Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8274/Morph

Posted by Pierre on April 22nd, 2013


After his offering on the day of the royal wedding in 2011, some folk had Morph inked in for a Thatcher tribute puzzle last Wednesday; but the editor seems to have resisted that temptation.  However, we haven’t had long to wait for another of his crosswords, and it was a fine one to start the Indy week.  Pretty tough, though, and there are a few where I need help with parsing.  But Fifteensquared folk being helpful types, I’m sure there will be plenty of volunteers.

This one didn’t fly in, let me tell you.  To be fair to the setter, there were anagrams scattered around the grid to give you a way in, and we can’t complain about ‘obscure’ words; but the wordplay was intricate in many cases.  But then there’s a sense of satisfaction when you do finally crack a puzzle that you found tough, so I’m quite chuffed with myself this morning.

It’s a pangram, which for beginning lurkers who are using the ‘easy’ Indy Monday puzzle as a route into Crypticland, is a puzzle where all 26 letters of the alphabet are used.  Having paid attention in class, I now usually look out for one if I see that the filling grid has Q, W, X, K and so on.  And in fact this helped me with my last one in, 13ac.  Given ?A?I, there are lots of possibilities; but when I realised I was short of the Z, it came to me.

Bravo, Morph.

cd  cryptic definition
dd  double definition
(xxxx)* anagram
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x]  letter(s) missing

definitions are underlined


More than one studio needed to get such an enterprise rolling?
If two studios were required to make a film, it would be a JOINT PRODUCTION, as indeed would an enterprise for rolling joints, or spliffs.  A kind of dd cum cd, I suppose.

9/12  Berlin takes disturbed kids
(BERLIN TAKES)* gives you a slang term for small children.  I prefer RUG RATS.

10  TV personality delivers lines pat – canned laughter’s beginning
(LINES PAT)* with L for the first letter of ‘laughter’ inserted.  ‘Delivers’ is the anagrind.  I’m trying to fall in love with PANELLIST as a definition of  ‘TV personality’, but I don’t think we’ll be going out on a second date.

11  River flowing quietly westward in sleepy land
A reversal (‘westward’) of DON.  It’s referring to And Quiet Flows the Don, a novel in four parts by Michail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov.

13  Authoritarian Spaniard, insular type, back after dropping international school exam
My last one in.  A ten-word clue for a four-letter word usually spells trouble, and I won’t tell you the four-letter word I said when I finally twigged this.  Morph is telling us – in an extremely devious way – to take IBIZAN for a ‘Spaniard, insular type'; reverse it to get NAZIBI; and then remove IB for International Baccalaureate, which is the ‘international school exam’.

14/17  Be in the same social network as wits who burble inanely
(AS WITS WHO BURBLE)* with ‘inanely’ as the anagrind.

20  Surgical procedure making cheek round
A charade of LIP for ‘cheek’ and O.  Short for LIPOSUCTION, where a surgeon hoovers fat out of your thighs or abdomen.

21  Skin disease endlessly returning between ram’s head and bottom – get tick off
I held myself up by carelessly – nay, stupidly – putting in REPRIMAND.  It’s an insertion of HERPE[S] reversed in R for the first letter of ‘ram’ and END for ‘bottom’.  HERPES is a skin disease, the genital version of which you might risk catching with a 27/3.

23  Newspaper covering sport backing racing
Morph’s inviting you to put RU for Rugby Union or ‘sport’ in FT for the pink’un, and then reverse it all.

24  Stuck in mud, an axle’s flipped over in poet’s city
Hidden reversed in mUD AN AXle.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
    A stately pleasure-dome decree:
    Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
    Through caverns measureless to man
    Down to a sunless sea

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s opium-inspired poem.

26  Vintage, mostly worthless rubbish
CRU[D]  CRU (strictly, crû) is the French past participle of the verb croître, ‘to grow'; hence ‘growth’ or ‘vintage’.

28  Maybe weeping tree, say, one’s put outside institute
I can’t quite make this work.  It appears to be a charade of PLAIN for a homophone of PLANE, the tree; then I can see that I’VE could be ‘one’s’ in the sense of  ‘one has’.  But where the T fits in I can’t see.

29  Column‘s style and hairdo tips costly, for the most part
A charade of DO for the ‘tips’ of hairDO and RIC[H].  Think Euston station in London.

30  Emergency transport of bone china?
A charade of SKELETON for ‘bone’ and SERVICE for ‘china’.


Not hard for chap having a whale of a time round an east end piano
The cockney rhyming slang for ‘piano’ is an insertion of AN in JONA[H], who was allegedly swallowed by a whale.  Whether that constitutes having a whale of a time is open to argument.

Bugged – without silence, didn’t work

Regarded as fair, like a shot it’s OK to take again just one time?
A rather whimsical way of saying that if you were allowed to have another go on the green, your shot would be REPUT[T]ABLE.

Doctor accepting a kebab
An insertion of ONE in DR.

6/19  Spurn day-old lamb?
An idiomatic expression for ‘spurn’ is what leftover lamb becomes.  Nice with a dollop of chutney.

Current Number One, tennis’s top ace Henman on the way up … it’s not for real
A charade of I for the symbol for electrical current followed by MITATION, a reversal (‘on the way up’) of NO I, T, A and TIM.

Incorrect posture regularly adopted in evening
An insertion of OTR for the even letters of pOsTuRe in NIGHT.

15  Capital increasing by itself when account’s maintained
Well, my best stab at this is that it’s a charade of UP for ‘increasing’, and an insertion of CA for ‘current account’ in PER SE.  But that could well be complete balls.

16  American arms grew uncontrollably, say Pentagon strategists
(A ARMS GREW)*  Not sure I’ve heard this term before; happen I’m missing something.

18  Unusual Australian puts play on
I’m not being much help to you this morning, am I?  It’s (PUTS PLAY)* and if the definition is ‘unusual Australian’, then we need ‘on’ as the anagrind, which I can’t see.  If ‘unusual’ is the anagrind then surely it’s in the wrong place?

22  Queen of hearts tucking into frozen tart
A charade of QU and an insertion of H in ICE.  What real men don’t eat.

25  Do I have authorisation to proceed, pal?

26  Dog that’s amazing set on soldier
Brenda’s breed of choice is a charade of COR! and GI.

27/3  Encounter between upright individuals which may lead to 1 of 9,12?
This made me smile.  Coitus while standing up (usually leaning against a wall in a secluded alleyway) could indeed lead to an ANKLE BITER appearing 40 weeks later.

Thanks to Morph for this one; apologies for not being able to explain it all properly.

11 Responses to “Independent 8274/Morph”

  1. Conrad Cork says:

    Bonjour Pierre

    I think ‘tree say’ is plant, then ‘one’s’ I’ve as you say, outside I for institute.

    Chapeau for getting nazi. That one eluded me in what was a tough Monday work-out.

  2. flashling says:

    Indeed for NAZI which had me beat, not seen ON as anagrind but assumed it has to be.

    Merci Pierre

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Pierre, for the blog. I had all the same problems as you.

    Conrad must be right about 28ac.

    Re 15dn: AC is the usual crosswordese for ‘account’ but there’s no reversal indicator.

    With 9/12, 14/17, 6/19 and 27/3, the puzzle seems to be a 1ac.

    Super puzzle – many thanks, Morph!

  4. Andy B says:

    Count me as another beaten by NAZI. Tough puzzle for a Monday.

  5. Thomas99 says:

    I suppose it’s always a bit subjective, but 13a and 28a both seem to me to be superb examples of misdirection. Even after I’d actually written in “Nazi” I was racking my brains for some forgotten episode of Spanish history in which the Nazi (pronounced “Nathi”, of course) condemned heretics to something or other…and then it hit me like a frying pan.

    Thanks for the blog and to Morph for a real challenge.

  6. crypticsue says:

    A nice challenge from Morph. I hadn’t noticed the pangram (like Ninas they often pass me by) so I didn’t get NAZI either.

    Thanks to Pierre and Morph.

  7. HKColin says:

    Thanks Pierre. I didn’t have too many problems with this one. Fortunately the Plane tree didn’t occur to me so I parsed it as Conrad Cork did. And in Japan we often suffered under the gomi nazis, suburban housewives who take it upon themselves to enforce the strict recycling regulations, so “authoritarian” led me straight to the answer and dropping the Baccalaureate from Ibiza was not far away. It probably helps not to know much about Spanish islands.

    In 4dn I assumed the reference was not to golf but to the shotput where one might reput a shot, but the “just one time” has me wondering.

    And at 18dn, I agree that ON must be the anagrind. ‘On something’ would work better I think.

    Did I notice the pangram? Not a chance. I don’t see puzzles as a whole, just one clue at a time, more’s the pity.

  8. allan_c says:

    Got NAZI but still didn’t notice the pangram, and I couldn’t parse 28a either having assumed the homophone of ‘plane’.

    Pierre, if you’re not impressed by PANELLIST for TV personality you’d probably appreciate a variant of Ko-Ko’s little list from “The Mikado” I heard once: “… and that singular anomaly, the TV panellist/I don’t think he’d be missed/I’m sure he’d not be missed!”

    As for the DORIC arch at Euston – Alas, no more, unless you’re thinking of the pub (and why not!)

  9. morph says:

    Thanks for the fine blog and all your comments. I think the pangram was something that kind of fell into place – the puzzle was constructed around joint production, as Eileen notes.
    Account can be a/c or c/a (current account) so no reversal indicator is needed at 15dn.
    But I should probably apologise for using ‘on’ as an anagrind – it’s generally accepted as meaning tipsy, but it’s the sort of old-fashioned slang I usually try to avoid.

  10. Pierre says:

    Thanks for dropping in, Morph.

    I didn’t understand Eileen’s comment before, but now of course I see that JOINT PRODUCTION has given us ANKLE, ELBOW, SHOULDER and KNEE.

    This blogging stuff is too complicated …

  11. Bertandjoyce says:

    Solving this crossword was also a 1ac …. Bert is telling me to write things about 27/3 but I am giving him the 6/19!
    This was a tricky start to the week – we really shouldn’t try and watch HIGABMNFY at the same time when it’s a Morph puzzle.
    We totally missed NAZI and even if we had solved it, we’re not sure if we would have been able to parse it. Thankfully 225 came to the rescue – merci Pierre.

    Thanks Morph for the puzzle and for dropping in.

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