Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,362 by Phi

Posted by Simon Harris on May 21st, 2010

Simon Harris.

A very throughly themed puzzle for us today, based around characters in the works of 5ac. My own knowledge here is deeply lacking, which was a significant obstacle, though a good number are of course household names by now. I’m not sure if the date is significant – all I could find was that the USS Dickens was decommissioned on the 21st of May, 1946. I’d probably bet on that being a coincidence!

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

Across
1 PIPCHIN – PI + PINCH*.
2 DICKENS – [go]D + [s]ICKENS.
9 CHARACTERAC.
10 KROOK – K + ROOK.
11 SLEUTH – (LET US) + H[ose]. Apparently, Inspector Bucket was the “sleuth” in Bleak House.
12 SMASH-UPS – (M + ASH) in SUPS.
14 INOCULANT – CONTINUAL*.
15 POSER – POS[t]ER.
17 FAGIN – FAG + I + N.
19 TREATMENT – (R + EAT ME) in TNT.
21 PICKWICK – PICK + WICK.
23 REMOTE – [us]E TO ME R[eally]<.
25 NERVE – (R in EVEN)<.
26 ROKESMITH – (HIM + STOKER)*.
27 HASIDIM – SAID* in HIM.
28 TINY TIM – I’m not sure I follow this. We have Y=unknown, and TIM[e], but how is TIN=poor?.
Down
1 PECKSNIFF – PECKS + NIFF.
2 PLACEBO – PLACE + BO.
3 HEARTBURN – BREATH* + RUN*.
4 NOTENO + TE[n].
5 DARK MATTER – (ARK + MATTE) in DR.
6 CAKES – C[lamb]AKES.
7 ECONUTS – (ONE CUTS)*.
8 SIKES – S[p]IKES.
13 TATTYCORAM – TATTY + CO + RAM.
15 POTTERSON – POTTERS ON.
16 ROTHERHAM – OTHER in HARM*.
18 GO-CARTS – GO + ([powe]R in CATS).
20 EGOTIST – [t]E[am] + (S[cotland] in GOT IT).
21 PINCHP + INCH.
22 WIELD – E in WILD.
24 SKITS + KIT.

20 Responses to “Independent 7,362 by Phi”

  1. Ali says:

    Thanks Simon. Nice puzzle as ever from Phi. I got 2/9 straight away, but my Dickens knowledge is equally poor and I was eventually beaten by 13D and 8D (which I always thought had a Y in it!)

    Re: 28A, Chambers gives TIN as meaning paltry or poor

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Simon. I didn’t enjoy this at all – it just became a trawl through the thesaurus and t’internet to find obscure characters that I hadn’t heard of (and in some cases, neither had the internet).

    I think you need to add EAT ME to the fodder for 19ac.

  3. Simon Harris says:

    Oh yeah, that one got a bit garbled it seems. It’s fixed now.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Sounds like I’m correcting your homework, Simon, but 9ac is ACT in CHARTER. Is the site playing up for you this morning?

  5. Derrick Knight says:

    Sorry, Katherine’s Dad. Your homework needs correcting: AC in CHARTER. I didn’t get 2/9 until I’d solved FAGIN. My Dickens knowledge is quite good but I’d never heard of some of them.

  6. Derrick Knight says:

    I can’t spell your daughter’s name either! Apologies to you both.

  7. sidey says:

    I managed to work most of them out (with a pencil), not very interesting though. Despite having much Dickens inflicted on me as a child (I hated Sunday tea time as a result) I recognised very few of them. If you consult the ‘List of Dickensian characters’ in Wiki it’s not exactly difficult to construct a grid containing a lot of them, but why bother really?

  8. smutchin says:

    Thanks for the explanation of 9a, Derrick – like Kathryn’s Dad, I had assumed “act” for “bill” and couldn’t for the life of me work out where “charer” was supposed to come from.

    Odd one, this. I got a lot of the characters from the crossing letters then worked out why the clues fitted. Never a truly satisfying way of doing a crossword.

  9. nmsindy says:

    Nothing to do with the great writer, I think, but I thought ECONUTS was brilliant!

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I think my brain needs correcting; must be the heat. I’m going to have a bit of a lie down and promise not to contribute further till Monday.

  11. Handel says:

    I gave this a shot over my lunchbreak and managed about 80% of it. I’m not a Dickens fan, but it’s surprising how many of the names came to me after a while. I’d probably have preferred a non-themed puzzle honestly, but given my lack of interest in the writer this was reasonably enjoyable. Re. Sidey’s comment #7, in my limited experience constructing a decent grid with a large number of thematic entries is far from straightforward!

  12. walruss says:

    I did not enjoy this either. It is not the theme, which is fair enough and quite normal for the Indy, but the cluemanship that failed to excite in any way. Most days the Indy outshines the Guardian, but for me the roles were reversed on this occasion.

  13. 4across says:

    Hi, i lurk on the site most days, normally i finish or have 3/4 i’m stuck on in an hour or so. Got5a/9 ok, but… for me, when the whole is based on one or two answers it always diminishes the problem. Either you get it easily and the rest falls in place, or you don’t and there are not enough cross-checks to get far. Both are unsatisfying. It’s best to be able to work through to the end, pieceing the nuggets together

  14. sidey says:

    Handel, I was being a touch facetious, there are several hundred to choose from.

  15. scarpia says:

    Thanks Simon.
    I loved this,probably because C.D. is one of my favourite authors.It was nice to see a Dickens themed puzzle using some of his lesser known characters.
    Following on from my rant about yesterday’s Nimrod,it is now obvious to me that the pleasures of a themed puzzle depend entirely on your personal interest in the theme.
    Stand out clue was(the non Dickensian) 7 down.

  16. flashling says:

    Got the Dickens bit as soon as I saw Fag-in, but really where the **** does tattycoram come from ok I get the word play but I’ve never heard of that character. Ach bad day SouthEastern trains delayed me by 4 hours today, on top of a 6 hours journey, bah humbug! Surprised not to see scrooge in it.

  17. TRIALNERROR says:

    Could anyone tell me the clue for 24D? I seem to have missed it off my print-out.

    Thanks

  18. flashling says:

    Trialnerror it was “Sketch special tools (4)”

  19. TRIALNERROR says:

    Many thanks flashling

  20. Aguers says:

    Tattycoram is the Meagles’ servant in *Little Dorrit*. There’s also an irony about Handel not having an interest in Dickens, since that’s Pip’s nickname in *Great Expectations*… needless to say, I thought this one was great.

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