Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8015 / Phi

Posted by Bertandjoyce on June 22nd, 2012


We don’t think there has been a Phi puzzle that we haven’t liked. There are often themes, some of which we have missed when we have been blogging so we looked long and hard here just in case!

Once again, we couldn’t find one – perhaps we’ve missed something again?!

There was only one word that we had to check in the dictionary (18ac). We also hadn’t heard of the Italian writer at 7d and weren’t sure about the composer at 23ac, although Bert thought he remembered the name from somewhere, but wasn’t sure that he was a composer. However, both were fairly easily solvable from the wordplay and a quick google confirmed the answers.

Our last one in was 1d. We have to admit to resorting to an electronic search and then proceeded to kick ourselves when there was only one word that fitted.

We are in Greece at the moment, helping to boost their economy! If any amendments to the blog are needed we’ll be checking it this evening.

9   Aquatic bird accepting endless bad weather in country
TERRAIN TERN (aquatic bird) around or ‘accepting’ RAI(n) (bad weather with final letter missing or ‘curtailed’) = country
10   No coming back by criminal gang left for dead in court
ON TRIAL NO reversed or ‘coming back’ + TRIA(d)L (criminal gang with final D (dead) replaced with L (left))
11   Coming to American ground after one takes flight? That could be me
ECONOMIC MIGRANT Anagram of COMING TO AMERICAN with A (one) removed or ‘taking flight’ (anagrind is ‘ground’) = either a cryptic definition, as an economic migrant might have taken flight to America, or (possibly?) Phi (the setter, or ‘me’) who lives in New Zealand!
12   View on craze involving navy? Nonsense
FANDANGLE ANGLE (view) added to or ‘on’ FAD (craze) around or ‘involving’ N (navy) = nonsense
14   Minister, Father, recalled leaderless flock
PADRE PA (father) + (h)ERD reversed or ‘recalled’ without the first letter or ‘leaderless’ = minister
15   Fool snatching woman’s cigar
CHEROOT COOT (fool) around or ‘snatching’ HER (woman’s) = cigar
16   Writer, racy, expressing hint of sadism in punishment
PENALTY PEN (writer) + (s)ALTY (racy) with the initial letter or ‘hint of’ sadism omitted or ‘expressed’ = punishment. The use of salty as a synonym for racy was a new one on us. We liked the use of ‘expressing’ in this clue.
17   Duke’s supporter to take time
DALLY D (duke) + ALLY (supporter) = to take time as in dawdle, delay
18   Celestial bodies to colour unusual opening of diorama
OORT CLOUD Anagram of TO COLOUR (anagrind is ‘unusual’) + D (opening or initial letter of diorama) = these celestial bodies – a new one on us but we were able to guess when we had all the crossing letters.
20   That’s a good idea after the laryngitis cure
NOW YOU’RE TALKING If you were cured after having had laryngitis you would be able to talk = that’s a good idea!
23   Composer less curtailed about skill
MARTINU MINU(s) (less with final letter removed or ‘curtailed’) around or ‘about’ ART (skill) = this Czech composer
24   English father returned, snatching daughter producing bureaucratic snarl-up?
RED TAPE E (Engish) PATER (father) all reversed around or ‘snatching’ D (daughter) = can anyone say that they haven’t been snarled up by this bureaucratic excessive regulation. It originates from the red tape that was used in government offices to bind official documents etc. It seems to date back to 16th century. Read about it here if you want to!
1   The very thing provided for fear that upset is involved
ITSELF IF (provided) around or ‘involving’ LEST (for fear that) reversed or ‘upset’ = the very thing
2   Chamber group a great success? Time to move forward.
TRIO RIOT (a great success) with T (time) moved forward = chamber group.
3   Experimental area absent from Tory speeches?
LABORATORY Shortened form of LAB(our) ORATORY (something that would be absent from Tory speeches) = experimental area. The use of Tory in both the clue and the answer was a bit of a distraction when it came to parsing until the penny dropped!
4   Dancing ingénue nugatory in American musical
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN Anagram of INGENUE NUGATORY (anagrind is ‘dancing’) = American musical. What – another Tory?!
5   Not entirely cross – sensible, suppressing anger – it’s not very heated
ROOM TEMPERATURE ROO(d) (cross with final letter missing or ‘not entirely’) + MATURE (sensible) around or ‘suppressing’ TEMPER (anger) = it’s not very heated
6   Special label for men only
STAG S (special) + TAG (label) = men only
7   Italian writer: “I governed valley covered by Italian river”
PIRANDELLO I + RAN (governed) + DELL (valley) inside or ‘covered by’ PO (Italian river) = Italian writer
8   Car problem has cricketer out in flannel
FLATTERY FLAT (bat)TERY (car problem) without BAT (cricketer) = flannel. It took a while to parse this one, but it raised a smile when we did!
13   End with ‘Keel Row’ rearranged – crafty stuff
NEEDLEWORK Anagram of END KEEL ROW (anagrind is ‘rearranged’) = crafty stuff
14   Drink? Small measure of spirits overturned by girl nursing soft drink
PINA COLADA NIP (small measure) reversed or ‘overturned’ + ADA (girl) around or ‘nursing’ COLA (soft drink) = drink
15   Pseudonym, say, fake, leading to incomplete cover
CODENAME COD (fake) + ENAME(l) (cover) with last letter removed or ‘incomplete’ = an example of a pseudonym
19   Extent of French rapacity putting Germany off
DEGREE DE (French word for ‘of’) + GREE(d) (rapacity with D for Germany ‘put off’ or removed) = extent
21   Nothing on telerecording for poet
OVID O (nothing) + VID (telerecording as in video) = poet
22   Fabric originating in Indonesian knotting and tying
IKAT First letters or ‘originating in’ Indonesian Knotting And Tying = fabric. We really liked this clue – very simple, but ikat is a dyeing technique which uses knotting and tying and did originate in Indonesia! It’s fascinating to see how they dye the thread to make the patterns. Double ikat is where both the warp and the weft is tied and dyed and is incredibly difficult to weave.


8 Responses to “Independent 8015 / Phi”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, both, for a helpful and comprehensive blog.

    Bit of music, bit of astronomy – must be Phi on the oche. I liked this one – just about the right level of difficulty with one or two less common words clearly clued. I had heard of PIRANDELLO – probably from crosswords, ‘cos I couldn’t tell you anything about him – and struggled also to get ITSELF, which was my last one in too.

    I specially liked NOW YOU’RE TALKING – Phi doesn’t often do this type of clue, but it was a good one. The only one I had a quibble about was TRIO: surely you have to move the T backwards, not forwards?

    Thanks to Phi for the puzzle; and B&J, spend those euros wisely, please … next time you visit you might not have that pleasure.

  2. duncanshiell says:

    There must be something about touring Europe that appeals to Independent bloggers.

    Like Bertandjoyce and K’s Dad my last one in was ITSELF. When I put it in my first thoughts related to Franklin D Roosevelt’s inauguration speech in March 1933 when he said ‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself’. That quote was made against the backdrop of a banking crisis, which fits well with the current situation.

    This was another enjoyable puzzle from Phi. PIRANDELLO is the ‘six characters in search of an author’ guy and he crops up regularly as a solution or a theme in barred crosswords. I liked the clue to FLATTERY.

    Thanks to Phi and Bertandjoyce

  3. Polly says:

    K’s D: There has been argument here before about forward/back. Granted, as you look at the word the T seems to have been moved back (to an earlier position), but if you bring an appointment forward you move it from a later to an earlier date, e.g. from Friday to Wednesday, which looks like a backward move on the calendar.

  4. Allan_C says:

    I’m with Polly on the forward/back question. As far as crossword wordplay is concerned it seems simple to me – a letter moves forward towards the beginning (front) of the word and backward towards the end (back) of the word. But I accept that others may see it the other way round. It’s a similar argument to that about ‘reversal’ clues such as ‘vehicle backs into trading place (4)'; before you get any crossing letters is the answer ‘tram’ or ‘mart’?

  5. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, Phi, for a fairly tricky puzzle and B&J for the blog in particular for explaining FLATTERY as I thought the car problem was a flat = puncture and could make no sense of the rest. Favourite clue NOW YOU’RE TALKING but all excellently clued as always. In ECONOMIC MIGRANT I think the ‘me’ just refers to the answer.

  6. NealH says:

    I was slightly hindered by putting Martino for 23 (mino[r] around art), which completely blew out the anagram in 4 down. Unfortunately, there is a composer called Martino, although I’m sure he isn’t as famous as Martinu. Unable to think of any other explanation for 4 apart from an anagram but having too many Os, I eventually resorted to the check key and spotted the problem.

    I’m glad other people found Itself tricky – it took me a long time to get it. I didn’t follow Flattery, as I thought it was something like flat tyre with some of the letters rearranged.

  7. Dormouse says:

    Not too many problems – 1dn and 12ac were the last in. Helps that as an SF fan I knew the Oort Cloud, and I’m a great Martinu fan (new production of Julietta coming to London soon), and I’ve even seen a production of Six Characters in Search of an Author.

    Couldn’t parse 3dn, for the reasons given in the blog, and 8dn, for the reason given by NealH.

  8. Rorschach says:

    Wonder if you could clue PIRANDELLO as “Four Characters in Search of an Author”?

    PI + R AND ELL + O

    Tenuous at best?

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