Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 55 SLOPING OFF by Kea

Posted by Hihoba on January 25th, 2008


This was a corker!! I’m still not completely convinced that we’ve got it right, but here goes.

The missing letters of the across clues instructed you to “INCLUDE PUNCTUATION” while the down clues said “IGNORE DIAGONAL BITS”.

The only punctuation marks I could find were hyphens and spaces. Thus, for instance,  1A appeared as GODspaceISspaceDEAD and 33A appeared as NEVERhyphenNEVER

The “ignore diagonal bits” instruction resulted in the letters A, K, M, N, Q, R, V, W, and X (there weren’t any Zs thank goodness!) being shorn of their diagonals.

So A = -, K = I, M = N = II, Q = O, R = P, and V, W and X become spaces. This gives a very strange look to the completed grid, but sorts out all the anomalies of crossing squares. So, for instance, the M of POMPEII (24A) is also the N of DUMPLING (9D), The X of XEROSIS (5D) is the space between GOD and IS, etc.

In the answers below, column 1 indicates the word with the extra letter inserted, column 2 is the answer as entered + (the actual answer to the clue), column 3 is an explanation.

I only realised when writing this blog, that the extra A in 10D is unaccounted for. Any suggestions? 

Solving time : Ages and ages!!

2 claIm GOD IS DE-D (God is dead) GOAD (stick) round DIS(h) (bowl trimmed) DE (of French)
11 Near P-POECIOUS (rapoecious) (I cup ear so)*
14 Close CRE IIECI (crew neck) Crew is OK for shouted, but neck (as in drink) for down is a bit tricksy!
15 Lutes II-IIDOP-S (mandoras) M(iles) + AND/OR (allowing both) + AS (since)
16 oUr SOS so(t)s
17 boDy II U (Kivu) V(see) I(one) in UK reversed – Kivu is an African lake
19 tronE SIELLUII (skellum) SUM (amount of money) round KELL (Scottish film). Acting up at the trone (Scottish market place) is a pretty turgid clue for a Scottish scamp!!
20 Potter FEIIPIP (Fenrir) Fenrir Greyback is a chracter in the JK Rowling novels
21 AUkland’s SIITE (skite) SKIT + E make an Antipodean term for boast
22 plaNted I IES (ivies) one vies
24 Crushed POIIPEII POPE round M(ass) + II (the second). Note the clever trick that this double I crosses with an M in the down clue!
25 This SHIIT-IE (shiitake) (the kai is)*. Again a double I crosses with an N
27 sUit G-PB (garb) GAR + B
28 Abused H-A (had) hidden
29 asseTs PELE-SEE (releasee) RE (on) +LEA(grassland) + SEE(consider)
30 remaIn ESPPESSOS (espressos) (repossess)* Dark grounds, mills  – geddit??
32 tOuring’s II-PTIIIIOUE (Martinique) TIN + I in MARQUE
33 fiNance IIE EP-IIE EP (never-never) Missing S in the clue? VERNE is an SF pioneer (or F for French?) in NEVE + R
1 solId TPUIIIFISHES (trunkfishes) (the skins fur)* 
3 thinG OPEII IIIIID (open mind) OD(form of god) round PEN(author) and MIN(ister)
4 interN DOC DC round (n)o(s)
5 mOist  EPOSIS (xerosis)  SORE reversed in SIX(=31D) reversed 
6 fRosters ICEPS (icers) ICE + RS
7 PoEm SI -III (sixain) AXIS(central line) reversed + IN(because of)
8 briDe  O S (vows) VWs(Volkswagen Beetles) round O(ld)
9 PirogI DUIIPLIIIG (dumpling) (limp)* in DUNG(mess)
10 A ??maine -CCOUTERED (accoutered) ACC(ording) + OUTER(external) + ED(ucation)
12 leGs DISIIEIIBERED (dismembered) (birdseed)* round MEM(orial)
13 ScoOt II-IE H-STE (make haste) (kea has met)*
16 donNing SLIP-SHOE (polishes)* I like “old thing for easy donning on one of plates” for a slipper!!
18 leAk UPETHP-E (urethrae) URE (traditional practice) + THRAE = frae, Scots from
21 souL SOIIEOIIE (someone) SOM(Kyrgyz currency!!) + (L)EONE
23 Brings FIEST- (fiesta) FIE + ST + A
26 poInt ELSIII (elsin) Ernie Els (golfer) + NI reversed
29 Theft PERP short for perpetrator – PREP reversed
31 Score SI  (six) sounds like sicks (chases)

6 Responses to “Inquisitor 55 SLOPING OFF by Kea”

  1. Mick H says:

    I had 10 down (ACCOUTERED) as ‘M(a)ine’s equipped’, on the basis that this must be a US spelling, though I didn’t check that in Chambers.
    I thought this was extremely clever, with some of the extra letters very well hidden. It was also bloody hard – I finished it eventually, but after the posting deadline. In any case, my grid was such a mess of half-crossed out letters, it wouldn’t have been much good!

  2. Kea says:

    In 19A the definition is “on[E] acting up at the Tron” (probably Glasgow’s best-known theatre).

    Yes, 33A should have said “SF pioneer”; I don’t know why the S disappeared.

    My clue for 26D didn’t have “(Ernie)”; the wordplay was [N + isle, all reversed]. I wouldn’t clue ELS as “Ernie”.

  3. petebiddlecombe says:

    Thanks to the Hihoba team for stepping in to blog this. I was down for it but started too late to get anywhere close to the phrases of instructions. I clearly missed a huge PDM!

  4. HolyGhost says:

    I agree that “(Ernie)” in 26D was supefluous, tho’ Shadenfreude did use something similar in Inquisitor 47 to clue ELS, the golfer, as part of the wordplay.

    And a small quibble: in 33A, the length indication and non-notification of the hyphenation was inconsistent with the other clues that led to entries with spaces/hyphens.

  5. Kea says:

    33A: You’re right; the hyphenated enumeration is something else that disappeared from the clue as I wrote it (which I hadn’t noticed).

  6. Hihoba says:

    Thanks for your comments. In particular it is nice to hear from the setter, correcting some of my misconceptions. There were a few typos in my answers (a couple of R’s instead of Ps and an A, unaccountably in HAD). I had to complete the blog in a couple of hours a fortnight after completing the crossword, so some dredging of memory was required, and there were a few proofreading failures! Good unusual crossword though, and fun!

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