Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8051 / Phi

Posted by duncanshiell on August 3rd, 2012


Today’s offering from Phi was good solid national daily crossword fare.  




I cannot see any theme nor can I see any hidden message in the grid.

There were a couple of entries that were new to me – FRITTO MISTO and BADA BING.  Our house is awash with cookbooks, including a number on Italian cuisine, but neither I nor my wife had come across FRITTO MISTO before.  We did however find a few references when we delved deep into the books.  

I’m not a great watcher of television series, and have to admit to not having seen a complete episode of the Sopranos.  As a result BADA BING was not something that came to mind although the word play is completely fair.  

The other television reference though I was able to cope with – SESAME STREET.

I have got a couple of minor queries about the clues that I mention briefly in the detailed table below.

As ever with crossword clues, there was some good misdirection – e.g. ‘boat’s propeller’,  and ‘regarding preservation’.

Other clues I enjoyed were the ones referencing Mitt R[omney] especially given his ‘interesting’ comments during his recent tour of Europe, and the one leading to DOLLY CAMERA

I reckon this puzzle was slightly to the easier end of Phi’s spectrum of difficulty.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry

Ruining dieting, with a little change at first (8)


REDUCING (diminishing in weight or girth; dieting) with the first letter [at first] changed [little change] from R to S (R and S are very close in the alphabet, so it is only a little change)


SEDUCING (corrupting; ruining)

Fix a new job? No end of trouble (6)


A + N (new) + CHORE (routine household task; job) excluding (no) the E (last letter of  [end of] TROUBLE)


ANCHOR (fix)



Diver locating gold in a boat’s propeller (8)


(A + QUANT [a pole used to propel a punt; boat’s propeller]) containing (locating … in) AU (chemical symbol for gold)


AQUANAUT (a someone who explores and/or lives in the sea at considerable depth; diver.  Also simply a skin-diver).



I’m interrupting obsessively ordered creature (6)


I’M contained in (interrupting) ANAL ([of an adult] categorized as having personality traits such as obsessiveness, attention to detail; obsessively ordered)


ANIMAL (creature)



Item for cinematographer making Academy roll, possibly (5,6)


Anagram of (making … possibly) ACADEMY ROLL


DOLLY CAMERA (a camera moving on a trolley; item for cinematographer)



Vagabond beginning to kip in Brighton attraction (5)


K (first letter of [beginning to] KIP) contained in (in) PIER (reference Brighton PIER; Brighton attraction)


PIKER (vagabond)



Salesman, half-wild stabbing bank employee (9)


(RAVING (wild) excluding 3 of its 6 letters [half] ING) contained in (stabbing) TELLER (bank employee)


TRAVELLER (reference TRAVELLING salesman)



Ancient period, mostly historic and no ice age rocks (not one) (9)


OLD (historic) excluding the last letter (mostly) D + (an anagram of [rocks] NO ICE AGE excluding [not] A [one])


OLIGOCENE (a geological era between the Eocene and Miocene ages in the Tertiary period)



Exact place insect loses tail (5)


LOCUST (insect) excluding the final letter (loses tail) T


LOCUS ([exact] place)



Following Mitt R is too complicated for Italian dish (6,5)


F [following] + (anagram of [complicated] MITT R IS TOO)


FRITTO MISTO (a mixed dish of fried food in Italian cuisine; Italian dish)



French city remains unfinished in appearance? On the contrary (6)


MIEN (air, look, manner, bearing; appearance) contained in (in) (ASH [remains] excluding the final letter [unfinished] H)  This construction is the opposite of that set out in the first part of the clue [on the contrary]


AMIENS (French city)



Ruminant skin always enclosing end of bristle (8)


(RIND [skin] + E’ER [ever; always]) containing (enclosing) E (final letter of [end of] BRISTLE)


REINDEER (an example of a ruminant)



Good to be aboard a promising merchant ship (6)


G (good) contained in (to be aboard) (A + ROSY [promising])


ARGOSY (a great merchant ship, esp of Ragusa (modern Dubrovnik) or Venice)



Casserole recipe not used in Greater Manchester town (8)


STOCKPORT (a metropolitan borough [town] within Greater Manchester) excluding (not used) R (recipe)

STOCKPOT (a pot in which stock for soup is made and kept; casserole)

No. Clue Wordplay Entry
1 Support comedian’s method, mostly (5,2,3)

I think this is a reference to the STAND-UP FORM of comedy (comedian’s method) excluding the final (mostly) M.

An alternative interpretation is just to consider STAND-UP as a definition of comedian and take 4 of the  7 letters (mostly) of FORMULA (method)

STAND UP FOR (support)


2 Yarn in Kindle book out, possibly (6,4)

Anagram of (possibly) KINDLE B (book) and OUT


DOUBLE KNIT (a fabric knitted on two sets of needles, producing a double thickness joined by interlocking stitches; yarn)


3 Shrewd regarding preservation? (5)

CANNY (the verb ‘CAN‘ means to preserve, so CANNY can be defined as regarding preservation)


CANNY (shrewd)  double definition


4 What could make you uneasier than a psychological disorder? (12)

Anagram of (what could make you) UNEASIER THAN


NEURASTHENIA (nervous debility; a psychological disorder)


6 Matchless standard in working on line (9)

PAR (standard) contained in (in) (an anagram of [working] ON LINE)


NONPARIEL (matchless)


7 / 8 Demand from nationalist poet leads to unusual literary event (4,4)

HOMER (poet) + ULE (first letters of [leads to] UNUSUAL, LITERARY and EVENT)


HOME RULE (demand from nationalist)


11 Esteems and rates unusual TV program (6,6)

Anagram of (unusual) ESTEEMS and RATES


SESAME STREET (television program[me].  It originated in the United States so perhaps the program spelling is appropriate)


13 Dodgy character supports man about closure of criminal record (5,5)

([BACKS {supports} + HE {man}] containing [about] L [final letter of {closure of] CRIMINAL) + EP (extended play; record)


BLACK SHEEP (disreputable member of family or group; dodgy character)


14 Nobleman trains actor with no hint of nobility, sadly (10)

Anagram of (sadly) TRAINS ACTOR excluding (no) N (first letter of [hint of] NOBILITY)


ARISTOCRAT (nobleman)


16 Unusual offer stops thieves again? (9)

Anagram of (unusual) OFFER + ENDS (stops)


REOFFENDS (thieves again)


21 Wild reserve mostly coming on after team member (5) MAN (team member) + ICE (reserve) excluding the final letter (mostly) E MANIC (wild)
22 / 23 Expert’s one appearing in report? There you go! (4,4)

(DAB [expert] + I [one]) contained in (appearing in) BANG (report)


BADA BING (a phrase used frequently in the Sopranos television series set against a Mafia backdrop in America.  The phrase means to kill, or finish or ‘there you go’, and is apparently used when a Mafia gunman brings to an end the life of another)

9 Responses to “Independent 8051 / Phi”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, Duncan.

    I agree with you: a pleasing, no-frills puzzle to end the week. I liked SESAME STREET for no other reason than my kids really loved watching it when they were little. Also thought BLACK SHEEP was clever. Slightly spoiled in my opinion by BADA BING, which I couldn’t get. The phrase is an obscurity if you have never seen that TV series, the crossing letters are not super helpful, and since plenty else fits, some other word(s) could easily been clued there. Small niggle though in a good crossword.

  2. Wil Ransome says:

    I think the first interpretation of 1dn is the correct one, because if you take “most of” formula you get form not for.

    Agree with K’s D about BADA BING, of which I’d never heard.

  3. Phi says:

    I should perhaps point out that I’ve never seen anything more than adverts for The Sopranos, and it’s news to me that the phrase comes from there. I’ve encountered it as part of BADA-BING-BADA-BOOM, which certainly seems to imply a detonation of some kind, but even then it was always in print, and as a sort of ‘Ta-da!’ before or after some sort of revelatory statement. Perhaps I should have tried that irritating ‘Boom! Tish!’ that seems to be used in a would-be ironical way after ancient jokes.

  4. Thomas99 says:

    In the Sopranos the Bada Bing is actually a bar – named after the already widespread (in the US) phrase. I used to think of it as the American equivalent of “Bish, bash, bosh”, although that usually refers to things like making money rather than anything more exciting/violent. Now of course I associate it with the Sopranos, although I’m not sure they actually said it much except when referring to the bar.

  5. allan_c says:

    Have to admit that I only got BADA BING by trial and error. But a Google search turned up which explains the expression and for the reference to The Sopranos – which I’ve never seen.

    Otherwise pretty straightforward although PIKER and FRITTO MISTO took a few moments to emerge from the subconscious.

    Thanks, Phi and Duncan

  6. rowland says:

    Very nice. I’ve been dipping in to this one through the morning, having polished off the Guardian offering rather too quickly, or so it seemed! More variety in these clues, some tricky words maybe, and COD HOME RULE.

    Thanks Phi & Duncan.

  7. flashling says:

    Having never seen the Sopranos I took Bada Bing as Phi intended, was held up a bit justifying the end of 1d but it’s fair enough and educated guessed Fritto Misto.

    Thanks Duncan/Phi.

  8. Lenny says:

    Not many Sopranos fans here today. I got Bada Bing straight away but I always thought it was the name of a strip club and did not know it had any other meaning.

    I’m sure your parsing of Amiens is correct Duncan but I got it as an anagram of emains, taking remains unstarted as the contrary of remains unfinished. Admittedly this give me “in appearance” as a rather unsatisfactory anagram indicator.

  9. Dormouse says:

    Found this on the tough side, myself.

    “Bada bing” defeated me, too. Knew the term, but not what it meant (and I’d not seen The Sopranos, either). As there these two 4,4 clues in the top right and bottom left, and as 7dn was “home”, I guessed 22/23 might have “away” in it. that didn’t get me very far, nor help me in getting 24 and 26ac.

    “Quant” and “fritto misto” were new to me.

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