Quick Cryptic 2597 by Pedro

It was probably just me but I didn’t find this particularly easy with several less common words and some tricky parsing. Lots of deletions but no cryptic defs (phew) or double defs. There’s also a little theme here; click below if you haven’t already seen it.

The theme is related to ‘genetic material’, DNA, before being “reflected” in 19a. The DNA molecule has the conformation of a DOUBLE HELIX (10d) which was discovered by James WATSON (13a) and Francis CRICK (18d), on the foundation of pioneering work by Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin; this is the short version of the story and there will be people here who know much more about this than I do. There could be more thematic references which I’ve missed.

 

Finished off in 10:38 with 23a my last in; exactly how I felt today for much of the time doing this.

Definitions underlined in bold, deletions indicated by strikethrough.

Across
1 Mr. O’Casey chopped up tree (8)
SYCAMORE – Anagram (‘chopped up’) of MR O CASEY
5 Get away after outing Republican swindle (4)
SCAMSCRAM (‘Get away’) with R deleted (‘after outing Republican’)
8 Artist backed retaining passion and support for clothes (5)
AIRERAR (‘Artist backed’=reversal of RA) containing (‘retaining’) IRE (‘passion’)

I was looking for something like a belt or stay until I worked out the wordplay.

9 News — it recalled activities, omitting nothing (7)
TIDINGSTI (‘It recalled’=reversal of IT) DOINGS (‘activities’) with O deleted (‘omitting nothing’)
11 Flier cut back support for wing? (3)
RIBBIRD (‘Flier cut’=last letter D deleted) reversed (‘back’)
12 Copper pursuing woman’s slender and very strong (9)
HERCULEANCU (‘Copper’) following (‘pursuing’) HER (‘woman’s’) LEAN (‘slender’)
13 Detective’s assistant initially has to miss coming events? (6)
WATSONWHAT’S ON (‘coming events?’) with H deleted (‘initially has to miss’=first letter of ‘Has’ deleted)
15 Look, engaging in a lot of tricks in skiing event (6)
SLALOMLO (‘Look’) contained in (‘engaging in’) SLAM (‘a lot of tricks’)

‘Tricks’ here in the card-playing sense.

18 I will leave city chapel, upset, pedalling away here? (9)
CYCLEPATH – Anagram (‘upset’) of CITY CHAPEL with I deleted (‘I will leave’)

I would have expected this to `be two words, or at least hyphenated, but it’s in 2/3 of the usual sources as a single word.

19 Accompanied by genetic material, on reflection (3)
AND – Reversal (‘on reflection’) of DNA (‘genetic material’)
20 Mishandled American editor after one pair of lines (3-4)
ILL-USEDUS (‘American’) ED (‘editor’) following (‘after’) I (‘one’) LL (‘pair of lines’)
21 Cricket side almost completely following the rules (5)
LEGALLEG (‘Cricket side’) ALL (‘completely’) with last letter L deleted (‘almost’)

Nice piece of misdirection with ‘side’ not meaning a “team” as the surface would lead us to believe.

22 Gentle contact is accepted by King and son (4)
KISSIS (‘is’) contained in (‘accepted by’) K (‘King’) S (‘son’)
23 One subsequently coming round for each amateur? (8)
INEXPERTI (‘One’) NEXT (‘subsequently’) containing (‘coming round’) PER (‘for each’)
Down
1 Bird in fight, then another fight (7)
SPARROWSPAR (‘fight’) followed by (‘then another’) ROW (‘fight’)
2 Dieter’s concern, perhaps, consuming zero chocolate substitute (5)
CAROBCARB (‘Dieter’s concern, perhaps’) containing (‘consuming’) O (‘zero’)

CARB short for “carbohydrate”. I was looking for something that might worry a German male, but the ‘Dieter’ turned out not to be as sex and nationality specific.

3 His romances, rewritten for noblewoman (11)
MARCHIONESS – Anagram (‘rewritten’) of HIS ROMANCES

Pedro channeling his inner Barbara Cartland.

4 Charitable club go off on a railway (6)
ROTARYROT (‘go off’) A (‘a’) RY (‘railway’)
6 No good energy in fossil fuel, clot (7)
CONGEALNG (‘No good’) E (‘energy’) contained in (‘in’) COAL (‘fossil fuel’)

A “wordplay as environmental statement” cryptic clue.

I saw G for ‘good’ and COAL for ‘fossil fuel’ straight away and thought of “coagulate” but of course it didn’t fit. Not the sort of ‘clot’ the surface was pointing us to.

7 Particle very much accepted by blokes (5)
MESONSO (‘very much’) contained in (‘accepted by’) MEN (‘blokes’)

I’ve heard of pi-MESONs but there are probably more. As for the relationship between a MESON, a quark and a xi-baryon, don’t ask…

10 Twice the helium and lithium unknown in molecule (6,5)
DOUBLE HELIXDOUBLE (‘Twice’) HE (‘helium’) LI (‘lithium’) X (‘unknown’)

Atomic physics and organic chemistry this time. The double helix is the conformation of the molecule, but it is now so well known that it is often used as the name for DNA. My COD.

14 Biting insect not half minor in producing irritations (7)
TICKLESTICK (‘Biting insect’) LESSER (‘not half minor’=last half of the word deleted)
16 Slander linked to apartment, riverside feature (7)
MUDFLATMUD (‘Slander’) FLAT (‘apartment’)
17 Academic supporting standard act of clemency (6)
PARDONDON (‘Academic’) below in a down clue (‘supporting’) PAR (‘standard’)
18 Pain in the neck caught atop haystack? (5)
CRICKC (‘caught’) above in a down clue (‘atop’) RICK (‘haystack?’)

The question mark here because a ‘haystack’ is only one example of a RICK, defined by Collins as: “a large stack of hay, corn, peas etc, built in the open in a regular-shaped pile, esp one with a thatched top”. It is interesting that ‘Pain in the neck’ can just be a RICK as well, but the ‘caught’ is needed for a reason that goes deeper than the surface.

19 Reason gendarmes initially seen in a street in Paris (5)
ARGUEG (‘gendarmes initially’=first letter of ‘Gendarmes‘) contained in (‘see in’) A (‘a’) RUE (‘street in Paris’)

98 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2597 by Pedro”

  1. I don’t recall any problem except LOI CYCLEPATH, which I wouldn’t have spelled as one word; HELIX finally gave me what I needed. Didn’t see the theme, of course. 7:17.

  2. 9.07, nice puzzle from Pedro with some tricky bits. I cite RIB as an example, the new-fangled trick of being required to come up with a synonym, chop off a letter and reverse it. I was mainly held up by LOsI AIRER and CAROB (never really knew what it was TBH). Thanks to BR for going to the trouble of figuring out INEXPERT and pointing out how TICKLES worked and what ‘not half minor’ was there for. WATSON has been popping up a bit lately and I think we had MESON recently too. Had not the faintest idea about the theme but I’ll take your word for it BR, it certainly makes sense.

  3. I was going quite well and everything done by about 13 minutes, except for RIB/AIRER/CAROB. I stared for another 16 minutes before spotting RIB, which almost immediately gave me the last 2.
    Otherwise I quite enjoyed this, I like a puzzle with some involved wordplay and not much in the way of GK or obscure language, and this certainly ticked those boxes for me.

  4. 19:57 – completed in 36 degree heat as my train is delayed by half an hour and I’m going to be late to pick up the kids from school 🙁

    Nice for Herculean to be clear on the spelling (not sure it could be spelled another way though) and nice to see Watson again.

    I’d never heard of a Meson but not many other options. Needed the blog for a few parsings.

      1. That sounds dreadful, it’s a nasty day. Where are you T, what line? I stayed inside all day and let the weather go by without me.

        1. Cranbourne/Pakenham line. I left work at 2 and got to my parents house in Springvale at 6:53 including dad picking me up from a nearby station

          1. It sounds like (remember this?) a Kennet of a day. Cooler tomorrow they say, hope it’s better for you T. Here in SoYa (they’re trying to make that a thing) the power stayed on and all is well

  5. 8 minutes. MESON, CAROB and DOUBLE HELIX were not unknown to me but although I didn’t know their meanings all went in easily enough from wordplay.

  6. DNF, defeated by the Airer/Carob/Rib combo: did not see Ire = Passion (to me ire is more anger than passion), no idea what a Carob is or how it is connected to chocolate (not helped by having no interest in chocolate anyway as I’m allergic to it …) and Rib with its 3-part wordplay, as outlined by LindsayO, just too complicated for me. 10 minutes or so to that point but called time after a further 10 with no progress on the last three.

    We’ve had a good run of less sticky puzzles recently so no doubt it was time for a tough one, but Pedro simply too complicated for me today – several two or even three trick clues.

    Many thanks BR for the blog
    Cedric

    1. We had something similar yesterday from Oink: Catch husband maybe nearly keeling over (6). To get the answer, ENTRAP, you had to get from husband to partner, cut the final R and reverse it. Quite a challenge for any puzzle, let alone a QC!

  7. Another poor showing from me this morning. Defeated by TIDINGS and the NHO MESON in the end for a rare DNF.

  8. Stuck at it and made it in the end but not much pleasure to be had. Admittedly a lot of that was my fault. Made life hard by whacking in ‘triple helix’ because I’ve heard of it and it fitted but that made HERCULIAN very hard – it meant the copper had to be DI to fit those checkers and it also made TIDINGS even harder. All green in an exhausting 25m

  9. After a quick start in the NW I stumbled through the sciencey bits (another area of my many areas of weakness) until left with INEXPERT and the surprisingly tricky CAROB/RIB combo.
    Crossed the line in 9.22 with the theme going way over my head.
    Thanks to BR

  10. And it was all going so well. I was feeling proud to get all the physics and genetic references plus the long anagrams…then got totally stumped by the same AIRER/CAROB/RIB triad that tripped up some who are considerably more competent than I. So I don’t feel too bad, despite the DNF.

    Happy Tuesday, all. ❤️

  11. I share Mendesest’s view on the lack of enjoyment. YET AGAIN a bloody theme that made a lot of this very forced. Out damned Pedro!!!

    FOI SYCAMORE
    LOI DOUBLE HELIX
    COD HERCULEAN
    TIME 4:55

  12. 11:30

    For once, a theme I could spot! After DNA and DOUBLE HELIX, I was on the look-out for WATSON and CRICK, and was pleased to find them. I then looked in vain for anything more on the theme, such as the names of those who predicted or discovered the first MESON. Alas neither Yukawa or Powell made it into the grid.

    CYCLEPATH and TICKLES were my last two in.

    Thanks Pedro and BR

    1. As a (distant) relative of Rosalind Franklin, may I remind all and sundry, but particularly Pedro, that Watson and Crick were only 2 members of a larger team that cracked the double helix form of DNA. Being a woman, Franklin’s contribution was largely ignored in her lifetime but we are more enlightened now … aren’t we?

      1. You would hope so, Cedric. But the irony is that there are plenty of people these days who are so enlightened that they won’t, can’t, or are too scared to, even define the term “woman”.

      2. Yes I agree, Watson and Crick could not have solved the structure of DNA without access to the experimental results of Franklin and others. The excellent Quentin Blake mural in Addenbrooke’s, celebrating 800 years of Cambridge University, gives Franklin equal billing with Watson and Crick.
        For the sake of completeness, my mention of Powell’s experimental discovery of the Pi Meson should have added César Lattes, Giuseppe Occhialini, and Hugh Muirhead. Today any paper in experimental particle physics is more likely to have thousands of authors.

        1. I studied Biochemistry 76-79. It was not until many years later that I learnt of Franklin’s contribution. A sad indictment of those times but how much has changed? Not by any means knowledgeable on quantum physics ( I shared the views of one of my fellow students who opined that Schrödinger should have been strangled at birth) , I am told that there were many female physicists that could have been featured in the Oppenheimer movie but weren’t.

      3. Funny you should say that! My degree is in Genetics and I spotted the theme very quickly (a rare occurence for me) and after submitting I trawled the grid thinking I had missed the reference to Rosalind Franklin.

  13. Am I the only person that spent ages on 1d before realising the clue said “bird in fight…” as opposed to “Bird in fLight”?

    1. We didn’t do that but had a similar experience looking for Biting insect not half minor in producing iMitations rather than irritations!! Need a bigger iPad

  14. 6:34. I too thought this on the tricky side. I took a while to remember CAROB. I liked 1A for it’s tribute to the Sycamore Gap tree. Was it a Mr. O’Casey who chopped it down? After WATSON and DNA in the acrosses I spotted what was going on when DOUBLE HELIX turned up so, with all the checkers in place CRICK was a write-in without reading the clue. Thank-you Pedro and BR. BTW today’s 15×15 is, bar a couple of clues, no harder than this, so some people here might enjoy giving it a go.

  15. Agree with others that this was not an easy QC. Did finish but could not parse RIB or TICKLES so thanks very much BR for the blog. As soon as a little theme was mentioned I could see it, which is very gratifying as usually I’m unable to spot a Nina.

  16. NHO AIRER or MESON, and no idea what DOUBLE HELIX is, though it’s featured on the 2003 £2 coin. To this chocoholic CAROB was obvious, though (as a bogus substitute to avoid) – funny how different we all are.

    1. Martinů 1 ND 0 … CAROB NHO here 😀

      Perhaps more context will stop AIRER being a NHO for you? It’s referring to one of those things you hang freshly laundered clothes on to aka clothes horse

      1. Ha! Lovely to hear from you, thank you. Yes I suppose I imagined it must be one of those horse things but I’d never have thought of calling it an AIRER. (This computer even adds a wiggly line under that word, as if it doesn’t exist!) It’s really for drying, not for airing – Mrs M agrees with me that we would call it a clothes rack, or drying rack. So where do they say AIRER – south-west Rutland, perhaps? CAROB: no worries, you’re not missing anything. Greetings.

        1. AIRER is used everywhere here in the UK. It is, in my humble opinion, a far more accurate description than its synonym CLOTHES HORSE, as it is not shaped anything remotely like a horse, does not neigh and cannot be ridden without collapsing. DRYER, although perhaps more accurate, as you state, would imply an electrical appliance here.

  17. 17:54
    not enjoyable, slam for tricks a bit tricky, and random the in 10d.

    COD tidings.
    have a go at the 15×15, presume same setter and same difficulty.

  18. Couldn’t get RIB, CAROB or MESON; got bored and gave up. Yes I am pathetic.

    So it’s a DNF on the DNA puzzle.

    Thanks for unpicking it, Bletchers.

    Templar

  19. 8:44

    Par for the Snitch – similar to yesterday’s difficulty if you didn’t spot the theme, which I didn’t – DOUBLE HELIX took ages to see as I’d INEXPERTly bunged in CYCLELANE at 18a (didn’t see how that worked until came here).

    Thanks BR and Pedro

  20. We were obviously on Pedro’s wavelength today, a steady solve to finish in 22.30 afer a couple of mis-reads ( rri can look like m on a small screen).

    Having spent my youth making balsa model aircraft rib was a write in.

    Didn’t know Look = LO but it had to be slalom
    Knew carob but couldn’t parse – even after reading the helpful blog the capital on Dieter made us go googling for some German who studied/discovered carbohydrates only for the massive PDM = oh it’s some who diets 🙂

    Thanks BR and Pedro

  21. 14:33
    Also slowed by RIB/AIRER/CAROB.

    Along with Sociopath and psychopaths, are rude and thoughtless cyclists known as CYCLEPATHs?

    Though the Dieter would be tracking cals (I do), but you’d have to be desperate to use COALS as a chocolate substitute.

    Nice mini theme, not that I spotted it, of course. Agree about the missing Franklin. But the only two nine letter places intersect with DOUBLE HELIX, so not possible with this grid.

  22. Crawled into the SCC for a strong coffee, and something more, in about 30 mins. Mildly distracted by pancake eating but it was quite tough (puzzle, not pancake) in places.
    Several not fully parsed, so many thanks for the enlightenment re Dieter the non-German, the tricky slam, etc. RIB was a biff, never went back to parse but probably would have struggled if I had.
    I think I enjoyed it more than some, looking at previous comments, and nothing seemed unduly obscure or unfair. May go and try the 15×15 as rumour has it that it is not as 15y as usual.

    1. Dear Plymouthian,
      I hope you enjoyed your pancakes, this morning. Mrs R and I are looking forward to ours at around 7 o’clock this evening. Some with maple syrup (me), some with golden syrup (Mrs R) and some with lemon and sugar (both).

  23. 14 mins…

    A nice scientific theme from Pedro, I thought. No real issues apart from not parsing 23ac “Inexpert” properly and nearly putting “Cyclelane” for 18ac “Cyclepath” until I realised the letters didn’t fit.

    FOI – 1ac “Sycamore”
    LOI – 23ac “Inexpert”
    COD – 10dn “Double Helix”

    Thanks as usual!

  24. Got there in the end, not helped by a typoed MARHCIONESS making HERCULEAN impossible until I spotted the problem. LOI TICKLES.

    I quite liked the puzzle, even though it took me a while, and have a good deal of red next to my name on the QUITCH!

    9:30

  25. Another slowish plod to the end. Needed help parsing LOI TICKLES and also RIB. Held up by INEXPERT and SPARROW, otherwise all seemed fairly straightforward. Biffed CAROB then parsed, ditto DOUBLE HELIX, MESON and MUDFLAT. Puzzled over SLALOM but understood eventually. COD to WATSON (made me smile). No surprise that I didn’t spot the now very obvious theme. Many thanks BR and Pedro.

  26. I found this to be tricky, and as others found, it was the nw corner that slowed me down to a crawl. I eventually sussed what Pedro had in mind, and staggered across the line in 12.22.

  27. DNF x 2 as failed on INEXPERT (doh!) and biffed Mosen though, come to think of it, MESON is more likely. NHO – put Boson at first but it had to be SCAM.
    Plenty biffed but unparsed e.g. WATSON, CAROB, TIDINGS, AIRER, SLALOM, DOUBLE HELIX.
    Liked ROTARY, AND, MUDFLAT, SPARROW.
    A very difficult puzzle – MESON indeed😥
    Thanks vm, BR. Haven’t looked up the theme but maybe it is Crick and Watson.

  28. 8.45

    Tricky I thought and pleased to finish. I don’t mind a theme but I never try to spot them and therefore never use the info to help the solve. Would have been handy here as I couldn’t see WATSON at the end for a while with the difficult parsing

    Liked CYCLEPATH as the Two Tunnels in Bath is our local one and fantastic it is too (apart from all the cyclists cycling too fast of course!)

    Thanks all

  29. Very tricky. Like others, I struggled with the CAROB/AIRER/RIB corner and had to biff a few: MESON (NHO), INEXPERT, DOUBLE HELIX, SLALOM. Hard work. Thanks for the blog!

  30. Thought I’d have a go at this, since the main puzzle was dispatched over-quickly today. Slightly more tricky, owing to AIRER and TICKLES giving me pause for thought. I didn’t spot the theme, despite the hint – I never do. Liked the molecule, SPARROW and CONGEAL.

  31. DNF. Disappointingly as being a cricket nut I got beaten by the cricket themed question which led to a struggle in the whole SE corner. Got too focused on “cricket side almost” being a play on “eleven” and the answer (for some reason I never quite worked out) being “level”. Feel like Gatting after Warnie’s first ashes ball! Bamboozled😁

    1. This is just one crossword, and it’s not televised, so somehow I suspect Gatting felt a lot worse than you! Apparently Warnie later said to Gatting, hey Mike thanks for missing it…(and giving me instant cricket immortality).

  32. A rare DNF for me, despite giving it 30 minutes. I’m going out shortly so came here for enlightenment.
    It turns out my experience almost exactly mirrors Cedric. Defeated by those three clues in the NW.
    I too spent time on what Germans worry about; that caused me angst.
    I gave a tick to WATSON.
    David

  33. A really excellent puzzle – tough but fair, i don’t think the theme interfered overly. Crick was a write in as a result, but a little disappointed not to see Franklin.
    Take care Tina, looks like the storms have done a real number on some of the major power line towers, so may be some power issues for some time. Better than being in the fires, though.
    Thanks Pedro and BR

  34. NB – the main puzzle only took me 5 seconds longer than this one, so could be bookmarked/printed off for those interested.

  35. Found it quite a gentle solve. Too quick with 1A – put in Rosemary. NHO Meson. Really struggled yesterday.

  36. DNF.
    Another very nasty one.
    Gave up after 20 mins.
    Thought it best to leave this one to the “experts”.
    I was right.

  37. Nearly gave up several times, before finally calling it a day with Rib and Carob extant. Either might have prompted the other, but I was losing the will to live by that stage. Invariant

  38. 14:40 I thought COCOA first for CAROB but couldn’t justify the coca leaf as anything to do with dieting. INEXPERT and RIB were both very difficult but very clever. I only knew MESON from a documentary about the Hadron Collider(?) in Switzerland where particles were sent around a big circular track and made to smash into each other. Sounds like an ultra- aggressive science fiction version of Parkrun.

    1. There is a Large Hadron Collider at CERN which is based in Switzerland but crosses the border into France – I think it’s built under the Alps. Apparently it has a circumference of 16-17miles which if my Maths Pi-D days are right means it’s about 5 miles across.

      Not sure whether there is a small or normal-sized hadron collider around. Maybe it’s like Starbucks where the coffee cups start at Large and go up 🤷‍♂️

      If only I hadn’t spent my last minute or so, figuring out the parsing of RIB over rob, rub or even rab; I might have started a late sprint for the line and still finished a good 15-20secs behind you! 15:46 as it was.

    2. Have actually been to CERN, home of the Large H Collider, but that didn’t help. Admittedly it was over 35 years ago. They explained it by saying they were trying to create matter, like banging oranges together to make strawberries. Or something like that.

  39. Very tough. Lots of biffs. Only helped by Watson and Heracles being in Saturday QC.
    Would someone mind explaining where Dieter fits in. I’ve read the blog 3 times and still no idea.

      1. Well put, doesn’t even need to be to lose weight. A ketogenic diet has super low carbs, probably less than 30g/day. Carbs have little nutritional value unlike protein, but carob often tastes awful, so not really a chocolate substitute in my book!

  40. I had mixed feelings on this one. Pumpa thought less of it and wanted me to put it under the cat litter in his tray.

    I couldn’t complete as 14d had me totally stumped.

    Ask Pumpa: 14d

    My verdict: 🤦‍♂️
    Pumpa’s verdict: 😾

  41. DNF. There were several I couldn’t parse (RIB, SLALOM, CAROB) and I had to use an aid to come up with my LOI after 24 minutes. Pleased to come here and find it wasn’t just me! Unusually for me I partially saw the theme, noting DNA and DOUBLE HELIX. However I didn’t know enough about the discovery of DNA to recognise CRICK and WATSON as part of the nina.

    FOI – 1ac SYCAMORE
    LOI – WATSON
    COD – nothing stood out for me today

  42. 15:46 … answers flew in on first pass and probably only 7-8 left by time I’d gone round the grid once . At 10mins down to my last four of INEXPERT, AIRER, CAROB (nho) and RIB.

    Felt I was helped along by having seen a WATSON and RICK in recent puzzles.

    Post solve wondering whether ribs actually support the wings of birds? Not something I know much about. I assumed in humans the ribs (ribcage) are there to protect the vital organs like heart and lung. Arms and legs attach elsewhere.

    1. Yes, I wouldn’t think wings attach to ribs in birds but as Roundabout Here wrote above they do in airplanes. Of course that means you have to separate the reverse bird as flier in the answer with the support for wings part which could refer to a different flier, the airplane. Maybe that’s too complicated to work?

      1. I missed Roundabout Here’s comment about airplanes. I guess it makes sense. As you say a little convoluted with a lift&separate, subtract a letter off a word that’s backwards but hey!

        I’m just pleased to see another road user inhabiting the boards …

  43. SYCAMORE went straight in, followed by AIRER, then I came to a halt in the NW so moved on. After 10 minutes I was left with 1d, 2d, 11a, 13a and 14d and came to a grinding halt. Visitors then put me on hold for a while, but when I restarted I was still stuck until a vague idea that CAROB was a chocolate substitute cleared the blockage. RIB and SPARROW led to WATSON which then allowed me to get LOI, TICKLES. 16:47. I did spot the theme after reading BR’s inro and having another look. Thanks Pedro and BR.

  44. 8.44 Somewhat hungover today, I did this on autopilot. Not thinking too much seems to help my performance. INEXPERT was LOI. Thanks BR and Pedro.

  45. Found this fairly straightforward, and unusually spotted the theme but completely failed to make use of it with “Watson” our LOI. I did think that some of the surfaces were poor, particularly 12a which appears to end in mid air.

  46. I’m always surprised to come to the blog and find that there was a theme. Pleased with a pretty fast 9:45 TODAY, though didn’t pause to parse INEXPERT. Thanks Pedro and BR.

  47. Got there in 27 minutes (jolly good for me), but I don’t really know how. Several clues remained only partially parsed (e.g. WATSON, TICKLES and LEGAL) and I had NHO MESON. I was fortunate to get SYCAMORE at the first attempt and early resolution of the two longest solutions, MARCHIONESS and DOUBLE HELIX provided lots of checkers to work from.

    I didn’t spot the Nina on the way through (I never do), but I have now.

    Many thanks to Pedro and BR.

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