Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 31 – On a swim by Kruger

Posted by petebiddlecombe on August 10th, 2007


Solving time: ages!

The only previous Kruger puzzle I remember was about No. 6 in the Inquisitor series, based on the Offa’s Dyke footpath and associated places – one that I found pretty tough and was quite relieved not to be writing about.

This one proved even tougher for me – I ended up using things like the anagram and full text searches in the CD-Rom version of Chambers to solve about half a dozen of the clues and get some momentum going. My aim for Inquisitors and similar puzzles is to just use the dictionary itself if possible. For puzzles like this one, this approach works if I can guess what the title means, or spot the misprint phrase from contributing letters, or see a common feature in the answers that need ‘processing’. None of these happened for a long time with this puzzle, but eventually, I did spot the pattern – answers that needed changing seemed to include CATAMARANS, GUARDIAN ANGEL, PETULANT and PURITAN. What do these words have in common? A female name – Tamara, Diana, Petula and Rita respectively. With OBI as a sequence of letters near the end of the misprint phrase, the penny dropped when ‘La Donna e Mobile’ came to mind and matched up with the other misprint letters – it’s the title of an aria from Verdi’s Rigoletto, usually translated as “Woman is fickle” – hence the anagrammed title “On a swim” from “Woman is”. Making appropriate anagrams of female first names in 10 answers allows them to fit the intersecting words, and once I realised this, finding the other anagrammed names took very little time. Lesson from this solving experience: if the title is baffling, try making anagrams out of it and see if they suggest anything. Also: try not to get too spooked by the setter’s name just because of one tough puzzle – I shouldn’t really have made such heavy weather of this one.

Misprints (explained answer / corrected word in def.)
14 A,S,T,ELY=see / steLe
15 K((s)OUL)AN / Ass
18 AL(NAG)E / braiD
34 DR(A,W)UP(e) / fOrm
36 BOT(SWAN)A – bota = boat* / laNd
37 ME(ANE,I)N,G / moaN
1 ST(EAR)AGE = steerage / fAres
2 EAS(S)E,L / Easterly
6 RARE – 2 mngs / Meat
8 NAHUM = human* / boOk
10 T,OWNS / urBan
12 SWANEE – 2 mngs / rIver’s
30 BLI(p),M,P / Light
35 A,WAY / lifE
Fickle women (explained answer / grid entry)
6 RESIANT – nastier* = resident / REINAST
13 E,S(CAR.)OLE – Endive is the def.s, and Car. is short for Carolus = Charles / ESLCAORE
16 CATAMARANS – (cars at an a.m.)* / CAATARMANS
30 BLIND ALLEY – anag. of ILL AND BE(l)LY – not totally convinced by empty= lacking one central letter, but never mind / BDNLIALLEY
38 PUR,IT.,AuNt – pur = the jack in the card game ‘post and pair’ / PURATIN
5 MAL=rerv. of lam = escape (US slang),MAG = titmouse. The malmag is the same monkey as the tarsier / MMALAG
20 PETULANT = (nut leapt)* / ELTUPANT
26 TANNER – 2 mngs / TNNEAR
28 GROSET – reverse hidden word / GERSOT
25 ENT(R)AIL – Spenserian ‘twisting’. To entail is to carve or fashion.
39 STY,LET – In Shakespeare, let (vb.) = leave.
3 S.(ULT.)A.,N.A. – among other things, a sultana is a kind of (musical) fiddle
24 GAD!,W,ALL – all = “each side”, as in “fifteen all”
29 S,C.U.,N.G.,E = a sneaky person
31 LE,MNA=man* – Lemna is the duckweed genus

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