Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 27 – BUST by Lato

Posted by petebiddlecombe on July 13th, 2007


I tore this one out of the paper, took it on holiday, and over-confidently left it until the day we were coming home. It turned out to be very tough – if our flight hadn’t been delayed by an hour or so, I might have been sending one of those embarrassing e-mails to other bloggers, asking for help.  I eventually cracked it on a train on Thursday morning.  Total solving time: about 6 hours.

Part of my problem was that I forgot a golden rule for this kind of puzzle: if you can’t spot the gimmick, think about the date of the puzzle and what’s happening on or near that day, including anniversaries.  This might have helped me to realise that BUST = “stub out” in cryptic terms, and that the puzzle is about the recent ban on smoking in public. (So Dac in his old advanced cryptic Smokey persona would have been the ideal setter.)

The entries referenced in the preamble are 25 ENCLOSED SPACE, 39D ALL, 7 VARIOUS, 36 BUTS, 19 ITCH, 26 OBSERVE, 1D REQUIREMENT, and the corrections of definition misprints spell out FIFTY POUND FINE.  The six theme answers to be “stubbed out” – i.e. have their last letters deleted – are 1A REGALIA, 45A MANILLA, 5D SNOUT, 11D STOGEY, 12D CORONA LUCIS, 30D GASPER – all names for things you can smoke. Their last letters can be rearranged to give ASTRAY, which with ‘a19′ = AITCH inserted, gives ASHTRAY as the location to be written under the grid. All but two of the six smokes were cigars, so we’re mainly dealing with the posher end of smoking – but as those with the full-text search option on the Chambers CD-rom can confirm, cigars are well represented, with about 15 types defined, compared to about 20 for cigarettes.

Corrected words in definitions are (with corrected letter in caps) 12 Fish, 15 aId, 15 Fingers, 22 barTer, 23 charY, 28 carP, 34 foOl, 42 poUch, 43 Nettle, 3 forD, 21 Fast, 28 tIe, 38 reNt, 40 treE.  I thought these were concealed more cunningly than usual, and failed to spot the F in 21D’s def., which stopped me seeing FINE as the end of the misprint phrase.

Explanations for the trickier clues follow – after choosing these, I’m a bit less ashamed of my time for the puzzle, as there was plenty of new material for me, and I did complete the grid without using Chambers. I haven’t bothered to explain ones where I think the misprint correction makes the clue easy, but if I’ve left out any that stumped you, ask for more help in a comment.

1 RE(G)ALIA – realia, as you can probably guess with a bit of ‘Latin nous’, are real-life objects used as teacing aids. And a regalia is a big cigar.
5 SO,V,RA(N)S – archaic/poetic sovereigns – ras = a headland or an Ethiopian prince – both from the same Arabic word – maybe related to rex/raja in Indo-European languages?
10 ERIN – anag. of even letters in iRoNsIdEs
13 QUANT – a punting pole, and short for ‘quantitative analyst’
15 MO(R)RA – mora = a legal delay, morra = a game in which you guess how many fingers are being held up – presumably you can’t see them when making the guess…
19 (d)ITCH – with ‘d = would, desisting = disappearing, from ditch = get rid of
22 COUP – two meanings, both different to the “coup d’etat” one. The ‘upset’ one is a verb – to overturn.
23 SHIEST – anag of. aSkEd THIS
29 (m)ANGELS, i.e. mangel-wurzels, which are cattle-fodder. Older readers might remember a TV series using the slang term for nurses, Angels, as its title. I think it was where Pauline Quirk first hit your screens
33 SUMMA – MM = ‘messieurs’ in rev. of Aus.
39 AROSE – E after rev. of Sora = a kind of rail (the bird)
43 RHEA = rami, a plant in the nettle family, as wellas the flightless bird.
44 STILE(T)S – World Cup winner (back in 1966) = Nobby Stiles. Stilets or stylets are probes.
45 M,A,NILLA = all-in rev. Another cigar.
4 ISM – “Simeonite n (often shortened to sim) a follower of Charles Simeon (1759-1836); a Low-Churchman or evangelical.” – so says the big red book
5 SNO(U)T – Chambers has “a contemptible person” as well as “nasal mucus”
6 O.(ERST)E.D. – erst = formerly is one for the advanced cryptic beginner’s notebook
11 STOGEY – tog in yes rev. – possibly more familiar as stogie – a cheap type of cigar – short for Conestoga in Pennsylvania where they were presumably made.
12 CORONA LUCIS – another kind of cigar. anag. of (e)ARL CONSCIOU(s)
14 ARCH-CHIMIC – (ch., ch, I) in mirac(le)* – means supreme in alchemy, at least to John Milton.
16 IMPLEMENTAL, herb = simple, ‘has gone’ = remove ‘s, then mental = crazy.
28 CRA = ‘scraping car’,VAT = tax
30 GA(S)PER – “gaper” is cricket slang for an easy catch, so watch out for gaper = dolly

5 Responses to “Inquisitor 27 – BUST by Lato”

  1. nmsindy says:

    An excellent puzzle. Not too difficult a last step (says he, as a serial misser of those.)
    Very satisfying to understand all at the end, tallying with all the above explanations. I was helped by making “educated” guesses from looking at the preamble, esp OBSERVE and VARIOUS. And, one for the record books, Peter, I solved it faster than you! 3 hrs 15 mins.

  2. petebiddlecombe says:

    I managed fairly early guesses for ALL and VARIOUS, but OBSERVE didn’t come to me until much later. I think the penny-drop moment was a combination of seeing that ??C??SEDS?A?E could be ENCLOSED SPACE and recognising a possible CORONA at the start of 12D as a cigar type. The other five smokes were solved after findng the theme.

  3. Mike Laws says:

    When I received the puzzle as a date-specific submission, I was reminded of the fate in store for beer-drinking smokers, which I’d been trying to forget about, and has been a complete pain, because the pub’s owner is a complete ******, as all the regulars, including non-smokers, agree, and the extent of his catering for those deprived of one of their life’s little pleasures is a waste-paper bin outside the front door – next to a gas meter!

    But I digress. I always enjoy Lato’s puzzles. I get quite a few submissions which have a splendid basic concept, but the realisation of it is naff – but he takes the trouble to work out the optimum treatment of a theme. The only thing that worried me about this one is that although a corona is a cigar, a CORONA LUCIS isn’t. But since the bloggers haven’t brought that up, I was obviously being too fussy.

  4. petebiddlecombe says:

    Corona lucis: when I looked, I was fooled by the proximity of the cigar def. to the real one for corona lucis, which made it easy to think that corona lucis was also the cigar. I guess the same happened to Lato.

  5. nmsindy says:

    And to me! and to those experts who compiled the latest excellent edition of the Chambers Crossword dictionary with the list of cigars/cigarettes!

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