Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8046 by Phi (Saturday Prize Puzzle 28 July 2012)

Posted by mc_rapper67 on August 4th, 2012


Layers within layers – what seemed at first to be a nice fluffy topical thematic puzzle (I know, we aren’t supposed to give away too much in these first sentences, but there can’t be many people on the planet, let alone among the Indy readership, who aren’t aware of this theme) turned out to have a chilling/sinister undercurrent of a sub-theme…

After a busy weekend I settled down to this on the train to work on Monday, slotted in 9A – OLYMPIC, got 10A ANTWERP with a link between 9A and 11A, and immediately assumed 11A would be GAMES, and then found AMSTERDAM at 12A. Simple enough?

I then sat back, looked at the rest of the clues for the first time, and was struck by that linkage – 9/11 – appearing 8 times. An iconic reference, but a month or so early for an anniversary theme? Then I went to fill in that top left corner and actually solved 2D – SYDNEY from the wordplay and Olympics theme before I re-read it – and stopped in my tracks:

‘Yes, NY devastated about day – 9/11′

Wow. Add to that the clues for 19A – ST LOUIS, ‘9/11 – souls destroyed with it?‘, and 26A – BARCELONA, with ‘collapses’ as the anagram indicator, and you have some powerful images/surface readings leading to answers unconnected with the events of that day, but relevant to the juxtaposition of 9A OLYMPIC and 11A VENUE (not GAMES, as I had by now worked out).

I have no idea if this was intentional, with the linkage of 9/11 decided up front, or just a coincidence of the theme words ending up at 9 and 11 leading to Phi thinking and clueing in this vein, but it certainly adds some depth to an otherwise, dare I say it, routine(?) thematic of 8 Olympic cities, most of which were quite quickly ‘gettable’, and which gave plenty of crossing letters to help with other entries.

Some other sporting/Olympic  references – 3D with a man (Roger Bannister) ‘taking mile in record time'; SPORTSMAN at 23A, with the added image of kinky sex in a hospital (oooh, matron!); LANCE at 27A (not sure if Mr Armstrong ever cycled in the Olympics?); TONIC at 21A – hopefully not too many athletes resorting to ‘boosting’ substances this fortnight?; and, at a putsch(?), a German word FELDGRAU at 7D, to go with the MUNICH games at 25D.

Even 1A adds another layer of topicality – referring to the ‘end of euro’ and the ‘situation in Greece’, with an ‘unknown politician in charge’…

I should have known not to expect ‘fluffy’ with Phi, especially in a prize puzzle, and there may be more subtleties that I have missed here. I would say not too difficult a puzzle, as a Saturday prize cryptic crossword, but certainly an interesting one.

Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
9A OLYMPIC End of euro left unknown politician in charge re situation in Greece (7) re situation in Greece /
O (last letter of eurO) + L (left) + Y (unknown, mathematics) + MP (politician) + IC (in charge)
10A ANTWERP 9/11 article by fool (7) Olympic venue /
AN (article) + TWERP (fool)
11A VENUE Location’s energy supplied by Phosphorus mostly (5) Location /
VENU (most of Venus, or Phosphorus, the morning star) + E (energy)
12A AMSTERDAM 9/11 – stream diverted by what could block it (9) Olympic venue /
AMSTER (anag, i.e. diverted, of STREAM) + DAM (what might block a stream)
13A RHYMESTER Poet’s rewritten the merry verses at last (9) Poet /
anag (i.e. rewritten) of THE MERRY + S (last letter of verses)
14A MORAL Practical lesson – liable to die without it ultimately (5) Practical lesson /
MORtAL (likely to die, without T, last letter of IT)
16A ARMBAND Doctor in Irish islands finally identified – addition to jacket? (7) addition to jacket /
ARAN (Irish islands) around MB (doctor, Medicinae Baccalaureus (Latin), Bachelor of Medicine) + D (last letter of identifieD)
19A ST LOUIS 9/11 – souls destroyed with it? (2, 5) Olympic venue /
anag (i.e. destroyed) of SOULS + IT
21A TONIC Important note, something providing a boost (5) double defn. /
TONIC can be the first note of a musical scale – or a ‘pick-me-up’/boost
23A SPORTSMAN Game fellow left to get kinky sex in hospital (9) Game fellow /
SAN (sanatorium, hospital) around PORT (left, nautical) + SM (sado-masochism, kinky sex)
26A BARCELONA 9/11 book and article clear on collapses (9) Olympic venue /
B (book) + A (article) + anag (i.e. collapses) of CLEAR ON
27A LANCE Weapon corps used in track (5) Weapon /
LANE (track) around C (corps)
28A SPANGLE Bridge cement not originally used for decoration (7) decoration /
SPAN (bridge) + GLuE (cement, without U – first letter of USED)
29A GANACHE Group endlessly long for chocolate filling (7) chocolate filling /
GANg (group, without last letter) + ACHE (long, yearn, for)
Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
1D CONVERSANT Familiar opposing element finishing off soldier (10) Familiar (with) /
CONVERSe (opposing element, with last letter off) + ANT (soldier)
2D SYDNEY Yes, NY devastated about day – 9/11 (6) Olympic venue /
anag (i.e. devastated) of YES + NY, around D (day)
3D EPHEMERA Man taking mile in record time – what’s ignored by history? (8) what’s ignored by history /
EP (record) + ERA (time) around HE (man) + M (mile)
4D OCTANT Zero tilt around boat’s stern as shown in old navigational device (6) old navigational device /
O (zero) + CANT (tilt) around T (last letter of boat)
5D PASSERES Group of birds goes by without hesitation (8) Group of birds /
PASSES (goes by) around ER (hesitation)
6D STREAM Flowing water power involving river (6) Flowing water /
STEAM (power) around R (river)
7D FELDGRAU Endless material foreign guard has on in German military colour (8) German military colour (field grey)/
FELt (material, endless) plus (on) anag (i.e. foreign) of GUARD
8D SPAM Plans picking up unwanted correspondence (4) unwanted correspondence /
SPAM = maps (plans) backwards (picking up)
15D LOS ANGELES Fails to secure one set in 9/11 (3, 7) Olympic venue /
LOSES (fails) around (securing) AN (one) + GEL (set)
17D MONTREAL 9/11 – money not involved in actuality (8) Olympic venue /
M (money) + ONT (anag, i.e. involved, of NOT) + REAL (in actuality)
18D DISCOVER Find telescope’s view of planet completed (8) Find /
DISC (what a planet looks like through a telescope) + OVER (completed)
20D LET ALONE Never mind stock being moved into shelter (3, 5) Never mind /
LEE (shelter) around TALON (stock, of cards, remaining after the deal)
22D CLERGY The cloth, transparent and brightly coloured, concealing articles (6) The cloth /
CLEaR (transparent) + GaY (brightly coloured), without ‘a’ twice – concealing articles)
24D ORANGE Colour bled – individual upset about that (6) Colour /
OGE (‘ego’, individual, upset) around RAN (bled)
25D MUNICH Artist capturing one in 9/11 (6) Olympic venue /
MUNCH (Edvard, artist) around (capturing) I (one)
26D BUST Broken item of statuary (4) double defn./ &lit-ish? /
BUST can mean broken, or a statue – many older ones of which are often broken!?

4 Responses to “Independent 8046 by Phi (Saturday Prize Puzzle 28 July 2012)”

  1. flashling says:

    As you say MC an interesting twist, had the black september thing happened 6 days later it would have been quite some “coincidence” in 25d, but a nice double theme combination from Phi, must have been a bit of a toss up whether to open with Koroibos(Tees) or this last friday.

  2. allan_c says:

    Some nice non-thematic clues and answers too, for example RHYMESTER, SPANGLE and (my nomination for CoD) GANACHE.

    Thanks, Phi and MC

  3. Wil Ransome says:

    I enjoyed this, but invented a chocolate filling called genache (having shortened gens, which seemed to fit in with the Olympic theme).

    And I’ve said this before but it doesn’t get great support because some people think it’s quite OK, but it seems to me that a clue should lead incontrovertibly to the answer. 8dn could as well be MAPS as SPAM.

  4. flashling says:

    Yes Wil if anything the way 8d reads to me, leads to maps not SPAM

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

− four = 4