Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 25 – Conclusion by Zero

Posted by petebiddlecombe on June 29th, 2007


Solving time: about 90 mins

A fairly standard challenge here: find extra words in four across and four down clues which allow what’s presumably a quotation to be identified, and clashes between across and down answers which are resolved by continuing the quote in some part(s) of the grid. The author appears in a couple of unclued answers, and the rest of the quote must be written under the grid (the part not to forget!).

As there are only 13 clashes to be resolved, quite a few answers will not include any clashes at all. But the way to solve puzzles like this is to play safe, and when you solve a clue, write the answer lightly, so that there’s space to write letters from crossing answers and compare them. I put the across letters in the NE corner of grid squares, and the down ones in the SW corner. As you go along, you can put in a firmly pencilled single letter when the two letters agree. Where I identify a clash, I shade the square unless there’s some other meaning of shaded squares.

It became apparent fairly quickly that the four surplus words in the acrosses were rivers (15), acids (17), razors (24), and drugs (36). The fact that all four were plurals seemed at least on the cards after finding two, and almost certain with three found. When all four were found, the second word of the author was PAR??R, so (MRS) Dorothy Parker looked likely. Googling for these four words and Parker found this cheerful little ditty, called Resumé:

Razors pain you,
Rivers are damp,
Acids stain you,
And drugs cause cramp.

Guns aren’t lawful,
Nooses give,
Gas smells awful,
You might as well live.

(It turns out that Googling was the right thing to do – neither ODQ nor Bartlett’s ‘Familiar Quotations’ gives the first verse.) So the down extra words had to be pain (4), damp (1), stain (37), cramp (34) (pain was already identified), and the grid had to contain part of the second verse. LAWFUL was fairly easy to spot in the third row of the grid, and NOOSES and GIVE in the fifth. This suggested that the lines of the poem were in alternate rows, so GUNS and AREN’T had to be in the first row. This helped to solve 1A and confirm the resolution of clashes in 7A. GAS SMELLS could then be found in row 9, and AWFUL in row 11; leaving YOU MIGHT AS WELL LIVE as the conclusion to be written below the grid. There’s a bit more pattern to the layout: where a row of the grid contains two words of the poem, the first starts at the left edge of the grid and the second ends at the right edge. Rows containing a single word have it roughly in the middle.

Some clashes – 7/8 and 21/22 in the list for example – seem unnecessary, as the answer after resolving the clash is still a word (OGIVE and RENT respectively). The clashes are (Across/Down clue numbers): 1/1, 1/2, 7/8, 7/9, 5/4, 15/5, 18/1, 18/20, 21/22, 34/34, 35/22, 39/30, 40/32.

Answers given below are the ones before any clash-resolution. Comments about bothering to look things up are there as this was solved without access to Chambers, though a couple of on-line dictionary search tools were used to confirm some answers. The fact that this was possible, combined with some interesting clues, means that I’ll look forward to the next Zero puzzle – this was a new setter to me.

1 SU(N)S,TONE – a new word, but fits “shimmering mineral” well enough not to bother looking it up.
7 RAN,T – “run” = “to put up with” is new to me – this IS worth looking up to make sure (and to help remember it in case it comes up again in wordplay).  Can’t see it directly in C but there is “to incur”.
13 L(UNA)R – it took a while to find Una instead of Ada or Ava, but the “silvery moon”makes this pretty definite.
14 O(UT,LA)W – checked that this can mean “wild animal”. Another chance to note that “ut”was the original version of “doh” – still used on the continent.
15 PU(=up<=),L,L
17 WHIT – with*
21 O,LIVE=evil rev.
25 CROSS(word)-COMPILER – best clue in the puzzle. (A cross-compiler is a compiler in the coputing sense, which runs on one computer but produces machine code for a different one.)
28 U,P(R)OOTER – Pooter from Diary of a Nobody – also referenced in Times Jumbo 703 the week before.
35 SMALLS – shops = Mall replaces petticoats = kirtles in ‘skirtless’.
36 ERAS(e) – using ‘Drugs’ as the extra word was nicely confusing with {drug = E} as a possibility.
37 D(REAM)Y – DY is the IVR for Benin, from Dahomey.
40 FULHAM – hidden in ‘awful hammock’. It’s a loaded die.
41 REEVE – Anag. of ‘a nerdy man’ less ‘any damn’, then girl = Eve.
1 G(R.O.)UN,D – ro = run-out – cricket
2 SETT = test* – sett = cloth texture is one of the few things I had to wait for Chambers to confirm – investigating ‘set’ in online dictionaries could have taken hours…
4 NUFF,IN – nuff as in ’nuff said’ is in C.
5 ELATES = (set ale) rev.
6 (w)ALLY
8 EN(SHIEL)D – another look at C to confirm this – shiel is one of about 4 ways Shakespeare spelled this word – to husk (vb.)
19 S,YSOP=posy rev. – a sysop (system operator) runs an on-line bulletin board according to C. I think the current term is moderator, so I suspect this is one of those bits of computing terminology that live on in Chambers long after they’re dead in the real world, like ‘Datel’ which puzzled people a few weeks ago.
20 H,O,C – H=Henry – some unit of measurement, O = ‘essentially wrOte’, C. = about.
23 FOR SAKE,(me)N
30 TERATA – anag. I managed to remembr the tera/monster connection from somewhere.
31 (r)ENEWED – enew = to plunge into water (falconry) says C. (From “en ewe” with “ewe” being O Fr for eau) I must have seen this before as it rang a bell.
32 I’M,MAN,E – e = the base of Napierian logarithms
33 (p)OSTMEN – easy enough to guess the fer from the word,but it’s actually ‘Danish settlers in Ireland’ rather than the migrating East Germans I guessed at.
34 GEN(R)E – gene = embarrassment (Fr.) is worth remembering for barred puzzles

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