Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7991 / Phi

Posted by Bertandjoyce on May 25th, 2012


It’s Phi-day so we are happy!


We sometimes find musical references within clues somewhat difficult but all of the answers here seemed fine. We don’t think there is a link between them but we have missed some of Phi’s themes and mini-themes in the past!


1 VIOLA CONCERTO Anagram of CONTRIVE A COOL (anagrind is ‘lively’) = virtuoso piece. If you want to hear part of a viola concerto follow this link! The first musical reference. We were familiar with violas and also concertos but not aware (until now!) that a viola concerto was a virtuoso piece!
9 KNEE-DRILL K (king) +NEED (to require) + R (Queen) + ILL (wrongly) = Chambers gives this as directed devotional exercises, not necessarily ‘regular’ prayers. A google search revealed that prayers were called knee-drill within the Salvation Army. We’d not heard the phrase before.
10 METRO MET (satisfied) + RO (40% or 2/5 of ROads) = Transport system. Our first one in! There’s always a sigh of relief when this happens.
11 KISS ME KATE S (soprano) + Anagram of MAKES (anagrind is ‘slips’) inside or ‘in’ KITE (flier) = musical written by Cole Porter in 1948. Another musical reference. We’re not into musicals but we found this link to ‘Too Darn Hot’, which we liked! The dance sequence is really good!
12 See 13d
14 SONDHEIM SON (boy) + DIM (without much knowledge) about HE (male) = composer. Yet another one! You can listen to Judy Dench sing ‘Send in the Clowns’ here.
16 GOSSIP GO (energy) + PISS (water) reversed or ‘returned’ = gas
19 O’NEILL ONE (single) + L (line) + L (another line) around or ‘including’ I (one) = The American playwright Eugene O’Neill
20 PARASAIL PARS (standards) + AIL (suffer) around or ‘after importing’ A = piece of water sports equipment
22 See 15d
24 RUPERT BEAR RU (Rugby Union or ‘game’) + PERT (cheeky) + BEAR (support) = cartoon character
27 C AND W CAN (is able) + D + W (initial letters or ‘primarily’ of ‘Dramatise Woes’) = a musical genre. Country and Western is not one of our favourites! We were very pleased to move from our first house when a fan of this genre moved in next door!
28 GREENROOM NE’ER (never) returning or ‘coming back’ inside or ‘into’ GROOM (tidy) = room backstage
29 PROGNOSTICATE Anagram of TOP (f)ORECASTING (anagrind is ‘possibly’) without f (force) = forecast
2 IN ESSENCE ESSEN (German city) inside or ‘invested in’ I (one) + N (new) + CE (church) = basically
3 LEDUM Hidden within or ‘found amongst’ rubb(LE DUM)ped = plant
4 CHICK LIT CHIC (smart) + KIT (gear) around or ‘absorbing’ L (line) = type of fiction
5 NILOTE N (name) + IE (that is) around or ‘encompassing’ LOT (great many) = ‘certain African’ – a person of the upper Nile region
6 EMMY ME (this writer) reversed or ‘upset’ + MY (this writer’s) = award
7 TUTSI TUTS (expresses annoyance) + I (one) = tribesman
8 TO BE A PILGRIM Anagram of I OBLIGE and PART (anangrind is ‘rearranged’) + M (meridiem, the Latin for noon) = the well-known John Bunyan hymn
9 KAKISTOCRACY Anagram of IT’S OKAY and CRACK (anagrind is ‘being distributed’) = dreadful government, or ‘government by the worst’ – another new word to us, but one that perhaps should be heard more often these days?
13/12a BONA FIDE BODE (threaten) around or ‘to keep’ I FAN (one supporter) reversed or ‘in a whirl’ = honest
15/22a HOLY-ROOD Homophone (‘radio broadcast’) of ‘wholly rude’ (entirely vulgar) = cross
17 SCAPEGOAT A PEG (a pin) in or ‘covered by’ S (second) COAT (application of paint) = a scapegoat takes the blame
18 BASEMENT BASEMEN (fielders in baseball) + T (middle letter of maTch) = a low point
21 GUNG HO GUN (marksman) + GO (leave) around or ‘circling’ H (hospital) = enthusiastic
23 OWNER (d)OWNER (a depressing experience without the first letter or ‘head’) = one who has
25 TUNIC IN (fashionable) in CUT (style) all reversed or ‘held up’ = garment
26 TWIG T (tense) + W (with) + I (one) + G (close or last letter of ‘finishinG’) = get, as in ‘understand’

13 Responses to “Independent 7991 / Phi”

  1. nmsindy says:

    This crossword reminded me why I like Phi puzzles. Totally fair clues from which I was able to work out four answers that I had never heard of. Favourite clue – the very apt and amusing surface in C AND W – but all good. Many thanks, Phi, and B&J for the excellent blog.

  2. crypticsue says:

    Very enjoyable with lots of good clues. Never heard of the government but it is a very good word. Thanks to Phi and B&J too.

  3. hounddog says:

    Apparently Country and Western are two different things to the purist. Hence the scene from the Blues Brothers:

    “what kind of music do you usually have here?” “we got both kinds country *and* western”

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    He’s been rummaging around in his Unusual Words Drawer again …

    I’m guessing that the four I didn’t know are the same as nms’s, but they were indeed all clearly and fairly clued, and I quite like KAKISTOCRACY. All good stuff as always from this setter.

    Fine puzzle, excellent blog.

  5. Jean says:

    Excellent. Almost finished it but went for a guess at 20a and got baseball which in turn stumped me for ‘bona fide.’
    Nice one Phi!

  6. Rorschach says:

    Very enjoyable. 6dn is quietly beautiful. Thanks!

  7. Norman L in France says:

    Kathryn’s Dad@4.
    For Kakistocracy he was rummaging around in the Attic

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Indeed, Norman! And somebody who’s better at Greek than I am (which wouldn’t be difficult) will tell us what the derivation is, no doubt.

  9. RFreeland says:


    kakistos, worst: superlative of kakos, bad
    -cracy, from krateo, to rule.

  10. Wil Ransome says:

    All much enjoyed as ever from Phi. His musical references this time cover a slightly wider range than usual. I never knew that Bunyan hymn was called TBAP; had always thought it was ‘He who would valiant be’. As nms says, several words I’d never heard of but no complaints at all because of the fair clueing.

    B&J, there is a typo at 29ac.

  11. Dormouse says:

    Took a bit of effort to get 20ac and 13/12. I, too, nearly went down the “baseball” path, after getting 18dn.

    I did know “kakistocracy” but couldn’t remember how to spell it and couldn’t find it in Chambers. The new edition of Chambers highlights “interesting” words, and when looking down the page, my eyes seem to skip over these highlights. “Kakistocracy” was one of these. Very annoying.

    Incidentally, my two favourite viola concertos are probably the ones by Alfred Schnittke and Benjamin Frankel.

  12. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks for all comments – we don’t recognise some of the names. If you are new to the site we really hope you drop by again!
    Thanks Norman L in France – broughtt a smile to our faces when we read your comment.
    Thanks also to Wil Ransome. We both missed the typo!

  13. Allan_C says:

    To be pedantic, the Bunyan hymn is “Who would true valour see”. It was changed to “He who would valiant be” when Percy Dearmer ‘modernised’ it for the English Hymnal. Thankfully many modern hymn books have reverted to Bunyan’s original which goes just as well to Vaughan Williams’ stirring adaptation of a folk tune. “To be a pilgrim” is the recurring last line of each verse.

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