Posted by loonapick on August 30th, 2007
Either I am getting better at Inquisitors or this one was not as challenging as it first appeared. When I bought the paper last week, I took one look at the puzzle and thought “Oh! This looks tough”. However, when I actually sat down and had a go at it a week later, it was actually quite easy.
The down clues were straightforward, and, apart from the unclued 25dn, which is the puzzle’s theme, 80-90% of them went in at first reading. Once they were in place, some of the across answers became obvious, and it became clear that not all of the lights needed to be tweaked before being placed in the grid.
As it turned out, each group of three had one solution which needed something removed, and inserted into another solution before being eneterd in the grid, and the third solution in each trio was entered as clued.
Once some of the across clues were in place I was left with _RAE_E at 25dn, not having solved 23ac. I could only think of two possible words, one of which (GRAEME) didn’t promise much. The other, GRAEAE, I have to admit I had to check.
Turns out the Graeae were Greek goddesses which took the form of old grey-haired women. Their names were Deino (“Dread”), Enyo (“Horror”) and Pemphredo (“Alarm”). They are most widely known as part of the story of Perseus, who forced them to tell him the whereabouts of the Gorgons.
The important fact about them as far as the theme is concerned, is that they had but one eye and one tooth between them, and they had to share them.
I had already worked that it was necessary to remove words such as EYE, EE, I and COG from some words and place them into anothers to get clue entries, so this made sense, as the first three relate to “eye”, “I” being the homophone mentioned in the preamble. COG relates to “tooth”, and, according to the preamble, one word had to be repeated. I was therefore looking for one word meaning or related to “tooth”.
As luck would have it, the first word I thought of, FANG, was the one I was looking for.
So the across grid entries (A – word added, P – plain clue, R – word removed), were:
1 (A) RAZO(r)-FANG-O – RAZOO being an almost worthless gambling chip
12 (P) ABOLISHER – AB-(his lore)*
13 (R) OLD(fang)LED – (fold)*-ANGLED
14 (R) UNMON(eye)D – ONE in (my nude)*
15 (A) SO-EYE-OM – initial letters of “Some Order Obliging McPherson”. SOOM is a Scots word for “swim”
16 (P) STOOPE(d)
17 (A) TA-COG-ME – where TAME = “MATE” mostly reversed
20 (R) S(cog)GIN – not sure of the wordplay here, but Scoggin was a jester, so “Patch” is the definition
21 (P) S.P.-0-USE – S.P. = sine prole (without issue)
23 (P) H(IE)ING – HING is another word for “asafoetida”, an ill-smelling medicinal gum
26 (R) S(ee) OUT
28 (A) (w)A-EE-STER
30 (P) O-TELL-O – a Rossini opera
32 (A) L-COG-(i)ANA
34 (R) RE(cog)NISE – CO in (<=E SINGER)
35 (P) AVULSE – (values)*
36 (A) RE-ENAC-I-TS – (g)REEN-(cast)*
37 (R) NECESSA(i)RE – (Irene’s care)* – a toilet-bag, dressing-case or work-box
Down clues worth a mention were:
3 Z-Y-DECO(r) – blues-influenced Cajun music
27 EL(S)AN – a sort of Portaloo
29 ENSOR – hidden in “greENS, ORanges” – James Ensor (1860-1949), whose most famous work was “entry of Christ into Brussels”