Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7853/Phi

Posted by John on December 16th, 2011


For some reason I was unusually quick on this crossword, solving over half the clues on an initial read-through, something that doesn’t often happen. So I would say what a nice crossword, wouldn’t I. None of the answers then held me up for any length of time — although 3dn was a little tricky and I didn’t immediately understand it. And I shall have to check 4dn because the people, probably Shakespearean, are not ones I’m all that clear about.

However, when it comes to seeing some Nina in the completed diagram I am as usual completely at sea. There seems to be nothing special going on.

1 BRADMAN — one of the few cricketers of whom absolutely everyone must have heard; yet someone the other day said that some song by Barry Manilow must have been known to everyone, yet I hadn’t heard of it; so perhaps there is someone out there who has never heard of Sir Donald. It’s a play on the meaning of ‘brad’ as a type of nail.
5 ALYSSUM — (lays)* sum
9 OUTSTARED — (at detours)*
10 {s}UPPER
11 meN IN England — ref The Nine Worthies
12 SHIBBOLETH — (Bible host)* h
14/5dn YO-HO-HO AND A BOTTLE OF RUM — CD playing on the song sense of ‘refrain’
15 TOTTERS — 2 defs
16 C(HE)A{sh} PEN
18 LO(A)T HE
20 CHESTERTON — chest (not re)rev.
21 FLA{un}T
24 domiciLE A STable
26 AC HERON — this was a river in Greek mythology
1 BROW {vacatio}N
2 A N TON I{n} O{utfits}
3 MOTH — HIJKLM are the six letters, which can be read as ‘H to M’ and then reversed
4 NOR(TH{e} COUNT RY)MAN — Percy and Westmoreland are these people
6 YOU DON’T SAY — ‘you’ are the solver, and if you don’t say then you are silent
16 COCHLEA — “cock” lea, although I’d always thought the sound was softer than ‘ck’
23 CAST — Cats with the s and the t changing places

11 Responses to “Independent 7853/Phi”

  1. Wanderer says:

    Thanks John and Phi, very enjoyable.

    For what it’s worth (probably nothing) the writer at 20, CHESTERTON, wrote the Father Brown stories (1d). And clueing the CHEST bit of him as “source of treasure” got me thinking “fifteen men on a dead man’s chest, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum”.

  2. NealH says:

    A nice quick solve, with just the explanation for 3 down evading me (those sort of clues always seem to catch me out).

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, John, and well done for parsing MOTH, which I never would have.

    Entertaining stuff from Phi as usual. Hard to choose a favourite today; it was all good. Thanks for the link to ACHERON, which I had never heard of so was pleased to get from the wordplay; I always thought Styx was the river in question, but classical mythology was never my strong point.

  4. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks John, and congratulations on explaining 3d. As for 4d, a little research gives both men as characters in “Henry IV”, though Westmoreland seems to lose protagonism in “part II” :)

  5. Thomas99 says:

    Re Acheron-
    It might be best known nowadays from Freud’s invocation (quoting Virgil) on the title page of the Interpretation of Dreams:

    Flectere si nequeo superos Acheronta movebo

    meaning something like: “If I can’t bend the heavens to my will, I shall move Acheron, i.e. the underworld”. Great way to start the book. I can’t quite remember what Aeneas needs to stir up hell for in the original, but I think it was significant too.

  6. Allan_C says:

    A lot to like in this crossword, MARMALADE and MATELOT among others.

    K’s D: There were at least six rivers in the underworld of Greek mythology – Acheron and Styx were just two of them.

  7. Phi says:

    There is a bit of a story about this grid. I unearthed it a few months ago, and noted it was dated 1983. I tidied up a few clues (but not that many) and sent it in. So it’s a very early example of a Phi. I was interested to see whether your comments would differ at all.

    The oddest part was that the attached sheet was headed ‘American Crossword Puzzle Tournament Puzzle 2′. I have no recollection of ever being involved in that, and certainly this one was in a file of ‘Completed (more or less) but never used’ itself stored in a folder effectively called ‘Look at this sometime’. (Incidentally, you can imagine that BRADMAN was not used in the ‘American’ version – that was a restoration from an even earlier set of clues.)

    Still if anyone was at the tournament they might be able to explain what might have happened to puzzle 1…

    Other Underworld rivers: Phlegethon, and the one beginning with L, you know, the one that induced forgetfulness..Limpopo?

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Allan.

    This cryptic stuff is even more complicated than I imagined. Will try to file that away for future reference, but can’t guarantee that it will pop up when I next need it …

  9. AndyB says:

    Thanks to Phi for dropping in. I’d simply say the main point is it seemed rather easier than normal Friday fare, judged on solving time. Fun though.

  10. Bertandjoyce says:

    A quick solve which was surprising given that it was Phi but now we know that it was an early offering it all makes sense. Funny how things go as we both thought of OT for the middle of 3d straight away and spent a moment wondering if there was a night flier called FOTA until the penny dropped!

    We need an early night tonight so glad that it was over reasonably quickly!

    Thanks Phi and John.

  11. flashling says:

    Must admit I solved this in record time (sub 5 mins), spent longer looking for ninas/ghost themes. Anyway thanks Phi – gave me a chance to read the paper for a change :-) After a few really tricky ones it makes a nice change. Wonder if bamberger tried it – not seen him around for a while.

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