Fifteensquared

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Independent 7,172 by Merlin (Saturday Prize Puzzle, 10/10/09)

Posted by Simon Harris on October 16th, 2009

Simon Harris.

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

This week’s answers seemed to go in fairly steadily, albeit with a certain amount of "research" needed to shed light on some of the more obscure references. I was, however, plagued by a vague sense that there was something going on that I couldn't quite rumble. An emerging Nina around the perimeter of the grid did little to help, consisting as it did of ostensibly unrelated terms.

Except, of course, that they weren't unrelated at all: with an almost-completed grid, it became clear that they were palindromes. That explained the subsidiary indication at 11ac – "seen among peripheral characters" which had initially been perplexing, and confirmed a few remaining shaky answers.

The palindromes are, in clockwise order:

TOP SPOT
DEIFIED
GLENELG
RACE CAR

I’ll leave readers with a related link to “Weird Al” Jankovic’s quite remarkable Bob. Niagara, o roar again!

Across
8 ROOMMATE – AMMO< in ROTE.
9 LUMPED – [p]LUMPED.
10 ASTI – A + ITS.
11 PALINDROME – (Sarah) PALIN + DROME.
12 CRY OUT – CRYO + UT. “Ut” is the older name “do” or “doh” in the tonic sol-fa.
13 LITERATI – [e]LITE RATI[onalist].
15 ESPOUSE – POSE* + USE.
17 WALDORF – I wonder how our non-British friends got on with this? A homophone of “walled off” being said in an affectedly upper-class English accent.
20 CESSPOOL – CES + LOOPS<.
22 MODULI – (OLD I’M)* “outside” U. A nicely put-together clue, based around a reference to Young’s modulus.
24 APPARITION – A P-PAR[t]ITION.
26 INGE – [wh]inge[r]. William Ralph Inge, nicknamed “The Gloomy Dean”.
27 RODENT – DEN “beset by” ROT.
28 OSTRACOD – (A DOCTOR’S)*.
Down
1 TOUSER – T[r]OUSER.
2 OMNIVOROUS – IVOR in (OM + NOUS).
3 PALPATES – PALP[it]ATES.
4 SEA LILY – SLILY “protects” EA.
5 PLANET – PLAN + ET.
6 OMAR – O MA + R. Presumably Omar Khayyám.
7 TEAMSTER – TESTER “to bypass” A M.
14 RED AMIRAL – (LAD MARRIED)*.
16 SHEEPDOG – (HODGE’S PE[t])*.
18 AMMONITE – (ATOM IN ME)*.
19 ALLISON – ALL IS ON.
21 OPIATE – OP + I ATE.
23 LOGLOG – LOG + LOG. Apparently the logarithm of a logarithm.
25 ABEL – seemingly a reference to Jack K. Abel, not someone I can claim to have heard of.

2 Responses to “Independent 7,172 by Merlin (Saturday Prize Puzzle, 10/10/09)”

  1. IanN14 says:

    Thank you so much for that Bob link, Simon.
    Made my day.

    25ac. If Jack K is Kennedy, Abe L is Lincoln…

  2. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, Simon and Ian, for explaining a couple I did not quite see the wordplay of, though I had the answers right. I saw the palindrome idea fairly early so it was easier than usual for a Merlin Indy puzzle and those unusual answers were confirmed. Must have been hard to set because there are very few 7 letter palindromes. REVIVER is another well-known one, but I guess those Vs are not too friendly to a setter.

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