Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,411 by Eimi (Saturday prize Puzzle, 17/07/10)

Posted by Simon Harris on July 22nd, 2010

Simon Harris.

A fairly challenging but ultimately manageable themed puzzle from Eimi this week, published the day before the quatercentenary of the death of 1ac. I must admit I solved the whole thing without spotting the theme at all, knowing very little about the artist in question. Thus, I’ve had to do a fair bit of swotting up in order to blog this, and I’m sure that if I’ve missed any references or introduced any inaccuracies, readers will be quick to jump in and help me out.

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

Across
1 CARAVAGGIOCA + RAVAG[e] + GIO[tto].
6 ROME – hom. of “roam”. “Roaming” is when you’re abroad, but your, say, T-Mobile phone magically starts to work on a local carrier’s network. 1ac worked from Rome between 1592 and 1606, and a good number of his works remain there.
10/21 SAINT MATTHEW – (MET WITH SATAN)*. Saint Matthew was the subject of at least a couple of paintings by 1ac.
11 MEAT-EATER – (EAT + [n]E[t]) in MATER.
12 LONG RUN – I’m not sure how to read this, but it’s some sort of cd/&lit construction. Pheidippides was the chap who, legend has it, ran an awfully long way in his role as a messenger for the Greek army, and thereby inspired the modern marathon.
13 ORPHEUSH in POSEUR*. I’m not sufficiently familiar with Orpheus to know whether this is &lit, but it seems to read that way. Maybe a reader could clarify.
14 SUPPER AT EMMAUS – U (“posh”) in SUPPER AT EMMA’S. “Baby Spice” was the stage name of one Emma Bunton. “Posh” was her colleague in the Spice Girls, but is perhaps now better known as Mrs. David Beckham and as a fairly well-respected fashion designer. More importantly, the entry is a famous painting by 1ac.
19 KNIGHTS OF MALTA – (TALKING OF MATHS)*. 1ac was a inducted as a member of this order, having fled to Malta to seek protection after killing a young man in 6ac, perhaps accidentally.
23 CALLING – ALL-IN in CG.
26 SHOELACES – (SO CHELSEA’S)*.
27 ASHEN – [dougl]AS HEN[shall].
28 DARK – [a] D[r]A[g] R[a]K[e]. I’m being finicky, but with that initial “A” there, these are the even letters of that phrase, so “oddly” seems misleading.
29 CARDSHARPS – (ARDS + H) in CARPS.
Down
1 CASHLESS – cd. “Ready” as in “readies”, thus money.
2 REIGN – [ta]NGIER[s]<.
3 VOTERV + ? Which “western-sounding” element am I missing?
4 GAMING ACT – cd. Cleverly misleading use of “better”.
5 IMAGO – M[oor] in IAGO.
7 ON THE PULL – dd.
8 EGRESS – EG + [d]RESS.
9 KEEPS MUM – dd.
15 PINOT NOIR – [in]N in (RIO + TO NIP)<.
16 EGGSHELL – EGGS + HELL.
17 EXORCISED – cd.
18 HANGINGS – dd. Tyburn was the scene of countless hangings between 1330 and 1783.
20 AMUSED – US in (AM + ED).
22 WICCA – hom. of (Alan) “Whicker”.
24 LEASHS in LEAH.
25 ICHOR – from CHOIR, with the I “promoted”, thus moved upwards.

12 Responses to “Independent 7,411 by Eimi (Saturday prize Puzzle, 17/07/10)”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Simon
    In 3dn OTER is a homophone of ‘oater’, a Wild West film or a horse opera (Chambers).

    Moving on to the theme, 13ac and 29ac are also paintings by 1ac.

    23ac can be linked with 10/21 to give ’23 of 10/21′, a specific painting rather than just a reference to several.

    1dn indicates 1ac’s pecuniary state when he first moved to 6ac. According to Wikipedia ‘He arrived in Rome “naked and extremely needy … without fixed address and without provision … short of money” (Quoted without attribution in Robb, p.35, apparently based on the three primary sources, Mancini, Baglione and Bellori, all of whom depict Caravaggio’s early Roman years as a period of extreme poverty)’.

    I could even make a case for 18dn being thematic because paintings could be described as ‘hangings’ (ie that which is hung).

    Unfortunately I don’t know enough about art to know if 1ac used 16dn paint ;-)

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Simon.

    Theme? What theme? Like you, oblivious to it.

    Eimi (or no doubt one of his numerous underlings) will have a busy time opening the envelopes containing correct solutions today, because some kind soul at the Indy left the ‘check letter’ and ‘reveal’ buttons available in the online version. I, being an honest injun, did not avail of this facility (I started online then finished when I’d bought the paper).

    I enjoyed this but since I finished it without too much trouble I think it must be at the easy end of the Saturday puzzle range. I thought SUPPER AT EMMAUS was brilliant, melding classic art and tasteless clebs who’ve probably never seen a painting in their life. SHOELACES was also clever, but lots of other good stuff as well.

    ‘Mongoose’ to define a MEAT-EATER seemed a bit random, unless I’m missing something.

    Enjoyable Saturday morning fare, thank you.

  3. flashling says:

    Finished quite quickly despite having zero art knowledge, must admit mongoose=meateater left me unconvinced, snakes yes but meat generally I don’t really get.

  4. Gaufrid says:

    Hi K’s D and flashling
    A mongoose is a carnivore, so an example of a ‘meat-eater’, defined in Chambers as “an Indian animal of the civet family, a great slayer of snakes and rats”.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid – got that bit about it being a carnivore, but why mongooses and not lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, polar bears or other meat-eaters? Perhaps the setter has a pet mongoose or something.

  6. Gaufrid says:

    Hi K’s D
    It’s a definition by example so any of your alternatives would have been equally applicable.

  7. Allan_C says:

    Yes, great puzzle. I suspected it was going to be a date-related theme as soon as I saw it was Eimi for a Saturday. Didn’t stop me making one or two wrong entries at first – later corrected so that I finished it all. Took a while to get 29; all I could think of for ages was ‘landsharks’ (one definition being unscrupulous traders in seaports who cheated sailors). And I wanted to put ‘gaming law’ for 4d, which of course didn’t fit with 14 and 19.

  8. jmac says:

    Good fun. Re 28ac., I simply read it as the odd letters of “drag rake”. It’s probably serendipity but 20dn is an anagram of another Caravaggio painting, Medusa.

  9. eimi says:

    Thanks for the blog and the comments. Gaufrid has done a good job of rounding up the thematic material (Medusa was indeed serendipitous and unintentional, but it’s a very impressive spot, jmac) – the only other answer I meant to be thematic was dark, which features a lot in Caravaggio’s paintings, although it would have been better if I could also have worked light into the grid. I suppose the grid was full of lights, but that’s a bit far-fetched.

    The only reason I plumped for mongoose, in preference to other meat-eaters, was that it was among a list of carnivores native to Tanzania, which therefore fitted the clue’s surface. According to Simon Schama’s excellent documentary, Caravaggio trained his dog to walk on his hind legs, but that’s not a thematic link to the mongoose.

    Thanks for all the comments and in case anyone’s interested, when in 6, I recommend a visit to the French church, San Luigi dei Francesi, for the Matthews, including the 23 of 10/21, where you can also tut at the people ignoring the signs forbidding flash photography, and also the Galleria Borghese, for more great Caravaggios, including two very different self portraits (one as Bacchus, and another as the head of Goliath), as well as some sumptuous Bernini sculptures.

  10. eimi says:

    And I forgot to say, that in 28 Across, I did intend it to be the even letters, as the clue indicated by “oddly dismissed” – which should leave the even letters.

  11. Radian says:

    Re 29A: As an Ards rate-payer (yes, we still have rates over here) I’m surprised no one has complained about this use of very local knowledge. I’d never have dared to use it myself but from now on … ?

    Enjoyable and instructive puzzle. I learnt a lot from it and the BBC4 documentary on Sunday.

  12. nmsindy says:

    This was a puzzle I enjoyed a lot too, did see some of the thematic references – favourite clue SUPPER AT EMMAUS

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


+ 3 = four