Posted by Hihoba on November 14th, 2012
Ferret’s only previous crossword in this series was 1213 earlier this year – Twenty blocks and twenty bars – and the rubric mentioned 90 degree symmetry. This time it was the more conventional 180 degree symmetry involved, but with a splendid twist which made this a most unusual grid. So thanks to Ferret for a very clever offering. The grid must have been very difficult to compile!
The rubric was quite complex, was critical to the puzzle’s completion, and is reproduced here in full:
Clues are in conventional order and lead to answers which are all alike. Four unclued across entries suggest how solvers must colour, or not, four alike squares; the unchecked letters in these entries are alike, forming part of a set. The other member of this set must be written thematically under the grid. All the unchecked letters signal what the theme word means. Numbers need not he entered, but all bars must be shown in the completed grid, which exhibits 180° symmetry.
It rapidly became clear that all the answers were 6 letter words and that you actually had four separate 6×6 word squares to solve, rather than the conventional barred crossword, so the bars required divided the grid into four square quarters plus those between the letters in the four unclued down columns.
There were 20 down clues, which meant five for each square, so one of the down 6 letter blocks in each quarter had to be part of the “unchecked letters . . . forming part of a set”. Armed with this knowledge solving the clues proceeded at a reasonable rate and the unclued across clues appeared as ROUGED, ALBINO, BLANCH and RUSSET. The unchecked letters in these are respectively O, I, A and E. The other member of this set (of vowels) is U and this is to be written thematically below the grid.
The “unchecked” letters in the down columns formed the warning YOU ARE STANDING INTO DANGER – most sailors would recognise that as a flag signal, and the flag had to be composed of two red and two white squares. I had to look up the flag and found the information here.
So the Theme Word to be written under the grid is UNIFORM.
I hit a minor snag when I entered ENSIGN in the bottom left quadrant before realising that there were two successive across entries beginning with EN!
I was uncertain whether or not it was necessary to place bars between each letter of the unchecked letter phrase. I (Hi) would not have done, but Ho would. They are included in the diagrams.
Two diagrams are shown, The one on the left showing the colours and the warning, the one on the right being the puzzle as submitted.
|A yen to strike back alongside American people||AYMARA||(South American) people||A + Y(en) + RAM reversed + A(merican)|
|Doctor unpegs old drain||SPUNGE||old drain (obsolete spelling of sponge)||[UNPEGS]*|
|Local girl once started showing a horse||MORGAN||a horse (named after breeder)||MOR (local girl) + GAN (archaic form of began)|
|Our cat mutilated a bird||TURACO||a bird||[OUR CAT]*|
|Historical yeoman maybe backing both service and unit||FARMER||Historical yeoman (old name for a farmer)||RAF reversed + REM (unit of radiation dosage) reversed|
|Seasonal lakes keep back South American grasslands||LLANOS||South American grasslands||Hidden reversed in seaSONAL Lakes|
|River fish supplying organic compound||UREIDE||organic compound||URE (river) + IDE (fish)|
|Plug for a cut that is attentive to Cameron||TENTIE||attentive for Cameron (Scottish word)||TENT (a medical plug) + IE (that is)|
|Minor French article rejected research||LESSER||minor||LES (French article) + RES(earch) reversed|
|Elaborate lyrics performed inside theatres||ODEONS||theatres||ON (performed) in ODES (elaborate lyrics)|
|No longer sputter over soft old suit collars||BESPIT||no longer sputter (sputter is an old word for to spit on)||BESIT (archaic word for to suit) round P (soft)|
|Craft coasted; Cambridge finally lost eights||OCTADS||eights||[COAST(e)D]* (e removed is the final letter of CambridgE)|
|Make jar from a French barrel with a bit of effort||UNTUNE||Make jar (discord)||UN (a French) + TUN (barrel) + E(ffort)|
|This was once neglected in favour of a gun||FORGAT||this was once neglected (archaic word)||FOR (in favour of) + GAT (gun)|
|Spenser’s to run after female – a stranger to him||FRENNE||Spenserian word for a stranger||F(emale) + RENNE (Spenserian word for run)|
|Relatives depart for school in Perth||KINDIE||School in Perth (Australian word for Kindergarten)||KIN (relatives) + DIE (depart)|
|Space to put a cross on paper flag||ENSIGN||flag||EN (space) + SIGN (put a cross on paper)|
|Destroy short article and write no more||ENDITE||write no more (archaic form of indite, to write)||END (destroy) + ITE(m) (short article)|
|Aussie vaunts aircraft aboard ship||SKITES||Aussie vaunts||KITE (aircraft) in SS (ship)|
|For example the Queen’s speechmakers||SAYERS||speechmakers||SAY (for example) ER’S (the Queen’s)|
|Ultra disconcerted about female cunning||ARTFUL||cunning||[ULTRA]* round F(emale)|
|Malta set up game reserve for guillemots||MURRES||guillemots||M(alta) + RU reversed + RES(erve)|
|A school is supplying trumpeters in S America||AGAMIS||trumpeters (birds) in S America||A + GAM (school of whales) + IS|
|Unprecedented arrests decline||RECEDE||decline||Hidden in unpRECEDEnted|
|One worships in a Byzantine order||ADORER||one worships||A + [ORDER]*|
|Cut little portion of glass for mosaic||SMALTO||glass for mosaic||SMALL TOT might be a little portion, and cut it is SMAL(l)TO(t) but I don’t find this very satisfactory! Is there a better explanation out there? Yes – see comment 2 below!|
|Politician showed the way and voted||POLLED||voted||POL(itician) + LED (showed the way)|
|Society’s condemnation breaks old practice of City||URBANE||of City||BAN (society’s condemnation) in URE (old word for practice)|
|Gourde immediately covering one hard layer||GANOIN||hard layer||G (symbol for Haitian currency) + ANON (immediately) round I (one)|
|An informer found in El Salvador unions||ENOSES||unions||NOSE (informer) in ES|
|An American boy with uncut hair trimmed a trifling amount||BUBKES||a trifling amount||BUB (American boy) + KES(h) (uncut hair, trimmed)|
|Connect closely without for example kneeling unnaturally||ENLINK||connect closely||[KNELIN]* (kneeling minus eg)|
|Contract cancelled in port authority||PUNDIT||authority||UNDI(d) (cancelled) in PT (port)|
|Offer inducement (5 to 100 dollars) to move into action||INCITE||move into action||INVITE (offer inducement) with C (100$) for V (5)|
|Escort, straight man sent up for laughs||TE-HEES||laughs||SEE (escort) + HET(ero) (straight man) all reversed|
|Officers in charge sacrificed the first advances||OFFERS||first advances||OFF(ic)ERS|
|These horns gee up or otherwise encourage||CORNUA||horns||[(e)NCOURA(ge)]*|
|Formal time for daughter with plaited hair||TRESSY||with plaited hair||DRESSY (formal) with T(ime) for D(aughter)|
|Confess once; easing suffering||AGNISE||confess once (obsolete)||[EASING]*|
|Finally arrange for independence in allowances and taxes in Scotland||STENTS||taxes in Scotland||STINTS (allowances) with (arrang)E for I(ndependence)|