Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7943 / Phi

Posted by Bertandjoyce on March 30th, 2012


We were pleased to have another Phi to blog but for some reason this wasn’t as much fun as some of his more recent ones. There’s nothing to complain about, all the clues are fair with good surface readings, which is what one expects from Phi.

We have a possible issue with the definition in 10a. Perhaps others may disagree?

We’ve missed a number of themes recently including one of Phi’s. We’ve googled a number of possible combinations and looked within the grid for a nina but cannot find anything. Duncan included an entertaining story for Crosophile’s offering this week, weaving various solutions into the tale and it then transpired that there was a theme.  We won’t attempt the same but it was tempting as ‘scarecrow’ makes an appearance although this time it’s not hidden and spelt the way you would expect it to be!

1/25 POTATO CRISPS POT (drug) + A TO C (3 letters as in ABC) + RIPS (shreds) around S (second) = potato crisps are found in packets
4 IMPAIR I (one) + MP (musical term – mezzo-piano meaning moderately soft or ‘fairly quiet’) + AIR (song) = spoil
10 EVERY MOTHERS’ SON Anagram of THOSE MEN + S(u)RVEYOR (anagrind is ‘will work’) without U (upper-class) = nobody’s excluded.  However, the definition for ‘every mother’s son’ is ‘every man without exception’! In which case, how come women are excluded in the clue?
11/22 CROWN DERBY CROWN (symbol of monarch) + DERBY (match as in local Derby) = china
12 SCARECROW S (special) + CARE (concern) + C (about) + ROW (argument) = a scarecrow is something that deters
13 OBITER OR (soldiers) around or ‘retaining’ BITE (incisiveness) = Latin for in passing or ‘by the way’. One of us hates these references as she didn’t do Latin at school and because the other half of the team always reminds her!
15 TRIFLE T (rear of cart) + RIFLE (sack) = toy
16 DEFORM DEF (slang for very good) + OM (order, as in Order of Merit) around R (rally’s opening) = disorder
18 SEESAW SEES (observes) + A + W (weak) = source of imbalance
21 OVERLADEN Anagram of LOAD NEVER (anagrind is ‘distributed’) = a load that is distributed would not be overladen!
22 See 11a
23 MY LIPS ARE SEALED Anagram of SIMPLY RELEASED (anagrind is ‘at sea’) around A (Australia) = I can’t say!
24 SCRIPT S (second) + CRIT (review) about P (piano) = text
25 See 1a
1 PREACH P (priest) + REACH (range) = what a priest does
2 THE DOUBLE DEALER A dealer is someone who instigates a play in cards so if they repeated it they would be a double dealer = a play by William Congreve
3 TRY ON TON (a great many) around or ‘blocking’ RY (railway) = attempt at deception
5 MARMELISE Anagram of SLIMMER (anagrind is ‘led astray’) around or ‘feeding it to’ E (tail of hake) = slang word for batter, as in ‘hit’
6 AUSTRALIAN RULES Anagram of TRIALS ARSENAL and UU (United twice) (anagrind is ‘ playing’) = football
7 RENOWN RE (concerned with) + NOW (current) + N (name) = reputation
8 MOUSER MO (doctor as in Medical Officer) + USER (customer) = cat
9 THWART TART (pro as in prostitute) around or ‘putting in’ HW (bits, or first letters, of ‘hard work’) = frustrate
14 TOODLEPIP One of us always has difficulties with spoonerisms but this is a play on POODLE TIP, or ‘dog advice’ = so long
17 MEDIAN MEDIA (broadcasters and newspapers)  + N (new) = a measure of central tendency in statistics
18 SUNDER S + UNDER (short) = cut
19 HOLMES M (Moriarty’s foremost) within HOLES (difficulties) = Sherlock Holmes’ arch enemy was Professor Moriarty
20 HYADES Y (unknown in mathematics) inside HADES (Underworld) = group of stars
22 DREAR DR EAR (a nickname or sobriquet for an doctor specialising in otology) = dull


11 Responses to “Independent 7943 / Phi”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks to B&J and Phi.

    Sound puzzle, where I only had two quibbles: DISORDER and DEFORM are pretty remote synonyms, I think; and THE DOUBLE DEALER is an obscurity, which when it’s clued in the way it is makes it very difficult to solve. I guessed THE DOUBLE, but there are still plenty of possibilities after that if you don’t know the play.

    Only seen OBITER in OBITER DICTA, which is a legal term, I think.

  2. Allan_C says:

    Not as easy as some from phi, but solvable. I agree with you, B&J, about 10a; imho the clue could just as well have read “…. no man’s excluded” without giving too much away.

    Is there a further slant to 20d? If one reads ‘the underworld’ as ‘down under’, i.e. the southern hemisphere then I’m guessing that the Hyades aren’t visible there and thus can be said to be unknown.

  3. Conrad Cork says:

    K’s D @1. One man’s obscurity is another man’s first answer in. :-))

  4. nmsindy says:

    Enjoyable puzzle and pleased to be able to work out the answers I’d never heard of (or forgotten) from the clear wordplay eg (pace K’s D) THE DOUBLE DEALER, HYADES, CROWN DERBY. Favourites TOODLE-PIP, DREAR. Thanks Phi and B&J. Just a shade more difficult for me than Phi usually is.

  5. Thomas99 says:

    Re 10a I was ok with it as it’s only familiar to me from Midsummer Night’s Dream – “That would hang us, every mother’s son!” – where, although the mechanicals are all men (albeit one in drag) Flute (?) clearly means something like “every single one”, as a way of emphasising “us”.

    The interesting one for me was MARMELISE, as it seems to be a case where Chambers is in complete disagreement with the OED, which has MARMALISE & MARMALIZE as the only spellings.

    Many thanks for the blog. It’s a good, harder puzzle which held me up several times, even if Araucaria’s tour de force is still my favourite so far today.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    You are of course right, Conrad. As Eileen has previously and perspicaciously mentioned, if you know the answer, then it’s not obscure …

    I too needed a second look for the spelling of MARMELISE; if I were to write it, I’d certainly use an A as the central vowel and not an E.

  7. Allan_C says:

    Collins agrees with the OED re MARMALISE. I’ve often wondered if this humorous coinage comes from ‘marmalade’, implying ‘make marmalade of’, similarly to ‘make mincemeat of’. In which case, of course, the Collins/OED spellings are the more logical.

  8. flashling says:

    I’ve never seen marmelise spelled that way before although wordplay screamed it at me, the double dealer I’d not heard of the play so failed on that. Oh well first I’ve not finished this week :-(

  9. Dormouse says:

    I entered MARMALISE automatically without checking the letters of the anagram, meaning that 12ac was the last one in for me when I finally realised my mistake. Chambers on-line does indeed give the etymology as “turning to marmalade” but it’s not in the paper version. I well remember one of Ken Dodd’s Diddymen was Mick the Marmaliser.

    22d was the first on in for me. It made me smile.

    I’d not only heard of The Double Dealer, I think I’ve seen it, although the plot summary on Wikipedia doesn’t ring any bells.

  10. Wil Ransome says:

    Good crossword as usual from Phi. I quite failed to see 1/25, although it’s obvious now.

    Did nobody think that 19d (HOLMES) was quite outstanding? It seems a pity that such brilliance is apparently taken for granted and will be forgotten tomorrow.

  11. pennes says:

    Yes I noticed Holmes too Will and i feel the same about cartoons in the papers, some are very well observed and beautifully drawn get 10 seconds glance and are forgotten the day after.
    I’m late posting as assumed that the last two Double dealer and Deform would go in, but they didn’t. I didn’t like “def” for very good order, but then I hadn’t heard of it and it stopped me finishing so I would say that wouldn’t I?

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