Fifteensquared

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Inquisitor 66 ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK by Phi

Posted by Hihoba on April 11th, 2008

Hihoba.

What an excellent puzzle, almost ruined by poor proof reading!  Editor please note!!

First the moans: Wrong word length for 1A – to be consistent with the other clues with unchecked blanks it should have seven letters. Wrong clue numbers for 18A (printed 17A), 20A (printed 19A), 19D (printed 18D) and 17D (printed 20D). Finally missing bars in two places: first below the 17 square and, symmetrically, above the square above the 32 square.

All positives from there on! Great stuff from PHI, who figured in several guises in his own puzzle.

The missing letters were quite tricky – but all scrupulously fair – and it was quite easy to spot “What is the ….. ghost”, but I floundered a bit after that due to a number of misconceptions. First that the “central group” in 8D was CREW and it turned out to be CORE, second that the word IF was one of the words in the question and the I turned out to be the last letter of THAI. The wordplay for 1D remained a mystery until I cottoned on to the fact that we were looking at “WHAT IS THE THAI FOR GHOST”, which suddenly made the BANGKOK reference in the title make some sense, and sent me on a search for an extra H in 1D’s wordplay. A google search revealed a Thai festival called “PHI TAM KHON” which was clearly ghost-related, and so the Thai for ghost was PHI, which had appeared earlier in the “unchecked blank squares” (one of which was nearly obscured by the missing bars mentioned above) mentioned in the rubric. The three words revealed using the extra letters were SPECTRE, PHANTOM and SPIRIT, alternative names for ghostly Phi. 

Solving time : Three or four hours on and off!

Below, the blue letters are superfluous and removed from the wordplay. The red indications are the modified rows.

Across
1 PARSEC is an astronomical unit: PARSE (analyse) + C (speed of light) – nice astronomical subtext. Clue should have indicated (7) for the word length. P is inserted to fill out PARSPECTRESS on the top line.
6 W TRESS – I couldn’t find “curl of hair” in Chambers, but let’s not quibble. It was hair-related. TRE(W)S + S(on). The word that’s seems to be redundant. Or was it TREW(s) for short trousers and s meaning that’s? Not sure.
10 LISTENER-IN is a radio fan: [TRIES LINE + N(ote)]*.
12 H UNDER is suppressed: (H)UN (vulgar German) + DER (the German).
13 A NICE is charming: C(A)IN reversed + E (end to police).
15 MIDGARD – the realm of men in Norse/German mythology (Asgard, Midgard and Nifelheim were the three realms). DRAG (a car) + DIM (with poor lights) reversed.
16 T PANT is show evidence of heat: PT (point) round (T)AN (sunburn). H is inserted to make PHANTOMITTED.
18 I OMITTED is overlooked: IT(I)T (it repeatedly) in DOME*
20 SENSORY is describing smell: [NOSES R(eall)Y]*
21 S TARTS are prostitutes: (S)TARTS means surprises.
22 GRASP is reach: GASP (indication of surprise) round R(iver).
23 RITUAL is a religious process: [laity sure] is an anagram of [ritual yes] – cunning! I was inserted to form GRASPIRITUAL.
27 ROTCHIE is a seabird (auk): ROTE is the roar of the surf (Chambers says Ety obscure – you’re telling me!) round CHI (the Greek letter in the form of an X).
28 T OMEGA is the Ultimate: GEM (choice item) in (T)AO (Eastern philosophical view) reversed.
29 H EDITORS are newspapermen: T(H)OR (thunderer) in SIDE (faction) reversed.
33 E WIDE is broad: W(est) I(ndian) river DE(E)
34 ASSAI is musical very: ASSAI(L) is reduced attack.
35 GRISTLIEST is least palatable: GRIST is corn + LIES (remains) on middle of plaTter 
36 NGANA is a disease that would “knock back” a horse: N(ote) + A NAG reversed
37 T TENSITY is an alternative to tenseness or nervousness: TEN(T) (temporary shelter) + I (one) in STY (messy state).
 
Down
1 H PLUMPS is chooses: PLUMPIS(H) is rather fat with I (one) bumped off.
2 AINU are the Japanese people: hidden backwards in Mancunians.
3 A STEANS means lines (the verb): S(A)TAN’S is Nick’s round E(nglish).
4 ENAMOR is American charm: ROMAN is from Italian city + E(uropean) reversed.
5 I CEDI is Ghanan cash: (I)CE is reserve + I’D reversed.
6 TRADITIONAL is exhibiting customary practice: [TRIAD]* + I (one) in TONAL (following key).
7 F RING is a criminal group: (F)RINGE is a border area, remove E (drug)
8 O SECRETA is hidden material: SET (group) + A round C(O)RE (central group). The lack of the bar above the square above 32 held me up considerably!!
9 STEDDS is an obsolete form of STEAD which means a service: SETS (groups) reversed round D(octor) of D(ivinity).
11 EROTOPHOBIA is recoiling from sex: [THE POOR]* + OBIA (witchcraft).
14 R QANAT is an underground irrigation tunnel: Q(uestion) + AN (one) + A(R)T (application in Chambers).
17 G ERODING is wearing rocks down: DIN (racket) in GOR(G)E (ravine) reversed. The lack of the bar below square 17 prevented me form entering this correctly for AGES!!
19 TRUER is more realistic: TR (trustee) round RUE (change one’s mind).
22 GREW ON is became more acceptable: NOW (present) + ERG (work unit) reversed.
24 H RESITE is place elsewhere: [T(H)ERE IS]*
25 O TMESIS rhetorical interruption as in abso-blooming-lutely: T(O)MES (more than one book) + IS.
26 LAXITY is loose morals: X (unknown + IT (sex) in LAY (of the people).
30 S TERN is a bird: (S)TERN is rear.
31 RUST is decay: (C)RUST is surface with no top.
32 T VAST is substantial: VA(T) (tax) on ST(one)

2 Responses to “Inquisitor 66 ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK by Phi”

  1. Mick H says:

    Yes, another simple but very well-worked theme from Phi. I too got “What is the… ghost” quite early, and was expecting a Shakespeare quotation or some such – even when I saw the three words and got PHI, it took breaking down the wordplay of those middle clues to crack the theme.
    The missing bars were a definite handicap though – it all went a bit Carte Blanche for a while.

  2. Mike Laws says:

    Humble apologies for the missing bars – entirely my fault. Just one neglected keystroke when setting up the diagram in Crossword Compiler. Please forgive me.

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