Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6615/Eimi – “Bank Holiday Special”(!)

Posted by neildubya on January 4th, 2008

neildubya.

This was the puzzle that almost never was. Due to be published on the 29th of December, it was nowhere to be found in the newspaper, much to the frustration of a number of eager solvers (not to mention Eimi himself). It eventually appeared on the 1st of January as a “Bank Holiday special” with an apology (a production error was at fault) tucked away elsewhere in the paper. As someone commented: “Cheeky, eh?”.

Anyway, I hope everyone who bought the paper on the 29th eventually got to solve the puzzle as it was very enjoyable. Tricky in places and there were a few things I didn’t understand at the time of solving but I think I’ve got them all now. 8/15 was very much a case of third time lucky.

Across
1 E in CHER’S
4 MOUSS[-e],AKA – “also known as” was a big help here as there aren’t many words that end with AKA.
10 (AC ARCH MORALISTS)* – A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Very easy once you’ve got 17d.
11 PAN,OPTIC – wacky surface reading.
18 (CATCHLINE)* – TECHNICAL.
20 LOCAL,E – I’ve only just spotted why LOCAL is “number”: LOCAL anaesthetic (which makes you numb).
22 PIN T[-able +POTS] – I made a mistake at 8/15 (I had GLITTERS rather than GLISTERS) which meant I spent ages looking for a suitable phrase that fit ?I?T?O?T. I eventually had to concede that there wasn’t one. “Pin table” is another name for “pinball”.
24/12 THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH – I’ve read a fair amount of 17d but none of his short stories and while I’ve heard of 10a (who hasn’t?) and even 13d, this one was new to me. I drew a blank with the wordplay so I took the lazy route and got Googling. The wordplay is in two parts: “what a keen sports fan might have” (THE CRICKET ON), “where the Ashes might be seen” (THE HEARTH).
25 SASH CORD – which is something attached to a sash window (“certain lights” I think) in order to balance it any height.
26 IDEALS – a bit of indirectness here but the clue makes things as easy as possible. The ninth day of Christmas has “ladies dancing” which we could read as (LADIES)*.
 
Down
1 CHAMPAGNE FLUTES – to get this one you need to know that the illustrator for some of 17d’s books was Hablot Browne, who went by the pseudonym “Phiz” (which sounds like “fizz” – champagne)
2 E THANO[-u],L – quite an apt surface reading as Ekaterina Thanou was withdrawn from the Greek Olympic team on the eve of the Athens 2004 Games for missing a number of drugs tests (although I think she was later cleared).
3 IMPOS[-t] in DEER – anyone get tripped up by “Does”?
6 SUCRE – this is definitely worth remembering: SUCRE is the legal capital of Bolivia and is also the currency (another type of capital) of Ecuador.
7 AIR,DRIE[-d] – I’m still a bit unsure about “almost completely forgot words”; isn’t this “dried up” rather than just “dried”. Or have I got this completely wrong?
8/15 (RIGHT TAGS TO ALL TINSEL SOLD)* – this is what happens when you don’t work out anagrams properly. My first go at this was ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD. 22a showed that that wasn’t right so GLITTERS became GLISTENS. Then, as I was writing up this blog I thought I would double-check and I realised that the anagram fodder had one N and the answer had two and that the fodder had an R and my answer had none. So, GLISTERS it is then.
9 I in (STITCHES)* – I liked the surface reading. I’ve read some Aquinas and believe me, there’s not exactly a laugh on every page.
13 CHI in THEMES – this was the 17d story I knew of but hadn’t read. CHI (or QI) is a term from Chinese medicine.
17 DICK,ENS – I thought this was quite tough, especially ENS (which means an existing or real thing). I guess it all depends on how quickly you get to DICK for detective.
21 hidden in “JoeLY RIChardson”

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