Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,153 / Phi

Posted by RatkojaRiku on November 30th, 2012


My turn for the Friday slot today, and it was no surprise to find Phi’s latest offering to sink my teeth into.

Last time I crossed swords with Phi on a blogging day I missed a(n admittedly well-hidden) Nina, so I was determined not to be outwitted again today. However, unless there is no Nina or theme to be spotted this time, I have missed it once again. Did anyone else prove to be more eagle-eyed than myself, I wonder?

As for the puzzle, this was of medium difficulty, in my view, in that there were quite a few gettable anagrams to get me started, but enough trickier clues to require some head-scratching at the business end. For me, 16, 24 and 26 were the last to be slotted in, since I didn’t know that particular usage of 26, while the “dress” in the wordplay at 16 was new; together, these stopped me from seeing 24, although I realised a cryptic definition was what I was dealing with. 3 and 14, which also intersect, held me up as well.

My clue of the day, one of the first I solved, was 17, for its smoothness rather than difficulty. Overall, I liked the grid, with its aesthetically pleasing symmetry and scope for tricky intersections.

*(…) indicates an anagram

1   FUSS-BUDGET   [S (=second) + BUDGE (=move)] in FUST (=stale situation, cf. fusty); fuss-budget is the American equivalent of fusspot
8   OBSCURING   OBS (=obsolete) + CURING (=function of doctors)
9   FEED   FE<t>ED (=celebrated); “losing last of weighT” means the letter “t” is dropped
10   TURN TO   OT (=Old Testament) is obtained if you “turn (the letters of) to
11   HEADWIND   HE (=man) + AD (=notice, i.e. advert) + WIND (=change in direction)
13   INSTAL   *(LATIN’S); “translated” is anagram indicator
14   ADULTERY   ADUL<a>TE (=praise; “discounting a” means a letter “a” is dropped) + R<eall>Y (“heartless” means all but first and last letters are dropped)
17   HYSTERIA   *(HIS TEARY); “outbreaks” is anagram indicator; & lit.
19   SMITHY   MIT<e> (=small child; “receiving cut” means last letter is dropped) in SHY (=wary)
21   SEA LOCHS   SEAL (=marine creature) + OCHS (=Scottish comments); & lit.
23   ANGINA   GIN (=alcohol) in AN A (=articles)
25   FLEE   L (=left) in FEE (=charge, i.e. levy)
26   ICE BUCKET   Cryptic definition: an ice-bucket brings together (is an “accumulator” of) rocks (=ice) and bottles
27   STAND GUARD   GU<m> (“a lot of” means last letter is dropped) in STANDARD (=expected performance)
1   FRUITCAKE   *(TUCK + FARE I); “fancy” is anagram indicator; & lit.
2   SNIP   PINS (=fixes, i.e. holds in place); “up” indicates vertical reversal
3   BIGHEADS   BIG (GIB=British territory, i.e. Gibraltar; “raised” indicates vertical reversal) + HEADS (=call on gamble, as in Heads or tails?)
4   DYFED   F<riday> (“beginning of” means first letter only) in DYED (=having shade, i.e. coloured)
5   EREMITE   REMIT (=scope of work) in [E (=early) + E (=English)]
6   FOOTLIGHTS   OOT (TOO=extremely; “upset” indicates vertical reversal) in FLIGHTS (=overseas trips); footlights means the theatre as a profession, cf. the stage, (treading) the boards
7   OSIRIS   O + SIR (=man) + IS
12   D’OYLY CARTE   *(CLOYED + ARTY); “dances” is anagram indicator; the reference is to Richard D’Oyly Carte (1844-1901), the theatrical impresario behind the staging of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Savoy Operas.
15   LEMON CURD   *(RED COLUMN); “spoiled” is anagram indicator
16   FIGHTING   *(NIGHT) in FIG (=dress (up), i.e. get up, rig out); “out” is anagram indicator
18   STARLIT   [L<oved> (“head of” means first letter only) + I (=one)] in START (=begin)
20   TRICKY   RICK (=pile of hay) in [<cour>T (“rear of” means last letter only) + Y (=yard)]
22   ODEON   <antiqu>E (“closure of” means last letter only) in ODON (NO + DO (=party); “upset” indicates vertical reversal)
24   BETA   BET A (=initial gamble, say, i.e. before BET B, BET C, etc); beta software is being tested prior to commercial release

8 Responses to “Independent 8,153 / Phi”

  1. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Phi for an enjoyable puzzle and RatkojaRiku for the blog. Among many good clues, my favourite was the beautifully constructed “& lit” at 1dn.

    13ac: I always spell this with two Ls (see comment on 25ac), but Chambers gives the spelling here as a valid alternative.

    17ac: I agree this is beautifully constructed, but to me there is a weakness in the fact that the anagram fodder sounds so like the answer.

    25ac: I originally wrote FLIT here until this was contradicted by 22dn. Obviously FLEE is a much better answer, but I do not think it is too much of a stretch to go from “charge” to “fit” through “install”.

    16dn: Here I had RIGHTING, with RIG for “dress”, and I think this works with right vt to redress; to avenge.

  2. allan_c says:

    Some nice misdirections from Phi today. For example in 8ac ‘obsolete function of doctors’ had me thinking of bloodletting, applying leeches, etc.

    My CoD has to be 10ac – so simple yet not immediately obvious.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  3. BertandJoyce says:

    It all seems very quiet today. We hadn’t heard of FUSS BUDGET before and had to resort to a dictionary search. We think we may have come across a similar cryptic clue for 10ac before but can’t remember where or when! FLEE came into yesterday’s puzzle as well although we prefer today’s clue. We had RIGHTING as well, not having come across FIG = dress before but it is in Chambers!

    There’s always good surface readings with Phi so thanks to the setter and also RR for the blog. Let’s hope there are some more comments later!

    We can’t see a theme either.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I too was a fan of TURN TO, and I also liked SEA LOCHS. FUSS-BUDGET on the other hand was new to me. Needed your help with parsing a few today, RR, so thank you, and to Phi as well.

  5. Phi says:

    Well, I didn’t put this puzzle in what I call the four Fs grid without a reason.

  6. Wil Ransome says:

    Harder than usual I thought. Had never heard of fuss-budget and had to look it up, and for a long time had ADONIS at 7dn, despite the probable fact that Adonis isn’t a love god.

    Come on someone, put us out of our misery. OK some of the answers begin with F but surely that’s only a small part of it.

  7. MaleficOpus says:

    The four Fs “which are said to be the four basic drives or mind states that animals (including humans) are evolutionarily adapted to be good at: fighting, fleeing, feeding, and reproduction” (geddit?) according to Wikipedia. The last, as far as I can see, is split over three rows.

    Thanks Phi, for a great puzzle as usual.

  8. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks MaleficOpus@7. The fourth F can be found (in the infinitive) by choosing certain letters of 1dn.

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