Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,859/Phi

Posted by Ali on December 23rd, 2011


This was a nice, seasonal offering from Phi with a mini theme revolving around 21/23A.

There were one or two toughies in here (EVADNE and PHILIPPI in particular), which I’m guessing were constraints resulting from having the thematic answers.

Nothing whatsoever wrong with the clueing though. Phi’s excellence is as guaranteed as me massively over-eating in the next week.

Merry Christmas to all setters, fellow bloggers, commenters and lurkers

8 AWASH – A WAS H(ard)
9 MANO A MANO – MAN (soldier) + O O (circles) round A MAN (soldier)
10 BATTLER – L(ine) in BATTER
12 SHEEP – SHE (female) with EP (record)
15 ELF – Hidden in novEL Fantasy
17 ICEBERG – I C + GREBE rev.
19 ADA – A[-1]DA
27 STOMACH – TOM (cat) in SAC + H(ard)
28 SHEPHERDS – P(ower) + HER in SHEDS
29 KINGS – KIN (family) + G[-ame] S[-upporting]
2 CATTLE – CAT + T[-1]LE
3 PHILIPPI – LIP in PHI + PI (Greek characters)
4 UNWRITTEN – (TURN + WIT)* + [-routi]NE rev.
6 BASILICA – A B(ishop) rev. + SILICA
7 JOSEPH – EP (electroplated) in JOSH (joke)
8 MARY – MAR (spoil) + Y (unknown)
16 FATIGUED – FAT (obese) + I GU[-ess]ED
18 GASWORKS – [-pic]K + ROW in SAG, all rev.
21 NUDISM – D(uke) is in NUM(ber)
22 VLACHS – CH(urch) in (SLAV)*
24 EVADNE – END AVE rev.
25 USES – E(nglish) in U.S.S

9 Responses to “Independent 7,859/Phi”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was excellent, not too hard. Favourite clue UNWRITTEN. Thanks Phi and Ali, tho I think it’s more than a mini-theme really.

  2. Cumbrian says:

    Thanks Phi and Ali. I hadn’t come across VLACHS, but it couldn’t be anything else from the crossing letters, and EVADNE was my last one in after a bit of head scratching and attempting to justify Elaine. After yesterday’s up to the minute technospeak, it was fitting to find ADA and DOS in a puzzle themed on ancient times.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks Ali. Nice puzzle around the Christmas story, which I made easy for myself by getting the gateway clue as my first answer. Like others, VLACHS and EVADNE were unfamiliar. We’ve had some super Friday crosswords from Phi this year (my favourite, although others were less keen, was the Epiphany one with A COLD COMING WE HAD OF IT, JUST THE WORST TIME OF THE YEAR FOR A JOURNEY as one of the answers).

  4. Allan_C says:

    Nothing too difficult here though it took a few moments to realise that 21/23 was an anagram and what the fodder for it was, and I wasn’t familiar with MANO A MANO. I’d heard of VLACHS before so that fell into place. And I would have thought anyone who’d heard of Hinge & Bracket (see ) might be familiar with the name EVADNE. ADA cropped up in another newspaper’s cryptic a few days ago so was fresh in my mind. Good to see EP clued differently in 12a and 7d.
    Thanks, Phi and Ali.

  5. MikeC says:

    Thanks Ali and Phi. Fun. Enjoy the festive season, including excesses as appropriate!

  6. Quixote says:

    Just right for the 3-mile bus ride into Oxford. Never heard of MANO A MANO but worked it out between the antepenultimate and penultimate bus stops! Happy Christmas again everybody!

  7. flashling says:

    Quite a pleasant stroll really, saw theme and it just fell away, many thanks Phi/Ali and condolences to Christchurch at being hit by earthquakes again.

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks for explainng 26a Ali. We should have seen it but as usual it’s a bit late and we’ve been out drinking! 5d was similar to a recent offering – not sure where though. Anyway, a lovely end to the week with a good seasonal theme.
    As flashling has already mentioned, we are sorry to hear about the recent earthquakes in Christchurch.
    Thanks to Phi and Ali and Merry Christmas from two ex-lurkers!!

  9. Phi says:

    Merry Christmas everyone. It becomes increasingly hard to think up new ideas for seasonal puzzles, so every August/September is a bit of a nightmare.

    Entirely missed the earthquakes here in Wellington, even though I was watching tweets come in for the biggest of the four as it happened. As a general rule of thumb: even if you’re close to it, if you’re walking about you won’t always feel a 4, nor a 5 if you’re driving or on a moving vehicle. (4 & 5 can still rattle things enough to cause damage – think of the vibration of passing vehicles rattling china.) Things around 6 start to become unmissable. But then a lot of factors such as distance from epicentre and depth start to confound things: smaller, further away but shallow may feel worse than larger, closer but deeper. The longest news story I heard today was about the difficulties being faced by those who left their grocery shopping to the last minute, so on the whole I think the physical side of things is comparatively light.

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