Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7831 by Morph

Posted by NealH on November 21st, 2011


*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, CD=cryptic def, DD=double def, sp=spoonerism

I’m not entirely sure I follow this one. I think the theme is words said in a Northern accent, although I’d never thought of words like crooks being particularly Northern in origin.


1 Crooks: Hom of crux.
4 Massed: Hom of mast, possibly in a Northern accent.
8 Superego: (Opus around Gere)<.
9 Numpty: NUM + p[ar]ty. Northern word for an idiot.
10 Libertarian: Liberian around tar.
13 Aloe Vera: Seems to Aloe + Vera (Lynn). Not sure why Aloe is a noisy greeting, however.
15 Inst: Tins with t moved back. Nice use of can there.
17 Mast: S[quirrel] in mat.
18 Drainers: (Ar[e] rinsed)*.
20 Marston Moor: I assume this is Marston + moor. I assume Marston must have a TV mast and a reference to the battle of Marston Moor.
24 Goring: I think this just refers to Goring losing its umlaut.
25 Turncoat: Reference to mac reversed.
26 Bleeps: B(ritish) + Peel< + [record]s.
27 Hearth: H + Earth.
1 Crux: Cru + X.
2 Obeli: Obeli[x].
3 Keen eyed: Don’t follow this other than the definition (like a hawk).
4 Manure: Man U + [a]re.
5 Summation: I think this is “summat on” around [Hal]i[fax].
6 Eats: Seat with S moving to the bottom.
7 North and South: CD/DD.
11 Allay: All + ay.
12 Usurp: Don’t follow this.
14 Estuarine: E[lizabeth] + Stuar[t] + [l]ine.
16 Palm Tree: Trample* + E.
19 Usages: US + ages.
21 Occur: Even letters of pooch + cur.
22 Foil: Don’t follow this.
23 Bath: (H + tab). Def refers to different ways in which Bath can be pronounced.

11 Responses to “Independent 7831 by Morph”

  1. Paul B says:

    I think we’re talking regional variations. Very good indeed!

    13A: hom of (h)allo with Lynn = Vera.

    20A: probably joke about south-western pronunciation of MAST being ‘marst’ plus ‘on moor’ (see 4A in the north-east). Def is just the 1644 battle in North Yorkshire.

    3D: keyed around e’en.

    7D: dialect, rhyming slang, north & south = mouth (and thus ultra-relevant).

    12D: usu. with RP = received pronunciation (and thus ultra-relevant).

    22D: south-western (nudge nudge: in which corner of the grid this answer lies) pronunciation of FILE.


  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Brilliant. Enjoyed this as much as any other Indy puzzle this year, although it was a tough one until you twigged the theme. I got CRUX and then CROOKS straight off, though I couldn’t understand the ‘up here’ bit; but the regional dialect thing became apparent after a bit and then I was able to put in NORTH AND SOUTH without understanding why.

    Lots of clever references to the north/south dialect divide: we have BATHS while softies have BARTHS. This division goes back a long way and reflects the settlement patterns of the peoples who colonised these islands after the Romans decided they’d had enough.

    NUMPTY is of Scottish origin, as Morph’s surface suggests, but I think it’s more widespread than that now. I certainly hear it in Derbyshire. And the FOIL/FILE homophone suggests an Irish accent to me, but if a Saints’ fan says it works for the South-West, that’ll do for me.

    I’ll stop now before I big up Morph more than is good for him. Thank you for blogging, Neal.

  3. Thomas99 says:

    It’s really very clever – and possibly written “into a storm”, given how often the question of homophones and regional accents comes up here. But by directly alluding to it in the clues he’s pre-empted that criticism – or has he? (I imagine non-Brits will find it hard too.) I’m certainly impressed.

  4. crypticsue says:

    I have solved all today’s cryptics and this was by far and away the toughest of the lot. I did enjoy the theme with lots of muttering of different pronunciations until I got the solutions. THanks to Morph for stretching the grey matter and to Neal for the blog.

  5. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Morph for the puzzle, NealH for blogging it and Paul B @1 for filling in most of the gaps.

    I read 14dn slightly differently as E (Elizabeth the first) + STUAR (royal line cut off) + IN (popular) + (with) E (Earl), and then “of Essex, perhaps” as the definition.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    That’s how I parsed ESTUARINE as well, Pelham. I thought it might be a nod towards the variant of the language called Estuary English, which although not well-defined, is considered to be the accent of those around the Thames Estuary, or the south-east more generally.

  7. Thomas99 says:

    Yes, I had Pelham/K’s Dad’s parsing for Estuarine, and I’m sure it’s intended to be part of the accents theme (see also references to “German accent”, “Oxford English”, “ancient speech patterns” etc.).

  8. flashling says:

    Impressive and tough nut to crack. Looks like all the queries are now answered. Surprised Bath appears in the SE not SW of the grid though with what Morph is up to.

    Cheers Neal and of course Morph

  9. flashling says:

    ps no comments about 4dn? nice clue – good to see the Indy’s policy of not ast*risking out applies to the crossword :-) Goes nicely with 2 down.

  10. Morph says:

    Thanks for the blog, Neal, and all your comments. I’m glad this made some sense to most of you.
    I love homophones, but I know they wind many people up because of regional variations in pronunciation, so I set out to do a puzzle exploiting/celebrating the differences. Of course, it’s a complete minefield (I understand Bristolians use a short a, so how do they say ‘bath’ in Bath?).
    Apologies if I left any solvers, especially overseas ones, too baffled.

  11. nmsindy says:

    This was very difficult, I found, but I got there in the end. It was fairly late on that I got the regional accents idea and this helped me on, tho I did not fully understand everything till coming here. My favourite clue was CRUX. Thanks, NealH and Morph.

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