Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8247 / Morph

Posted by duncanshiell on March 21st, 2013


Morph puzzles appear in the Independent about once a month and are very welcome.




At one point I thought this might be a pangram, but we seem to be 2 letters short two letters short (J and Z)

I got off to a fairly qucik start with this, slowed down a bit in the middle but then raced through the last few.  All the clues were fair and understandable with only a little difficulty in parsing BYLAWS ( 6 down) initially.  I reckon there were definitely two &Lit cluse – ADAPTOR (8 across) and BYLAWS at 6 down. .  18d ORDEAL could be an &Lit depending on your view of Mr Edmonds’ programme.

It was the North West corner that held me up the most with WORLD VIEW, LUSTS and BYLAWS being the last ones in.

I liked the simplicity of NO QUARTER (20 across), the picture conjured up by the clue to THE MISSING LINK (7 down) and the cricket misdirection in TREE SURGEON (15 a cross)

I did wonder a bit about the clue at 23 down where we had to take the 1st, 3rd and 5th characters of a word that we had to deduce in the first place, but it would have been alright to use DELAY as a whole in wordplay, so it should be alright to take only the odd letters of it as well.

An enjoyable crossword, perhaps slightly easier than some Thursday crosswords in recent weeks.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry



In the middle of punt, eating chocolate bar (7)


BET (punt) containing (eating) TWIX (brand name of a chocolate bar)


BETWIXT (between; in the middle of)




Fitting connecting plug and other terminals (7)


APT (fitting) between (connecting) (AD [advert; puff] + OR [and other])

Afternote: As NeilW points out at comment 1 below OR are the first and last letters of (terminals of> OTHER


ADAPTOR (fitting connecting electrical plug/socket and other terminals; i.e. to enable more than plug to be connected to a socket)  &Lit clue




Is getting out of practice … on the other hand has desire (5)


RUSTS (is becoming impaired by time and inactivity; is getting out of practice) with (L [left] replacing R [right] – on the other hand)


LUSTS (has desire)




Runs off around 50 duck fillets (9)


ESCAPES (runs off) containing (L [roman numeral for 50] + O [nothing; duck [no score for a batsman in cricket])


ESCALOPES (boneless slices of meat, cut thin and often beaten out still thinner; fillet)




I’m amazed to comprehend awful drivel making outlook on life (5,4)

WOW (expression of amazement; I’m amazed) containing (to comprehend) an anagram of (awful) DRIVEL


WORLD VIEW (an outlook on, or attitude to the WORLD or life)




A second series of games giving advantage (5)


A + S (second) + SET (series of games in tennis for example)


ASSET (something advantageous)


15 Ashes perhaps provide spur for one who’s handy with the willow? (4,7) TREES (ashes are examples of types of TREES) + URGE ON (provide spur)

TREE SURGEON (a person who treats and preserves diseased or damaged trees by filling cavities, amputating branches, etc, a willow being another example of a TREE)



Guarantee on wine bottles Department of Health provided for this purpose (2,3)


AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée; guarantee of wine quality) containing (bottles) DH (Department of Health)


AD HOC (provided for this special purpose)




Mercilessness of Japanese theatre district (2,7)


NO (traditional style of Japanese drama; Japanese theatre) + QUARTER (district)


NO QUARTER (mercilessness)




Holding election is hard getting ways to attract attention for the masses (3,6)


H (hard [pencil]) + ([OI {word used to attract attention} + OI {word used to attention} giving ways to attract attention]) all containing (holding) POLL (election)


HOI POLLOI (the masses)




Joint episcopal head may come under this (5)

Episcopal head may come under this could equally well be singled out as the definition

MITRE (joint in woodworking terms)


MITRE (high pointed headdress often worn by senior clergy; episcopal head may come under this)  double definition




One having big bill in place that’s falling apart(7)


Anagram of (that’s falling apart) IN PLACE


PELICAN (a large tropical and subtropical waterfowl with an enormous pouched bill)




Non-kosher ingredient for cooking plant (7)


TREF (forbidden as food, not kosher) + OIL (ingredient for cooking)


TREFOIL (a trifoliate plant of the clover genus)





Mad Hatter cast with difficulty (2,1,7)


Anagram of (mad) HATTER CAST


AT A STRETCH (with difficulty)




Got rid of soap actor finally – Den is murdered (6)


R (last letter of [finally] ACTOR) + an anagram of (murdered) DEN IS


RINSED (removed soap traces)



Scrap job and leave, introducing learner as cover (9,5)


PATCH (scrap) + WORK (job) + (QUIT [leave] containing L [learner])






High time to get drink? It’s unbelievable (4,4)


TALL (high) + T (time) + ALE (drink)


TALL TALE (an unbelievable story)




Animals launched in one stage of flight (4)


PETS (animals) reversed (launched; sent upwards; down clue)


STEP (one stage in a  flight of stairs)




What’s British local leader in control over? (6)


B (British) + (L [first letter of {leader}LOCAL contained in (in) [SWAY {control} reversed {over}])

B (Y (L) AWS<)

BYLAWS (laws of Local Authorities in Britain) &Lit clue




Apeman that could prevent site access? (3,7,4)


THE MISSING LINK (if a hyperlink is missing on a website you will be unable to access the site being referred to)


THE MISSING LINK (the word APEMAN describes any of several extinct primates thought to have been intermediate in development between man and the higher apes; the missing link between man and the higher apes)




Does paper over cracked centre of plaster, sized (6)


RESITS (anagram of [cracked] STER SI which form the middle 6 letters of [centre] the 12 letter phrase PLASTER SIZED)


RESITS (does paper over [again])




A French tart picked up in Swiss town for public health (10)


(A + TATIN [reference TARTE TATIN a French upside-down toffee-topped apple tart]) contained in SION (capital of the Canton of Valais, city in the Rhone Valley of Switzerland)


SANITATION (measures for the promotion of health; public health)




Barrier missing both ends – pest to intrude (8)


FENCE (excluding the first and last letters [missing both ends] F and E) + ROACH (cockROACH; pest)


ENCROACH (intrude beyond boundaries)




Felt good, getting husband in to do housework (4,2)


WAS UP (felt good) containing (getting) H (husband)


WASH UP (do housework)




Every other word in Noel’s show is a distressing experience (6)


Noel Edmond’s game show is DEAL OR NO DEAL.  If you take every second (every other) word you get OR and DEAL


ORDEAL (a distressing experience)  One is tempted to say the clue is also an &Lit, it all depends whether you think show is worth watching or not.




Greek war leader controlling military intelligence bodies (6)

ARES (greek God of war) containing (controlling) MI (military intelligence)


ARMIES (bodies [of men])




I put off odd characters in a careless manner (4)


I + DLY (letters 1, 3 and 5 of [odd characters] DELAY [put off])


IDLY (in a careless manner)



7 Responses to “Independent 8247 / Morph”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Duncan. An entertaining puzzle with some very clever clues.

    ADAPTOR is definitely &lit because OR is derived from the first and last letters (terminals) of other and thus the whole clue is used in the wordplay, which I don’t think you’ve explained in your parsing.

  2. duncanshiell says:

    Thanks Neil – I’ve updated the blog

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Duncan.

    Seen trickier Thursday puzzles, and indeed trickier Morphs, but this was fun. Just the last few that I got held up on, for me in the SE corner. Never heard of TREF, and I’m not much good on Greek gods, so ARMIES took a bit of getting. Couldn’t parse BYLAWS, so thanks for that.

    TREE SURGEON was my favourite today. Sadly no references from Morph to political shenanigans today, but you can’t have everything …

  4. flashling says:

    Didn’t know TREF either, bit surprised there doesn’t appear to be a Nina or theme from Morph after some of his recent efforts here.

  5. crypticsue says:

    Very enjoyable thank you Morph and Duncan too. Hoi Polloi is definitely setters ‘word’ of the month as it has appeared in several cryptics lately.

  6. NealH says:

    Mostly enjoyable, but I thought 14 down was a bit too obscure (never heard of tarte tatin or Sion, so was only able to get it from the definition). I’d also not come across tref, so thought 26 must be some weird anagram involving for. What mostly held me up in getting bylaws was a certain element of doubt about whether 10 was rusts or lusts – I felt the clue could have been read either way.

  7. Bertandjoyce says:

    We started this very late last night and only managed to fill in a few answers. Having had a good sleep we’ve been able to complete it but needed a bit of help to check a few definitions. TREF was new to us as well .

    We weren’t that impresed with 7d and 23d was rather unusual as the odd letters were removed from a word that wasn’t in the clue.

    However, good for the grey matter and there hasn’t been a Morph that we haven’t enjoyed.

    Thanks Duncan and Morph.

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