Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor #3 – CAST ASIDE by Phi

Posted by petebiddlecombe on January 26th, 2007


(an anonymous puzzle in the paper, but the setter has already been identified elsewhere)

Solving time: ages

Found this one really tough – maybe the “blogger’s curse” (anything you have to write about magically becomes harder), or maybe theme-word paranoia (clues that you know help with the gimmick become magically harder – coded words in Playfairs especially). So I must admit that if I hadn’t been due to write this, I might well have given up, and that the appositeness of the revealed phrase wasn’t appreciated for a while. The clues for the numbered answers were mostly easy – one or two held me up, but shouldn’t have done. Also had to deal with a hazard you sometimes get in these puzzles – lack of 100% clarity about where clues begin and end, in the lines starting More / Phi’s / Old. Noticing more quickly that clues were in alphabetical order of clue text would have resolved this.  Another problem of my own making was not remembering about the two abbrev. answers and therefore missing the obvious reverse hidden for Rt. Rev.

Let’s do the pairs first – Acrosses then Downs, in the obvious grid order. Numbers given are the ordinal positions of their clues in the set of 16.

Paired answers
GRISEL/DA/CKER – 7,14 G.R.,ladies* / D,(b)ACKER – wasted time on D,(n)YMPH___, thinking Stephen Hendry or John Higgins might have a daughter called Dymphna or something similar.
THREEPA/RT/REV – 13,2 THREEP = insist!
BONS/AI/RCOVER – 16,3 cobbler = snob
DYSPHEMIS/MS/S – 6,5 anag. / M(a)SS – Should have expected an “unbalanced” pair.
GESTA/PO/E-BIRD – 15,9 The poe-bird is also known as the Tui or parson bird, for reasons that should be obvious from this picture.
STEEP/EN/DSHIP – 4,1 endship = village
CURA/RA/DIO-HAM – 10,8 Radio-ham is (I,OH) in drama*
RENVER/SE/RIES – 12,11 renverse is from that hopeless speller Spenser

The overlap pairs, when read column by column and then row by row, give DRAMATIS PERSONAE, which is of course both “Cast” and “Aside”.

10 E.C.,ADS
3 (A.V.)ERSE
6 CORD,OVA – a place in Alaska, but a v. small dot in my atlas, so “city” in the US style of “XYZ City, Pop. 127″.
9 E,O(C.E.)NE
11 BattLE,WEStfield – biggest surprise for me was that there’s a place called Westfield not that far from where my father lives. Ironically, the first Google hit reports an incident involving a Bonfire society – Lewes has six of them.
12 O.B.,YE

5 Responses to “Inquisitor #3 – CAST ASIDE by Phi”

  1. says:

    I thought this was a splendid puzzle – hard but for me not excessively so. I think this may just go to show the big leap in difficulty between everyday cryptics and barred puzzles. Stick at it – you’ll speed up!

  2. says:

    I think what it shows is the variability in the difficulty of barred-grid puzzles. My current diet of BGPs is Azed most weeks, Mephisto when blogging it (one in 3), Inquisitor every other week. Listener: maybe 15-20 a year in patches of having the time. I’ve been tackling Azed on and off for over 20 years and had my best Listener years around 1991, so the experience should be there! I’ve certainly had times when I’ve done a Listener without too much struggle, then seen some others saying it was really tough (Dimitry’s 10×20 was an example). I claim best times of about 18 minutes for Azed, 50-odd for the Listener – (very easy sieve-shaped one about Lear’s Jumblies), and 8:30 for No. 18 in the Mephisto book (slightly assisted by the multi-puzzle gimmick for the first couple of dozen in the book). So now the pressure is on for me to say “easy-peasy” and have others reporting slowness…

  3. says:

    Cordova – went in without thinking, as I assumed it was a variant of CORDOBA. While I found some support for this on checking, it wasn’t in my Gazetteer (which does list alternate and other-language spellings, generally), so I Googled, and ended up Wiki-ing. From what I recall, it’s a good guess to the population…

    I recall that a former Listener setter (who abandoned the puzzle when it went over to Murdoch) is actually a member of one of the Lewes bonfire societies.

    And I think you’d find the sound of a tui (there’s one clicking and tootling away outside my window as I type) even more remarkable.

  4. says:

    Have a look at the website and support those of us in Lewes (bonfire or not)!

  5. says:

    I’m with you on Cordova as a variant, but can understand that if it’s hard to find a definitive statement, you’d be wary of using it.

    Forgot to mention that I once went to the Lewes bonfire night celebrations. So long ago that the centrepiece of the bonfire society display we went to was Idi Amin in the guise of a gorilla, with exploding banana.

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