# Fifteensquared

## 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.

### 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:

allan_c

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.

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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