i Cryptic Crossword 3033 Phi

October 27, 2020

And so we bid a fond farewell to Frank Bough (obits, page 16), a genial speedfreak who was seemingly unavoidable during the 1970s and 80s. I am in no way suggesting anything about Phi’s recreational proclivities, but he’s pretty ubiquitous too. Here he is again, and it’s the same deal as Saturday: medium difficulty; lots of fiddly constructions involving chipping bits off words and gluing them together to make new ones, chimæra-style, and a theme. You are perhaps more likely to spot this one if, like the setter, you share a surname with it. To be fair, it’s probably impossible to have got through life without coming across at least a couple of the songs, but I doubt one in a thousand could name the composer nowadays.

“Medium difficulty”, but in truth prolonged and frequent exposure means I can do 98% of a Phi puzzle in my sleep, so familiar is his style. You always seem to wind up with something completely bonkers outstanding at the end, like 4d. With any other setter you’d wonder long and hard about that narrow road, but with this one it’s par for the course: a reversal, a digit in an abbreviation, the same again in an obscurity unsupported by the dictionary … put ’em together and Bob’s your uncle. Clear as day, as is the “definition” for 14ac. Well, you get used to it. Once again we have “on” to indicate an anagram but I shall not mention that because it is merely lazy and tiresome, as are all the other crossword commonplaces dotted around. There’s no way I’m letting “farewelling” go though – that’s an appalling, gratuitous act of noun-verbing, and an utter outrage.

So yes, rather faint praise today I’m afraid, and it’s likely that others will have enjoyed themselves a lot more. Not my thing, however. I’m struggling for a COD but will go for a nicely executed chestnut:

25ac: “Old woman covering a blemish in make-up (7)”

Click here, and as if by magic the answers will appear.

13 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3033 Phi”

  1. Cornick said

    Ray Henderson songs? Would that be hip-hop, grime or garage? Never let it be said that crosswords are doomed because they’re aimed at old-aged pensioners.

  2. jonofwales said

    Moderately difficult, with difficulties of my own making when I lobbed in BYE BYE HAPPINESS which I’m not even sure is a song even if it is a lyric. Ray Henderson, I take it that’s something ancient?

    • Guy Barry said

      You were probably thinking of “Bye Bye Love” by the Everly Brothers (1957) – it’s the second line.

      The “20s” referred to in 9ac are of course the 1920s rather than the current decade. When this puzzle first appeared in 2016 there was presumably no need to distinguish! I still have trouble thinking of the current decade that way.

  3. Denzo said

    According to the Oxford Dictionary Online, “Farewell” can be a verb Down Under (where Phi lives) but the meaning was obvious and there are many precedents of crossword setters taking liberties with language, especially the American word for donkey. For a change Phi provided no unkown words, though I had not met this meaning of CORPSE, and had to check that SUBCIRCUIT existed. I suspect most of us had to check Wikipedia to establish that Phi had a Nobel prize-winning namesake, whereupon, remembering from recently that Phi does themes I wondered if a HENDERSON had written the songs in the puzzle, and sure enough, I had, helped by Wikiopedia, (sort of) cracked the theme. Fun, not too difficut but not a pushover. Favourite clue was SAY WHEN.

  4. saboteur said

    What Batarde, said. And what Cornick said as well. I recall my grandad singing the song, but that was probably fifty years ago, and it was an old one then, so I would be very interested to hear from Our Younger Solver on this one.

  5. Guy Barry said

    9ac was my first one in – my grandmother used to sing it to me when I was tiny little kid! Completed fairly quickly after that with very few quibbles – C for “concluded” in 5ac was unfamiliar, and the unsatisfactory “on” as anagram indicator popped up again in 16dn. Wasn’t sure if GREENLY is an actual word but the wordplay was clear. 14ac was suitably groanworthy. 4ac was last one in, for obvious reasons.

    I thought the theme might be something to do with 1920s songs but wasn’t familiar enough with the songwriter to get it (despite the name being in the grid!). Good puzzle all round.

  6. thebargee said

    An evening start (and finish) for me. Pretty much what Guy said, except my LOI was PRISON, preceded by TYPICAL, POKER and LADEN. I think it was that ‘c’ for concluded that caused me to linger longer than I should have in the NE corner.

  7. Bunty Rawlings said

    Which Henderson won the Peace Prize. I only know of a British Henderson who won the Biology prize. Answer was obvious from the clue, but meant nothing to me.

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