Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7919 / Phi

Posted by Bertandjoyce on March 2nd, 2012


The usual good clueing that you come to expect from Phi.

One of us struggled with the anagram for 1a, which was very strange given that this is the real name of the other member of the twosome! He’s also involved with building which seemed very appropriate as well.

The last one in was 15a. We didn’t spot the link to 14a for quite a while.

Our knowledge of operas is very thin but we managed to sort 17d out from the checking letters and a google search confirmed it as an opera by Bellini. If you follow the link you can hear some of it!

1 CHRISTOPHER Anagram of ‘THE PORCH IS’ + R (right) (anagrind is ‘rebuilding’) = guy
7 FIN FIN(e) (penalty ‘reduced’ by omission of the last letter) = swimmer
9 OPUS DEI Anagram of POISED (anagrind is ‘unexpectedly’) around (‘seizing’) U (university) = religious group
10 GLAMOUR G(a)L (girl losing heart) + AMOUR (French word for love) = attractiveness
11 HAITI HAT (covering) + I (one ) around or ‘circling’ I (island) = part of an island – Haiti and the Dominican Republic are one Caribbean island.
12 TABBY CAT TAB (computer key) + BY + CAT (guy as in the jazz sense!) = animal
14 PRIEST PRIES (investigates) + T (end of Government) = minister
15 PRESTIGE Relates back to previous clue as well as 10a. Anagram of PRIEST (anagrind is ‘getting upset’) + GE (say – eg – reversed or regressing) = glamour
19 EXTREMES EXTR(a) (mostly surplus) + anagram of SEEM (anagrind is ‘unusual’) = end of range items (as in the mathematical sense)
20 VICUNA I + C (caught) + UN (French for one) inside or ‘invested in’ VA (Virginia) = woollen fabric   (often called the fabric of the gods) made from the wool of the S American animal of the same name, closely related to the llama
22 ISLANDER IS (one’s) + LANDER (punch) = Manxman
25 TAIGA TA (cheers) + I (one) + GA (Georgia) = Russian forest area
27 OLYMPIA O (love) +anagram of PLAY I’M (anagrind is ‘adapting’) = London venue
28 SYLLABI IS around BALLY  (blessed, as in the euphemism for ‘blasted’) all reversed = course details
29 ALE (g)ALE (blow with no head, or first letter) = beer
30 AFFIRMATION A FAT I (a profitable one) around (‘keeping’) FIRM (company) + ON (working) = declaration
1 CLODHOPPER COPPER (policeman) around or ‘seizing’ anagram of HOLD (anagrind is ‘in error’) = boot
2 ROUTINIST R (runs) + anagram of SITU(a)TION without the ‘a’ (‘put off a’) (anagrind is ‘awkward’) = lover of regularity
3 SIDE ISSUE ISSUE (children) after or following SIDE (team) = not a major problem
4 OPIATE OPTE(d) (mostly chose) around I (one) A (advanced) = religion (as in Karl Marx’s statement “Religion is the opium of the people” sometimes paraphrased as “Religion is the opiate of the masses”)
5 HIGHBORN HORN (instrument) around I (one) + G H B (initial letters of ‘good hard blow’) = noble
6 READY READ (study) + Y (end of ‘study’) = cash (‘ready money’)
7 FLORA FLOA(t) (most of item of fishing tackle) around R (river) = plants
8 NERD NED (den – ‘study’ reversed or ‘picked up’) around R (basic education item as in ‘the 3 Rs’) = geek
13 SEPARATION SEPA (apes – ‘takes off’, as in ‘imitates’ reversed or ‘lifting’) + RATION (share) = divorce
16 SCINTILLA Anagram of CALL ISN’T (anagrind is ‘agitated’) around (‘involving’) I (one)  = littlest bit
17 I PURITANI Anagram of (‘most of’) ARI(a) IN IT UP (anagrind is ‘rearrangement’) = opera
18 RED DWARF DD (couple of days) + WAR (fighting) ‘included’ in REF (reference) = TV show
21 ERASER ERAS (times) + puzzl(E) solve(R) (‘finally’ – last letters) = correction device
23 STYLE SYLE (Ely’s – ‘Diocese’s’ reversed or ‘upset’) about T (last letter of ‘incumbent’) = manner
24 ALPHA H (height) in ALP (mountain) + A (area) = foremost
26 CODA A + DOC (medical man) reversed or ‘helped up’ = closing stage.  We’re not sure why it has to be ‘man’ though – seems a bit sexist! Why not medical expert?!


20 Responses to “Independent 7919 / Phi”

  1. Pandean says:

    Thanks Bertandjoyce for the blog, and to Phi for the puzzle.

    There appears to be a hidden theme of a literary nature. I won’t say any more, so that others can perhaps spot it for themselves.

  2. bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Pandean! Having googled a few combinations I found the link but not perhaps all of the connected clues. It’s not a book that we are familiar with although we saw the film based on an earlier novel which features in the grid.

  3. Pandean says:

    I’m not very familiar with the writer myself, but via Google found five novels in the grid – with a sixth that could be included at a pinch.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, B&J. Phi on good form here, with SYLLABI and TABBY CAT particularly good, and I also liked the surface for OPUS DEI. Didn’t spot the theme, but then again I’m not familiar with the author.

    Thanks too to Phi.

  5. Allan_C says:

    As well as the literary theme (got it by a bit of googling, never heard of the author or any of the novels before) there are a few clues/answers reflecting phi’s musical interests (I PURITANI, CODA, CAT in the jazz sense).

    All very straightforward, though, and no knowledge of the theme required. Thanks, Phi and B&J.

    I’ll maybe drop by again later to drop a hint about the theme, but I won’t spoil people’s fun(?) just yet.

  6. Bamberger says:

    Due to my lack of ability I have restricted the number of crosswords that I attempt each week as the reward/time ratio was too low. Anyway an hours hard graft yielded only 10 answers here. I’d never heard of vicuna , I puritani or taiga.
    13d is an example of a clue that is just beyond me. To start with you don’t know if you want an answer that means “take off” or “divorce” . It then turns out that you had to pick another word meaning takes off, apes not copy , reverse that then realise that you needed share to equal ration and not part or anything else. I wouldn’t say that ration was an obvious meaning of share-more to do with ekeing out. I’m in awe as to how you better solvers get it straightaway.

  7. Phi says:

    There is something ‘definite’ about theme as well. An excellent author, full of intricate plotting.

    Actually, I find most jazz supremely ignorable.

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    Hi Bamberger, do not despair! We’ve been doing crosswords for more years than we care to remember and every now and again need support from electronic devices. We can remember our son when he asked for advice with his A level Maths when all he wanted was the answer and then he could work backwards. We are sure that crosswords are more difficult than they used to be because of the search facilities that are available on line now. When we found fifteen squared we realised that we were not alone! Rest assured, we needed help with this one as well and….. We missed the theme!

  9. Dormouse says:

    Didn’t spot the theme until I’d got all the answers. Finally got 15a and thought to myself, that and 10a are both books by… (Can we mention the author yet?)

    Which is ironic as I’ve not only read several of the books mentioned here, I was on a committee with him several years ago when we were picking a design for an award, and on another occasion, we spent a couple of hours in a station buffet in Maastricht after a train we were due to catch had been cancelled.

  10. Lenny says:

    Thanks B&J. This was not too demanding even though I had never heard of the author. Life would have been easier if I had since my last two entries were, apparently, two of his books, Prestige and Separation.

    I Puritani turns up quite often in crosswords, probably because of its helpful vowels. Sadly, it turns up less often in the opera house. I have never seen it live only on film from the Met where it was specially revived as a vehicle for Anna Netrebko. I have this fantasy where I am on Who Wants to be a Milliionaire and the final question is “What bel canto opera is set in Plymouth…?

  11. Allan_C says:

    Seeing as two of the book titles have been mentioned there’s not much point in holding out on the author, but suffice it to say that his name appears in the grid as two of the answers.

  12. flashling says:

    Thanks B&J the theme lost me completely so glad I wasn’t doing the blog and avoided the red face that would have occurred. Pleasant little solve but had to guess I Puritani, which I luckily got right.

  13. Dormouse says:

    Incidentally, I mentionmed this crossword in an SF discussion group and word got back to the author in question, who is reportedly suitably boggled by the honour.

  14. Dormouse says:

    And it’s now been pointed out to me that “Scintilla” were surveillance devices used in Priest’s short story The Watched.

  15. Bertandjoyce says:

    Do you know if he enjoys cryptic crosswords?

  16. Dormouse says:

    I don’t know if he enjoys crosswords, but I did hear that when he found out about this crossword, he dashed out to his local newsagents and bought the last two remaining copies of the paper.

  17. Bertandjoyce says:

    Let’s hope that if he wasn’t interested before, he starts doing them now and uses 225!

  18. Dormouse says:

    And here’s his comments:

  19. Phi says:

    If anyone is still reading this far down…I’m equally boggled by the response. I’ve just sent CP a note on his blog page expressing my own pleasure in the consequences of the event – it is rather nice to hear of someone rushing out to buy my puzzle!

    He also mentioned the name of his informant, who is presumably Dormouse. Dormouse’s real name, and SF, combine to make me think of an attendee of a certain London-based music festival starting up in July. Am I right?

  20. Dormouse says:

    You are indeed. :-)

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