Posted by Eileen on December 14th, 2011
We know from Arachne’s numerous Marathon achievements that she’s not one to baulk at a challenge and this is her response to the gauntlet thrown down at the Sloggers and Betters get-together in Birmingham in June. I remember hoping then that it wouldn’t happen on my watch!
There’s a long-standing and totally justifiable argument that cryptic crosswords are biased towards the Arts side and that, while scientists are expected to know all about Shakespeare, Classical Mythology, History et al, it’s perfectly respectable for those of us on the other side to confess / profess ignorance of anything scientific. [Did anyone else hear Lisa Jardine’s revisiting of Snow’s ‘The Two Cultures’ in ‘A Point of View’ on Sunday morning?]
Arachne [bless her!] has undertaken to redress the balance and come up with a crossword which is mainly science-based, in either clues or solutions, or both. Thankfully, there is enough of her characteristic humour and wit, together with impeccable cluing, to make this a very enjoyable solve. There are some truly excellent surfaces.
I’m used to looking up quotations, dates, etc, when blogging: this puzzle has led me down different paths and I’ve learned a lot. Apologies for the slightly later than usual blog: there are a couple of instances where Arachne has beaten me – and, ironically, I don’t think it’s the science that has done it, but I’d better not spend any more time pondering. I’m sure there are several of you who will enjoy putting me right where I have not fully understood!
Brava, Arachne, for rising to the challenge and for making my ride outside my comfort zone less bumpy than I feared!
8 BONEMEAL: ME [one] in [admitted] anagram of A NOBEL: I loved the ‘pulverised body parts’ definition!
9 PLANCK: C [third letter [element] of uncertainty] in [gripped] PLANK [principle]: Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck [1858-1947] was a German physicist who actualized quantum physics, initiating a revolution in natural science and philosophy
10 ATOM: A [key] + reversal of MOT [test]
11 SUPERFLUID: amusing double definition: Chambers tells me that superfluidity is “a phenomenon observed in a firm of helium [helium II] obtained below 2.19K, in which internal friction is negligible.”
12 STASIS: STASI [former East German secret police force] + S [‘system originally’]: what a superb surface!
14 PULSATES: P [quiet] + U [‘originally unorthodox’] + anagram of TESLA’S: this definition was a surprise: I’d always thought of pulsation as being a regular rhythm: Nikola Tesla [1856 – 1943) was a Serbian-American inventor, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer.
15 BOOLEAN: BOO [express disapproval] + LEAN [unrewarding]: Boolean algebra (or Boolean logic) is a logical calculus of truth values, developed by George Boole in the 1840s.
17 ADAMANT: means very hard [and also unresistant to prayer] but this one’s too hard for me to explain! ADA is a computer programming language [and MANTRA could be a prayer] but that’s as far as I can get
20 OUTREACH: OU [Oxford or Open University] + TEACH [lecture] round R[esistance]
22 CANINE: hidden in vulCAN IN Engine: a lovely surface with its Trekky reference
23 SCIENTISTS: anagram of ITS NICEST + S[ome] to give the theme word
24 BOER: sounds like the Danish physicist, Niels Bohr, whom I have met in several crosswords – and for once the clue is totally unambiguous!
25 MICRON: [o]MICRON – Greek character without love: I’m on familiar territory here: omicron, of course, means ‘little [short] O’, as opposed to omega [big / long O]
26 CROATIAN: nothing so simple as an anagram of ‘not limbo’, which was the first thought. It’s an anagram of COMBINATORIAL without the letters of ‘limbo': excellent! [Combinatorial [it doesn’t even sound like a word!] analysis is the branch of mathematics which studies the number of different ways of arranging things
1 FORTY-TWO: another quirky one: FORTY [like Fort Knox!] +TWO: [pair] to give the ‘Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”.
2 BEAM: double definition – ‘dial’ meaning face
3 LENSES: I can’t quite get this one – LES [the French] around ‘nuclear antagonists’? The neat definition is ‘maybe contacts’
4 SLIP-UPS: reversal [upcoming] of PUPILS [students] + S[iemens]
5 SPIRALED: American spelling [‘in US’] of SPIRALLED: anagram [spread] of DESPAIR round [nuc]L[ear]
6 RAILWAYMAN: WAY [course] in anagram [flow] of LAMINAR: “Laminar flow, sometimes known as streamline flow, occurs when a fluid flows in parallel layers, with no disruption between the layers.”
7 ACTIVE: C [carbon] in reversal [revolutionary] of EVITA [the best use I’ve seen of her in a crossword, I think]
13 SOLAR YEARS: great anagram [engineering] of SALARY ROSE
16 ADAPTING: A[merican] DAP [distributed array processor] + T[h]ING [ device no longer hot]
18 NON-METAL: anagram [unstable] of AN[d] + MOLTEN
19 PHYSICS: PHYS – sounds like [reportedly] ‘fizz’ [gas] + reversal of SCI[ence]: a very clever and amusing clue
21 UNCOIL: another one I can’t quite see: UNC [?] + OIL [petroleum]
22 COSMOS: C[many] + OS [large] + M[o]O[n]S
24 BETA: BA [graduate] round ET [the familiar alien]