Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,026 by Ascalon

Posted by Simon Harris on April 23rd, 2009

Simon Harris.

*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, cd=cryptic definition, dd=double definition.

A début? Certainly not a setter I’ve come across before. I didn’t find this unduly taxing, but everything was very well put together. There’s a handful of minor queries regarding wordplay that I’m sure someone can clear up for me.

Across
7 YOGI BEAR – (BIG + )< “through” YEAR.
9 SANSEI – (SANE + I) “taking in” S.
10 ADZE – hom. of “ads”.
11 INFRASONIC – (CAIN FOR SIN)*.
12 DEBATE – DEE “holding” BAT? “Host once holding club” is the wordplay, but I can’t find a source for “Dee” meaning much other than the river.
14 NEPENTHE – (PEN + THE) “on” NE[-w].
15 SPINAL – (PLAN IS)*.
17 ADRIFTDR “inside” AI + FT.
20 SEDIMENT – SENT “about” DIME.
22 HAGGIS – dd.
23 ETON COLLAR – (LEARNT COOL)*.
24 BEAT – B[-o]E[-o]T[-i]A.
25 GEODES – D[-i]OGE[-n]ES*.
26 AGNUS DEI – I’m not sure what this has to do with Islam or Shoreditch, I must admit.
Down
1 HOODLESS – dd.
2 AIDE – IDEA with the “A” moved to the front.
3 VENICE – presumably something like “V. Nice” but I can’t quite crack it.
4 ESCARPED – ESCAPED “carrying” R.
5 ANNOUNCING – ANN + OUNC[-e] + IN + G.
6 NEWISH – WHEN* “about” IS.
8 REFUND – FUN “in the RED”. Very good.
13 AFICIONADO – cd? “Devotee of the Spanish tongue”.
16 ALEHOUSE – (HE + AEOLUS)*. The clue expands to “Best but no Stella”.
18 THIRTEEN – (R + TEE) “held by” THIN.
19 STELLA – TELL “in” SA. McCartney, of course.
21 ESTHERS “in” ETHER.
22 HARING – dd. Keith Haring, artist, 1958-1990.
24 BEST – ref. George Best.

13 Responses to “Independent 7,026 by Ascalon”

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi Simon

    12ac: You’re too young! Simon Dee was a DJ and chat-show host in the late 60s.

    3dn: nearly there: it’s VE[ry]NICE

  2. Mick H says:

    26ac had me baffled at first, but the homonym is in the clue. Shoreditch being in the East End (tho pretty trendified these days), Islam = ‘is lamb’ = His lamb, i.e. the lamb of God!
    There’s also a topical Nina.

  3. Colin Blackburn says:

    I think 13 is as you suggest a CD, the answer being a Spanish word (originally.)

  4. Testy says:

    I’m guessing it’s one of the regulars using an alternative pseudonym for the occasion: Ascalon was apparently the name of the sword/lance used by St George to slay the dragon.

  5. eimi says:

    Quite right, Testy, but which one? I’ll leave it to him whether he wishes to break cover.

  6. Colin Blackburn says:

    Since it’s a cros sword I think I can guess.

  7. Shirley says:

    Although it is quite hard sometimes, The Independent’s puzzle is fast becoming my favourite. Today’s was an example of why, with a lovely, welcoming and topical reference around the edge that didn’t draw attention to itself. I got it when ‘H A V E’ appeared at the top of the grid. I wonder if any of the other papers thoughtof our national hero today?

    I agree with Mr Harris that this one was nicely balanced, in other words not too hard, but AGNUS DEI was at the edge of ‘very creative’! And like Eileen- I’m afraid I too remember Dee Time.

    Thank you.

  8. NealH says:

    Rather surprising the setter didn’t use Jack Dee for 12 ac. “Comedian hosting club discussion” would have worked just as well and been a bit more up-to-date. I didn’t follow Agnus Dei – I only remembered it was a religious statue and didn’t realize it featured a lamb.

  9. Tees says:

    ‘Host once hosting’ sounds better to me, but then it would.

  10. Testy says:

    Ah, so does that meen Ascalon=Tees=one of our frequent posters?

  11. eimi says:

    Thanks, Shirley, glad you’re enjoying them. I’ve just been editing a week’s puzzles that will blow your socks off, including a Virgilius that I think might be his best yet.

  12. nmsindy says:

    Re Neal H’s comment at 8. Agnus is Latin for lamb so literally ‘lamb of God’

  13. Richard says:

    This was great, but I don’t think I’d have managed to complete it had I not spotted the Nina about halfway through!

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