Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8140 / Morph

Posted by Bertandjoyce on November 15th, 2012


Thanks Morph for another enjoyable puzzle. Some of the clues left us very puzzled but when the penny dropped we could see that the clues were fair (but very often mischievous!).

A good range of clues overall in our opinion with much to please most abilities. Often we could guess what word would fit in but we spent a while trying to explain why. For that reason we feel it was a good choice for a Thursday puzzle where aspiring solvers could at least have a go at completing more of the grid without necessarily knowing why they were right. Which is exactly where 225 come in!

Mind you… in the case of 12ac it wasn’t until near the end that we realised the errors of our ways and gave up trying to insert TROUT!

We may not have regular access to the blog today, as we are not on UK time. If there are any errors in the blog please accept our apologies and we hope that if we have missed anything it can be sorted out by the regulars or new commenters on 225!

1   Distribute Iranian parts? Third time America goes for old slander?
CAST ASPERSIONS A charade on CAST AS PERSI(a)NS (‘distribute Iranian parts’) with the third A (America) leaving and being replaced by O (old) = slander
8   European – and not southern European
NORSE NOR (not) + S (southern) + E (European) = European
9   Namely creature to attack
SCAPEGOAT SC (namely) + APE (creature) + GO AT (attack) = someone who you would be likely to attack! We first wondered what the attack was about and why there was only one animal!
11   Backed up ruling outwardly distasteful
REPUGNANT UP reversed or ‘backed’ with REGNANT (ruling) outside = distasteful
12   Fish who’s stirring on-line
TROLL Double definition for someone who provokes controversy on the internet = fish. We needed a couple of checking letters for this and we still kept on wanting to enter TROUT without being able to parse it!
13   Strange brew recorded in northern English valley
WEARDALE Sounds like (‘recorded’) WEIRD ALE (strange brew) = northern English valley in County Durham
15   “I will” heard here?
AISLE Sounds like I’LL but also the place where couples are heard saying this in church!
17   Means of identifying criminal with black suit
BEFIT B (black) + E-FIT (means of identifying criminal) = suit
19   They suppress reports in the US of those protecting deep throat?
MUFFLERS We had a slight difference of opinion over the parsing of this double definition. We agree that a MUFFLER is an American name for a silencer (‘they suppress reports in the US’). However, one of us (with Chambers’ assistance) reckons that a ‘deep throat’ would need to protect his/her identity so would need to be looked after by MUFFLERS (someone who ‘muffles’ or conceals something or someone), while the other thinks that a ‘deep throat’ would be protected by a scarf – another meaning of MUFFLER
22   Antique way to say goodbye to big city
CURIO C U (sounds like or text-speak for ‘see you’ or goodbye) + RIO ( big city) = antique
23   Put back unfinished business with directors – it’s doubles all round!
DARTBOARD Reverse or ‘put back’ TRAD(e) (business) ‘unfinished’ or with last letter removed + BOARD (directors) = a dartboard has doubles around the outside
25   Bullet flying round game reserve with power – that’ll help get jaguar running
SPARK PLUG SLUG (bullet) flying round PARK (game reserve) + P (power) = helps to get an engine on a jaguar (car) running.
26   Prone to deceit
LYING Double definition
27   Contents covered by bra and old French knickers?
CHEST OF DRAWERS This has be the answer, but the parsing is a bit tricky! A bra covers a CHEST + O (old) + F (French) DRAWERS (knickers) = a chest of drawers could ‘cover’ or contain both types of underwear (its ‘contents’). Can anyone provide a better parsing?
1   Nasty man taking up published rumour that’s false
CANARD CAD (nasty man) around or ‘taking’ RAN (published) which is reversed or ‘up’ = rumour that’s false
2   Hard up an S & M prostitute?
STRAPPED FOR CASH A great clue and one of those ‘smiley moments’ when the penny dropped. An S & M prostitute would no doubt be tied up and/or beaten or ‘strapped’ and would receive cash for it = hard up. At this point we will not make any further jokes/comments about the clue but leave the rest to your imagination!
3   One getting his own back on a football manager who’s initially won only 50 per cent
AVENGER A WENGER (football manager) with only half (50%) of W (the initial letter of Won) which makes W become V = someone getting their own back. A really devious clue, one that we solved and then stared at for a while trying to parse. Even though we are not interested in football we had heard of the manager Arsene Wenger.
4   Having started alphabet perhaps, in Italian course
PASTA If you had already started the alphabet you would be PAST the letter A = Italian course
5   Devilled breast of emu to start with, or something more traditional?
ROAST BEEF Anagram of BREAST OF and E (initial letter or ‘start of’ Emu) the anagrind is ‘devilled’ = something more traditional
6   Scrappy tie with Iran displaying lack of movement
INERTIA Anagram of TIE and IRAN (anagrind is ‘scrappy’) = displaying lack of movement
7   Right person to service an oven when broken
NEOCONSERVATIVE Anagram of TO SERVICE AN OVEN (anagrind is ‘broken’) = right person
10   One’ll stir surf ‘n’ turf
TILLER Our last clue in. We trawled through alternatives in our mind and electronically until the penny dropped. Something that ‘stirs’ or makes a movement on the water or ‘surf’ could be the TILLER but it could also be a person who works on the land and cultivates the soil or ‘turf’! Very devious!
14   American insect-eater sick twice between Arkansas and Ohio
ARMADILLO MAD and ILL (two words meaning ‘sick’) inside or ‘between’ AR (Arkansas) and O (Ohio) = American insect-eater
16   Totter out of a Roman boozer avoiding church
ABACUS A + BAC(ch)US (Roman god of wine or ‘Roman boozer’) removing or ‘avoiding’ CH (church) = totter as in something that ‘tots’ or adds up!
18   Social inferior getting into debauched star’s threesomes
TROIKAS OIK (socially inferior person) inside an anagram of STAR (anagrind is ‘debauched’) = threesomes as in a team of three horses or a team of three people acting equally as leaders
20   Bit of leaf trouble arising in flower
LOBELIA LOBE (part of a leaf) + AIL reversed or ‘arising’ = flower
22   Saws a woman in half and goes out of ring
ADAGES A DA(me) (half of woman) + G(o)ES removing O (ring) = saws as in sayings. We spent a while wondering why ‘half’ as ADA is a woman but the magician’s trick is to saw her in half!
24   Stiff and cold – fellow’s gone
RIGID (f)RIGID (cold) removing F (fellow) = stiff


19 Responses to “Independent 8140 / Morph”

  1. Querulous says:

    Thanks Morph and Bertandjoyce.

    Your parsing of 27A looks good, with the whole clue being an &lit.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Chuffing Nora. I know the Thursday Indy puzzle is meant to be the ‘hard one’, but it’s a good job I had to get up at stupid o’clock this morning to open up the village hall for the police commissioner elections, since this gave me plenty of time to have a crack at this one.

    I think you’re right – there were some gettable clues to get lesser solvers like me going. But finishing it was a struggle. However, STRAPPED FOR CASH was outrageous, and therefore funny; and I also liked ROAST BEEF.

    Well done on parsing AVENGER, but in the future could we have fewer clues referencing the past-his-sell-by-date Gunners’ manager, please? WEARDALE, on the other hand, was my CoD.

  3. flashling says:

    Weardale was my last not knowing the place and trying to get an anagram of BREW in the wordplay (D’oh).

    Thanks B&J and Morph who seems to have been absent for a while.

  4. crypticsue says:

    I did enjoy this crossword and was obviously on Morph’s wavelength as I didn’t find it that tricky. I did spend some time, however, pondering the trout option until I remembered another recent puzzle where the fish was TROLL. One of the benefits of being a cryptic crossword addict I suppose.

    Thanks to Morph for the fun and B&J for the explanations.

  5. Bertandjoyce says:

    Glad that we seem to have parsed the clues correctly. Thanks for the comments. We are standing outside the Apple store in Hong Kong taking advantage of their free wi-fi. We are not inside as the store is closing!
    Hopefully we will have better access to wi-fi over the next two weeks.

  6. Trebor says:

    I put TROLL in fairly quickly, but even then it caused problems as I doubted it all the way having failed to get TILLER.
    I liked 27a – not all of these “all-in-one” clues totally work, but this was as close as I’ve seen for a while.

    Many Thanks.

  7. rowland says:

    Enjoyable, some funny clues. I don’t think chest of drawers is &lit though, a bit vague really, and it was hard one to get.


  8. Richard says:

    I found this p d tough, but was delighted to get there in the end without any help (but after 2.5 hours!). Thanks Morph for a very challenging puzzle, and to Bert & Joyce for an excellent blog. It’s a good job I’m retired.

  9. allan_c says:

    Not too difficult for a Thursday puzzle, I thought. Quite a few fairly easy write-ins plus a handful of clues that required serious thought. And a good quota of enjoyment and amusement.

    12a set me thinking about trolls in the internet sense. Is the word applied because they are unpleasant creatures (as in Norse mythology) or because they try to bait people by stirring things up (as in the Chambers definition ‘to fish … with a spinning or otherwise moving bait’)? Or maybe both?

    Anyway, thanks to Morph and B&J.

  10. Wil Ransome says:

    Morph excels himself here. Some really good clues, with a nice element of pithiness (not always evident with this setter). Some of them took me a very long time to parse.

    One little quibble: it’s a Jaguar not a jaguar. I know that there are people around who regard this sort of thing as trivial and what the hell if it makes me smile then it’s OK, but could he have avoided this problem by having Jaguar as the first word in the clue?

  11. Rorschach says:

    Long live Morph!

  12. Rorschach says:

    And of course Bertandjoyce

  13. Eileen says:

    Hear, hear, Rorschach – I love Morph’s puzzles!

    I agree with K’s D’s favourite clues in this one and would add ABACUS.

    Hi crypticsue @4 – I bet, like me, you’ve entered TROLL three times in less than a week. ;-} [And I wouldn’t like to have to choose the best clue.]

    Thanks to B and J for the blog – enjoy your holiday!

  14. allan_c says:

    Wil @10: Re the Jaguar – well spotted (no pun intended)! I missed the non-capitalisation. It was certainly established as policy by the Grauniad – long before the Indy appeared – that proper names etc in clues should always be capitalised. Not quite sure how one would re-phrase this particular clue, though, to put ‘Jaguar’ at the beginning of a sentence.

  15. lionberg says:

    ‘Jaguar won’t run without this …’ (etc).

  16. ginoinaus says:

    You’re all bonkers you know…How is an Aussie supposed to know Dunmow Flitch …lol… (We get the Inde crossword in the Adelaide paper roughly 2 weeks behind u poms) …in 6 months I’ve solved 2. Its fun tho…working out how barmy you all are :)

  17. Bertandjoyce says:

    Welcome to the barmy world of crosswords ginoinaus! Even some of us poms had to look up Dunmow Flitch and maybe most of us have now forgotten what it was!

    Keep up the good work – it really is very enjoyable and welcome to the blog.

  18. ginoinaus says:

    Ta b and J….altho you all seem to know the setters..(and therefore their foibles) yet here its just a blank crossword with a number attached… I shall keep an eye on this blog. :)

  19. Graham Pellen says:

    Very minor point re 8A – it’s “and not” rather than just “not” that yields the ‘the first three letter – “nor” – of the answer; otherwise the “and” is redundant.

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