Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,033 / Phi

Posted by RatkojaRiku on July 13th, 2012


This Friday morning, as is customary, saw me pitting my wits against Phi’s latest offering.

I enjoyed completing this grid, with its four long entries; it is not one that I recall having seen all that often before. I spotted that the top and bottom rows might lend themselves to a Nina, but I didn’t identify one anywhere in this puzzle: did I miss anything, I wonder?

I worked through this puzzle steadily, faltering only at the last hurdle with the intersecting entries at 3 and 10, both of which were new words for me. Tight wordplay allowed me to solve both satisfactorily and then check them in the dictionary. It took me a while to crack the ingenious wordplay of 7D and 11, both of which raised a smile when I twigged how they worked. Incidentally, the word at 7D figured in a Phi puzzle back in May that I blogged, so it must be a word that he feels has a lot of clueing potential; having not known it the first time, I was pleased to remember it today.

My favourite clues today were 13, for its original homophone indicator, and 16, for its smooth surface and clever device for dropping initial letters.

*(…) indicates an anagram

7   ARCHIMEDES’ SCREW   ARCH (=main, as in arch enemy) + *(I’D SEEM) + S (=second) + CREW (=gang); “upset” is anagram indicator; an Archimedes’ screw is a pump-like device used historically to raise water, hence “one shifts water”
9   I KNOW   I (=one) + K (=king, in chess and cards) + NOW (WON=triumphed; “after reversal” indicates reversal)
10   AVIFAUNAL   [FAUN (=minor god, i.e. rural deity)] in [A + VIAL (=bottle, i.e. for medicine)]; avifaunal describes the bird-life of a particular region, hence “of local birds”
11   ALLEGORICAL   ALL (=entirely) + <cat>EGORICAL (=definite; “removing animal (=CAT)” means the letters “cat” are dropped
13   PIC   Homophone (“using voice software”) of “pick” (=select)
14   VATICAN   VAT (=tax, i.e. Value Added Tax) + I CAN (=expression of capability)
16   REPRINT   [PR (=price) + I] in RENT (=regular payment)
17   RYE   RY<d>E; with or without the letter “d” (=daughter), the word is the name of a coastal town, Rye in East Sussex and Ryde on the Isle of Wight
18   MAGIC BULLET   MAG (=magazine) + [BULL (=spectator) in ICE (=reserve, i.e. frostiness)] + <inves>T (“last to” means last letter   only)
21   I CLAUDIUS   {[C<ritical> + LAUD (=acclaim)] in II (=two, i.e. in Roman numerals)} + US (=American); the reference is to I, Claudius, the 1934 novel by English writer Robert Graves
22   FARSI   FAR (=remote) + S (=south) + I (=island)
24   NOUVELLE CUISINE   *(LUNC<h>EON ELUSIVE I); “hard (=H) to miss” means the letter “h” is dropped from anagram, indicated by “fancy”
1   SCAN   SCAN<t> (=inadequate); “not entirely” means last letter is dropped
2   BIGWIG   W (=Welsh) in [GIGI (=musical) + B (=book)]; “brought up” indicates vertical reversal
3   BETATRON   BET (=risk) + <m>ATRON (=senior nurse; “knocking top off” means first letter is dropped);
4   HELIAC   HE (=fellow) + L (=left) + I (=one) + AC (=account)
5   ESCALLOP   CALL (=name) in ESOP (POSE=position; “elevated” indicates vertical reversal)
6   PRENUPTIAL   *(NEAR PULPIT); “moving” is anagram indicator
7   ANIMADVERSION   *(DRIVES ON) replaces the last letter (“tail”) of ANIMA<l> (=creature); “cruelly” is anagram indicator
8   WILDCAT STRIKE   <ove>R (“end of” means last letter only) in *(I’D LAST WICKET); “tumbling” is anagram indicator
12   LITTER LOUT   LITTER (=young animals) + L (=left) + OUT (=uncovered)
15   COMPUTER   COM (=common) + PUT<t>ER (=club, i.e. in golf); “half-heartedly” means one of middle letters is dropped
16   RUCKSACK   <t>RUCKS (=haulage vehicles) + <b>ACK (=returned); “with fronts removed” means that initial letters of each are dropped
19   GRISLY   GRI<d> (=puzzle diagram; “mostly” means last letter is dropped) + SLY (=not straightforward, i.e. devious)
20   UNFAIR   <f>UNFAIR (=entertainment centre); “heading away” means first letter is dropped
23   RAIN   <b>RAIN (=intelligence); “without leadership” means first letter is dropped; the definition is “downfall”, i.e. a heavy fall of rain

7 Responses to “Independent 8,033 / Phi”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, RR, and Phi. I got two of the long entries very quickly (24A and 8D) but the other two took very much longer. Like you I esp liked RUCKSACK – also LITTER LOUT. Not too difficult a puzzle overall.

  2. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Phi for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle and RR for the blog. I too finished on 3dn/10ac.

    Favourite clue 7dn: a nice device clearly indicated.

    A couple of small points about the parsing:

    10ac: This is just FAUN in [A + VIAL], or possibly A + [FAUN in VIAL]. The “a” in the middle of the clue is part of the indication for FAUN.

    2dn: You have identified the reversal indicator but (as I write this) have not actually said “all reversed” in the parsing.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Nice blog, thanks.

    Another fine Friday puzzle from Phi – no bells and whistles, but a very pleasing solve. No stand-out clues (although I did like the surface for PRENUPTIAL) but plenty to enjoy. For those who do the puzzle in Another Place, there is a really spooky coincidence with one of the unusual words clued here.

    Thanks to Phi.

  4. Dormouse says:

    Yeah, not too difficult today. Finished most of it at lunchtime with only two clues left to do – 3dn and 16dn. Came back to it just now and they suddenly came to me. Didn’t know 10ac but guessed it must start “avi-” and end “-al” so I just opened Chambers and looked at the entry for “Aves”.

    Couldn’t see how 5dn worked but it I now realise it was glaringly obvious.

    We had a Gigi connection in the Saturday prize crossword just a couple of weeks ago.

  5. NealH says:

    I thought this rounded off the week nicely. The puzzles have been of a reasonable uniform standard this week, with Monday’s being probably the easiest and the other four being of a fairly similar level of difficulty. Thankfully, there were no Nimrods or Bannsiders, so I was able to get a nice clean sweep.

  6. Phi says:

    Ah, yes – ANIMADVERSION. I wondered if anyone would spot the recurrence. I came across it a while ago, put it on my list of words to kick off filling blank grids, used it in a grid, forgot to delete it from the list, used it again. If it had been published in the order the grids were filled, there’d have been only a couple of weeks between appearances, but I rejigged the order I sent them to Eimi, and I think the further reordering occasioned by the asymmetrical puzzle may have given a further week’s grace.

  7. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks for the comments on the parsing, Pelham Barton: I have amended 10 accordingly, although I am not convinced of the need to add “all” in 2, since the “w” is not necessarily reversed, as I see it.

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