Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8123 / Phi

Posted by duncanshiell on October 26th, 2012


This was an entertaining puzzle from Phi with many clues leading to wordplay constructed from several parts.




I particularly enjoyed the clue to HERTFORD COLLEGE which I reckon had six constituent parts to the wordplay.  Other clues to words and phrases such as NE’ER DO WELL, ORGANOGRAM, INTROS, SPUTNIK and DOVECOT had three or more component parts.  There were more of this nature.  I prefer these types of clue to the simple two part addiitve wordplay that frequently occurs in many daily puzzles.

It took me a long time to spell the Irish port properly; initally I felt that it had to end GH, but gradually the crossing letters ruled out that idea.  In the end, I worked it out without looking up a reference book.

ENID seems to be a girl’s name that is nowadays seen more often in crosswords than in real life.  She must be a boon to setters who see blank N blank D for the final four letter entry  I think SNED, SNOD, INBD (inboard) and the Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID)  would struggle to get past crossword editors for daily puzzles.


No. Clue Wordplay Entry

Swishing rod successfully on rear of born scallywag (4-2-4)


NÉE ([of a woman], born) + an anagram of (swishing) ROD + WELL (successfully)


NE’ER-DO-WELL (good-for-nothing; scallywag)   I think SCALLYWAGs have a touch of impishness or mischieviousness about them, whereas NE’ER-DO-WELLs are more idle and useless.



Food problem recalled about recipe (4)


BUG (problem) reversed (recalled) containing (about) R (recipe)

G (R) UB<

GRUB (food)



Newspaper backing energy strike, one showing company structure? (10)


ORGAN (newspaper) + (GO [energy] reversed [backing]) + RAM (strike)


ORGANOGRAM (chart showing graded arrangement of personnel in an organization; organisational chart; company structure)



Borders removed from holy region of ground (4)


SACRED (holy) excluding (removed from) SD (first and last letters [borders])


ACRE (unit of ground measurment; region of ground)



I note rebuff of kind opening gestures (6)


I + N (note) + (SORT [kind] reversed [rebuff of])


INTROS (contraction of introductions, used especially of the opening passages of a jazz or popular music pieces; opening gestures)



Orbiter placed in retrograde track finally going behind Sun (7)


S (sun) + PUT (placed in) + (IN reversed [retrograde]) + K (last letter of [finally] TRACK)


SPUTNIK (the first artificial Earth satellite; launched in 1957; orbiter)



Woman’s tense and cross, getting pass, say, in the French educational establishment (8,7)


HER (woman’s) + T (tense) + FORD (cross) + COL (pass) + (EG [for example, say] contained in [in] LE [one of the French forms of the definitie article, ‘the’)


HERTFORD COLLEGE (one of the COLLEGEs of the University of Oxford; educational establishment)



Dangerous approach i.e. councillors so maladroit (9,6)


Anagram of (maladroit) I.E. COUNCILLORS SO


COLLISION COURSE (a course which, if persisted in, will result in a crash; dangerous approach)



Party veteran keeping care of home for peacemongers? (7)


DO (party) + (VET [veteran containing [keeping] C/O [care of])


DOVECOT (pigeon or dove house; doves are associated with innocence, gentleness and peace, so ‘home for peacemongers’)



Smart hat chap’s used to conceal hair (6)


THATCH (hidden word in [used to conceal]) SMART HAT CHAP’S)


THATCH (thick hair)



Glance overlooking first website feature (4)


BLINK (glance) excluding the first letter (overlooking first) B


LINK (hyperlink [a form of cross-reference in computer-readable text which allows instant access to related material]; feature on a website to allow users to obtain additional information)



With justification, royal buttons loose lip in front of Duke (10)


(PRINCE [royal {person}] containing [buttons] an anagram of [loose] LIP) + D (duke)


PRINCIPLED (with theoretical justification)



Artist showing vegetable with rear end foremost (4)


LEEK (vegetable) with the last letter K moving to the front (rear end foremost)


KLEE (reference Paul KLEE [1879-1940], Swiss German artist)



Not very intellectual book occupying position halfway down shelves? (10)


B (book) contained in (occupying) MIDDLE ROW (halfway down the ROWs of shelves)


MIDDLEBROW (something midway between highbrow and lowbrow; not very intellectual)



Description of ancient people i.e. clothing mostly ragged (9)


Anagram of I.E. CLOTHING excluding the final letter [mostly] G


NEOLITHIC (of or relating to the later, more advanced, Stone Age; descriptive of ancient people)



Crew to draw up around good harbour at first (5)


TIE (draw [e.g. between two sports teams]) reversed (up) containing (around) (G [good] + H [first letter of {at first} HARBOUR)

EI (G H) T<

EIGHT (crew, e.g. a set of EIGHT rowers)



Exact and trim, leave church to get marriage award (6,6)


DUN (importune for payment; exact) + MOW (trim) + FLIT (move house; leave stealthily) + CH (church)


DUNMOW FLITCH (BrewersDictionary of Phrase and Fable tells us that the expression ‘eating DUNMOW bacon’ was formerly used of happily married couples, especially those who had lived long together and never quarrelled.  The allusion is to a custom said to have been instituted by Lady Juga Bayneard in 1104 and restored by Robert Fitzwaller in 1244.  It was that any person going to DUNMOW, in Essex, and humbly kneeling on two sharp stones at the church door, might claim a FLITCH [side] of bacon if he could swear that for 12 months and a day he had never had a household brawl or wished himself unmarried'; marrriage award)



Carry on with a game although losing heart (4)


W (with) + A + (GAME excluding the two middle letters [losing heart] AM)


WAGE (carry on)



Calendar adjustment one’s placed in error (4,6)


Anagram of (in error) ONES PLACED


LEAP SECOND (a second added to or subtracted from one scale of time whenever necessary, to bring that scale into harmony with another scale or with the rotation of the earth; calendar adjustment)



Story-teller – company cornered by tirade to regret turning up (9)


(CO [company] contained in [cornered by] RANT [tirade]) + RUE (regret) reversed (turning up)


RACONTEUR (a teller of anecdotes; story teller)



Magistrate imprisoning lecturer, offering little comfort (5)


BEAK (magistrate) containing (imprisoning) L (lecturer)


BLEAK (dull and cheerless; offering little comfort)



Port redesign radical enough without opening for canoes (3,9)


Anagram of (redesign) RADICAL ENOUGH excluding (without) C (first letter of [opening] CANOES)


DUN LAOGHAIRE (port town to the south of Dublin in the Republic of Ireland)



Brute with biro translated one papal blessing (4,2,4)


Anagram of (translated) BRUTE BIRO + I (one)  


URBI ET ORBI ([of a papal blessing, addressed] to the city and to the world)



Point regarding central feature elevated above church (9)


RE (regarding) + (NAVEL [central feature] reversed [elevated]) + CE (church [of England])  For a while I was trying to fit the LEVA or ELEVA within ELEVATED into the wordplay.





"English certainly had pained expression" (it’s applied to observers) (3,6)


E (English) + YES (certainly) + HAD + OW (pained expression)


EYE SHADOW (a cosmetic applied to the eyelids and the eyebrows; it’s applied to observers [eyes])



Dean Koontz’s first SF villain (5)


DALE (low ground between hills; valley; a dean is a small valley) + K (first letter of [first] KOONTZ)


DALEK (sworn enemy of Dr Who; science fiction [SF] villain. The Daleks are a powerful race bent on universal conquest and domination, utterly without pity, compassion or remorse)

Dean Koontz is a thriller writer who sometimes incorporates science fiction elements into his novels.


Roof-worker put on again, after being hoisted (5)


RELIT (put on again) reversed (after being hoisted)


TILER (roof worker)



Stop cuddling one girl (4)


END (stop) containing (cuddling) I (one)


ENID (girl’s name)



8 Responses to “Independent 8123 / Phi”

  1. crypticsue says:

    I agree with everything Duncan says about this very nice Friday puzzle. Thanks to Phi and Duncan too.

  2. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, Phi, and Duncan – excellent puzzle, everything clear. Was lucky to have heard of DUNMOW FLITCH from before (possibly from featuring in a puzzle) – also pleased to get HERTFORD COLLEGE from the wordplay after flirting with HEREFORD COLLEGE but unable to justify it. Favourite clue MIDDLEBROW.

  3. allan_c says:

    Thanks, Phi, for a challenging yet not too obscure puzzle, and Duncan for the usual superb blog.

    nmsindy @2: I think you’re right about DUNMOW FLITCH featuring before in a puzzle; I seem to remember it from fairly recently. Not sure where; could have been in another place or maybe one of the i’s recycled indy puzzles.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Dean as a ‘valley’ was a new one for me, (is that why it comes up in place names like ROTTINGDEAN?) but otherwise all clearly signposted as usual with Phi. Difficult to pick a favourite clue, since it was all good. DUNMOW FLITCH does seem to come up regularly – I guess it’s attractive to setters because it can be clued in various ways.

    Super blog, Duncan, and thanks to Phi too for the puzzle.

  5. flashling says:

    I did think that Enid as a gitl’s name is unlikely, never met one. Seen DEAN=DALE used here or the other place quite recently.

    Thanks Duncan as ever and Phi.

  6. Polly says:

    I’ve never met an Enid either, but most people have surely heard of Enid Blyton – or do you have to be over 40… 50… 60…?

  7. Dormouse says:

    I remember seeing a fifties British comedy film on TV when I was young which had the Dunmow flitch as its subject. Thought it was called that, but a search of Wikipedia suggest it might be the 1952 film Made in Heaven.

    The Dervish House by the British author Ian McDonald is dedicated “to Enid” who I think is the author’s wife. I’ve met McDonald, and he was in the company of a woman at the time who I believe was his wife, so I guess I’ve met an Enid.

    “Organogram” got me in the end. I guessed it started organ- and looked in Chambers but failed to see it. Needed a word search.

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Phi and Duncan! Another good end to the week.

    Can we claim our Dunmow Flitch belatedly?

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