Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7020 by Merlin

Posted by nmsindy on April 16th, 2009


A puzzle in the quirky and individual Merlin style.   Some gems.   I found it ranged from very easy indeed to extremely difficult, with the SW corner taking me much longer than the rest of the puzzle put together.   Solving time, 27 mins.    Very satisfying to finish and appreciate the clues.

* = anagram   < = reversed


1 ASCENSION  (canonises)*     Excellent surface

6 S LEEP   peel< = zest   &lit

9 TIC(k)

10 WATER CLOSET   (castle tower)*   great fun clue

11 S (C)OUSE

12 LISTE (NEws)D

14 EMIRATES STADIUM   (semi-traumatised)* Home of Arsenal FC in London.   Nicknamed the Gunners from their name which in turn came from the club’s origins among munitions workers in Woolwich before they moved to North London in 1913.     Another excellent surface.

18 A STUDY IN SCARLET   (Satanist crudely)*   Sherlock Holmes book.   If memory serves,  a Merlin puzzle based on a Holmes book was voted Listener puzzle of the year for, I think, 2006.


20 CLARE T    One in which I’m not 100% sure how the wordplay works “Not Blue Nun – the other sort of wine”    Clare is a nun – so maybe ‘not blue nun’ – I’m not sure then if the clue splits before or after ‘other’.    If after perhaps ‘the other’ = ‘sex’ = ‘it’ abbrev to ‘t  – if before perhaps t = the (also abbrev)

22 THE THIRD MAN    Graham Greene book of an even more famous film (1949) set in Vienna in the early Cold War.    Fielding is misleading false capital, nothing to do with the writer – it’s a fielding position in cricket.

23 (p)AWN

24 CITED   Hidden

28 ELEVENS ES(say)


1 ARTISTE    Hidden

2 CUCKOO IN THE NEST   (One chick sent out)*    A &lit clue of the highest order.

3 NEW S (ST) AND    George Sand

4 INTO    alternate letters in ignition

5 NARC IS SIST    Sist = stop (Scottish)

6 SPLIT     Double definition – in Croatia

7 ESSENTIAL ORGANS   (Reasons genitals)*    Term from botany

8  POTS DAM   (mad stop)<    Near Berlin – peace conference held there in 1945

13 D E MI VI ER GE    Definition – loose but not penetrated.   say, communist turned = (eg red)<   containing E and MI VI i.e. MI6, I think, using Roman numerals


16 A SCE(p)TIC     Another brilliant &lit    p = least bit of pleasure

17 TE (TAN) US    suet<

19 A PH (I) D

21 SMEE    cf Esme

7 Responses to “Independent 7020 by Merlin”

  1. Geoff Moss says:

    20a I think your second parsing is more likely to be correct, i.e. the = ‘t’.

    This is rather a clever clue in that the name of a wine (Blue Nun) has been used and indeed a Clare is a nun but the meaning of the forename Clare is ‘bright’ or ‘not blue’ (not down).

  2. Al Streatfield says:

    Unfortunately, “The Third Man” was not a novel, (as is implied I think by the blog, and the clue), it was a film script first and last, not entirely by GG. Orson Welles wrote the famous bit on the big wheel. (“Cuckoo Clock” reference).

  3. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    As one who did not see the film but certainly read The Third Man in book form, I just now googled and reached here:

  4. Quixote says:

    A welcome return for my good friend and colleague Merlin, who has clearly caught up with the modern tendency towards carnal humour.

  5. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Re 18: Some weeks ago the Everyman crossword had: Satanist crudely drawn in book (1,5,2,7)

  6. Richard Heald says:

    Surely it’s high time that Merlin was crowned king of the 15-letter anagram? The EMIRATES STADIUM one has to be right up there with his LONGSHORE DRIFT/LORD OF THE RINGS and BOLTON WANDERERS/NON-WORLDBEATERS.

  7. Al Streatfield says:

    Thanks to CG Rishikesh for his google.

    I still maintain it is not a novel contrary to the clue’s claim.

    The book he read was based on the “treatment” GG did for a film (i.e. the first stage of a film script). If it had been a novel, it would have been written as a novel as, I believe, all his other books that were later turned into films were. (Apparently, he didn’t like any of the films from his novels…)

    Nice long anagrams, as Richard Heald says.

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