Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6755/Merlin

Posted by John on June 10th, 2008


A very pleasant crosword from Merlin – several nice clues. I didn’t find him so difficult as usual.

1 NAPS – (span)rev.
3 TOUCH-ME-NOT? – this seems to be the only plant that fits, but I can’t understand it at all
9 SLIP – (pils)rev.
10 HANDY NASTY – excellent clue
12 BY TRIAL AND ERROR – 2 defs, another good clue
13 EFFIGY – Effi(e) g(u)y I think
17 DI((EGO)rev.)NES – this beat me for a long time: I thought it ended ‘-ates’, which didn’t help with 11dn
18 CZECHS – “checks” – I know that CZECHS is, because of the wording, slightly more likely here than CHECKS, but it still isn’t absolutely clear which is the right answer until some crossing letters appear (one couldn’t use the ‘for’ as a defence: what about the ‘in’ in 8dn?). Some people don’t mind this, but I’m never happy with it.
20 THE MARSEILLAISE – (allies’ airs)* in theme
21 ROUND ROBIN – in the word ‘probing’ ‘pg’ goes round ‘robin’, very nice. Pity (I think) about the definition: a round robin is much seen, much circulated, etc, but much copied?
22 WhiSKY Enthusiast – &lit.
23 ANNO DOMINI – (Donna)rev. o mini
24 SNUG – (guns)rev.
1 NOS((ELBE)rev.)ED
5 CADENCES – (dance)* ces
8 TOYER – (r eyot)rev.
11 SINGLE-HANDED – (Danish legend)* – this smooth anagram defeated me for a long time: I had it quite wrong, thinking that ‘Danish legend’ was the definition and that ‘aid’ was in there
15 EASTER EGG – (segregate)*
16 NEWSROOM – (moors w (th)e (bulleti)n)rev.
20 T(ARK)A – ref ‘Tarka the Otter’, by Henry Williamson

12 Responses to “Independent 6755/Merlin”

  1. Ali says:

    Yep, a nice puzzle. I particularly enjoyed 7D. I wasn’t sure on round robin until I got Titian, and agree that the definition seems a little odd.

    As for 3A, I have no idea either!

  2. C G Rishikesh says:

    Re 3ac: In “podcast” there is no reference to what is distributed over the internet. Probably it indicates the way the plant is propagated – by the seed.

  3. C G Rishikesh says:

    23ac is a light in today’s FT crossword as well.

  4. Mark says:

    The Touch-Me-Not spreads its seeds by casting out its pods :-)

  5. Testy says:

    3A Touch-me-not is a plant which has seed pods that explode when touched and send their seeds flying.
    18A I thought it was pretty clear which way round this was…
    24A …much less so

  6. Paul B says:

    I thought 18 & 24A very clear, especially since the indicators are both mid-clue (which can invite the which-way-around controversy). I reckon the checks are announced FOR the answer, and the bar (singular) is got from ‘bringing back’ weapons (plural): the part of speech for me points unequivocally in the desired direction.

  7. Michod says:

    Funnily enough, I was fine with 18 and 24, but not sure whether 1ac was NAPS or SPAN. It was the first answer I got, but I had to wait for the downs. I think 2dn may have been done before, but it was still good, as was 12ac.

  8. Testy says:

    I don’t see how being singular/plural affects things. Wouldn’t the part of speech be the same regardless of whether the subject or object is singular or plural. In fact I’m not entirely sure that the part of speech makes sense to me in the cryptic reading. “Bar weapons that have been brought back” would make more grammatic sense for the cryptic reading and be less ambiguous.

    I agree with Michod that 1A is probably the most ambiguous of the lot but it didn’t trouble me because I had checking letters by the time I solved it. If I had worked out the SPAN/NAPS wordplay earlier I would probably have had the same dilemma.

  9. nmsindy says:

    Great puzzle, easier than some from Merlin but it does not have to be super-hard to be good. I saw no problem with NAPS which I filled in straightaway – I don’t think it works the other way as the ‘doubles’ would have had to be ‘double’, I think. Or maybe I spent too long in the betting shops…

  10. Paul B says:

    Well, I can see why 1ac might cause people a problem – either element ‘doubles back’ just as satisfactorily within that grammar. Nicely misleading surface results from the ambiguity, however.

    At 24ac, perhaps it’s that the subject of the sentence equates logically to the required word, while the object (weapons) is part of the predicate. That is to say, the answer commands that something be brought back. I’m persuaded, anyhow.

  11. Quixote says:

    Just right for a daily puzzle. 10A was a dream. Thanks old friend!

  12. Patrick says:

    Shouldn’t it be LA Marseillaise?
    Also I know you take pride in doing these puzzles as fast as possible, but, is there anyone out there like me who feels disappointed when they get it out too easily?

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