Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8099 / Phi

Posted by duncanshiell on September 28th, 2012


I made steady progress through this puzzle from Phi.  There were a couple of words that I only come across in crosswords, but overall this was a puzzle that did not dip into obscurity.




Clues I liked most were those for PERFECT STORM, ABORT, CANONICAL and CELTIC FRINGE as the surfaces conjured up excellent word pictures or showed a good degree of lateral thinking.

PALIMPSEST and KNAR were the words that I only see in crosswords, although I expect I have talked about KNARled oaks at some time during walks in the countryside.

Regular readers of my blogs may know that films are not one of my strong points, but even I had heard of CASABLANCA.

These days, bloogers have to look round the grid to see if there is a hidden message anywhere.  I got mildly excited when I noted that the unchecked letters in column 2 formed an anagram of America, but I’m sure it’s just coincidence.  Only the last row of unchecked letters were an another anagram – lanugos [coats of fine hair].

This was a puzzle that met the reuquirements of a standard national daily newspaper puzzle.  Enjoyable and not too difficult.


No. Clue Wordplay Entry

Film with subtitles in White House? (10)


CASA BLANCA (if a film was in Spanish with English subtitles, reference to CASA BLANCA would be subtitled WHITE HOUSE)


CASABLANCA (1942 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman)



Call to have money invested is stupid (4)


DUB (to confer any name or dignity upon; call) containing (having … invested in) M (money

DU (M) B

DUMB (stupid)



Unobtrusive element of defence reduced to powder (10)


BACK (many sports teams’ defences include the BACKs) + GROUND (reduced to powder)


BACKGROUND (an inconspicuous or obscure position, the shadows; unobtrusive element, though judging by some letters to the press about BACKGROUND music, it’s not always unobtrusive)



Some home’s squalid exhibiting this (4)


MESS (hidden word in [some]) HOME’S SQUALID


MESS (something disagreeable to the sight or taste; something you may see in a SQUALID HOUSE)



Contrary types of container round America (12)


CAN (small container) + TANKER (another container) + O (circle; round) + US ([United States of] America)





Agile mammal, one swallowed by a reptile (9)


(BAT [a flying mammal] + I [one]) contained in (swallowed by ) (A + CROC [crocodile; reptile])





Time to attack unwanted contributor to site? (5)


T (time) + ROLL (attack and rob [slang])


TROLL ( a commenter on a website who makes conscious attempt to provoke controversy or disagreement; unwanted contributor)



I’m mostly covering Press (5)


I’M + PELT (a raw animal hide with the fur still on; a covering) excluding the final letter (mostly) T


IMPEL (urge forward; press [into action])



Mineral: man holds a small sheet (9)


MALE (man) containing (holds) (A + CHIT [short informal letter or note; small sheet])


MALACHITE (a green mineral, basic copper carbonate)



Critical situation sees priest reeling from secret about opening of temple (7,5)


P (priest) + (an anagram of [reeling] FROM SECRET containing (about) T [first letter of {opening of} TEMPLE])


PERFECT STORM (an event where a rare combination of circumstances will aggravate a situation drastically; critical situation)



Name given to statue in the rose-garden (4)


EROS (hidden word in (in) THE ROSE-GARDEN) EROS (popular name given to the Shaftesbury Monument in Piccadilly Circus in London)

Keeping out of contest? Muscles with stress, we hear (10)


ABS (adbominal muscles) + TENTION (sounds like [we hear] TENSION [stress])


ABSTENTION (not voting; keeping out of the contest)



Underdeveloped, not resonant, not seeing repetition (4)


TINNY (not rounded and resonant) excluding one of the double [not seeing repetition] letters N


TINY (very small; underdeveloped?)



Sad film, opening with taunt about Queen and King (10)


TEAR (opening torn in something) + (JEER [taunt] containing [ about] [R {regina; queen} + K {king}])


TEARJERKER (extravagantly sentimental [sad] film)



New reporter active in Hemingway’s stamping-ground (4)


CUB a young or inexperienced [new] reporter) + A (active)


CUBA (One of  Ernest Hemingway homes was in  Cuba.  He spent a lot time in Cuba in the 1930a and 1940s)



Stun, despite pulling hard punch (4)


SHOCK (stun) excluding ([despite?] pulling) H (hard)


SOCK (punch)



Fish swallowing egg that is beginning to float is to strain credultiy (6,6)


(BARBEL [a freshwater fish of the carp family] containing (swallowing) EGG) + IE (id est; that is) + F (first letter of [beginning to] FLOAT)


BEGGAR BELIEF (strain credulity)



Stop selecting one letter from tab? (5)


A B OR T (the letter of TAB are A, B and T so to select one you pick A, B OR T)


ABORT (abandon; stop)



Standard prison on island (location of Alcatraz) (9)


CAN (prison [slang]) + ON + I [island] + CAL (California; Alcatraz Prison buildings [now unused as a prison] are on an island in San Francisco bay)


CANONICAL (orthodox or accepted; standard)



A French series of picture’s that’s limited on losing money (10)


UNE (one of the French words for ‘a’) + (COMIC [series of pictures] containing [that’s limited] ON)


UNECONOMIC (not profitable; losing money)



Soccer player and comic actor mostly featuring in such a book? (4,6)


BEST (reference George BEST [1946 – 2005], Manchester United and Northern Ireland football player)  + SELLERS (reference Peter SELLERS [1925 – 1980], comic actor and singer) excluding the final letter (mostly) S


BEST SELLER (BEST SELLing books could well feature or be biographies of soccer players and comic actors)



Feeling critic errs excluding capital of Ireland here (6,6)


Anagram of (errs) FEELING CRITIC excluding I (first letter of [capital of] IRELAND)


CELTIC FRINGE (defined by Chambers as an offensive term applied to Wales, Ireland and the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, which have different cultural, social and political characteristics from the rest of the British Isles.  Dublin, capital city of the Republic of Ireland is physically located in the CELTIC FRINGE, so a critic would err by excluding it)



View not initially seen in historic recycled document (10)


GLIMPSE (momentary view) excluding the first letter [not initially] G contained in (seen in) PAST (historic)


PALIMPSEST (manuscript in which old writing has been rubbed out to make room for new; recycled document)



Supporting a member of order, accommodating old name (6,4)


PRO (in favour; supporting)  + PER (a) + (NUN [female member of a religious order] containing [accommodating] O [old])


PROPER NOUN (the name of a particular person, animal, thing, place,etc)



Schedule satisfied sailor in cap? (9)


(MET [satisfied] + AB (able seaman; sailor) contained in (in) TILE (hat; cap)


TIMETABLE (schedule)



Team debut in defeat upset trainer (5)


T (first letter of [debut] TEAM) contained in (in) (ROUT [defeat] reversed [upset; down clue])

TU (T) OR<

TUTOR (trainer)



Judge and knight captured in dodgy manoeuvre (4)


J (judge) + IN + K (king)


JINK (quick deceptive turn; manouevre to dodge; dodgy manoeuvre)



Raised line showing knot (4)


RANK (row; line) reversed (raised; down clue)


KNAR (a knot on a tree)


16 Responses to “Independent 8099 / Phi”

  1. crypticsue says:

    Very enjoyable as usual from Phi. I will agree with Duncan about KNAR only appearing in crosswords but I once had to type up a report for an archaeologist, so PALIMPSEST remains firmly imprinted in my mind! Thanks to Duncan for an excellent blog too.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, Duncan. Just right for the end of the cryptic week, I thought. PALIMPSEST I keep forgetting (maybe I need to get a job as an archaeologist’s PA) and KNAR was new to me, although now you’ve explained the KNARLED connection, I will remember that one. Couldn’t parse ABORT, so well done for sorting that one out.

    Was pleased to put in CANONICAL from the wordplay.

    Thanks to Phi.

  3. aztobesed says:

    Thanks for the blog, Duncan.

    I fair flew through this which leads me to think the crossers were particularly helpful. Casablanca had me on the alert for films and I spotted The Perfect Storm and Troll. Cuba is probably in there too and The Tutor rings a bell but after that I concluded if there were others they weren’t in my locker. Palimpsest was interesting because it was Hellman’s original idea for the title of Pentimento which went on to be filmed as Julia.

    Thanks of course to Phi for an enjoyable puzzle

  4. allan_c says:

    Another satisfying Friday offering from Phi, although I went off on one or two false trails. With just the two crossing Ns for 5d I thought of ‘Peninsula’ – pen (= penitentiary = prison) on ‘insula’ (Latin for island), not that I could see how ‘standard’ came into it and if ‘location of Alcatraz’ was a definition by example it wasn’t right, said prison being on an island, not a peninsula.
    Thanks, Duncan, for your usual masterly blog (or bloog?)

  5. sidey says:

    I do like a Phi. I often recommend them to my sister who finds many Indie setters a bit daunting.

    I didn’t realise that Celtic Fringe was offensive, good job I have never used it.

    Slightly interestingly, the OED gives KNARRED as the adjective, it says KNARL is rare. Me,I’d use gnarled but this appears to be another invention by Shakespeare.

  6. nmsindy says:

    Unlike others here, I seem to have found this quite difficult by Phi’s normal standards but all was sorted in the end and all very good and fair. Favourite clue JINK having been tempted by RISK (sir = knight) for ages but not of course able to justify it. Not knowing where Alcatraz was slowed me too as well as having forgotten MALACHITE. Many thanks, Phi, and Duncan for another marvellous blog.

  7. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Phi for a crossword well up to your usual high standards and Duncan for a blog of which the same can be said.

    Some thoughts about 11dn. The problem is how to indicate the removal of just one of three Is. To me, “excluding” carries overtones that suggest removing every occurrence of the letter. Replacing “excluding” by a word like “omitting” would spoil the surface. Perhaps the clue could have been turned round to read:

    Excluding capital of Ireland, feeling critic errs here (6, 6)

    Then we can remove the only I from “feeling” before linking with “critic” to make the anagram fodder. However, the surface is not as good, so on reflection I am happy to go with Phi’s clue as the best construction for the idea behind it.

  8. yvains says:

    Thanks, Phi, and Duncan particularly for the parsing of 14: I seem to have a permanent block about PER=a. I liked most the simplicity of 9 and 4.

  9. flashling says:

    Phi beat me at the end, I’ve only ever known it as Gnarl, still a pleasant runaround, thanks both.

  10. Paul B says:

    I appreciate PB’s point, however all three of FEELiNG CRITIC*, FEELING CRiTIC* and FEELING CRITiC* do the trick: and since the indication is clearly that only one ‘i’ should be removed (‘capital of Ireland’), it seems to parse cryptic muster.

    Sorry about that pun there.

  11. Dormouse says:

    Didn’t start too badly but there were three clues at the end that gave me a problem. Finally got 20ac, which was enough to give me 13dn and 26ac.

    Not only have I come across “palimpsest” in other contexts than crosswords, a couple of years ago I was at an SF awards ceremony and two separate nominated works in two different categories were titled “Palimpsest”. Unfortunately, the person reading out the nominations didn’t know how to pronounce it and kept stumbling over the word.

  12. Pelham Barton says:

    Paul B @10 re 11dn: The indication to remove only one I comes clearly enough from the length of the answer, but to my way of thinking “excluding capital of Ireland” can mean either “remove just one I” or “remove every I”, with the latter being the more natural reading.

    More importantly to me, one should never apologise for a good pun.

  13. NealH says:

    I don’t think 26 works as tinny minus one of the double N. The clue would then have to read “Underdeveloped, not resonant, not not seeing repetition”. I think it’s just saying there isn’t a repetition of any sort in tinny, so no double N. That was the clue that mainly held me up, as I couldn’t work it out and only got it from the definition.

  14. NealH says:

    Actually, re-reading the blog, that probably is what you meant. I was a bit hung up on the N being clued by “not”, which doesn’t make sense.

  15. redddevil says:

    And maybe Messrs Best and Sellers could both have done with an ‘old’ in front of them given that they’re both dead!

  16. Paul B says:

    Overcomplicating things a bit aren’t we? TINY parses as blogged, where TINNY shows no example of a repetition.

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