Cascade, Redux

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

ACROSS

1 Christmas Factor

6 sonic

9 imp

11 reagent

13 spaghetti

14 erotica

15 elope

16 isotope

17 extravert

18 Aida

19 amber

22 airy

23 despotic

25 pasta

27 Britannica

30 turtleneck

31 pombe

32 limacine

35 ages

38 adopt

39 Tsar

41 isochrone

44 iambist

25 basil

46 aerator

47 non-linear

48 italics

49 yea

50 playa

51 Tatiana Romanova

DOWN

1 Chinese cabbage

2 surgical

3 stereotypical

4 astronaut

5 roadie

6 schoolmaster

7 nitrogenase

8 Crimea

10 proctor

12 academe

13 speed

20 spat

21 Shakespeariana

26 Haemophilia A

28 impedimenta

29 Noel

33 myristica

34 Neo-nazi

36 ghostly

37 charisma

40 sober

42 kidnap

43 street

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:

Tatiana Romanov

Shakespearian

Churchillian

Haemophilia

Impediment

Britannic

Myristic

Charism

Erotic

Crime

Play

Aid

Ye

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.   

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