Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6452 by Monk

Posted by nmsindy on June 21st, 2007

nmsindy.

Monk is among the toughest setters, with some very original treatments, and very rigorous logic in the clues. Usually his puzzles in the Indy are themed, but I cannot see one here. (Later found the theme – I am now amending the review to include info on it, but have put it after the clue explanations so, if you have not found it and want to look further, you can) Also major difficulty with 6 across, again anyone who can enlighten me, please do so. (Thanks to all those who pointed out that it’s a cryptic definition to MITTEN)

Solving time (up to the 6 across quandary): 37 mins

* = anagram

ACROSS

1 G (O (OSEG)) OB (goes)* Was pleased to work out a completely new word for me just from the wordplay. Another name for a gooseberry, apparently

6 “Compound four-digit number? Quite the opposite (6)” I’ve removed the nonsense in the original posting where I was trying to choose between MOTHER and MOTLEY, never having thought of MITTEN (explained by several below, thanks)

9 TORTOISE SHELL tortoise = that creeps

10 EEYORE Every second letter – character from Winnie-the-Pooh

11 B (OOZE)-UPS (pubs)* A superb &lit

12 CLEAN SHEET (Chelsea net)* Hope the non-footy element were not thrown by this. Means where no goal is conceded in a match. And the footy element will know it’s very appropriate, because that has been the basis of much of Chelsea’s success under the Roman empire.

14 NEED last letters of “on the one hand”

15 (p)ANNE(d)

17 AMMUNITION “WMD? Mini amount, following review” (mini amount)* After his recent comments on the media and the Indy in particular, hope Tony Blair is not tackling this puzzle in breaks at the Brussels EU summit…

20 B ROOK LYN(x) Beckham (m. to Posh)

DOWN

2 (l) OUTS ELL See the topless yobs, but not sure how say = ell, or maybe it’s parsed another way

3 SURROGATE MOTHER An excellent cryptic definition

4 GOO(g)LE Liked that

5 BUSY BEE (USB by)* end letters of ElectrodE USB a computer term so appropriate, though I’m open to correction by the techies.

6 MIS(s) G(OTT)EN The wordplay seems to lead unambiguously to this, but because of my difficulties with 6 across, went back to it. It seems to be an uncommon word, meaning ill-gotten or misbegotten (as here) with Spenser as the reference in Chambers, so” old” in the clue, I guess. I don’t have Collins to hand, it may be there, it’s not in Concise OED.

7 THERE’S NO TELLING Like the bank tellers who used to add = sum up

8 ELLIPS(is)E The … at the start of the clue means ellipsis.

18 MAN ILL A

19 OB LI (GE) E say = eg “caught up”

21 A MASS Mass being an Indy setter. Unfair perhaps to the casual solver.

Theme: Every clue answer has two consecutive identical letters e.g. MITTEN would fit, but not MOTHER or MOTLEY (and as bensand has noted below in comment 8, so have the clues!)

9 Responses to “Independent 6452 by Monk”

  1. says:

    6A I put MITTEN; I thought it was a cryptic def sort of thing. A MITTEN doesn’t numb four digits held together, it does the opposite. Not sure if that’s right though.

    Excellent puzzle, as always.

  2. says:

    MITTEN is right – a cryptic definition at the top end of the difficulty scale. And there is a hidden feature, as ever with Monk.

  3. says:

    I’m afraid the hidden feature passed me by. Care to drop a hint?

  4. says:

    If no one has got it by this evening I’ll give a hint, but I’d like to give someone else the chance first.

  5. says:

    Number as something that makes numb. A mitten has 4 compound digits to help do the opposite of that.

  6. says:

    It’s not a trick to be tried too often, or else every time you see ‘number’ you hear a warning bell, and go straight to the answer. On a par with the word ‘wicked’.

  7. says:

    number – I did, when hunting check to see if there was a word METHER using ether = number. But there ain’t and the clue would not work anyway.

    I see the theme now – won’t say what it is in view of Eimi’s comment, except that I probably would have got MITTEN.

  8. says:

    Would it be far-fetched to suggest that the double-letter theme (which is in the clues as well as the answers) is in today because today is the longest day? Midsummer being mm of course. Probably stretching too far!

  9. says:

    Missed the theme, MITTEN and (stupidly) the …=ellipsis in 8D, but enjoyed the rest, esp. BROOKLYN.

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