Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 50 – Who’s Who by Dimitry

Posted by duncanshiell on December 20th, 2007


There were three important parts to the preamble:

1. Every across clue lacked a definition and the wordplay generated a word which could be associated with the entry at that number – i.e the actual entries had to be deduced.

2. Each down clue contained one word that simply represented its first letter in the wordplay, but was otherwise normal.

3. These eighteen words provided the nature of the across associations, in no particular order.

The title – Who’s Who – suggested something to do with famous people.

A first scan of the preamble had me scratching my head a bit, but the realisation that there were exactly 18 across clues as well as exactly 18 down clues helped me to understand the instructions more clearly.

After reading the down clues and solving a couple, things began to crystalise and the theme became very clear.

In the down clues there were many descriptive words like ‘novelist’, ‘composer’, ‘dramatist’ and ‘pianist’. In the majority of clues it was fairly obvious which was the important word, but there were a couple of red herrings such as ‘apostle’ and ‘bishop’.

I found it easier to solve the down clues first given that the first letter of the representational words was a key part of the wordplay.

Following the entry of a few down clues, and the solution of the more obvious across clues, a couple of the actual across entries could be deduced and it became apparent that the across clues led to the Surnames of frontiersmen, singers, poets etc while the across entries were the appropriate Christian names of these people.

In the explanations below for the across clues, I have given the answer to the clue first and then indicated the actual entry with a very short note about the individual.

For the down clues I have indicated the representational word before explaining the clue.

Solving time: One fairly long evening session – say three hours, which included some interesting research about many of the people.

Some of the individuals could be classified in more than one way – e.g. Tariq Ali could be an activist and a writer, and Diana Mitford could be a sister and an activist. However, I think there is a unique association for all but novelist and writer which could cover either or both of Louisa Alcott and Margery Allingham. I have gone with writer for Allingham and novelist for Alcott, but the actual association was not part of the solution to be submitted.

Grid entries are shown below in red; while the representational words are shown in blue

1. REYNOLDS - anagram of ‘ONLY inside ‘REDS; using revolutionary as an anagram indicator and as a noun JOSHUA – Sir Joshua Reynolds, painter, 1723-1792
5. ALCOTT - AL (aluminium); COT (bedstead); T (a short ,or light, form of ‘that’) LOUISA – Louisa May Alcott, novelist, 1832-1888
9. SIBLEY - SI (South Island); BLEY (bleak) ANTOINETTE – Dame Antoinette Sibley, ballerina, 1939-
11. SWIFT - S(H)IFT (get on with) with W (wife) replacing H (henry) JONATHAN – Jonathan Swift, satirist, 1667-1745
13. WILSON - LSO (London Symphony Orchestra) inside WIN (success) SANDY – Sandy Wilson, composer, 1924-
14 SANSOM - SAN (almost extinct nomadic bushman of S. Africa); SO (very good); M (money) ODETTE - Odette Sansom GC, heroine, 1912-1995
15. CROCKETT - CROCK (pot); E (English); TT (Tourist Trophy) DAVY – Davy Crockett, frontiersman, 1786-1836
17. HUGHES - HE (male) inside, or breaking, HUGS (wrestling grips) NERYS – Nerys Hughes, actress, 1941-
18. ALLINGHAM - A (are); LL (lines) IN (belonging to); G (good); HAM (actor) MARGERY – Margery Allingham, writer, 1904-1966
20. BEHAN - BE (live); HAN (native Chinese people) BRENDAN - Brendan Behan, playwright, 1923-1964
22. ALI - (M)ALI (african country) without leading M (abbreviation for minutes) TARIQ – Tariq Ali, activist, 1943 -
27. AMOS - reverse of (=knocked back) SOMA (intoxicating juice) TORI - Tori Amos, singer, 1963-
28. CARDEW - CARD (comb); EW (two thirds, or a lot of, ewe) CECILY – Cecily Cardew, character in The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)
29. MITFORD - T (Thailand) in M1 (motorway) and FORD (river crossing) DIANA – Diana Mitford, sister, one of six Mitford sisters, 1910-2003
30. CURZON - CUR (dog); ZO (hybrid or cross of male yak and horned cow); N (name) CLIFFORD – Clifford Curzon, pianist, 1907-1982
31. CHURCHILL - most of CHUR(L) (surly fellow) followed by most of CHILL(Y) (aloof) CLEMENTINE - Baroness Clementine Churchill, baroness, 1885-1977
32. MERKEL - MEL (honey) containing or embracing ERK (aircraftsman) ANGELA – Angela Merkel, currently German Chancellor, 1954-
33. HEANEY - AN E (ecstasy, illicit stimuland and hallucinogenic drug) inside HEY (country dance) SEAMUS - Seamus Heaney, poet, 1939-
1. sister JANSEN - S (sister) inside, or introduced to, JANE (girl) with N (new) – Cornelius JANSEN, Catholic Bishop of Ypres
2. character ST ANDREW - STAND (an adopted attitude); (C)REW (gang without the leading C (character)), – Apostle ST ANDREW
3. baroness HOBDAY - HO (hold); B (baroness); DAY (24 hours) – HOBDAY: to cure a breathing impediment
4. novelist ANONYMA - anagram (reformed) of MY (N)ANO NO without (ignoring) an N (novelist) – ANONYMA: showy woman of easy morals
5. heroine LENOS - reverse upwards of (all over) S(H)ONE (glowed) L (luminance) without H (heroine) – LENOS: thin muslin-like fabrics
6. ballerina UTTER - (B)UTTER (flattery) without the leading B (baroness) – UTTER: extreme
7. activist SCATURIENT - anagram (drunk) of A (activist) and TINCTURESSCATURIENT: gushing
8. composer ANNECY - ANNE (girl); C (composer); Y(year) – ANNECY: city in France
10. writer WATERMELON - W (writer); ATE (consumed); RM (royal marine = jolly); ELON (anagram of noel) – WATERMELON: fruit
12. painter ADAR - (P)RADA (fashion house) upwards, or rising, without the leading P (painter) – ADAR: twelfth month of Jewish ecclesiatical year
16. singer SERIATIM - anagram (broadcast) of S (singer) and AIRTIMESERIATIM : one after another
19. dramatist ANTARES - anagram of STAR EDNA without D (dramatist) – ANTARES: first magnitude star in Scorpius
20. satirist BOCCIA - BO (fellow); CC (Catholic college); I(S) (is without S (satirist)); ABOCCIA Italian form of bowls (In Chambers 2006, not in 2003)
21. pianist DELF - D (diamonds); (P)ELF (money without P (pianist)) – DELF: – earthenware made in Delft
23. poet ARISTA - (P)ARIS (abductor of Helen of Troy, less P (poet)); T(troy); A (accepted) – ARISTA: bristle-like appendage on some insects’ antennae
24. Chancellor QUAKES - QU (queen); (C)AKES (maids-of-honour are cakes) without C (Chancellor) (= or c leaving) – QUAKES: shudders
25. frontiersman RIFLE - RILE (get irritated) enclosing, or about, F(frontiersman) – RIFLE: plunder
26. actress MYOMA - down clue with A (actress) at the bottom supporting Y (mathematical unknown) inside MOM (mother) – MYOMA: tumour of muscular tissue

5 Responses to “Inquisitor 50 – Who’s Who by Dimitry”

  1. Quixote says:

    Quite apart from the excellent clues this was a masterpiece of grid construction. I raise my hat!

  2. jetdoc says:

    I didn’t do this crossword, so can’t really comment on that; but your blog, Duncan, is a masterpiece!

  3. Colin Blackburn says:

    I echo Jetdoc’s comments though I worry that you may be setting a precedent for Inquisitor bloggers!

    I didn’t finish the puzzle due to not having a decent session to have a go at it. I did, however, tumble the theme very quickly. On my initial scan CROCKETT just stood out as an answer. Once I had that and I saw frontiersman I realised what was going on. Unfortunately I then pencilled in DEBBIE for REYNOLDS, that chief vet has a lot to answer for.

    As Quixote says, great grid.

  4. petebiddlecombe says:

    I can’t claim to have fully finished the puzzle, as having finished the grid I didn’t bother to chase down all the people, and didn’t quite solve all the clues to surnames – I somehow failed to see ‘pianist’ for Cliffoed Curzon, which seemed bulletproof, and gave up looking after that. But I enjoyed it and would put it up as an example of the kind of tough cryptic I’d like to see more of – the nature of the challenge is apparent early on, but that doesn’t give the game away, and good clues are part of the package.

  5. petebiddlecombe says:

    Just recording some disappointment with the official solution. It’s just the grid plus a statement of the basic principle. The surnames and ‘job titles’ are not given, even though there’s easily enough room for the necessary 36 words.

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