Last week I posted a particularly nerdish acrostic, and I was pleasantly surprised to be contacted by a couple of people anxious to have sight of the solution. Ergo…
Solution to Cascade
1 Christmas Factor
51 Tatiana Romanova
1 Chinese cabbage
26 Haemophilia A
The legend deciphered
The Cascade is based on the haematologist’s classical blood coagulation model, in which a series of molecules are sequentially activated, for example in response to trauma, to prevent blood loss by forming a clot. Classically, 12 molecules were identified. A thirteenth was later added. They are activated in reverse order. The initial trauma activates Factor 12. Activated Factor 12 is Factor 12A. 12A activates Factor 11 to 11A which in turn activates Factor 10 to 10A, and so on. (The current working model has become rather more complex.)
To return to the legend:
13 clues form a CASCADE in diminishing order of solution length. Each of these clues defines its own solution, and gives its length, in an inactive form…
These solutions are, in descending order:
These solutions need to be “activated” before entry to the grid, by addition of the letter A. Hence Tatiana Romanov becomes Tatiana Romanova, Shakespearian becomes Shakespeariana, and so on. In addition, the clues defining these solutions also define the next solution in the cascade in its active form. Hence, for example, the clue to erotic (14 across) must also define Crimea:
Nightingale theatre arousing to Eric (6).
The cascade is cyclical because the last clue in the cycle activates the first:
49 ac: You old Bond girl! (2)
“You old” is ye, activated to yea. The Bond girl is from From Russia with Love. Tatiana Romanova.
The most difficult two clues in Cascade are 1 across, and 26 down, because they require specialist knowledge. Hack these, and you’ve hacked the whole thing.
1 across: 9, protective against 26B (9,6)
Factor 9 in the clotting cascade is “Christmas Factor”. If you lack Christmas Factor, you develop Christmas Disease, otherwise known as Haemophilia B. Haemophilia A is Factor 8 deficiency. “Weightless without women” is “eightless”. “Encumbrances” defines the next solution in the cascade – Impedimenta.
I know what you’re thinking. I need to get out more.