Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 18 by Dysart ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY!

Posted by nmsindy on May 11th, 2007


I thought this was an excellent puzzle from Dysart who debuted in the Listener last year and has since appeared twice in the Indy, this being the second one, and also very recently in the EV in the Sunday Telegraph. I really liked it, found the clues top-drawer, and hope we’ll see more.

Solving time 3 hrs – a fair amount of the grid in 1 hour with just one themed clue, then most of the grid in another 1 hr 15 mins. Then found the last few words very tricky, but when I had the grid full saw the theme almost immediately – a theme which I’d no hint of at any time during solving.

Eleven across answers were to be modified in one of two ways. These turned out, in the 13X13 grid, to be the answers in the each of the rows 2 to 12 which passed through the centre column. The modifications were (1) remove a D from the answer, leaving another real word (2) enter the answer in reverse with an extra D included, again making another real word. (PS A subtlety which has been drawn to my attention is that each D was added or removed in the direction of the word after it reached or crossed the centre column).

Reading down the centre column gave INT DATE LINE. Above it was N, below it S, and W and E were at either side of the centre row. This is the international date line which is around 180 degrees longitude, explaining the title. The NSWE were hinted at in the preamble by “four others with a bearing on the theme”. Finding the date line also explained the clue I’d most trouble with. (PS The subtlety was that then all the Ds reached or crossed the date line.)   Answers crossing W to E lost a D (day), those E to W gained one, as happens at the date line.

T = thematic clue * = anagram



5 NAM E FOR Bush’s indicates US usage. nam = man (solidier) reversed.

11 (T) A(CA)RIAN to ACARIDAN Definition is mite’s indicating an adjective. Arian re Aries sign covering early April (puzzle appeared 28 April)

13 OMS (som)*

15 (T) MINDER to MINER M for K in kinder – giving no indication what the letters are makes it quite tough

16 P R OD Nice image in the surface reading

17 (T) TANTALISED to TANTALISE (lad in a test)*

18 THAT (which) t for i in Thai . As in 15 no indication of the letters – that can worry a solver as to whether he’s got the right ones, but I’m hopeful

19 (T) DEES to DEEDS I’d dreadful trouble with this. “Returning offspring stops working in Blackadder” Firstly, unlike any of the others, there was already a D – no reason there should not. Not a TV person at all, know little about Blackadder, though I’d heard of it. So it’s seed returning – dees is shown in Chambers as a Scottish usage of dies, one of the definitions for which is “stops working”. A quick Internet search for Blackadder did not suggest it was Scottish, but I may be missing something those more familiar will know. ( PS There’s a Blackadder in Scotland which explains this.)

22 INN Hidden, but put in a rather unusual way “thin nylon screen” that I was not sure about – suppose it can be read as “the words thin nylon screen” but was a little doubtful


25 EIGHT e (Spain) for w in wight The setter gives the two letters this time!

28 (T) C (OST) ARDS to COSTARS Ost = East in German

29 RAC (H)E


31 IFS “Fellow appearing in book, poem and film?” Fiendishly tricky with the second letter unchecked. Is = Isaiah F = Fellow Poem is Kipling’s and film the late 1960s seminal one. Phew!

33 (T) BLUE to BLUDE “Blew” Amusing use of the two tenses.

34 USER Alternate letters.

38 (T) PERIOTIC to PERIDOTIC Peri Cito (rev)

40 (p)EONS

41 (T) LANDES to LANES a n d in les

42 T(U)T What would we do without those Isle of Man races?

43 (T) WHEELED to WHEEDLED w heeled

44 SHI(KSA)S SHIpS Ask reversed. Wondered about seek = ask – instinctively I thought the equivalent would be “ask for”

45 I M PEN D Idaho


1 SPORTS WRIT(ER)S Did not get this important word till I’d a lot of crossing letters – one slight niggle was that the meeting = sports in the cryptic build-up was very similar to the use in the answer word itself.

2 NY(MP)HAEA (a hyena)*

3 OSSIANIC o for me in messianic This was my favourite clue in the puzzle. Brilliant.

4 T AMAL (lama reversed)

6 AREA Hidden

7 MARL (b) E

8 FAR-SIghted Another great clue.

9 OBO(t)E

10 REDINTEGRATED (Retired agent)* d

12 DINS Snid(e) reversed

14 A T (TAC) HE Cat reversed

20 DATEL “Taking time to head over for BT computer facility” The clue that caused me serious problems. I am not sure if it was made extra difficult as it was central to the theme or if I was unlucky. It was after I found the word (totally unfamiliar to me) that I understood the wordplay (I think). head = lead it takes time = t over = turn it around and you have DATEL. There was great reassurance when I found it in Chambers with a definition that fits the clue. (PS It’s also in Collins, when I looked later, though not in Concise OED but these puzzles would range wider than that.) But… Maybe some techie out there can advise us but if it is a BT Computer Facility, why does a search for it on the BT website yield no results whatsoever? Or maybe, like Blackadder, it’s something everyone knows but I missed out on.

21 DI’S RU (P)T

24 John DOEs Used in theoretical legal cases.

25 EREbus Hard



32 SIND I (dins)* 12 down

34 DOLLS d for r (centre of Paris) in rolls. Letters to switch are given!

35 BREE (beer)*

36 Q ESHM m “moves south” in mesh = network

38 COSH Double definition. Trig function (maths). Not sure why a ? was put in.

39 DAD A a dad (reversed)

3 Responses to “Inquisitor 18 by Dysart ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY!”

  1. says:

    DATEL was an early “data over phone line” service (c. 1964) followed by prestel which did the same thing for data/images over TV transmissions.

  2. says:

    … and it’s in Chambers.

  3. says:

    And also in Collins! I must have been unlucky not to have met it before.

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