Explanations: No. 14643 – Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Tue, Dec 6, 2011, 23:59

   

We come across another Roman emperor today, namely Nero, who ruled from 54 – 68 AD, and who was succeeded by Claudius. I recently watched the wonderful BBC drama “I, Claudius” made in the mid-seventies, and have reawakened an interest in the colourful lives of the Roman emperors.

24A: An old Roman turned up in Florence (4)
The old Roman here is NERO, whose name “turns up” (is written backwards) in the city name of Florence.

The emperor Nero had quite the family life. When he was just 16-years-old he married his stepsister, Claudia Octavia. He also had his mother and stepbrother executed. Famously, Nero was ruling at the time of the Great Fire of Rome that raged for five and a half days in 64 AD. Reports that Nero fiddled, played his lyre or sang while the city burned; those accounts are probably not true. In fact, Nero was staying outside of Rome when the fire started, and rushed home on hearing the news. He organized a massive relief effort, throwing open his own home to give shelter to many of the citizens who were left living on the street.

Although indirectly, it seems that Nero gave his name to the Colosseum in Rome. The emperor had a large (30m tall) statue made of himself in bronze, which he located outside of his palace. When he died, the bronze was altered and renamed the Colossus Solis, after the Roman sun god. It was later moved and located near the huge amphitheatre that became known as the Colosseum. It is likely that the amphitheatre actually took its name from the Colossus statue.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you have a question about today’s puzzle I am sure that I, or a fellow solver, can answer it for you.

How did you fare with this crossword?

Across
8 You are heard in one acting more gloomy (6)

DO(UR)ER
In “one acting” (DO-ER) “you are” heard (UR) = DOURER: more gloomy.
9 It’s okay there are none left (3,5)
ALL RIGHT
It’s okay (ALL RIGHT) there are none left (ALL RIGHT).
10 Catch sight of a secret agent online? (4)
E-SPY
A secret agent online? (e-SPY) = ESPY: catch sight of.
11 The agents go and wager a little with the Poles (2-8)
GO-BET-WEE-NS
Go (GO) and “wager” (BET) a little (WEE) with “the Poles” (NS) = GO-BETWEENS: the agents.
12 Obtain about one millilitre for the drink (6)
G(I-ML)ET
Obtain (G-ET) about “one millilitre” (I ML) for = GIMLET: the drink.
14 Shows Diane can spread out (8)
DI-SPLAYS
Diane can spread out (DI SPLAYS) = DISPLAYS: shows.
15 I’ve no idea what would be said with nothing here (1,5’1,3,1,4)
I’ve no idea (I HAVEN’T GOT A CLUE) what would be said with nothing here (I HAVEN’T GOT A CLUE).
18 This morning the brothers take one a food to eat with nectar perhaps (8)
AM-BROS-I-A
This “morning” (AM) the brothers (BROS) take “one a” (I-A) = AMBROSIA: food to eat with nectar perhaps (ambrosia and nectar were the “food and drink of the Greek gods”).
20 Agree what’s not a liability around the North (6)
ASSE(N)T
What’s not a liability (ASSE-T) around “the North” (N) = ASSENT: agree.
22 It’s not so neat having minced haggis by the loch! (10)
SHAGGI-NESS
Minced “haggis” (SHAGGI) by “the Loch” (NESS) having = SHAGGINESS: it’s not so neat.
24 Yeah, with him it’s ye pointing to the boatbuilder (4)
NO-AH
Yeah with Noah it’s ye (YE-AH, with NO-AH it’s YE) pointing to = NOAH: the boatbuilder.
25 The one that decided to get a 150″ before ‘er (8)
CL-INCH-’ER
A 150 (CL) “ (INCH) before “‘er” (ER) to get = CLINCHER: the one that decided.
26 Stout that’s like red wine? (6)
PORT-LY
Like red wine (PORT-LY) that’s = PORTLY: stout.

Down
1 A snob climbing a first class sort of tree (6)

BONS-AI
A “snob” climbing, i.e. written upwards (BONS) a “first class” (AI) = BONSAI: sort of tree.
2 Getting a place on the east coast by taking in an artist (4)
B(RA)Y
By (B-Y) taking in “an artist” (RA) getting = BRAY: a place on the east coast.
3 Scare what’s not left in the marsh (8)
F(RIGHT)EN
In “the marsh” (F-EN) what’s not left (RIGHT) = FRIGHTEN: scare.
4 Such clothes are mostly found in Britain (4)
G(AR)B
Found in “Britain” (G-B) “AR-e” mostly (AR) = GARB: such clothes.
5 Instruments … loud instruments! (6)
F-LUTES
Loud (F) instruments (LUTES) = FLUTES: instruments.
6 If written up, assumes the role of heat sources (10)
FI-REPLACES
“If” written up (FI) assumes the role of (REPLACES) = FIREPLACES: heat sources.
7 Hidden in that hanky ought to be an expression of appreciation (5,3)
THANK YOU
Hidden in “tha-T HANKY OU-ght” to be = THANK YOU: an expression of appreciation.
13 At fifty, always getting older and taking advantage of (10)
L-EVER-AGING
At “fifty” (L) always getting older (EVER AGING) and = LEVERAGING: taking advantage of.
14 Some believe it’s true she has littered? (5)
DOG-MA
She has littered? (DOG MA) = DOGMA: some believe it’s true.
16 Oh, backed by me he gets record assistance for the house (4,4)
HO-ME HE-LP
“Oh” backed (HO) by “me” (ME) he (HE) gets “record” (LP) = HOME HELP: assistance for the house.
17 It’s a month after the wild rant from part of the Church (8)
TRAN-SEPT
After “the wild ‘rant’” (TRAN) it’s a month (SEPT) from = TRANSEPT: part of the church.
19 Very small litre, in a sense (6)
S(L)IGHT
In “a sense” (S-IGHT) litre (L) = SLIGHT: very small.
21 All but the northeast has a miniature railway (6)
NE-A-RLY
The northeast (NE) has “a” (A) miniature “railway” (RLY) = NEARLY: all but.
23 Pedigree that’s oddly lacking here (4)
EIRE
“Pedigree” that’s oddly lacking, i.e. lose the odd letters (p-E-d-I-g-R-e-E) = EIRE: here.
24 An old Roman turned up in Florence (4)
NERO
In fl-OREN-ce there’s (OREN) turned up = NERO: an old Roman.