Posted by petebiddlecombe on March 23rd, 2008
Solving time: about 2 hours – with one answer wrong, it turns out
I forgot I was down to blog this, so solved it today. I can’t remember whether we’ve had a 13×11 CB before, but this made little difference. Tips for solving these if you haven’t tackled them before:
Whenever you can place an answer in the grid, mark the position of its “rotational symmetry partner”. I do this with both bars and a light horizontal line along the answer – I then know that I shouldn’t draw a bar through one of these lines. In the case of across answers you can also enter the corresponding answer length next to the symmetry partner – the symmetry partner of the i’th Across clue is the (N + 1 -i)’th clue, where N is the number of across answers.
Marking the grid with a blob at the intersection of the vertical and horizontal center lines can help with ‘symmetry partner’ bar marking. In the case of a 13×11 grid, an even number of answers implies bars on either side of the centre square – true for the downs in this puzzle. An odd number of answers implies a centrally placed answer across the middle square – true for the acrosses.
Obviously you have to solve enough clues to fit words together and get a start. This can be some each of the first few acrosses and first few downs (or the last few of each), or as in this case for me, words that stretch across the whole grid.
Carte Blanche grids always seem to have some unusual feature, such as the first five downs all starting with an unch so that the first across is on the right hand side of the top line. Moral: try not to assume anything about the grid except the things that must be true. In this puzzle the oddities were the pairs of 11-letter answers at the edges and the fact that every down answer started in the first row or ended in the last.
I got started with MICROGROOVE and EVANGELIARION – the latter looked up after deciding to try EVANGEL- words. I then got LAMIA, CAPRID and YSLAKED and placed them at the bottom of the grid, and then got BECAUSE, BETIME and HIEROGRAMMATE. After that it was pretty plain sailing, though the last few answers were fairly stubborn – SPANK, SPAM, TRIE and BOGONG. I had a few queries left which I’m sure someone will answer.
I’ve ‘numbered’ the clues by letters as like me, you probably haven’t worked out numbers for the grid.
|(b)||HIEROGRAMMATE – (rag Rome)* in him, ate = worried. Im’ sure others started with the outside as (see him)*|
|(c)||ICTAL – hidden words – ictus = an epileptic fit|
|(d)||ELLIPSES – spill in see, all rev.|
|(f)||BO(ROT)RA – bora = a strong wind in the NE Adriatic. Jean B was one of the ‘Four Musketeers’ of inter-war French tennis.|
|(g)||LOMENTA – (not meal)* – pods of legumes is about all C tells you for this.|
|(i)||S(P)ANK – another def quibble – I couuld only find “spanker” for the sail.|
|(j)||ARGO – A.R.,G,O – a “super-constellation” consisteing of four constellations.|
|(k)||CLAVATE – ava in Celt* – ava (also kava) is a narcotic drink of some Pacific islands|
|(m)||SPAM = junk e-mail – rev. of maps|
|(n)||HOLOGRAM – Argo rev. in holm – slightly odd to see another answer in the wordplay.|
|(o)||PORTE as in “Sublime Porte”. This seems to be an anag of ‘per Ottomans’ or possibly ‘as per Ottomans’ after removing some stuff, but I can’t quite see what to remove. (Explained by linxit’s comment.)|
|(p)||EVANGELIARION – E.,vang = guy-rope,Elia,R.I.,on|
|(q)||YSLAKED – K.E. in (Lady’s)*|
|(a)||WHIT-LEATHER – hit,L in weather|
|(b)||MICROGROOVE – G in (I cover room)*. For the benefit of younger readers, microgrooves are found on those old black 12″ things.|
|(c)||BETIME – I’m in bete|
|(d)||COLONS – 2 defs|
|(h)||IMPOST = ((l)imps to)*|
|(i)||OAST – (t)oast = “in the wars” with only one t = temperature?|
|(j)||STERNUTATOR = a cause of sneezing. An annoying one as the clue type was obvious.|
|(k)||DESAGREMENT – gears* in dement = archaism for ‘demented’|
|(l)||BO(G)ONG – boong = offensive slang for (Austr.) aborigine|
|(m)||PHARES – hare in (co)ps|
|(n)||KALPAK – anag. of Klapka (the K in Jerome K Jerome), but this seems like the dreaded indirect anagram …|
|(q)||LAMIA – hidden in ‘Hansel amiably’ or ‘Gretel amiably’|
|(r)||PLAT – plat(form)=terrace|