Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,038/Morph

Posted by Ali on May 7th, 2009

Ali.

The Indy has been on rather fine form of late and this puzzle was certainly one of the most enjoyable ones I’ve done in a while. Some very nice clues here and there’s a mini-theme too, with answers to some clues suffixed by their clue numbers giving film titles (Ocean’s Eleven, Alien 3, etc.). We may only see him roughly once per month, but Morph is always worth the wait.

Across
1 CO-STAR – (S,ACTOR)* – A wonderful anag. &lit. to kick things off
4 ASH-STAND – ASH,STAND
10 PEPSI COLA – Anag. of I.E ALCOPOPS less O (the central component of ‘booze’)
11 OCEAN – A in (ONCE)* – Ocean’s Eleven is the first of the thematic film answers
12 INNINGS – INN,(SIGN)*
13 GUTLESS – Cryptic def. – I thought this was GIBLETS for quite a while!
14 OTTER – [h]otter – Not sure if ‘Dal’ is actually needed here, but a nice clue nevertheless
16 ATTIC ROOM – (ROMA[-n]TIC TO)*
19 NORTH STAR – Unless I’m missing something, I think there might be an error here. The clue is ‘Essentially, any ocean route this heavenly symbol leads, sailor follows’ which to me suggests AORTHS,TAR…?
20 RETAG – (GREAT)*
21 UNCHAIN – UNC.,HAIN
23 ON THE UP – (PENTHOU[-se)* - Lovely clue
25 TUTUS - Double def., ref. Archbishop Desmond
26 PAS DE DEUX - (AD SEXED UP)*
27 ACHILLES - ILL in ACHE,S
28 SEQUEL - "'s equal" - Alien 3 being the only one of the themed film answers that's a sequel, even though they've all got numbers in the titles!
Down
1 CAPRICORN - CAPRI,CORN - I'd never heard of the film, but got it from the wordplay
2 SUPINATOR - Hiudden in tendernesS UP IN A TORn...
3 ALIEN - Our third thematic film. The 'or not' referring to the first film in the series
5 SLAUGHTERHOUSE - S,LAUGHTER,HOUSE - Film no.4
6 SPORTS CAR - SPORT,SCAR
7 ARETE - hidden in bARE TErrain
8 DANES - DANSE (i.e. a French dance, as 26A is) with the end rearranged
9 CONSTANTINOPLE - CONSTANT,(ON PILE)* - Funny this should crop up today (and forgive me for digressing wildly here), but I was (for some unknown reason) reading the Wikipedia entry for classic TV quiz show 3-2-1 last night and the example it gives for one of the famoulsy intractable cryptic star prize clues is "Take one that never changes, add a pub and a precious stone, bring them all up-to-date, and now you're on your own". I never had a clue what was going on in that show when I was a kid, but reckon after years of crosswords I'd stand a chance if they ever decide to bring it back!
15 REHEARSAL - RE-HEAR,SAL
17 HON THE MENU - (EMU,NO,THEN)*
18 MEGAPIXEL - M[arried] + EX I PAGE rev. + L[eft]
21 ULTRA – Hidden in soUL TRAin
22 CATCH – CAT,CH – The 5th and final film. I’m not sure if the ‘on top of boiler, etc.’ refers to Cold and Hot?
24 THEME – THE,ME

4 Responses to “Independent 7,038/Morph”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Ali
    19a ‘essentially any’ gives [a]N[y] which is then followed by the leading letters etc.

    22d ‘boiler etc’ = central heating = CH

  2. Testy says:

    Only had two question marks on this one: 8D which I now get thanks to your blog; and 13A which I still don’t entirely get. It has the hallmarks of being a double definition but I just don’t see what “extract” is hinting at.

    Otherwise an absolutely fantastic puzzle and, although I spotted the film/number theme, I never actually noticed that they were positioned at the appropriate clue numbers until I came here. This is an absolutely astounding piece of grid construction. With this and the Virgilius the other day, it makes you wonder how they manage to keep doing it, but here’s hoping they do!

  3. Allan_C says:

    Yes, I struggled with 13a, thinking it had to be “giblets”, which gave problems with 5d, and in turn I thought 5d might be “stolen car”, which didn’t help.
    And I misread 25a at first, seeing “dancing” as an anagram indicator for “Ebor’s” to give “robes” – “Ebor” is the ecclesiastical name for the Archbishop of York – which threw me on 21 & 22 d.
    Very good though, if tough in places

  4. Morph says:

    Thanks for all the comments. I wondered whether 13ac was a bit obscure – it’s EX = without, TRACT = gut, so EX-TRACT meaning gutless – a bit of a stretch, I know! Mick.

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