Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,961 / Phi

Posted by RatkojaRiku on April 20th, 2012


It’s Friday, so it’s a puzzle by Phi, as you might expect.

I found this one tougher than the average Phi crossword overall, despite filling in 1A and 1D instantly and thinking it might be plain sailing from then on. The SE quadrant proved rather stubborn but fell into place in the end.

The wordplay at 6 escapes me, and I may have wrongly parsed 7, so I look forward to being enlightened by other solvers and will update the blog later in the day – done, thanks!

*(…) indicates an anagram

1   FOLIC ACID   *(A COLIC IF) + D<iagnosed>; “at first” means first letter only; “treated” is anagram indicator
6   GASH   Definition = “opening”; Wordplay = “with this opening (letter)”, i.e. G as H, “gale” becomes “hale” (=sound, healthy)
10   TACHO   Hidden (“some”) in “geT A CHOice”; the definition is “spy in the cab”, i.e. a tacho(graph)
11   WARM-UP MAN   WAR (RAW=coarse; “rejected” indicates reversal) + *(PUN MAM); “upset” is anagram indicator
12   LE MONDE   LEMON<a>DE (=the drink); “one (=a) pulled out of” means “a” is deleted
13   ILLUDES   ILL (=badly) + *(USED); “badly” is anagram indicator; to illude is to deceive, cf illusion
14   SELENOLOGICAL   *(LEGAL COLONIES); “arranged” is anagram indicator; selenological means “pertaining to a scientific study of the moon”, hence “on (=regarding) the moon”
17   BEAT THE RECORD   BE AT (=make sure to attend) + THERE (=that place) + CORD (=line)
21   SIROCCO   SI (IS; “reversing” indicates reversal) + ROC (=large bird) + C<onsidering> O<ptions> (“starts to” means first letters only)
22   PEEP-TOE   *(POET) in PEE (=water, as in to   pass water); “splashed” is anagram indicator; cf open-toe sandals, peep-hole bra
24   POTBOILER   PO (=Post Office) + [B (=book) in TOILER (=worker)]; a potboiler is a work of literature produced merely with regard to saleability, hence “book – one for the popular market”
25   DUBAI   DUB (=name, as a verb) + A1 (=excellent)
26   TARN   TAR (=sailor) + N (=navy); & lit. since a sailor and the navy are unlikely to be found in as small an expanse of water as a tarn!
27   PORTRAYAL   RAY (=man) in PORTAL (=doorway)
1   FATALISM   F (=following) + A + TALISM<a>N (=charm; “abandoning one (=a)” means “a” is dropped)
2   LOCUM   LOC<k> (=forward, i.e. in rugby; “finally taken off” means last letter is dropped) + UM (=little hesitation)
3   CROWN AND   ANCHOR   CROW (=cheer) + NAN (=old lady) + D<ecide> (“first to” means first letter only) + ANCHOR (=fix); crown and anchor is a game played with dice marked with crowns and anchors
4   COWBELL   COW (=subdue) + BELL (=inventor, i.e. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone)
5   DARLING   L (=line) in DARING (=audacious); the reference is to the Darling family in J M Barrie’s Peter Pan, originally   published as a play
7   ARMADILLO   ARM (=might, i.e. power) + {[I (one) + LL (=lines, i.e. of verse)] in ADO (=business)}
8   HONEST   NES<t> (=home; “most of” means last letter is dropped) in HOT (=sizzling)
9   PUBLIC DEFENDER   *(BEFUDDLE PRINCE); “in replacing” is anagram indicator
15   LIBERATOR   L (=left) + IBER<i>A (=two European countries, i.e. Spain and Portugal; “abandoning one (=I)” means “i” is dropped) + TO + R (=king, i.e. rex)
16   EDGEHILL   EDGE (=advantage) + <c>HILL (=cold; “with Corps (=C) avoiding” means “c” is dropped); the reference is to   the Battle of Edgehill, fought in 1642 during the English Civil War
18   TROLLOP   ROLL (=a tumble) in TOP (=best in)
19   EMPEROR   PER (=person) in EMOR (ROME=historic city; “elevated” indicates vertical reversal); & lit.
20   ASH-PIT   H (=hard) in [A + SPIT (=narrow tongue of land)]
23   TABBY   TAB (=key, i.e. on a keyboard) + BY (=times, as in 6 x 3)

11 Responses to “Independent 7,961 / Phi”

  1. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog – I agree; it’s quite a difficult one, but fun. 6a is one of those clues that Azed does sometimes – the wordplay is that Gale with “G as H” would be Hale, i.e. “sound”. I was wondering where the definition was – it’s ended up in the middle, which I quite like, when the setter manages to make it work as he does here.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I too found the SE the hardest to crack: PEEP-TOE is a new one for me, and I took ages to see TABBY. TARN was well-clued for a short word.

    The difficulty level made me look for a theme or nina, but I can’t see anything. But for those that have done the puzzle in Another Place today, there is a scary coincidence.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Appreciate you explaining GASH, Thomas. That is possibly a clue for Phi to leave to one of his more difficult offerings elsewhere, I fancy.

  4. MikeC says:

    Thanks RR and Phi, also Thomas. I’m with K’s D re GASH – a bit of a stinker (which of course eluded me!).

  5. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, RR, and Phi for the puzzle. Yes, it took me quite a while to see GASH – a very tricky clue type which, as others have mentioned, Azed uses once in a while, though I’ve seen it in daily cryptics too. Thanks for explaining DARLING – I got it from the v friendly wordplay but did not get beyond that. In 7D, I don’t think you need the X2; ll (ie two lower case Ls) is an abbrev for lines (of verse).

  6. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks to Thomas99 et al for the explanation of 6 – I would never have got there on my own! The blog will be amended accordingly.

    Thanks to nmsindy for the point on “ll” in 7

  7. Bertandjoyce says:

    Phew! Started this rather late and we were hoping for an early night but no such luck. Thanks for the parsing of 6a – definitely a step too far, especially at this time of night.
    We felt that a number of clues were just a bit too convoluted but in the end a reasonable challenge. We were also spooked by the coincidence of 7d as referred to by K’sD.
    Thanks RR and Phi.

  8. Dormouse says:

    I, too, was fooled by the top left corner. Filled it in quickly and then had to do something else. When I returned, nothing else was easy. GASH I couldn’t see, and also, oddly, EDGEHILL, which is hardly obscure.

  9. Phi says:

    Yes, clues like GASH won’t come along too often, but the chance to drop the definition into the middle of the clue was too much to resist. The other key issue is whether to give you ‘gale’ and ‘hale’ en clair or to define one (as I did here – defining both is certainly a step too far). I have a vague feeling I might have had GASH in another puzzle recently and so was on the lookout for a different treatment.

  10. Simon Harris says:

    I’m a little late to the party, but on recycling day I note that there is a small Nina here after all. The word MIDDLE is in the unchecked squares across, appropriately the middle of the grid.

    Perhaps a knowing reference to 6ac?

  11. Graham Pellen says:

    1D is abandoning the “an” in TALISM[an], not just the “a”.

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