Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8182 / Phi

Posted by Bertandjoyce on January 4th, 2013


Another great Friday offering from Phi.

We always suspect a possible Nina with this sort of grid, especially from Phi, and lo and behold, there it is! (clockwise in the perimeter starting bottom centre).  A Shakespearean quote, which holds true more than ever these days! Two characters from the play in which the quote features also appear in the grid.

We really enjoy puzzles with Ninas, but the downside is that they almost invariably require some rather unusual non-themed words to fit the letters of the Nina. In this case, 23ac and 18d were (to our minds) the oddities, but both were fairly clued and easy to figure out from the wordplay –  one features in Chambers but both are in Collins, so absolutely no complaints!

As usual, excellent surface readings – our Clue of the day was probably 21ac – we’ll never see another plant pot without thinking of Phi’s alternative interpretation!


8   Drink, mostly alfresco, Australian rejected
OUZO OUt  (alfresco, with the last letter omitted, or ‘mostly’) + OZ (Australian) reversed, or ‘rejected’ = drink
9   Expanse surrounding lion or Christian, ultimately?
ARENA Cryptic definition – AREA (expanse) around N (last, or ‘ultimate’ letter of lion or Christian) = the last place a lion or Christian might have seen in Roman times
10   Make choice to back into last section of drive
VOTE TO reversed or ‘back’ in VE (last letters of ‘drive’) = make choice
11   Easy with words, Fellow advanced round university
FLUENT F (fellow) + LENT (advanced, as in a loan) round U (university) = easy with words
12   TV interruption, mostly stupid, bracketing last extra item
ADDENDUM AD (TV interruption) + DUMb (mostly stupid) round or ‘bracketing’ END (last) = extra item
13   Ratted on man in misery, blocking opening stages of the divorce
TWO-TIMED TIM (man) in WOE (misery) in or ‘blocking’ T D (first letters of The Divorce) = ratted on
14   I note criticism of dye
INDIGO I + N (note) + DIG (criticism) + O’ (of) = dye
15   Unusually distant service recalled by one
AFAR RAF (service) + A (one) reversed or ‘recalled’ = unusually distant. ‘Unusually’ seems somewhat superfluous here, but we suppose that the word ‘afar’ rather unusual these days.
17   Some verse, religious words mostly, used in religious studies
RHYME HYMn (religious words mostly) in RE (religious studies) = some verse
18   English village incorporated in Liverpool
IVER Hidden or ‘incorporated’ in (L)IVER(pool) = English village (in Buckinghamshire)
19   Man left woman for another
HELENA HE (man) L (left) ENA (woman) = another woman, and a character in the play which is the source of the Nina
21   Feature of garden, and what bent copper may do there?
PLANT POT Double definition – as a noun, it would feature in a garden, and as a verb, a bent policeman might plant cannabis (in the garden, or on a suspect)
23   This wine is bad, producing most complaints?
WHINIEST Anagram of THIS WINE (anagrind is ‘bad’) = producing the most complaints
25   Girl’s intent to pull back girl
HERMIA HER (girl’s) + AIM (intent) reversed or ‘pulled back’ = girl, and another character in the play which is the source of the Nina
26   Academic study involving foremost of academics
DEAN DEN (study) round or ‘involving’ A (first or ‘foremost’ letter of ‘academics’) = academic
27   Apparently working light fabric
RAYON If the RAY is ON, the light is apparently working = fabric
28   Wrong, as it happens, to turn up
EVIL LIVE (as it happens) reversed or ‘turned up’ = wrong
1   Disney perhaps upset after University ban
OUTLAW WALT (Disney) reversed or ‘upset’ after OU (open University) = ban
2   Guiding principle in redesign of leotards
LODESTAR Anagram of LEOTARDS (anagrind is ‘redesign of’) = guiding principle
3   Historic vessel revisited Asia, taking in new river
SANTA MARIA Anagram of ASIA (anagrind is ‘revisited’) around or ‘taking in’ N (new) TAMAR (river) = historic vessel – the largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage across the Atlantic
4   Under attack, sent Mayday around route, eliciting succour
TEA AND SYMPATHY Anagram of SENT MAYDAY (anagrind is ‘under attack’) around PATH (route) = succour
5   Start to hobnob with worker
HAND H (first letter or ‘start’ of hobnob) + AND (with) = worker
6   Levelled off the night before and half of next day
EVENED EVE (the night before) + half of NExt + D (day) = levelled off
7   You’ve broken legs after grabbing basket in fight
STRUGGLE Anagram of LEGS (anagrind is ‘broken’) round or ‘grabbing’ TRUG (basket) = fight
14   Supplier of rocks – I see German article enthralling Austrian scientist
ICE MACHINE I + C (see) + EINE (German article) round or ‘enthralling’ MACH (Austrian scientist) = supplier of rocks
16   Advertising leaflet she mistakenly brought in is containing more substance
FLESHIER FLIER (advertising leaflet) with an anagram of SHE (anagrind is ‘mistakenly’) ‘brought in’ = containing more substance
18   Net wire, tangled, black – it’s one view of the net
INTERWEB Anagram of NET WIRE (anagrind is ‘tangled’) + B (black) = one view of the net
20   Dodgy online system of current activity
EL NINO Anagram of ONLINE (anagrind is ‘dodgy’) = current activity, as periodically occurs in the Pacific Ocean
22   Egyptian god is supporting man chasing love
OSIRIS IS ‘supporting’ or after SIR (man) after or ‘chasing’ O (love) = Egyptian god
24   Runs into a line following English nobleman
EARL R (runs) in A L (line) after E (English) = nobleman


12 Responses to “Independent 8182 / Phi”

  1. chris bramall says:

    Amazing! The start and end.of the nina is signalled by the asymmetric black blob. Is this usual?

  2. Bertandjoyce says:

    Asymmetrical grids are unusual – we took a while to notice it although the grid pattern set us off looking for a nina which should have brought it to our attention earlier!

    We think the last asymmetric grid also contained a nina with a break in the same place but can’t remember how many we’ve had in the last year.

  3. Eileen says:

    Hi B and J

    I didn’t do this puzzle but your blog intrigued me and prompted me to seek out this wonderful &lit anagram clue from a Guardian puzzle a few months ago from … Puck, of course! ;-)

    8,2,14 As I said in 15 27 4 23: “Funny farm? The whole lot are dolts, boss!” (4,4,5,5,7,2)

    The puzzle is here:

  4. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Phi for a very enjoyable puzzle and B and J for the blog.

    9ac: This is a complete “& lit” clue: every word is relevant to both definition and wordplay.

    28ac: A mistake by the setter here, I think. I can see no justification for “up” in an across clue, and “turn back” would give just as good a surface.

  5. Rowland says:

    Perhaps it was a clue he had used before, with the down indication unchanged, slipping through. No other quibbles for me though, another good Phi-day!!


  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I got through this pretty quickly this morning. Even to Nina-blind people like me, the grid screamed that something was going on, and I guessed the quote – which is pretty well-known, to be fair – early on, which helped fill in the rest of the answers. I liked PLANT POT too, and agree that EVIL is not right as an across clue.

    All good stuff to end the week – thanks to Phi and to B&J.

  7. pennes says:

    Nice puzzle. I searched for the nina early on and with the letters I had, my first idea was “plebs” so I thought it might be something to do with Andrew Mitchell.
    2 dn lodestar my favourite today. I watched an old QI last night: M. Leotard invented the leotard

  8. Phi says:

    I wonder how EVIL slipped through. I do a lot of clueing away from the grid, though I do mark the list of words to be clued A [followed by Across words] then D [followed by Down ones], and maybe I misplaced the D. Though I’d have expected to spot it when typing up the puzzle. Humph – annoyed with self, annoyed with self…

    Anyway, you do seem only to be looking at the grid for your full complement of Nina…you need to right the gender imbalance.

  9. Dormouse says:

    Well, not only did I fail to spot the Nina, I failed to spot the asymmetry.

  10. Pelham Barton says:

    Phi @8: Thanks for popping in. I have just found Demetrius and Lysander. Does that complete the thematic set?

  11. BertandJoyce says:

    Well spotted Pelham Barton! One of us sat and looked at the grid trying to find what Phi had hinted at but failed to look at the clues themselves.

    Well done Phi, no more humphing required!

  12. pennes says:

    Whilst we might be discussing favourite clues of the past year and Phi’s puzzle today, I have just been turning out an old drawer and found crossword no 5304, one of Phi’s; it has my favourite ever clue:
    “Here’s fleche with direst warping”

    Ans Chesterfield

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