Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,950 / Morph (Saturday Prize Crossword 7/04/12)

Posted by Bertandjoyce on April 14th, 2012


Someone once asked us if being a blogger took the pleasure out of completing the puzzles. Our answer was a resounding …. “No!” Today was definitely one of the occasions when our faces lit up as we saw Morph’s name. We smiled and laughed as we worked through the clues. All the time, we were thinking how much fun it was going to be when it came to the blog!

There’s always a smooth reading of the clues in Morph’s puzzles. All of the answers were known words and we only needed to check the American word used in 18d although the answer was obvious. Two of the short clues, 10a and 19a were a real delight and both made us laugh for their humour and ingenuity. We couldn’t really decide however between 10a or 16d for the COD. But then again, 1a was pretty exceptional too! Oh…. and what about the audacity of 15d?

We are not quite sure about how to parse 7d. The answer is obvious but the way we are looking at it, it doesn’t seem to quite work in the cryptic part.

Thank you Morph for such a great crossword!

1 PRIVATISATION Detectives from the continent reportedly outsourcing services?
  Sounds like (‘reportedly’) Private Eyes (detectives) Asian (from the continent) = outsourcing of services. Brought a smile to our faces!
8 SVELTE Slim 12’s transformed after losing weight
  Anagram of T(w)ELVE’S (anagrind is ‘transformed’) with w (weight) removed = slim NB Thanks to Allan_C for pointing out the missing ‘S”
9 BEHAVING Crosby covers have reinterpreted what Fats was up to?
  BING (Crosby) around (‘covers’) an anagram of HAVE (anagrind is ‘reinterpreted’) = refers to this song by Fats Waller
10 TRANSPARENT Frank – sex-change dad?
  If you had a sex change you would be a transsexual so…… if you were also a parent you could possibly be a trans-parent = frank – another smile!!
12 TEPEES Find love back in tents
  Reversal (back) of SEE (find) PET (love) = tents
13 KEEL OVER This could make the pride of Wales collapse
  If you turn ‘KEELOVER you get Leek (Welsh national emblem) = collapse
14 VACATION Leave west end of city at 10 in transit, perhaps
  C (west end of City) + AT 10 in VAN (as in Ford Transit) = leave
17 POSTIE Job that is for one regularly given the sack
  POST (job) + IE (that is) = a postman or postie is regularly given a sack to deliver the mail
19 ELBOW GREASE Joint musical effort
  ELBOW (joint) + GREASE (Musical) = effort
21 KASHMIRI One from subcontinent made his mark clumsily before independence
  Anagram of HIS MARK (anagrind is ‘clumsily’) + I (independence) = someone from the Indian subcontinent
22 EDDIES Media boss passes round flowers
  ED (Editor or media boss ) + DIES (passes) = eddies are whirlpools or currents that flow round!
23 BITE THE BULLET Take bull by the horns? Grasp it in broken teeth, I bet!
  BULL within (grasped by) an anagram of TEETH I BET (anagrind is ‘broken’) = take the bull by the horns
1 PAVE THE WAY Establish conditions for Spooner to do the job for free?
  A Spoonerism of WAVE THE PAY = do the job for free
2 ILL FAME Prominent members of French family falling into disrepute
  (FAM)ILLE (French family with initial letters or prominent members ‘falling’) = disrepute
3 ASEPSIS Being germ-free, passes freely round institute
  Anagram of PASSES (anagrind is ‘freely’) around I (institute) = germ-free
4 IN BLACK AND WHITE What could make Bin Laden tick – what timeless, fundamentalist way of viewing things
  Anagram of BIN LADEN TICK WHA(t) without ‘t’ (‘timeless’) = fundamentalist way of seeing things
5 ATHLETE Who’s allowed to participate in rearranged heat?
  LET (allowed) within an anagram of HEAT (anagrind is ‘rearranged’) = someone who is allowed to compete
6 IN VITRO I get number 6 north of junction – alternatively, come up by tube?
  I + N (number) + VI (six) + T (type of junction)+ reversal of OR (alternatively) = Latin for ‘in the test tube’
7 NONE Pet menu chez Hubbard not in English?
  We’re not sure how to parse this. NON (No in French) + E (English) = In the nursery rhyme Old Mother Hubbard’s dog had NONE as her cupboard was bare. However, the clue states ‘not’ which should be ‘pas’!  Does her dog have ‘NO E’, translated into French? Can someone help us please?
11 SEMIDESERT Tree missed badly here?
  Anagram of TREE MISSED (anagrind is ‘badly’) = in a semi desert you wouldn’t see that many trees!
15 APESHIT Something like Funky Gibbon’s in the charts? Crazy!
  An APE’S (a gibbon is a type of ape) HIT (something in the charts) and relating to this song by the Goodies = vulgar slang for crazy
16 IN BUILT Where to find meat and two veg at lunchtime consumes you and I – it’s essential
  A BLT is a sandwich with bacon, lettuce and tomato (one meat, two veg!!) around or ‘consuming’ U + I (you and I) = something that is essential or integral – another big smile!
17 PARVENU Standard place falling short for social climber
  PAR (standard) + VENU(e) (place ‘falling short’) = social climber
18 SCANDAL Boys from the south pinching American’s bum is a disgrace
  LADS (boys) reversed (‘from the south’ in a down clue) around or ‘pinching’ CAN (American word for the buttocks – a new word for us) = disgrace
20 GARB Game over for fashion
  Reversal of BRAG (type of game) = fashion

13 Responses to “Independent 7,950 / Morph (Saturday Prize Crossword 7/04/12)”

  1. Ian SW3 says:

    Well I could do without the audacity of 15d in a broadsheet crossword, as solving is often a family activity with us. The Guardian’s had some pretty inappropriate material of late too. Best leave the puerile vulgarity to Private Eye, where it is expected (and enjoyed for its cheekiness). Or is 1a meant to be a cryptic, and homophonic, allusion to the spread of cheeky obscenity into mainstream crosswords? Doubt it.

  2. speo says:

    Could possibly be : Pet menu chez Hubbard = non

    (But) in english = none

    Hope this helps

  3. Allan_C says:

    A nice one from Morph, raised some smiles and one or two ‘hmmm…’ reactions. Thanks B&J for the blog.
    Just to note in passing that in 8a the S in 212’s” is part of the anagram fodder.
    I have a little quibble about the clue to 9a in that the song is “Ain’t Misbehavin'” – i.e. without a final G. Not that that detracts from the ingenuity of the clue.
    And in 15d, ‘Funky Gibbon’ also featured in “I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again”, the radio show that, if my memory serves me correctly, was a precursor of ‘The Goodies’. The answer to the clue, btw, is in Chambers – no need to resort to the Urban Dictionary.

  4. Allan_C says:

    Oops, missed the shift key: my second line should read:
    Just to note in passing that in 8a the S in “12?s” is part of the anagram fodder.

  5. Allan_C says:

    Sorry! Just to note in passing that in 8a the S in “12’s” is part of the anagram fodder.

  6. scchua says:

    Thanks BandJ and Morph for another great puzzle.

    Much to enjoy here, especially TRANSPARENT and ELBOW GREASE for me.

    Btw, I think 7D is merely “not English” = “non-E”, as in “non-PC”, “non-verbal” and so on.

  7. Bannsider says:

    Terrific stuff. I unintentionally saved the best for last with APE’S HIT (!). Morph has a great way of packing a lot of wit and cleverness into very succinct clues.

    I think the NONE clue is simply a quote from the nursery rhyme, (“the poor doggie had NONE”) and NON-E, with “chez Hubbard” just a nice way of suggesting a (rather useless) restaurant.

  8. Ian SW3 says:

    21a is surely a clever &lit, referring to the Hindu ruler of Jammu and Kashmir who, against the expectations of the of majority-Muslim population, elected to join India rather than Pakistan at partition.

  9. crypticsue says:

    Very enjoyable as usual from Morph. Judging by my writing on the grid, I didn’t have a lot of trouble although I do remember saying to Mr CS ‘Are you allowed to say 15d in a crossword’! Thanks to Morph and B&J. I agree with you, being a blogger on a day when a crossword is as much fun as this one is great, as you get twice the enjoyment every time.

  10. nmsindy says:

    Yes, a very enjoyable puzzle, which I found quite a bit easier than some from Morph. Favourite clue ELBOW GREASE. While I did not research it any further, and I’m sure Bannsider at #7 is right, I was satisfied with NONE from remembering from the nursery rhyme ‘the cupboard is bare’, as you have mentioned in the blog, with NON-E giving the rest. Thanks, Morph and B&J. As a (veteran) blogger, I’d say enjoyment of puzzles ain’t affected in any way if one also writes a blog on the puzzle.

    Funnily enough, I’d a slightly different experience when my work once took me into being involved with looking at the finances of arts projects, specifically theatres. The plays they put on suddenly seemed less interesting than before…

  11. flashling says:

    Did blogging reduce the pleasure? No, although blogging whilst working is very hard especially if you got one of the Indy’s tougher setters, it’s the main reason I’ve stopped blogging – solving, writing up the blog and proof-reading can easily take 2-3 hours on a bad day.

    Anyway cheers BJ and Morph, being a bit of a Pratchet fan 15d made me think of Librarian Poo! Lots of smiles and groans again, just what what’s required.

    B&J when I talked to you at the S&B Derby I wasn’t fishing for you to take over, just join in but I’m glad you did, it’s enabled me to enjoy crosswords again rather than feeling a bit of a duty which was rarely appreciated.

  12. scchua says:

    Apologies, BandJ. On re-reading my #6 this morning, I was alarmed to note that it gave the impression that you were wrong about the definition for 7D NONE. That was far from the case. My comment, which I should have made clearer, addressed only the wordplay “not in English”. You were of course right about the definition that refered to the Mother Hubbard nursery rhyme, and it being right, I didn’t comment on it (the definition).

  13. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks for the comments folks!
    Schua – no apologies needed, we knew what you were trying to say. We’re still not sure about 7d though – all of the other clues had such precise cluing that it stood out. If it had been another setter or in a weaker crossword we wouldn’t have queried it so we began to wonder whether we were missing something. All of the helpful suggestions just make it seem even more ‘wooly’!
    Flashling – we are really glad that you helped to un-lurk us! Also, we are fortunate that there are the two of us which does speed up solving time (sometimes!) and helps with the blog.

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