Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7916/Morph

Posted by John on February 28th, 2012


A nice crossword from Morph today. One or two of the clues are perhaps a bit long, but there are also some very good ones.

As to a Nina, something which I always expect from Morph, I can see nothing. My suspicion that this is actually the case is supported by the fact that the grid is fine and doesn’t cry out that something is going on.

1 PECCADILLO — peccary and armadillo are the two South American mammals, so if crossed you possibly get this
7 S(AS)H — good clue with an economical surface
9 ARDOUR — “‘arder”
10 LITTORAL — “literal”
11 PEEKABOO — pee (= leak) then ‘a book’ with the k at the front — def ‘minor revelations’ for ‘a child’s peeping game’ I think: not absolutely sure about this: it seems a bit loose
13 SP(ART)A — def ‘Formerly city’ — it seems to be usual nowadays in this type of clue for the punctuation to be ignored; yet sometimes we are told ‘punctuation should be ignored’: I have no problem at all with this more relaxed attitude, but is it something recent or are some people being unnecessarily fussy?
17 CA{rafe} NOODLE
19 RASCAL — lascar with the r and l swapped
21 EM(O TE)S — o = over, TE is T.E. Lawrence
23 AMBIANCE — (be maniac)* — looks like a spelling mistake, but this is an alternative; unfortunately the dictionaries don’t say what is the usual spelling
25 STE(MC)EL L — MC Rapper
26 LI’L’ TED
27 S CAN — referring I think to the body scan of a pregnant woman — pleasant &lit./semi &lit./ &amp.lit. or whatever it is
28 FLY TIPPING — tipping = rewarding waiter, a fly in my soup — rather too long a clue for my liking, but a long answer so excusable perhaps
2 EY(R.I.)E — 12 is ‘raptor’, so this is its home
4 DART BOARD — board after (trad{e})rev. — a dart board has doubles all round it, so the (rather vague?) definition is ‘It’s [It has] doubles all round’
5 LILY OF THE VALLEY — Allen refers to Lily Allen
6 OX TER — the oxter is the armpit
7 SHOT PUT — the athletics event
8 SOAP OPERA — I think the s o a are the first letters of ‘show on at’, but ‘Prime’ is surely not an adequate indication of this, so perhaps I’m missing something — pity if the clue is as it seems to be, for this is a blemish on an otherwise outstanding clue [Prime show on at popular time]
14 P(RAG MAT)IC — ‘not glossed over’ is ‘mat’, so the ‘over’ is not as it seems
16 G{overnment} A RIBALD 1 — the surface nicely misdirecting one towards Berlusconi
20 SCALLOP — s (pollac{k})rev.
22 SHE AF{fair} — just works: ‘that woman’s’ is ‘she has’, ‘affair’s’ is ‘affair is’ and only the first word is used in the wordplay — but the surface: it’s presumably meant to be read with a colon after ‘fair’, so in view of the above (13ac) I wonder why we didn’t actually see one
24 CLEAN — dd

12 Responses to “Independent 7916/Morph”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, John.

    Easy to get going, hard to finish would be the summary from here today, I think. There are always plenty of contemporary references from this setter, and Lily Allen and Berlusconi were among those today. I think you’re spot on with ‘minor revelations’ as the definition for PEEKABOO, since that’s what little ones do when they reveal themselves from behind the couch.

    SOAP OPERA works as a proper &lit for me: SOA for the first three letters of ‘show on at’, then POP and ERA. The first definition in my SOED of ‘prime’ is ‘first in order of time or occurrence’.

    And I thought OXTER was clever because the fact that it’s a Scottish dialect word for armpit is indicated in the clue, although it’s also used in the North-East of England.

    Thanks also to Morph for the puzzle.

  2. crypticsue says:

    THis took me quite a while to sort out, but now I have finished I can’t see why it took so long for the pennies to drop. I had only heard of ambiEnce rather than the spelling here. Thanks to blogger and setter.

  3. Allan_C says:

    Another nice one from Morph. I’m with you, John, about the absence of a nina; it’s not even a pangram despite the presence of k, v and x.

    I’d not heard of a peccary before, but armadillo was pretty obviously the other mammal in 1a and from the definition the answer had to be PECCADILLO.

    FLY TIPPING raised a smile, remembering all those awful ‘fly in my soup’ jokes – but I won’t invite Gaudfrid’s wrath by repeating any of them.

    One or two minor grumbles; for instance isn’t the use of ‘Lawrence’ to clue the letters ‘te’ becoming a bit of a cliché?

  4. Jan says:

    I knew that I had time for only one crossword today and chose Morph over the others available. I wish I hadn’t!

    Thanks for the blog, John, but I didn’t like the puzzle at all. For me, the clues were far too long and contrived without even the benefit of a smooth surface in some.

    There are many discussions about homonyms so I won’t mention the obvious (ardour does not sound like ‘arder!). OK, I mentioned it – sorry. ;) And I am probalby being extremely dim but how do we get from, 10. ‘Typo picked up in strip’ to LITTORAL? How does ‘typo’ = literal?

    As for 26. LILTED – must I confer with Chambers to confirm that it means ‘humming’? Despite having L-L-E- I would never have got that!

    I have now added Morph to the short list of compilers to avoid when I am short of time.

  5. Gaufrid says:

    “How does ‘typo’ = literal?”

    From Chambers under literal: “A wrong letter in printed or typed material. A misprint of a letter in a word (printing)”.

    From Chambers under typo: “A typographical error, a literal”.

  6. nmsindy says:

    Enjoyable puzzle, in which I found the LHS much harder than the RHS. 16D GARIBALDI was clever and amusing. Re PEEKABOO I think the defn ‘containing minor revelations’ might (also) refer to fashion style where small amounts of skin are visible. I was not aware before now of the AMBIANCE spelling but the anagram clue made it bullet-proof and dict confirmed it. Thanks, Morph, and John.

  7. Jan says:

    Gaufrid, dear heart, thank you. I must admit that I expect to know the words in weekday puzzles without having to resort to the dictionaries.

    I have now had time to look up LILT as well – to hum! Would you believe it?

    Morph, please give us an everyday puzzle which doesn’t depend on obscure definitions.

  8. Richard Heald says:

    Wot no praise for LILY OF THE VALLEY?! Why, this is the most brilliant clue I’ve seen this year so far! (Admittedly, it’s only February …)

    I thought the PECCADILLO clue and DARTBOARD defn were inspired too.

  9. Jan says:

    Nope, Richard, I beg to differ. LILY OF THE VALLEY was fun but far from brilliant for me. The other two you mention were only ordinary.

  10. Bertandjoyce says:

    We would agree with KD’s as to the overall impression of the puzzle! As with crypticsue though, we can’t see why it took so long to finish.
    26a brought a smile but that maybe because we thought that ‘Little Ted’ was a character in ‘Super Ted’ that our son used to watch! He drew a fantastic picture of him when he was at Nursery (too long ago to remember- oh dear, we just did!)
    Thanks to John and Morph.

  11. Morph says:

    Sorry if you don’t share Richard’s ardour,
    Or if you’d like them easier or ‘arder.
    Agree about TE so I will bin it.
    And no, there wasn’t any Nina in it.

    Thanks for all the comments.

  12. Rorschach says:

    Brilliant crossword. Hard work but enjoyable – and that’s what it’s all about right? I’m with Richard – Lily of the Valley is genius.

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