Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6556/Monk (20-10-07)

Posted by neildubya on October 26th, 2007

neildubya.

I think I made very heavy weather of this as, looking back at the answers now, there’s not too much there that should have given me problems; the notable exceptions being 12A and 26A. Once I filled the grid I did a quick scan to look for a Nina and, finding nothing obvious, assumed that there wasn’t one. However, I’ve solved enough Monk puzzles to know this would be unusual so I looked a bit harder and sure enough, there it was: running diagonally from top left to bottom right, and bottom left to top right is the phrase: SECRET STAIRCASE.

Across
9 E in LATHER
10 MO in ANGST – the first letter I filled in for this clue was G and from that point on I couldn’t shake off the idea that the definition was “a little more” and the answer SMIDGEN, despite the fact that I couldn’t make the wordplay fit. Daft, really.
11 [s]ENTRY – I managed to make this one unneccessarily hard, for some reason.
12 HEN in PA,CITE – “mineral layer” requires some (as another blogger has put it) “lifting and separating”.
13 Y-FRONTS – sounds like “wife runts”.
14 MIS[-s]US,fEaRs
16 last letters of “comE ouT witH” – a letter in the form of a crossed d, still used in modern Icelandic.
17 A C[lin]T,E[astwoo]D
20 hidden reversed in “veSSEL BIRds”
22 SHIRTLESS – nice cryptic def, which relies on a deceptive use of “better” (i.e. someone who bets)
24 [pr]OCREA[te] – took a chance on this as I didn’t know the word. Very easy wordplay though.
26 IRIDISE – the last to go in for me and the toughest clue of the puzzle I think. The full clue is “Make rainbow-coloured flag, finally packed in a cube”: flag is IRIS and “finally packed in a cube” means “take the last letter [of IRIS] and put it in DIE”. IRIDISE means “to cover with iridium”, which is often called rainbow because of the varying colour of its compounds.
 
Down
1 EELS (going up),P,Y – quite why it took me so long to link “dwarf” with one of the seven is a mystery.
2 BA,(EROTIC)*,LOGICAL – another tough one. Took me a while to unpick “broadcast erotic sound”.
3 CHEYENNE – I think I got this almost straight away and twigged that “according to gossip” might indicate a homophone clue but I couldn’t come up with a way of pronouncing it that would make the clue work. Eventually “shy ann” came to mind. Excellent clue, especially the tricky “fling” for “shy”.
5 initial letters of “Bill And Ben Entertained” – this held me up for a bit as I didn’t immediately grasp what “at the primary stage” meant – although looking again now, it’s hard to see what else it could have indicated.
7 AGAIN (STRAIGHTEN)* – AGAINST THE GRAIN. “How one could cut deal, say [i.e. wood]” is the misleading definition.
8 ETH,L in ERE,D – saw ETHELRED with a few crossing letters filled in, plus the definition “who wasn’t ready” but it was only post-solving that I worked out “left, parting before” – L in ERE.
14 I in (HARASS HIM)* – MAHARISHIS.
17 M,BRO in ASIA – excellent clue and quite sneaky. “Incontinent after the break” means “in continent”. In my book, and what a shabby pamphlet that is, this is fair enough because we’re being told to split up the word and “in continent” is the only logical split. Besides which, “excellent food” is hardly a misleading definition.
19 PET,’ARD – as in, “hoist on one’s own petard”.
23 [-s]EVEN

2 Responses to “Independent 6556/Monk (20-10-07)”

  1. nmsindy says:

    I’m sure I’m not alone in delight at seeing Monk’s name on a crossword in any publication. A pleasure to solve – tough, fair, and original. I always look for a theme in Monk’s Indy puzzles but had it almost all solved before seeing this one – what convinced me was 12 across where many more familiar words would have fit but did not match the clue so ’twas nice to see the two diagonals.

  2. Wil Ransome says:

    in BACTERIOLOGICAL (2D) we seem to be asked to accept that a BA is a student. Seems odd. It isn’t in Chambers Crossword Dictionary.

    As always, a delight from Monk. How he never got into Jonathan Crowther’s recent “A-Z of Crosswords” I’ll never know. In my opinion, but obviously not JC’s, he’s about the best there is; and that includes JC.

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