## Pressure Points by Mr Snaky

### Puzzle explanation

The correction to misprints in clues spelt out “maths homme”, a hint to the French mathematician Blaise Pascal. Among the answers anagrammed in the grid were (Pascal’s) TRIANGLE and (Pascal’s) WAGER, and filling the central cell with O produced (Pascal’s) THEOREM, all of which were to be highlighted. Six of the clashes were resolved by choosing the letters of PASCAL (reading clockwise) and discarding BLAISE in the corresponding positions. The puzzle’s title referred to the pascal, the derived SI unit of pressure.

Pascal’s theorem relates to points on a conic section, that is, any curve formed by the intersection of a plane with a circular cone, such as the ellipse shown in green in the diagram here. The theorem states that if any six points on the conic are connected by a series of straight lines in any order, thus forming a hexagon, then the points where opposite sides of the hexagon cross are in a straight line (the “Pascal line”). If the sides don’t cross immediately, they must be extended outwards until they do (in the Euclidean plane, there are special cases where opposite sides are parallel, but they don’t apply here). In the illustration here, the hexagon is traced in the order PSLCAA (ending at the A on the left), with opposite sides shown in the same colour for reference. One pair crossed in the grid’s central cell containing O; the other two pairs crossed in the remaining clash cells, where either choice from G/S and D/B made real words in both directions. The letters had to be chosen to spell GOD along the Pascal line, being the subject of Pascal’s wager, the philosophical argument that it’s rational to behave as though God exists, because the disadvantages of doing so even if there is no God are outweighed by the punishments of hell if God does exist.

### Clue explanations

Conventions: * = anagram, < = reversal

No Misprint Answer Explanation
Across
2   PTSD PT + S(a)D
5   HASSLING HAS + SLING
11   RAIDED AID in RED
13   PLASMA SAMPL(e) * + A
14   IDÉES I’D + SEE <
15   TAENIOID (I DON A TIE) *
18   ARABIST (AS A BRIT) *
19   PUGH (rus)H after PUG
21   STEEVE STEVE with middle letter repeated
22   GRIS RIG * + S
23   NEELE (E(mit) E(ffluent) L(eaking)) in NE
24   ERL (B)ERL(iners)
26   LEARN NEARL(y) *
29   CLARO R in COAL *
31   SYE YES *
33   GORPS SPROG <
36   BREW (em)BR(yo) (lik)EW(ise)
37   BRETON BREST’S SONS − every S
38   TEAT TREAT − R
42   MARKING 2 meanings
43   CYRENAIC (NICE + RACY) *
44   MEANE MEAN + E
45   APNEIC (IN PACE) *
46 bo(M)b MORTAR MORTAL with R for L
47 dec(A)ying MANKIEST (SIN MAKE) * + ’T
48 chan(T)ed NOEL (O’ + E(xtremism)) in NL
Down
1   INTEGRAL INT + LARGE <
3   TILAPIA LIT < + AP + AI <
4   DESIGN S in DEIGN
6 (H)ate LOATHE LATHE around O
7 re(S)ting ABED ABE + D(welling)
8   HAIR-EEL HAIR GEL − G around E
9   ISOMER SOME in IR
12   DEBUG DEBU(t) + G
16   NOTE ETON <
17   INVAR IN + VAR
20   HERON HER + ON
21   SLEPT SEPT around L
25   WORDAGES W/O + GRADES *
27   EARLY EAR + L + Y
28 s(H)ort RETWEET RET around TWEE
30   ARTISTE (STIR TEA) *
32 L(O)ngs YEARNS YES around (A + RN)
33 (M)uppet GOON GO ON
34   REMISE REVISE with M for V
35 ho(M)ily SERMON SON around ERM
36 mos(E)y DAKER RAKED *
39   ANNAL (N + A) in (A + N + L)
40   SCAM MAC’S <
41   LAIK LAIR with K for R
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