Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6646 (Merlin)

Posted by NealH on February 4th, 2008


Quite a tough puzzle from Merlin and I didn’t manage to finish it, getting stuck on 25 across, 5 across and 8 down.

1 Bludgeon: B(l)udge on.
5 Ageism ? Clue was “Ming eased out with this end”. I thought it might be a reference to Ming Campbell’s resignation, but can’t work out the wordplay.
12 Norma: Norma(n). Norma Major was John’s wife.
16 Hammer throw: Hammer (West Ham) + throw.
18 Red: Clued as “sort of wine lake ?”. I assume the lake refers to the Red Sea – I’m not sure whether that’s technically a lake or not. Wikipedia describes it as an “inlet”.
20 Hand in Glove: Cryptic def.
21 Amersham: Not sure about this one, either. Seems to be AMER + SHAM, although I’ve never heard of sham being used to mean idol.
25 Parfit ? Parvie ? “Right in 4,6 cryptically like Chaucer’s knight”. Unfortunately, my knowledge of Chaucer lies somewhere between slim and non-existent. For 4,6, see below.
28 E THANE: Thankfully, I did cover MacBeth at school, so thane wasn’t too much of a problem.
2 Ugh: (H)ugh
3 Gilgamesh: L in GIGA MESH.
4,6 One Foot in the Grave: Probably the best clue in the puzzle. Definition was in 10 ac (“past it”)and the clue is a reference to one foot being a sixth of 6 feet under.
8 ??t?: Clue is “First part of 13 or last part of 20″.
11 Heart in Mouth: Heart + T(e)i(g)nmouth.
13 Romney Marsh: Footballer Rodney Marsh (I thought he was a cricketer) with the d (500) doubled to m(1000).
17 Wagnerist: (T ring awes)* + &lit.

13 Responses to “Independent 6646 (Merlin)”

  1. conradcork says:

    25 across. Chaucer’s knight was a ‘parfit gentle knight’.

    5 across. Ageism is an anagram of ‘Ming eased’ minus the word ‘end’.

    8 down. Mitt is both glove and the mormon presidential hopeful Romney.

  2. conradcork says:

    18 across. Lake is a red pigment.

  3. NealH says:

    What is the wordplay in 25 across ?

  4. NealH says:

    I’m still not sure 5 across makes much sense. How is the removal of “end” clued ? The “out” must be the anagram indicator, so it looks as if it’s doing double duty. The presence of “this” is also confusing and doesn’t seem to add anything to the clue.

  5. Jon says:

    re: 25ac: Are we supposed to put R (right) into ‘Past It’, giving us ‘Parst It’ and get from there to ‘parfit’ ‘cryptically’??? No, I’m not convinced either.

    Very hard for a Monday, I thought. Too many I half worked out and half guessed. I was quite pleased that I got 13D, never having heard of either Rodney or Romney Marsh…

  6. Michod says:

    This was very clever stuff – a lovely clue at 4,6 complimented by 25ac, whose wordplay is (R in) A F in PIT, i.e. ‘one foot in the grave cryptically!
    I think 20ac isn’t just a CD – ‘giving deep affection’ is a subsidiary indication for ‘handing love’.
    But I’m puzzled by AMERSHAM too.
    Lovely to see Rodney/Romney Marsh in a crossword. I remember being struck by their similarity back when he was playing – probably before I crossed my first word!

  7. conradcork says:

    Re 13 down, there used to be a joke.

    Q What do you think of half a million quid for Rodney Marsh?

    A It’d be better than the pitch we’ve got now.

  8. conradcork says:

    25 across In reply to Jon’s query. Cryptically one foot in the grave could be ‘f’ in ‘pit’.

  9. eimi says:

    Rodney Marsh obviously enjoyed playing with the meanings of words too, as evidenced by this, from an interview in The Guardian:

    Your outspokenness has caused you grief in the past. Your England career, for example, was cut abruptly short …
    Yes, that’s true. If you want proof all you have to do is read the last chapter of Alf Ramsey’s biography, where he tells the story. Basically, before one match, he said to me “I’ll be watching you for the first 45 minutes and if you don’t work harder I’ll pull you off at halftime.” And I said, “Christ, we only get a cup of tea and oranges at Fulham!” And that’s the last time I played for England.

  10. rightback says:

    NealH, your cricket knowledge is spot on – there was another Rodney Marsh who was Australia’s wicketkeeper in the 1970s and 1980s.

    I think I enjoyed this more than previous puzzles by Merlin. I didn’t like 1ac though – not sure how ‘X supporting Y’ can mean ‘put Y inside X’.

    21ac – Chambers gives icon – an imposter, a sham (obsolete).

    5ac – ‘this’ is sometimes used like this to mean ‘the clue’s answer’, so here the wordplay says: ‘Ming eased’ is an anagram of ‘ageism end’. That said, I don’t think the syntax here (‘X out with Y’) quite makes sense, nor does the definition reading really work for me.

  11. Wil Ransome says:

    AGEISM (5a): This seems to be a composite anagram, like the sort of thing you find in Azed and sometimes the Listener. I’ve never seen one in a daily cryptic before. Rightback explains. I agree with him: one is supposed to have some sense in the whole thing of a definition (it’s usually an &lit.), and it doesn’t seem to me that there is a very clear one here.

    There is some disagreement about exactly what form a comp. anag. should take, but it’s described well in Don Manley’s Chambers Crossword Manual.

  12. Tees says:

    They crop up occasionally. I can vouch for the appearance of

    Blind poet wrestles with hog in moonlight!

    for instance – can’t quite remember who wrote it – but, as Wil hints, it depends upon how your editor is disposed.

    The creator of a document in my possession entitled ‘Times Rules’ is concerned that compound anagrams should be used ‘with great discretion’, and offer clear ‘signposting’ for the solver. In another, very ancient set of Rules, such clues are banned on the grounds that they are ‘too complicated for our solvers’. Cripes.

  13. nmsindy says:

    Composite anagrams are mainly a feature of advanced crosswords – I associate them particularly with Azed (you see them in his competitions). I’ll have to admit I’m not a particular fan, though the more variety of devices that are available to the setter and solver the better.

    I find that (a) the fact that it’s a composite anagram stands out when you see ‘this’, (b) as a long anagram it can be tedious to work out, and (c) most of all, it tends to bring in extraneous material. Very occasional use of ones, like in the Merlin puzzle, where a short additional word is used, seem OK and I knew it was a composite anagram when solving though I did not fully understand the entire clue.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

+ eight = 12