 by Phi

Posted by nmsindy on November 7th, 2011


Regular Indy solvers will know Phi appears weekly, usually on a Friday.        This week he’s on Monday.      The usual excellent puzzle, which I found a little harder than normal from Phi.   Quite a few answers that I did not know or vaguely knew or had forgotten but was very pleased, with Phi’s clear and precise clueing, to be able to work them all out correctly from the wordplay, verifying after.       I’ve missed many a Phi theme/Nina and I don’t see one here.     There is a pangram however (each letter of the alphabet appearing).    Solving time, 30 mins.    My guess is that the move to Monday is because there is something planned for Friday.     Only a guess but I have a suspicion as to why – in four days’ time I’ll know if I’m on the right track unless it’s revealed there’s some reason Phi was given  today’s slot.

* = anagram


1 UPPER-CRUST       An excellently constructed clue with the one-word definition ‘Posh’ and seamless join at ‘Posh meal’.     Supper (meal) with no starter ie first letter  = upper: crus (vintage wines) t (time)

6 JAIL    J (Judge)   ail (trouble)       Definition:   sentence

10 CORGI      Have marked four clues today as my special favourites and this was one of them.       Queen Elizabeth II has corgi dogs, as most will know.     Tremendous surface reading and clever wordplay.     Functionary = cog (eg small cog in a big wheel) carrying r = regina = Queen and then one = i

11 CAUSALITY   USA in AL (almost all ie last letter missing) all contained in city (conurbation).     Definition:   linkage

12 Joseph SUK  (Czech composer and violinist).        Phi has a great interest in classical music as regular solvers will know.     Though I’d never heard of the violinist I got this straight away from the clear wordplay.   ‘Initially’ indicates the first letters of the last three words in the clue.    I did wonder if the statement was also literally true ie did S study under K?     Can’t quickly find any reference to that.     They were both born in the same year (1875).

13  MAIZE    “May’s”      The z hinted at the pangram.

14 NOTRE DAME    No Red in tame (quiet).     Famous Church in centre of Paris – translates as ‘Our Lady’

15 ORLANDO FURIOSO        (for a loud orison)*      Poem by the Italian poet  Ariosto written in the early 16th century.

18 BICYCLE THIEVES     Another Italian connection – a film from 1947 directed by Vittoria de Sica regarded as one of the greatest films ever.   I’d heard of it, tho can’t recall watching it.   The wordplay part just means, I think, bicycle thieves today might have their images picked up by CCTV cameras.

22 CALIBRATE    li (half of line) in cab rate (transport cost)

24 TEVET     hidden in resoluTE VETerans.     Jewish month, usually falling in Dec-Jan.    New to me.

25 AXE      test = exam   cut  = exa  back = reversed = axe

26 DIABOLIST       is in bolt (panic) after aid reversed.

27 RILKE     Austrian poet    k (king) in rile (upset – verb)

28 CHEW    c (cold)  hew (cut)

29 BOWDLERISE   The second of my favourite four I marked today.  (I see b word l)*   l = first letter of long.    V good surface.   Word comes from Bowdler who published an expurgated version of Shakespeare’s works.


1 UNCOMMON    comma cut = comm in (noun)*

2 PARTIAL     p = power     of the military = martial (not initially) = artial.     Definition:  incomplete

3 RAISE AN EYEBROW   (see aery rainbow)*      Was not quite sure if ‘arch’ referred to the shape of the gesture or the meaning of ‘arch’ as maybe cunning and smart, but the answer is clear from the wordplay.

4 ROCK ‘N’ ROLL      nmsindy is more familiar with this than Czech violinists so got it straight away.  rock = shock  n = new  list = roll.    All started with Bill Haley and his Comets in about 1954, then many others followed, not least “The King”, and music and much else changed for ever.

5 SQUAT     military formation= squad   with t (time) to cover rear ie last letter d

7 ANIMALS      slam in a   “elevated” ie going upwards

8 LAYMEN     amen = last in prayer perhaps  after l (line) and including y (unknown – from maths)

9 CAPE FINISTERRE     (pact refineries)*     Needed crossing answers before I could be sure of the spelling.

16 UNTREATED     The third of the four clues I marked as favourites    changed nature = (nature)* ted = tied (bound) less one

17 AS IT WERE     we r (run) in a site

19 ILL FAME     The fourth of the four I marked, with a great surface reading.   I (one) L (line)  then f (fine) in lame (implausible)

20 VIVALDI     VI (Roman sextet ie 6 in Roman numerals)  sound = valid.   “With a slight twist” = switch its final two letters.

21 ACIDIC     Got this first from the definition ‘sharp’ before I saw what was going on.   Currents (electrical) are AC and DC with ones (ie two Is) entering ‘variously’

23 AMIGO    ago (past) including me – the musical note known as either me or mi.

15 Responses to “Independent 7819 by Phi”

  1. flashling says:

    In 18 I can see the letters CCTV appearing in order in the answer.

  2. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Phi for an excellent puzzle and nmsindy for the blog. Having got J, K, and Z in my first four answers I suspected the pangram quickly – at one point I thought we were in line for a double pangram. Perhaps strangely, I had filled in all but two of the answers before writing an H on my grid – I had seen THIEVES for 18ac but BICYCLE was less obvious and I do not normally write in answers until I have them complete.

  3. NealH says:

    I’m still not convinced I’ve quite understood 18 ac and I can’t think it’s a basic as thieves being caught on CCTV (that could apply to any sort of crime). Equally well, I don’t think the letters appearing in the answer are quite enough to justify it either.

  4. Paul B says:

    I’m struggling with that one too, though I think I might go boldly in the direction of a CLOSED CIRCUIT being somewhat synonymous with a cycling track.

    Some nice stuff in here as ever with Phi, and (as NMS notes) clear wordplay (i.e. easy clues, no anagrams) where the solutions are a bit tougher.

  5. Lenny says:

    I found this more 28y than usual for Phi. Tevet and Rilke were new to me but quite gettable. No trouble with the classic poem but I stared for a long time at the seemingly impossible checked letters of bicycle. Maybe because Bicycle Thieves would be my nomination for the most overrated classic film ever. I can never understand why he goes to so much trouble to acquire a bicycle and then just leaves it unlocked outside his front door, in Rome.

  6. NealH says:


    You obviously haven’t seen the film recently – he’s actually putting up a poster and has put the bike against the wall a couple of feet away. As he’s new to the job, he’s struggling to put up the poster and a thief grabs his bike while he is thus distracted. You could argue he should have invested in a lock, but maybe he couldn’t afford it. He did have to sell all his bed linen just to get the bike back from the pawnbrokers.

  7. Allan_C says:

    Phi on Monday? – hmm, I think you may be right about Friday, NMS. I see the date will be (in one way of writing it) 11/11/11.

    Failed to spot the pangram (again!) but as someone observed recently it might be a case of having to spot non-pangrams soon.

    And I think people may be trying to read too much into 18a. I just took it at face value.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, nms.

    Had a bit of a double take when I saw it was Phi and wondered if the site was playing silly b******s again. Fine puzzle, usual good range of clues and subjects. Pleased to get RILKE, because I’d stored it away from last time (and I’m waiting for KLIMT to come back up again too).

    Like Allan, I took BICYCLE THIEVES at face value, but there will no doubt be something else in there going on. I hadn’t heard of the film either.

  9. Pelham Barton says:

    I forgot to mention earlier that this crossword is pangrammatic in the clues as well as in the answers, although there is of course more room for a pangram in the clues than the answers.

    The two three-letter answers were not necessary for sufficient linkage between sections or cross-checking in the answers, but were needed to complete the pangrams, 12ac in the clues and 25ac in the answers.

  10. Paul B says:

    Good work PB – it’s nice to see you here @ Indy!

  11. flashling says:

    Hmm not really looked for pangrams in the clues, last week it was obvious though. Struggled to complete this but did so in three bouts with it. I blogged 11 Nov last year expecting armistice day but got Eimi’s 50th birthday instead, however the date 11/11/11 as Allan_C notes rings alarm bells, we’ll see.

    Thanks NMS for a fine blog and Phi for an unusual double pangram.

  12. Phi says:

    Pangram in clues as well? Oh, yes, that’s right, yes, intended every word – well, letter – um (whistles nervously)…

    Josef Suk (b 1929) the violinist died earlier this year, which I thought made him more newsworthy than his grandfather the composer (Josef Suk again, obviously a shortage of forenames in Czechoslovakia). Josef Suk senior (b 1874) was married to Dvorak’s daughter, which does plug him very nicely into the Czech musical hierarchy. Junior did study under a violinist beginning with K, but not Kreisler.

  13. Auntiquarian says:

    Liked 29. I got 10 from the cryptic bits, but I can’t see how the straight definition works. A corgi isn’t a ‘functionary carrying Queen’s one?’

  14. nmsindy says:

    I think that’s OK, Auntiquarian, with the one being the corgi. Looking at the functionary as the main part would not quite fit, I’d say, as the ‘one’ would not have very much meaning.

  15. Pelham Barton says:

    Phi @12: Thanks for confirming exactly how deliberate the pangram in the clues was(!)

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