Posted by Simon Harris on August 6th, 2011
It’s always exciting, if a little daunting, to see a Monk puzzle pop up, especially on a blogging day. That was particularly true this week.
I must admit I thought I was going to struggle here. Many of the clues contain references to other clues, and all which did so included a reference to 11ac. That seemed a good place to start, but 11ac was simply a reference back to all of the thematic clues!
To make matters even more complicated, several groups of three clues seemed to contain circular dependencies, for example 6ac referring to 12ac, 12ac in turn to 19ac, and 19ac back to 6ac.
The trick was to stay calm and try to pick off some of the “normal” clues. Fortunately, the anagram of KAMPUCHEA at 16dn yielded quickly, giving an in on 15ac and 17ac. A bit of persistence paid off, and after a few more entries dropped in, it looked like there might be a blog post after all!
With a number of checking letters in place, I realised that each corner of the grid contained one of four groups of three co-dependent entries. It further dawned that these, being equal in length, might lead to anagrams of each other, and so it proved. For example, the SE trio of NAMED, AD-MEN and AMEND was the first to go in.
From then on, things became relatively plain sailing, leaving only the matter of the definitionless key clue at 11ac to attend to. It soon became clear that the answer was REORDERED, obviously referring to the anagrams.
Phew. So this one turned out not to be the gruelling ordeal I had feared, and in fact was a very enjoyable and satisfying solve, along with an impressive bit of grid construction. Thanks, Monk!
*=anag, =dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, cd=cryptic definition, dd=double definition.
|1||ABANDONED – DONE in A BAND. At least I think this is how it works, though I wonder about DONE = “right”. It doesn’t seem too far-fetched, but I’m struggling to think of a sentence where they’re interchangeable.|
|6||DREAM – DERMA*. Thematic, definition “ideal”.|
|9||DIAGRAM – AGRA in DIM.|
|10||ENCODED – C.O. in ENDED.|
|11||REORDERED – see preamble.|
|12||DERMA – ARMED*. Thematic, definition “skin”.|
|13||STEAL – LEAST*. Thematic, definition “steal”|
|15||TAKE A PEAK – TAKE + A + KEEP<.|
|17||PENTAGRAM – PENT + A G RAM.|
|19||ARMED – DREAM*. Thematic, definition “with mine?”|
|21||LEAST – STALE*. Thematic, definition “cannot get lower than this”.|
|22||NEURALGIA – NEU[t]RAL + G.I. + A.|
|25||ETACISM – MISTEAC[h]. Last one in, and my only slight grumble. The word seems obscure, so the non-deterministic wordplay could be deemed a tad tight-fisted. For example, ECATISM would have fitted the clue and the checked squares, so this was the one point where I had to hit the books to finish the puzzle. Of course, it’s perhaps just my own ignorance and everybody else uses the word regularly!|
|26||HEMLINE – HE + (L in MINE).|
|27||STALE – STEAL*. Thematic, definition “gone off”.|
|28||DIAGNOSED – (E + SON + GA[l])< in DID.|
|1||ADDER – DARED*. Thematic, definition “summer”, as in someone who sums.|
|2||ABALONE – I’m not certain about this one. My best guess is it’s a whimsical tale of a mermaid who is ALONE and yearns to meet a sailor, being AB. I’ll reproduce the clue though, in case readers can explain it better:
Shellfish mermaid yearned for under such conditions?
|3||DARED – DREAD*. Thematic, definition “faced”.|
|4||NUMERATOR – cd., and a good one it is too.|
|5||DREAD – ADDER*. Thematic, definition “fear”.|
|6||DOCUDRAMA – cd.|
|7||ENDORSE – D[ialect] in (E + NORSE). A great clue:
Adopt dialect, originally part of English language.
|8||MUDLARKED – [d]U[n]D[a]L[k] in MARKED.|
|13||SUPPLIERS – (I in SUPPLE) + R[eport]S.|
|14||LEASTWISE – LEAST (from 21ac) + WISE.|
|16||KAMPUCHEA – A in (MUCK HEAP)*.|
|18||NIAGARA – GAIN< + ARA[b].|
|20||MUGGINS – GIN in MUGS.|
|22||NAMED – AD-MEN*. Thematic, definition “called”.|
|23||AD-MEN – AMEND*. Thematic, definition “they commercialise”.|
|24||AMEND – NAMED*. Thematic, definition “correct”.|