Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7186/Merlin

Posted by John on October 27th, 2009


How clever. All the across answers except 16ac consist of something repeated, as indicated by 16ac (DOUBLE-DEALING). Quite an achievement to fit them all in, so one can be lenient about the obscurity of 9ac and possibly 27ac. And Merlin has with only one or two exceptions managed to use pretty normal words for the down answers.

8 NIGHT-NIGHT — dark = night, (thing)*
9 ONON — a river in Mongolia according to Google, but I’d never heard of it, it isn’t in my trusty Pears Cyclopedia, and it isn’t in Chambers Crossword Dictionary. And it isn’t in Bradford’s Sixth Edition. So it seems to be pretty obscure. On and the opposite of off.
10 TUK-TUK — “tuck Tuck”
11 DEAR DEAR — (dread)* ear
12 C/O U SCOU{t}S
15 TINTIN — money = tin, can = tin
19 C HA(C)HA
23 SING(S{nakeheads})ING
25 TOM-TOM — 2 defs, ref “Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son
27 A TAT — it may be well-known but it was new to me
28 BADEN-BADEN — (nabbed dean)*
1 SINUSOID — i in (sound is)*
2 C(H)AT — I don’t really understand how Merlin is getting away with this: surely it’s simply a French word: it’s in no dictionary that I can see   Ignore all this rubbish and see my message below
3 SNAKE-OIL — (kaolines)*
4 AGED — (Dega{s})rev.
7 SO MALI — so = provided: well, it says so in Chambers, but I can’t think of a phrase where they are interchangeable
14 SOD I/C — evidently the adjective from soda. No, neither had I.
17 A DO(P{arent})TING — a marvellous &lit.
18 GEOLOGER — (Google e r)*
21 AKIMBO — AK 1 (mob)* — I don’t really get this because ‘akimbo’ means ‘with arms bent’, not just ‘arms bent’, as Chambers and the COD confirm
24 GO D.S.
26 ME(A)T

13 Responses to “Independent 7186/Merlin”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Sorry but I don’t follow your comment re 2d. The wordplay is H (horse) in CAT (lion) giving CHAT. The definition is ‘rabbit’ which means talk, as does chat, so where does French come in?.

  2. Mick H says:

    ‘Arms bent’ can perfectly well mean ‘with arms bent’, so I don’t see any problem there (‘arms akimbo, he faced his adversary…’. Of course, in normal usage the word is always precede by arms, so if the definition’s correct, that would mean ‘arms with arms akimbo’, but no doubt the dictionary allows some leeway here.
    I was defeated by Onon, the most obscure geographical term I’ve seen in any puzzle, I think. (Must be one of those rivers that just goes on and on).

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Enjoyed this one, but didn’t twig to the double definitions until very late on. Still not sure of the wordplay for 13d – can someone enlighten me?

  4. IanN14 says:

    Yes, Kathryn’s Dad.
    Def: One (which) holds back spate (flood).
    Slug = lowlife
    Ate = worried
    “about” Ice = murder

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Ian. A bit too complicated for my novice status. The answer is to keep practising for another decade or so, I guess.

  6. nmsindy says:

    The theme became quickly obvious – a tremendous achievement to fit them all in. This led to some unusual down words but the clues were very fair so all in all I did not find it too difficult a puzzle.

  7. Paul B says:

    Wizardry by Merlin. Excellent.

  8. John says:

    How can anyone be so stupid as I was with 4dn? I saw ‘chat’ and could only think of the French word for ‘cat’, which is not the same as the French word for ‘rabbit’ but somehow to my feeble mind was. So, without seeing that to rabbit is to chat (English word here) I assumed that Merlin was playing a bit fast and loose.

    My apologies to Merlin for doubting his good sense.

  9. Mick H says:

    In Chinese astrology I believe cat = rabbit!

  10. pennes says:

    this was rather good and i liked tuk-tuk particularly. but re 7dn; i can’t think of a context where “so” is equivalent to provided/if. also for 5 dn i can’t see an indicator that the I is drooped from is.
    i can’t count this as finished as i had godi for 24 dn assuming it must be be a lesser known art gallery and wikipedia has a villa godi in italy with an archaeology museum in the basement.

  11. Richard Heald says:

    Merlin manages to out-Virgilius Virgilius – too-too brilliant!

  12. Richard Heald says:

    Re my comment #11 – how wrong can I be! In The Guardian on Friday 6th October 2006, there was an equally brilliant puzzle by Brendan (aka Virgilius) in which the across answers were: COUSCOUS, HAW-HAW, AGAR-AGAR, MURMUR, CHIN-CHIN, CHA-CHA, BADEN-BADEN, NEVER-NEVER, TARTAR, BORA BORA, NOW NOW, HOTSHOTS, TESTES and HEAR HEAR (see,,-17909,00.html).

  13. Allan_C says:

    Like pennes I had ‘godi’ for 24d thinking it must be the name of a gallery somewhere. Stuck on 9a as well after searching the index of my atlas in vain. Thought it might be ‘oror’ – reversal of ‘ro-ro’, a ferry that vehicles roll (flow?) on and off.
    The use of ‘so’ for ‘if/provided’ in 7d does seem to be stretching things a bit but you might use it summing up a number of assumptions, e.g. “So: (if) the train is on time and (if) there is a taxi available…”

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