Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8254 / Phi

Posted by Bertandjoyce on March 29th, 2013


We can hardly believe that another four weeks has gone by and it’s our turn to blog Phi again.

It’s always enjoyable and today’s offering was no exception. We had a musical reference at 22d, which, as regulars know, is quite common with Phi. However, we have looked for Ninas and themes that Phi often also uses but cannot find anything. That doesn’t mean to say that there isn’t one!

We hadn’t come across 7d, which was our last entry and needed a dictionary check to confirm it. Any other suggestions for 7d would be helpful.

We particularly liked the smooth reading of 10ac, 12ac and 23ac.

1   Criticise hurry when leading tour of France
TEAR A STRIP OFF TEAR (HURRY) + AS + TRIP (tour) + OF + F (France)
8   Complacent detective, ignoring garden, taken aback
SMUG GUMShoe (detective) with HOE (garden) removed or ‘ignored’ and reversed or ‘taken aback’
9   Expertise? Non-professional record backed getting it into Seychelles
SPECIALITY LAIC (non-professional) + EP (record) reversed or ‘backed’ + IT inside or ‘into’ SY (Seychelles)
10   Mostly sweet romance, nothing less, for six couples
TWELVE TWEe (sweet) with last letter removed or ‘mostly’ + LoVE (romance) without O (nothing)
12   One’s charged special people nothing to enter rear half of barn
ELECTRON ELECT (special people) + O (nothing) inside or ‘entering’ RN (rear half of baRN)
13   Vermin seen abroad, requiring landlord
LICENSEE LICE (vermin) + anagram of SEEN (anagrind is ‘abroad’)
15   Something depicting rain
SHOWER A double definition – SHOWER as in the verb ‘to show’ or in ‘cats and dogs’
16   Coinage that is attached to conjecture, in brief
SPECIE IE (that is) attached to SPEC (short for speculate or conjecture or ‘in brief’)
18   Cruel girl’s movement snatching poster
SADISTIC SIS (girl) + TIC (movement) around or ‘snatching’ AD (poster)
20   I note period with company blocking messaging system
INTERCOM I + N (note) + CO (company) inside or ‘blocking’ TERM (period)
21   Melancholy of old recalled in my tune
MELODY DOLE (old word for melancholy) reversed or ‘recalled’ inside MY
23   Setbacks when invaded by two attacks of illness
ABOUT TURNS AS (when) around or ‘invaded by’ BOUT and TURN (two words for attack of illness)
24   Dislike expedition losing heart
HATE HAsTE (expedition) with middle or ‘heart’ removed or ‘lost’
26   Stone bowls shaped right to contain heat
YORKSHIRE GRIT YORKS (bowls as in cricket) + anagram of RIGHT around or ‘containing’ IRE (heat)
1/25   Child with it will catch male bird
TOMTIT TOT (child) + IT around or ‘catching’ M (male)
2   Sponsor set to support a name
ANGEL GEL (set) underneath or ‘supporting’ A + N (name)
3   Article on broadcasters excluding nil responses
ANSWERS AN (article) + SoWERS (broadcasters) with O (nil) removed or ‘excluded’
4   Film: people in this group rave – A minus, possibly
THE SEVEN SAMURAI THESE (this group) + anagram of RAVE A MINUS (anagrind is ‘possibly’)
5   Reserve capital initially invested in two timeless homes
ICINESS C (first letter of Capital or ‘initially’) inside or ‘invested in’ II (two) + NEStS (homes) with T removed or ‘timeless’
6   Former schoolboy rugby team accepting a teacher’s first offerings
OBLATIONS OB (former school boy as in old boy) + LIONS (rugby team) around or ‘accepting’ A + T (initial letter or ‘first offering’ of Teacher)
7   Angry with expected draw
FIT TO BE TIED If a match was expected to be a draw it would be –  FIT TO BE  TIED. At least that’s how we think it could be parsed!
11   Target of punishment passing quickly round ring
WHIPPING BOY WHIPPING BY (passing quickly) around O (ring)
14   River surrounding church – question cut in Government funding?
EXCHEQUER EXE (river) ‘surrounding’ CH (church) + QUERy (question) with last letter removed or ‘cut’
17   Animates things no longer observed on the radio
EXCITES Sounds like or ‘on the radio’ EX SIGHTS (things no longer seen)
19   Endless confusion in valley estate
DEMESNE MESs (confusion) with last letter removed or ‘endless’ in DENE (valley)
22   Extract of Birtwistle (Harrison) identifying composer
LEHAR Hidden within the clue or ‘extract of’ BirtwstLE HARrison. The composer is this Austro-Hungarian.
25   See 1d


13 Responses to “Independent 8254 / Phi”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Sacred yesterday, secular today … can’t say the Indy isn’t even-handed. Entertaining stuff today, with a couple of bits of less common vocabulary to keep you interested but plenty to get you going.

    I thought MELODY was interesting, because Phi reminded us of the old meaning of the word DOLE, which made me realise where DOLEFUL comes from. The field next to where I live is called Doles Field, but I’m guessing that comes from the DOLE OUT meaning, in other word sharing out. Which is probably where being on the DOLE comes from, although that is certainly likely to make you melancholy if it goes on for any length of time.

    FIT TO BE TIED I had never heard of. Is it American English?

    Thanks to B&J for blogging.

  2. Bertandjoyce says:

    We’d never heard of the expression ‘fit to be tied’ either. It is in Chambers as extremely angry (informal) but no indication of its origin. There was mention elsewhere on the internet of the possibility of it being deriving from the ‘long-armed restraint for mental patients’.

  3. michelle says:

    Thanks for the blog, Bertandjoyce. I appreciated your explanations of how to parse 7, 8, 9, 10, 24 & 26.

    My favourites were TEAR A STRIP OFF, ICINESS & SADISTIC.

    Some new words learnt today: FIT TO BE TIED, DEMESNE, YORKSHIRE GRIT.

  4. michelle says:

    Some notes on FIT TO BE TIED can be found at this link:

    Seems that it is British slang, but was/is also used in American English

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Michelle, that’s interesting. It’s a good site, isn’t it?

  6. chris&helen says:

    We found “fit to be tied” in Partridge’s dictionary of slang as “hopping mad.” He gives it as Canadian, adopted about 1908 from US, and compares it to Australian “ropeable” A new expression to us

  7. chris&helen says:

    We weren’t sure whether 7D meant angry with an expected tied result, or angry with an expected cup-tie pairing.

  8. nmsindy says:

    I’ve certainly heard that phrase many times meaning ‘angry’ – needing to be restrained in case the person would do something worse – jocular in the main but many a true word…

  9. aztobesed says:

    Fit to be tied had me playing Call My Bluff – “In the British navy a rating who was out of control and a danger to himself and his shipmates would be lashed to a mast until the mariner calmed down.” It makes sense that anyone who’s lost it should be restrained till the red mist leaves them – but it’s not a phrase I’ve ever met. I suppose an angry dog might be best put on a leash too. Never realised Yorkshire Grit had anything but a figurative meaning.

    Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to Phi and B&J.

  10. lenny says:

    I knew fit to be tied from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the Hollywood version of the Rape of the Sabine Women. The lyric of Sobbin’ Women contains the line: “Them a women was sobbin’, sobbin’, sobbin’ fit to be tied”.

  11. Ian SW3 says:

    I never thought of “fit to be tied” as an Americanism, but having grown up over there I can attest that it is pretty much universally known, though perhaps not an expression everyone would use often. I’m conflimdangulated to learn it isn’t known over here.

  12. JohnF says:

    I’ll second Ian–I grew up with “fit to be tied” and saw it right off. But “tear a strip off” was new to me–had to Google to find it. Is it in fact from tearing off a stripe indicative of rank?

  13. Phi says:

    World Wide Words is an excellent site, and I recommend subscribing to the weekly newsletter. As to whether Mr Quinion may, on occasion, give me ideas for words to put into grids – well, I couldn’t possibly comment.

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