Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7973/Phi

Posted by John on May 4th, 2012


A typically satisfactory puzzle from Phi, with so far as I can see no controversial clues. Everything is of a high standard.


There is a gentle Nina — hardly a Nina, more a recurrent theme, and I don’t know how this one sits in the list provided the other day — where two answers are juxtaposed and a hidden answer is then found.

1 PITTED — 2 defs, ‘required to fight’ as in ‘pitted against’, and ‘with stones’ — a pit is a small stone so pitted means with small stones, although the pitted dates I buy have the stones removed
5 O(VERLAI{{li}ne})D
9 HELICOPTER — (the police)* r
10 {Ma’s}TIFF
11 STAMPED {hast}E
12 LOOK UP — 2 defs
13 BA{t}CH
18 H(ILLS)IDE — one would have thought that hide was an adjective and concealment a noun, but here Phi is using hide as a noun, a concealment
19 id eST ARimathea
21 MAYHAP — (me)rev. removed from mayhem ap — app is the commoner abbreviation, but ap. is in Chambers
25 BaCH ARgument
26 SHORE LEAVE — (sea lover he)* — &lit.
27 CA{t}CH A LOT
28 TORERO — (ore rot)rev.
2 hillsIDE STar
3 TRI(UMPH)AL — where ‘umph’ is the expression of doubt — same as ‘humph’, which I should have thought was more an expression of distaste rather than of doubt, but doubt is mentioned in C so this is OK
5 ON THE WATERFRONT — n in (for town theatre)* — Phi makes this very easy by saying ‘Brando film’ and not simply ‘film’, so the answer is obvious when you look at the enumeration
6 EARPLUGS — (are)* p lugs — they’re placed in the ears or the lugs — another nice &lit.
7 cachaLOT TOrero
14 A (RIM) A THE A
17 DISPOSAL — (sops)rev. in dial
20 AT TEST — if you’re at a test match you’re watching cricket, unless you’re one of those people who prefer to drink beer and dress up and try to get on the telly — although I’m not absolutely comfortable with ‘at test = ‘watching cricket’
22 cHAR SHoreleave
25 pitteD OVERlaid

12 Responses to “Independent 7973/Phi”

  1. Jon says:

    All nice and straightforward, apart from 1ac for which I didn’t know the first definition, but guessed correctly, and 21ac which I just couldn’t get! The multitude of hidden words meant I never got stuck. Been a very good week crossword wise in the I so far.

  2. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, John, and Phi. Yes, very good – the ones Jon at #1 refers to were my last two entries. Not too hard overall – favourites LOOK UP, SHORE LEAVE, ATTEST. Had no difficulty with “at Test” = “watching cricket” – seemed pretty much OK.

  3. Thomas99 says:

    Great stuff. Thanks John. Re 1a “Pitted” does normally mean with the stones removed, and it took me a while to see that it could also mean the opposite, by analogy with – hang on, can’t think of one – horned, perhaps?

    Arimathea comes very soon after Canaanites (one of the cryptics yesterday, I think), also clued with “articles” (an, a, an in “cites” in that case). Perhaps someone (Boatman?) could construct a whole bible/article themed puzzle?

  4. crypticsue says:

    Great stuff indeed – perfect for a rainy day off. Thanks to Phil and John too.

  5. NealH says:

    The hidden answers where certainly helpful in finishing the puzzle more quickly – had things like lotto and dover long before I got the words which concealed them. After a slightly slow start, I motored through it quite quickly apart from 1 across, where I couldn’t think of anything and had to go through all the possible letter combinations to find the answer.

  6. dialrib says:

    Thomas99 @3 says pitted = ‘with stones’ is ok as it is analogous to horned = ‘with horns’. But my Chambers has an entry for ‘horned’ – ‘having a horn or horns’. Under ‘pit vt (pitted, pitting)’ it has only ‘to remove the stone from’.

  7. aztobesed says:

    It’s one of them, isn’t it? “How would you like your peach?” ” Pitted, please, I’m going to try and grow a tree from the seed.” “Oh, you seem to have removed the pit”. Intuitively ‘pitted’ means both with and without. Chambers is simply looking away, hoping nobody brings it up.

  8. Dormouse says:

    1ac was nearly the last for me, too, but once I saw it, it seemed the PITTED could mean having stones. What was my last was 17d/21ac, because I’d entered MAYHEM for 21ac, although I couldn’t quite see why it was. When a word search revealed no possible answer for 17d I had to reconsider.

    Re 18ac, hide can be a noun as in a hiding place used by bird watchers.

  9. Rorschach says:

    Inserted MAYHEM without thinking… Only half of the cryptic accounted for! Meant I was stuck on 17dn far longer than was necessary. Really liked the interlinking grid of this one. Unfortunately it means it’s far harder to set than to solve I guess. COD 6dn.

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Another good Friday puzzle from Phi, where the split words across two clues were in fact in some cases a good help. Thought ARIMATHEA was clever. ATTEST works for me too.

    Thanks to John for the blog.

  11. Miche says:

    Thanks, John.

    Anyone else spot VERDI lurking in DROVER/DISPOSAL and expect him to turn up as a solution?

  12. ernie says:

    Enjoyed the xword: thanks to phi and John.

    Re ‘pitted': I get annoyed with ‘westerly’ (e.g.) which can apparently mean ‘towards the west’ as well as ‘from the west’. See also ‘northerly’ ‘easterly’ ‘southerly’.

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