Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8165 / Phi

Posted by John on December 14th, 2012


My apologies. I quite forgot that it was my day to blog and there I was blithely listening to the test match and suddenly remembering at 10.30. Then, to make things worse, a pop-up advertisement for the same company that I will not give unwarranted publicity to kept obscuring the puzzle as I was solving it, although I thought I had pop-ups disabled. How any firm thinks that it is in its own interests to interrupt people’s reading of some website wth a self-glorying shout I simply cannot see. I now have a solid opposition to any of this particular firm’s products.

Fortunately it was the usual Phi today, as always a nice crossword and no particular problems I think. I’ve simply solved it and rushed the blog without any links, so have no doubt missed the Nina, since Phi usually has one.

1 PRETTY PLEASE — quite = pretty, (asleep)*
9 HIERARCHY — 1 in (her arch) y
10 TILDE — l in (edit)rev.
12 HAN{D}OVER — or, equally possibly, han(D) over
13 H{erbaceous}A HAS
15 A(C{olour})QUA(t)INTS
18 SHI(V)A — &lit.
19 A L(I’M)ENT
20 T(EAC{h})AKE
22 S{exual} WISH
23 {c}OVER DRIVE — nice to have a cricket reference for once in the Indy
24 EMANCIPATION — (me)rev. an{ti}cipation, the {ti} is {(it)rev.}
1 PRE-RAPHAELITISM — (art happier smile)*
2 EV(A D)E{n}
3 TACKY — 2 defs, one of them fanciful since a tack does indeed have a point — not absolutely sure that tacky = unpleasant, although there is certainly an unpleasant connotation
4 PAY CHEQUE — one of the senses of ‘screw’, and BACS does away with the need for a cheque
5 ESTONIANS — (sensation)*
8 HEIR — ‘here in Berlin’ is the German for ‘here’, which is ‘hier’, and this has a change of heart in that its middle two letters are swapped
14 SH(E)REK HAN{d}
15 A FORTIORI — (for [= favouring] (trio)*) in A1
19 APSE — “apps”
20 THE (T) A
21 AO DAI — (ado)rev. in AI — no I hadn’t heard of it either

16 Responses to “Independent 8165 / Phi”

  1. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Phi for an enjoyable crossword and John for the blog. Despite being a cricket enthusiast, I missed out on 23ac because I do not know enough about cars, and hence I had no chance with 21dn.

    19dn: While I can accept that APSE is the more natural answer, I think this is an ambiguous clue. To me, “audible in” could work as a modifier for APSE to give the answer APPS. When I got to this clue, I had the checked A and it was easy to see that 22ac had to begin with S, so the ambiguity was easily resolved, so it was only a minor irritant.

    I cannot (at present) see either a theme or a Nina.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, John. As always, a lovely puzzle to end the week from Phi. I thought HEIR was clever, since it must be trickier to clue short answers. I too thought that APSE was ambiguous, although it only seems to be Pelham and me that get exercised about these things. But indeed … a minor irritant in a good puzzle.

  3. hounddog says:

    I agree with both of you about the ambiguity of the clue but provided the crossing letters make clear which is the right answer I don’t think it’s a problem. Surely we’re trying to solve the puzzle as a whole rather than the individual clues in isolation.

  4. Raich says:

    Which (hounddog at #3) is why it has come to be known as a crossword…

  5. allan_c says:

    A few obscurities today. Not only AO DAI (Vietnamese national costume) but, unless I’m missing something obvious, ‘Hand’ for ‘producer’ in 14dn is a bit obscure too; at any rate googling ‘hand’ and ‘producer’ only came up with Guy Hand (never heard of him) twentieth in the list after things like ‘food producer fined after worker loses hand’. And personally I’d not come across PRETTY PLEASE before, but can let that pass as just my personal ignorance.

  6. Pelham Barton says:

    allan_c @5 re 14dn: Chambers 2011 gives hand n a doer, author or producer. Having said that, I found the answer so obvious that I did not bother to parse it at the time.

    I shall come back later on the issue of ambiguous clues when others have had a chance to have their say.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Allan, in that case you won’t have come across the superlative of 1ac: PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE WITH A CHERRY ON TOP.

    I’m not going to make a big deal of APSE; it’s a small niggle. But I think a clue should only have one possible answer. Yes, we need crossing letters and other solutions for clues like ’17, 19, 24ac’ when the compiler is giving us a themed puzzle; and yes, crossing letters here would make it unequivocally APSE; but I rest my case …

    Now off to watch the test highlights of Swanny crashing it everywhere in Nagpur. Will drop back in later to see what others think.

  8. flashling says:

    Didn’t like the APPS/APSE bit, OK IF you’ve got the crossing letter, then it’s obvious, AO DAI frankly ridiculous for a week day, I thought HEIR/HIER was pushing it a bit.

    Anyway thank John for getting away from the cricket and PH for the puzzle.

  9. John says:

    The clue is ‘Computer programs audible in part of church’ and this seems unambiguous to me: since ‘in’ comes after the word ‘audible’ the definition is clearly what follows ‘in'; and ‘audible’ clearly applies to ‘computer programs’.

  10. Bertandjoyce says:

    Well, we beg to differ from most of you. We didn’t think APSE was ambiguous for the reasons John has given @9 above. Joyce bought an ao dai recently and had heard of 1ac, so no obscurities today for us!

    We’re also not that bothered about the cricket!

    Good end to the week but we can’t find a nina? Is Phi having a week away from them?

    Thanks Phi and John.

  11. Phi says:

    I do try to put the homophone indicator adjacent to the version not to be entered and then separate that little bundle from the definition (people get terribly uptight about linking words from time to time, but this seems to me to be a useful function). On a contextual issue, I doubt whether anyone would have complained about the ‘balanced on a cusp’ nature of the clue had the homophone and the entry been of different lengths – that’s always desirable, but not always achievable, in which case it’s back to the structure I outlined at the start.

    I thought AO DAI fine (well, I would, of course…) – a notch behind the cheongsam in my vocab of Oriental female attire, but common enough in fashion pages and the like. There’s no Nina this week – really, you know, I only do them about 50% of the time. It may be about time for an incomplete Nina, just as a tease…

  12. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Phi for dropping in and explaining your intention, which of course matches John’s interpretation in comment 9. I fully agree with your general point that it is desirable to have a linking word separating the modifier from the definition of the intended answer.

    The problem in this case is that the linking word does not have to be taken as such, because many of us have taken the view that “audible in” (followed by the homophone not the entry) is as valid a homophone indicator as the single word “audible”. Of course, if the two defined words are of unequal lengths, there would be no ambiguity: the answer would be the one that fits the space provided. Indeed, this gives a generic form for the type of clue being sought at comment 186 in the General Discussion pages of this website, where the same clue has different solutions according to the length of the answer specified.

    In answer to hounddog @3, checked letters serve two purposes in crosswords: first to distinguish between different possible answers that may fit a space and second to give solvers a start in solving clues, so that the clues do not all have to be solved from scratch. The reason I dislike so-called “quick” crosswords is that so many of the clues are ambiguous and checked letters have to be used to determine the right answer.

    For non-prize weekday newspaper cryptics I think it is a legitimate expectation that the setter should try to make all clues unambiguous. I take Phi’s comment to be supportive of that view. I hope that we can all forgive occasional failings in that regard, as we forgive other occasional faults in clues, but that does not mean that we should not point them out.

    Finally may I say that it has taken me a lot of space to explain my thinking, but I fully agree with K’s Dad @7 that this was a small niggle.

  13. Paul B says:

    Disagree re homophone – it’s absolutely sound (as it were).

  14. Pelham Barton says:

    Paul @13: Are you saying that the clue is unambiguous in itself, or that the puzzle as a whole is sound because the checked letter S removes the ambiguity?

  15. flashling says:

    I still think that “in” really doesn’t help getting the homophone order having been done by clues that break this very guide. Setters have got a lot better on this though.

  16. redddevil says:

    I agree absolutely with Pelham B and flashling in terms of both the ambiguity and the import.
    What do I hear in the word that means that part of the church? I hear APPS.

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