Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,985 / Phi

Posted by RatkojaRiku on May 18th, 2012


It’s Friday today so one is not surprised to find an example of Phi’s work to grapple with over breakfast.

This was a puzzle of two halves for me in that I filled in quite a lot of entries upon first perusal but then had to chip away at the rest. A couple of more obscure words held me up at 15A and 10, although both answers could be arrived at convincingly via the wordplay. The NW corner held out longest, especially the intersecting entries at 1 and 12. My favourite clue is 19 for overall construction – and because a recent trip to Lord’s has instilled in me a fondness for cricketing references.

*(…) indicates an anagram

7   HEDGEPIG [EDGE (=advantage) + P (=power)] in HIG<h> (=grave, as an adjective; “mostly” means last letter dropped); hedgepig is another name for hedgehog
9   ENIGMA G (=government) in [A + MINE (=lot of information)]; “returned” indicates reversal; Enigma was a cipher used by Germany during WWII, hence “coding device”
10   FIDO OD<d> (=peculiar; “mostly” means last letter dropped) + IF; “in reverse” indicates reversal; Fido is a method of dispersing airfield fog by burning petrol, from Fog Intensive Dispersal Operation – we live and learn!
11   LION’S SHARE *(ON HIS LASER); “work” is anagram indicator
12   OFFING OFF (=on holiday) + IN + G<reece> (“capital of” means first letter only); the definition is “near future”, as in the phrase “in the offing”
13   ALLSPICE *(PILLS) in ACE (=excellent); “various (components of)” is anagram indicator
15   ANIMADVERSION {I (=independent) in [AN + MAD (=oddball)]} + VERSION (=edition); animadversion is criticism, from the Latin meaning “turning the mind against”
17   PONYTAIL PONY (=£25, colloquially) + *(IT AL<l>); “cut” means last letter dropped; “badly” is anagram indicator
19   BATTEN BAT (=cricketer, i.e. batsman) + TEN (=rest of team, since a cricket team is made up of eleven players); a batten is a piece of sawn timber used for flooring, etc, as in to batten down the hatches
21   MAUPASSANT [PASS (=overlook) + A] in [M (=married) + AUNT (=relative)]; the reference is to French writer Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893), best known for his short stories
23   LUSH US in LH (=left hand)
24   DIRNDL [RN (=sailors, i.e. Royal Navy) in DID (=performed)] + <wel>L (“ultimately” means last letter only); a dirndl is an Alpine peasant woman’s dress
25   ETERNITY E (=energy; “little” indicates abbreviation/first letter only) + <pa>TERNITY (=fatherhood; “father (=pa) avoiding” means letters “pa” dropped)
1   BELIEF BELIE (=fail to reflect) + F (=force, as in RAF)
2   IGNOBILITY *(BOILING) + IT + <enem>Y (“rearguard of” means last letter only); “fluid” is anagram indicator
3   APOLOGIA AP (=apparently) + O (=round, i.e. shape) + *(GOAL I); “fancy” is anagram indicator
4   VESSEL Hidden (“welcoming in”) in “MaldiVES SELdom”
5   WISH IS in [W (=women) + H (=hearts, i.e. in cards)]
6   AMERICAN ERIC (=a man’s name) in [A + MAN]
8   GLOBAL   VILLAGE GLOB (=drop, i.e. dollop) + [VIL<e> (=dreadful; “most of” means last letter dropped) in ALL (=everything)] + AGE (=period)
14   POINT-BLANK POINT (=aim gun) + BLANK (=in vain, i.e. unproductive); & lit.
15   AROMATIC A + ROMA<n>TIC (=lovestruck type; “forgetting name (=n)” means letter “n” dropped)
16   REBUTTED BUTT (=target, as in butt of joke) in REED (=grass)
18   ANSELM AN (=one) + SEL<do>M (=rarely; “missing party (=do)” means letters “do” dropped); Anselm is a man’s name, as in Saint Anselm
20   ERSATZ SA (=it, i.e. sex appeal) in <h>ERTZ (=German   scientist); a clever clue in that the word “German” could be applied either to “scientist” or “inferior”
22   PUNT Double definition: a PUNT is “former currency” (of Ireland) AND “a risky affair”, i.e. bet, wager


11 Responses to “Independent 7,985 / Phi”

  1. duncanshiell says:

    The usual solid stuff from Phi explained well by RatkojaRiku.

    I think you have inadvertently put part of the word play as the entry at 15 down.

  2. nmsindy says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku and Phi. Yes, I found this a bit trickier than usual from Phi with the hardest bits the NW and SE corners.

    “Boiling fluid” in 2D deceived me for ages before the anagram possibility occurred – this helped me to finish the puzzle with HEDGEPIG (new word for me) being my last answer. Favourite clue BATTEN.

  3. NealH says:

    I was really struggling with the NW corner until I realized that it could be boiling rather than fluid that was the anagram – a brilliant clue. I did initially write hedgehog for 7, but realized that made no sense and change it to hedgepig, although I was dubious about high for grave. I also struggled with animadversion: it’s a rather strange, clumsy word that you don’t hear used anywhere. I worked out the ani…version bit, but it was a struggle to get mad for oddball – the two words don’t really have the same meaning for me.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Goodness, this was hard, and I really struggled to complete it. It’s all pretty fair, although some unusual words and devious clueing. I too liked BATTEN, and got confused too with the boiling/fluid mix in 2dn.

    Thanks to both.

  5. MikeC says:

    Thanks RR and Phi. I also found this a bit trickier than usual – and I’m with you, nmsindy, re 2d. My first thought was that “boiling” was the anagrind, and it took quite a while to see it the right way round! A good workout.

  6. MikeC says:

    Sorry NealH and K’s D, we crossed.

  7. Dormouse says:

    Me too for the top left corner. Took me ages to get 3d which at least suggested 7ac ended PIG, but I had to do a word search to get it, and even then I couldn’t see why. But that gave me enough to get 2d, and then the rest fell into place. I did vaguely know FIDO from somewhere, which helped.

    Also had trouble with 20d, spending ages assuming it ended -ite or -ity.

  8. Paul B says:

    It’s where airfields go woof.

  9. Bertandjoyce says:

    Amother late start and we were both nodding off before we had finished it. Quite a few unusual words but all fair – mad for oddball was OK – but we needed lots of crossing letters before we could start to work out many of the answers.
    Had to do a search for 25ac and groaned when we parsed it but actually a really good clue. Last one in was 20d when we had all the checking letters.
    Thanks Phi and RR!

  10. Allan_C says:

    Another late start and had to sleep on it, but got there in the end. A bit more challenging than some of Phi’s offerings.

    But I got ENIGMA and FIDO straightaway and wondered if we were in for a themed crossword on WWII and/or acronyms. Nothing else in that line, though, with the possible exception of ERSATZ.

    Held up for a while on 21a having put ‘rebelled’ for 16d, though I couldn’t see how ‘bell’ could equal ‘target’; then I checked ‘target’ in a thesaurus to find ‘butt’ and all was made clear.

  11. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks to duncanshiell for spotting the error in 15D, which I have put right, if only for posterity’s sake.

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