Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor #5 / Psyche – ON STAGE

Posted by petebiddlecombe on February 9th, 2007


Solving time: at least 4 hours – maybe 6

A theme with an echo of Phi’s Inquisitor #3 – can’t remember doing a Psyche puzzle before, and have no idea who it is. The grid was to be thought of as a stage, and the letters indicating stage areas were UR,UC,UL,CR,C,CL,DR,DC,DL – with the first letter indicating upstage, centre stage or downstage, and the second (where present) indicating right, centre, or left. The terms are from the actor’s point of view, but of course we as the solving audience see stage left as our right and vice versa. For someone used to working on computer applications showing dental charts, this was almost second nature – they’re drawn from the dentist’s point of view, so UL8 is in the top right corner. Hasty solvers like me, note that every clue refers to the theatre in some way – surface meanings generally seemed better than you sometimes see in advanced cryptics.

I found this pretty tough, especially the centre stage rows – the clues to the across answers linking 4×4 cells together were not easy! I also failed at first to exploit the alphabetical order of solutions in the quartets. I was tempted to fish out the digital camera for a picture of the grid, but the combination of across clues and full set of answers should mean you can see how everything fits.

SATI “Satie”
T,RIP The clue starts after the hyphen – I spent a while thinking there was a clue missing.
HAIRLESS,N,E’S,S hairless as in “keep your hair on!”
(b)R(ig ad)OON
SOMADR MELODRAMAS* less MALE – soma is the drug in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World – Facts I know from Crosswords no. 2,358 …
IRAS A & C character, rev. of sari
OVERNIGHTERS (given shorter)*
TA,C,C,E a bit of armour
CHAUNTRESSES (hurt as scenes)*
STEN hidden – and a coincidental echo of #4
TED,S ted = “to dry, as of hay” is an advanced cryptic crossword cliché
IRON (nor,I)<=
PERNOD,L,CTATION=(in act to)* the vigil kind of watch
P(UT)t. C confirms that “ut” is Latin for “as”
N,I,PULA Yes, the Pula (100 thebes) is what’s in your wallet in Botswana
S.(P.A.)E. P.A. = personal appearance is a new abbreviation to remember from C
CLOD,CS ref. Huis Clos, a Sartre play
COMPENSATORY (my actors open)*
E,E,L,Y last letters
CREPE,E A case where having to add CR probably helped the setter avoid treading a well-worn path – I’m a bit surprised that EPEE isn’t in this list
GEES (see,G)<= – or maybe there’s other wordplay – this doesn’t seem completely convincing.
REGARDLESSLY (Gay’ll,dresser)* – nice camp luvvie surface meaning
SP(E)AR-CARRIER carrier from the “horse or vehicle kept for hire” meaning of hack, I guess
UNDERSTUDIES (turn’s due)*,dies

4 Responses to “Inquisitor #5 / Psyche – ON STAGE”

  1. says:

    I found this very hard (though ultimately rewarding) – much more like a LISTENER puzzle than an Indy Mag puzzle (in fact I think The L was easier that week). Is the IM puzzle steering that way, I wonder? I’ve always seen its role as a gentle advanced cryptic (for which there is still a need).

  2. says:

    I’m in favour of the gentle advanced cryptic, but Ialso like the idea of a bit of healthy competition for the Listener.

  3. says:

    I agree with Quixote. The Inquisitor has always, to me, been the easier of the barred puzzles and should bring solvers across from blocked cryptics. It doesn’t seem to be doing that which is a massive shame.

    This was very enjoyable, unlike that week’s Listener, and it held y interest to keep ploughing on with it.

    Psyche is a lady called Valerie and she is generally one of the setters I enjoy locking horns with, the puzzles are accessible and fun to solve.

  4. says:

    Thank You

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