Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

EV 864 Undercover Agents by Kruger

Posted by Colin Blackburn on June 5th, 2009

Colin Blackburn.

Sometimes it goes like this: I solve lots of clues. There are a few clashes but on the whole answers fit together. I get enough extra letters to work out the entire quotation and author. But I really can’t see what’s going on. I think that this is the one that’s going to end up with a partial blog. Undercover Agents was like this for me. It didn’t help that the two thematic answers I got first had the right number of letters for the grid and that the third, HOGSHEAD, I accidentally pluralised thus making it fit too. Of course at this stage I didn’t know they were thematic and saw no link between them despite WAIST-HIGH having two body parts in there!

Although I got the quote very early, from four of the first seven clues. I still failed to make the connection to armour and what goes under that armour. I was still thinking more about spies and Monty Python for some reason. It took a lot of staring at why THIGH didn’t quite fit before a vague memory of Cuisse led me to look up CUISH. At last, the penny dropped. I then quickly rattled off the remaining five thematic answers, helped by their being placed symmetrically.

So, the theme was parts of armour replacing the bits of the body they protected. It should have been easier than I made it given Kruger’s excellent and fair cluing and the help of Bradford’s which listed most of the pieces or words close enough to help.

The quotation, “Armoury of the invincible knights of old” is from William Wordsworth’s poem usually know as, “It is not to be thought of”.

It is not to be thought of that the Flood
Of British freedom, which, to the open sea
Of the world’s praise, from dark antiquity
Hath flowed, “with pomp of waters, unwithstood,”
Roused though it be full often to a mood
Which spurns the check of salutary bands,
That this most famous Stream in bogs and sands
Should perish; and to evil and to good
Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung
Armoury of the invincible Knights of old:
We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
That Shakespeare spake; the faith and morals hold
Which Milton held. In everything we are sprung
Of Earth’s first blood, have titles manifold.

Additional letters from the word play are shown in red
(XY Z)* anagram
X[Y]Z insertion
X[y]Z deletion
ZYX< reversal
“xyz” homophone
uvwXY Zabc hidden answer
X.Y.Z. alternate letters or initialisation

Across
1 A SABATONIE AFOOT+IE FOOT->SABATON in FOOTIE
7 R SCAN dd SCRAN scran is slang for food.
10 M PUPATE PUP MATE
11 O GROUND GO ROUND
12 U HONORA (HOUR ON A)* This variant of the name Honor can be found in one of the sections at the end of Chambers.
13 R SALTOS SALT ORS A salto is a daring leap, from the Italian and a term used in gymnastics for a somersault.
15 Y HOGSARMET (A SHY DOG HE)* HEAD->ARMET in HOGSHEAD
19 O COLA COOL A
20 F URAL stoUR FALsley
21 T MANAGERS (TEAMS RANG)*
23 H BRIE HIBER* more than half of HIBERnian. The level of indirection here is reasonable, just over half and consecutive letters.
24 E SUINT SUI[N]TE apparently this is the, “perspiration of sheep that dries in the wool and which consists of fatty matter and potassium salts.” Yuk.
26 I AGON AGIO N agio = agiotage = speculative manoeuvres in stocks and shares.
27 N ASPERGER (PARS GREEN)*
30 V PEAT P E VAT There are a few IVRs in this puzzle, P = Portugal and E = Spain are the most straightforward.
31 I RICE RIC[h]IE Ref. Richie Benaud, Australian cricketer and cricket commentator.
36 N ARGREAVEE (SHE RAN IN)* SHIN->GREAVE in ARSHINE An old Turkish measurement of 30 inches but legally a metre, even though it is only 76cm.
37 C ELIANS (A SILENC[e])* Charles Lamb wrote under the name Elia and so his devotees are known as Elians.
38 I ERRANT TERRAIN*
39 B GOSLET GOB[S]LET a goslet is a pygmy goose, interestingly the three species of pygmy goose are all ducks rather than geese.
40 L KARAIT K[LARA]IT Brian Lara is our second, record breaking, cricketer. A karait or krait is a poisonous rock snake.
41 E ECHO E CH EO E = the last letter of incorporate.
42 K SCULETBOY SK[H]IP YOBS< HIPS->CUTEL in SHIPS BOY
Down
1 N SCHHAUBERKE SCN H.N.E.C.K.E. NECK->HAUBERK in SCHNECKE SCN is the IVR for St Kitts and Nevis, perhaps because this small Caribbean nation is also known as the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis. The rest of the word play is an initialisation giving the very odd word SCHNECKE which is listed in Chambers under its plural Schnecken which are sweet bread rolls.
2 I APOOP AI POOP
3 G APOSTLE GA[POST]LE
4 H OTARY HOT [w]ARY
5 T NEWMAN WENT< MAN ref. Paul Newman.
6 S ERATO E[TSAR<]O
7 O SOLACE SOLO ACE
8 F CUTGORGET C.U.T (FOR THAT) THROAT->GORGET in CUT-THROAT
9 O ANON A NOON noon = middle.
14 L SGAUNTLETRY SHAND[RL]Y HAND->GAUNTLET in SHANDRY RL is the IVR for (the Republic of) Lebanon. A shandry is a light cart.
16 D AIMS Dames”
17 W WAISCUISH (WAIST WITH GI) THIGH->CUISH in WAIST-HIGH
18 W PANE W[PAN]E
22 O AURA landAU OR Araba
25 R TRUE TRUR[o] E
26 D APPARAT AP PADR[e] TA< the political machine of a Communist party.
28 S PEDALO SPED A LO[t]
29 W GAGAKU GA WAG< UK< Ga = Georgia (the US state), WAG is the IVR for Gambia. The answer is a type of ceremonial music played at the Japanese court.
32 O CANES dd CANOES
33 R UREAL UR REAL
34 T CENTO CENT TO a patchwork poem made up of bits from different poems or authors.
35 H BLOC B LOCH B = front of Bournemouth.

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