Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8159 / Phi

Posted by Bertandjoyce on December 7th, 2012


Another Phi-day to end the week!

First of all though – Many thanks to PeeDee and Eileen who stood in for us while we were on holiday!

We thought there may be a theme (there often is with Phi) and as we solved the clues we realised that there were cat related answers within the grid. This helped us solve 22ac and 26ac. The themed answers we found were FELINE, MANX, OUNCE, CHESHIRE, ABYSSINIAN and MARMALADE.

When we were compiling the blog we did a search for others we may have missed and came across SPHYNX – a rare breed of cat known for its lack of coat. We’re not that keen on cats and this one really doesn’t appeal! Have a look here! We couldn’t find evidence of it being a SPHINX unfortunately but maybe someone else can prove us wrong.

1   Simplified house – official one’s covered in lead
PREFAB REF (Official) + A (one) inside or ‘covered in’ PB (lead) = simplified house
5   Iron tracks suitable for Skimbleshanks?
FELINE FE (iron) + LINE (tracks) = suitable for Skimbleshanks (The Railway Cat in T. S. Eliot’s book of poetry (Old Possum’s book of Practical Cats)
8   Offerer of tips: ‘A resort will have sweetheart coming back’
ASPARAGUS A + SPA (resort) + SUGAR (sweetheart as in the endearment as opposed to the sweetener!) reversed, or ‘coming back’ = you eat the tips of asparagus!
9   Composer to hold attention without piano say
GRIEG GRI(p) (to hold attention) without P(piano) + EG (say) = composer
11   Island’s number among the largest, in brief
MANX N (number) inside or ‘amongst’ MAX (shortened form of maximum or ‘the largest’) = island’s as in ‘from the Isle of Man’
12   All’s aflutter in female set with appearance of gang member
HELLS ANGEL Anagram of ALL’S (anagrind is ‘aflutter’ ) inside or ‘in’ HEN (female) + GEL (set) = gang member
13   Wave’s mostly inappropriate with delay
UNDULATE UNDU(e) (inappropriate missing last letter or ‘mostly’) + LATE (with delay) = wave
15   Lightweight showing resilience after head’s zapped
OUNCE (b)OUNCE (resilience with head removed or ‘zapped’) = lightweight
17   Student enthralled by French singer (exotic dish)
PILAF L (student) inside or ‘enthralled by’ PIAF (French singer) = exotic dish
19   Payment received after game finishes early in part of England
CHESHIRE HIRE (payment) after CHES(s) (game missing last letter or ‘finishing early’) = part of England
22   Asian native behind Gulf concealing diamonds from old African country
ABYSSINIAN IN(d)IAN (Asian native) missing or ‘concealing’ D (diamonds) behind ABYSS (gulf) = from old African country. Thanks allan_c for pointing out the omission.
23   Coach mostly involving men
STAG (STAG)e (coach) with last letter missing or ‘mostly’ = involving men
25   Instruct chess body to back unknown
EDIFY FIDE (World Chess Federation) reversed or ‘backed’ + Y (unknown – used in mathematics) = instruct
26   Preserve horse transfixed by disease killing off tail
MARMALADE MARE (horse) around or ‘transfixed’ by MALAD(y) (disease) with final letter or ‘tail’ removed or ‘killed off’ = preserve
27   Get rid of bad service in performance? Not entirely
DELETE LET (bad service as in tennis) inside DEE(d) (performance) missing last letter or ‘not entirely’ = get rid of
28   Inscrutable figure manipulated information about hard times
SPHINX SPIN (manipulated information) about H (hard) + X (times) = inscrutable figure
2   One writer in debt matured
RIPENED I (one) + PEN (writer) in RED (in debt) = ripened. If you are in debt you are said to be in the red, which is exactly where I PEN is located!
3   Offer a choice – e.g. in terms of frock?
FORK F OR K (the first and last letters or ‘terms’ of FROCK) = offer a choice
4   Beat up about hotel resident ignoring special bread
BAGUETTE Anagram of BEAT (anagrind is ‘up’) about GUE(s)T without or ‘ignoring’ S (special) = bread
5   Anglo-Swiss painter to join heads of Literary Institute
FUSELI FUSE (to join) + L I (first letters or ‘heads’ of Literary Institiute) = this Anglo-Swiss painter
6   Boats record cold water on sea trips
LOG CANOES LOG (record) + C (cold water) + anagram of ON SEA (anagrind is ‘trips’) = boats
7   Woodworking tool to look bad? Good when held by sister
NAIL GUN AIL (to look bad?) + G (good) inside or ‘held by’ NUN (sister) = woodworking tool. The ? is there because not everyone who ails looks bad!
8   There’ll be uproar with metal failing here!
ARMOUR PLATE Anagram of UPROAR and METAL (anagrind is ‘failing’) = if the armour plate failed there would no doubt be an uproar!
10   Bird alleged gone after struggle
GOLDEN EAGLE Anagram of ALLEGED GONE (anagrind is ‘after struggle’) = bird
14   Story about one abandoning spirited Liberal behaviour
LIFESTYLE LIE (story) about FE(i)STY (spirited) missing or ‘abandoning’ I (one) + L (Liberal) = behaviour
16   Article on stage performer not about missing finale in such venues
THEATRES THE (article) + A(c)TRES(s) (performer) without C (about) and missing last letter or ‘finale’ = ‘such venues’ – where a stage performer would be found!
18   Ultimately magical view involving connection, endless spiritual connection?
LEY LINE L (last or ‘ultimate’ letter of magical) + EYE (view) around or ‘involving’ LIN(k) (connection) with last letter removed or ‘endless’ = this spiritual connection
20   On the move? Trek ending early in pub
IN TRAIN TRAI(l) (trek) with last letter removed or ‘ending early’ inside INN (pub) = on the move
21   Hopelessness one encountered in a city in Alaska
ANOMIE I (one) inside or ‘encountered in’ A + NOME (city in Alaska) = hopelessness
24   Be credible with the evidence of arson?
WASH W (with) + ASH (evidence of arson) = be credible


10 Responses to “Independent 8159 / Phi”

  1. allan_c says:

    A gentle workout today from Phi, but the theme passed me by, despite FELINE being my CoD.

    BTW the full clue for 22ac ends “… old African country.” Surprising (or maybe not) how many African countries have changed their names, but once gulf=abyss emerged from the subconscious it was a write-in.

    26ac was interesting. I guessed ‘preserve’ as a noun to be the definition and thought the answer might be MARMALADE without being able to see why. But I tentatively wrote it in, whereupon the wordplay immediately became obvious.

    Which raises an interesting, though no doubt trivial, point about definitions by example. ‘Preserve’ is used here to clue ‘marmalade’ as an example of a preserve. But in another situation one might use ‘marmalade’, perhaps with a ? or ‘say’, to clue ‘preserve’. Would using (a) the part to clue the whole and (b) the whole to clue the part both be instances of definition by example?

    Thanks to Phi for the puzzle; thanks for the blog – and welcome back – to B&J.

  2. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks allan_c for pointing out the error in 22ac and also for the welcome back! We are noticing the cold – especially as our heating system is playing up!

    The blog has now been amended.

  3. Thomas99 says:


    Your assumption is right. But “definition by example” is normally used to describe cases where, for example, “marmalade” indicates “preserve”, not the other way round. As you say, for a definition by example there should be an indication that it’s only an example – “Marmalade, say”, “Marmalade?” etc.

    People sometimes confuse the two cases and complain when a category is used to clue one of its members, calling it “definition by example”, but this is a mistake. You can’t object to “actor” on its own indicating “Pacino” or “tree” indcating “oak”, obviously. If you look at today’s puzzle all the answers that are nouns have definitions of this type: 1,8,9,12,15,17,19,26,28 and so on.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, both. Generally pretty straightforward, with just a couple of the four-letter answers holding me up at the end. The theme, as usual, passed me by. I’m with you on cats. Sinister creatures.

  5. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Phi for the crossword and Bert and Joyce for the blog. I must add my name to the list of those who enjoyed the puzzle without noticing the theme.

    14dn: The parsing above is clearly far better than the one I had. I took “Story” in the sense of biography to give me LIFE, leaving ESTYL to account for. “Liberal” gives the L, and I got ESTY as ZESTY (spirited) losing its initial letter (“one abandonding”). The reason I am bothering to mention this is that I thought at one time that we might have an interesting variation on the idea of a pangram, where there would be no Z in the grid, but every letter of the alphabet was used in the wordplay, in some cases as an excluded letter. Has anyone ever seen that idea used in practice?

    A small grumble about 12ac: I cannot account for the words “with appearance of” in the clue. As always, I will be delighted if someone can provide a good justification for these words beyond simply saying that they improve the surface reading, which they undoubtedly do.

  6. Phi says:

    The Sphinxes we’ve encountered at cat shows have all been Y-less. Which would leave one row without a cat – or would it…?

  7. Bertandjoyce says:

    Phi – You wouldn’t be referring to a character from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical adaptation would you?

  8. Pelham Barton says:

    Bertandjoyce @7: I sincerely hope that Phi is referring to a character created by T.S. Eliot. I see no need to bring Andrew Lloyd Webber into it.

  9. Bertandjoyce says:

    Pelham Barton, we thought Phi was referring to Asparagus in ‘Cats’ rather than T S Eliot’s cat called Gus! However on checking again it sems that Gus was short for Asparagus!! We will have to check the original.

  10. Bertandjoyce says:

    Whew! Thank goodness – we’re not fans of Andrew Lloyd Webber but we do like the Practical Cats. We agree with you that Phi must have been referring to the Theatre Cat! It just didn’t come up on our original Google search.

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