Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 78 – Closely Packed by Kea

Posted by duncanshiell on July 4th, 2008


We were told that the answers to five across clues had to be jumbled before entry. To complicate matters further, we were also told that the letters in these five answers would share their cells with the letters from the intersecting down clues. As a result we would be able to read a closely packed quotation in the grid. The length of the quotation was not given, but I made the assumption that it would be restricted to the cells of the five thematic clues. I thought it would be too difficult for Kea to spread it across normal cells as well as thematic cells, but crossword compilers never cease to amaze me and I realised that anything was possible.

We were told additionally that all but one of the remaining across clues had an extra letter packed in. We were not told whether this additional letter would be in the definition or in the wordplay. Indeed it transpired that the additional letters affected the definition and wordplay in different clues. The extra letters could be arranged to form the name of the speaker of the quotation.

The most immediate effect of all this was to realise that these five important across clues would have to be solved cold unless the theme dropped out of the puzzle quickly. In my case I was able to cold solve a couple of the five clues fairly easily but the real breakthrough was deriving the speakers name from the majority of the extra letters, and hence deducing the appropriate variant of the quotation. From that point the remaining thematic solutions fell out without too much difficulty.

The five thematic clues and the colocated letters from the intersecting down clues were: led to:

Thematic Clues Intersecting Down Letters

The extra letters in clue order in the relevant across clues were: ANACREONTIC . Very impressively, this is a word in Chambers, as are all the words that remain in the clues when the extra letters are removed.

I think I was lucky in that I quickly spotted ERIC as a possible Christian name and that led to the surname of CANTONA and the associated thoughts of seagulls and trawlers. At the time of the quotation, Eric Cantona was a Manchester United footballer.

The quotation used in the puzzle is:


As can be seen this is formed consecutively from the pairs of letters falling in the thematic cells. I am not sure that the quotation as used is exactly what Eric Cantona actually said but it is very close. I think there was an extra “the” before seagulls, “the” was used instead of “a” before trawler and “it is” was “it’s”. However that’s nitpicking and the packing of a quotation of this length into a grid in this manner is is very impressive. There is a You-Tube video of Eric Cantona saying it at a Press Conference after his following his conviction for assault following his infamous kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace supporter after he was sent off in the game at Selhurst Park in 1995, as well as plenty of videos of the kung-fu kick.

The quotation therefore was restricted to the thematic cells.

Looking at the letters in the down clues alone, I think it was possible to detect the full quotation especially from the letters of seagulls and follow. These letters were:


I enjoyed this. The clueing was impressive with excellent surface reading and misdirection. The clues with extra letters made sense with and without those letters. There were a couple of clues where I am not sure that I fully understood the wordplay (see below) but I think I have got the solutions right in both cases.

It’s interesting how some words I have never seen before suddently come up in bunches. LOGY meaning ‘dull’ was new to me, but it came up again in a recent Magpie puzzle (I had of course forgotten about the meaning already and had to find it again!) and RAKEE is another new one (to me) that I have come across twice recently.

No. Solution Extra Letter Entry Components of Solution
1 ATELIER A (KOREA) ATELIER STATELIER (more impressive) without (if cutting) ST (stone) = ATELIER (a workshop or artist’s studio). A kore is an archaic Greek statue of a draped maiden.
6 AMPUL N (LINEN) AMPUL (AU [gold] containing [enfolding] MP [mezzo-piano = moderately soft]) + L (line) = AMPUL (small sealed glass container)
10 PHEON A (HEAP) PHEON Anagram of (thrown) ON HEP = PHEON (barbed head of a dart or arrow, especially as a heraldic bearing [arms])
11 BEMOANS C (COVER) BEMOANS BEANS (heads, an informal meaning of beans and a slang meaning of onions) with MO (minute [moment]) contained within (cuts) = BEMOANS (bewail, lament, [cry over])
13 ENWALLOWS WNEALSOLW ENWS (east, north, west and south, the chief points of the compass) containing (accepting) ALLOW (grant) = ENWALLOWS (used by Spenser to mean roll about wallowingly)
16 WITTER TRWETI WINTER (season) with T (time) replacing N (new) = WITTER (to talk ineffectually or babble)
17 OOLONGS R (TEAR) OOLONGS OO (Scots form of wool) + LONGS (wool longs = flannel trousers) = OOLONGS (varieties of black tea)
18 VAASA E (WE) VAASA VASA (vessels, plural of vas) containing (must go round) A (Australia) = VAASA (a port in Western Finland)
20 INTUBATE BAUTETIN IN (into) + TUBE (barrel, without the last E [burning]) + ATE (bit, past tense of bite =eat) = INTUBATE (insert a pipe [into?]). I am not a 100% sure of the parsing of this clue as I have got ‘into’ serving two purposes, but it may be unnecessary in the definition of INTUBATE. Also not sure about the use of ‘burning’).
23 INCAS INCAS INCA refers to the Inca people in general or to their kings; so items of a former Incan kings would be INCAS’ items. CA is also an abbreviation for cases, so you find the thematic letters in cases (of other words?) giving INCAS as the wordplay. I am not 100% sure that I have parsed this one right either!
24 RIVIERE O (STORING) RIVIERE I (number 1) + VIER (German for four) all contained in (covered by) RE (the second note of the scale in sol -fa notation) = RIVIERE (a necklace or string of diamonds [stones])
25 LINEAR ARNEIL LI (about [roughly] one third of a mile, approx 500 metres, in China) + NEAR (within range) = LINEAR (in one dimension)
29 WRATHIEST ETRWITHSA (RAT[renegade] + HIES [hastens to]) all contained within (putting on) WT = WRATHIEST (fiercest)
30 ANTAEUS N (MEN) ANTAEUS US (me, informally) after (behind) ANTAE (square columns or pilasters at either side of a doorway) = ANTAEUS (a giant in both Greek and Berber mythology)
31 NERVE T (NEUTRAL) NERVE Anagram of (getting involved) NEVER = NERVE (bundle of fibres conveying impulses between brain and other parts of the body, i.e. a neural structure)
32 MESHY I (IKEA) MESHY ME (kea [compiler of the crossword]) + SHY (shrinking from) = MESHY (in the form of a network)
33 TWEAKED C (WC) TWEAKED TED (spread) containing (around) WEAK (w) = TWEAKED (adjusted)
No. Solution Extra Letter Entry Components of Solution
1 APHRODISIA APHRODISIA Anagram of (must alter) OPRAH SAID = APHRODISIA (sexual desire)
2 THE MORN THE MORN TORN (divided) containing (about) HEM (border) = THE MORN (Scottish phrase for tomorrow)
3 LOGY LOGY Two meanings LOGY (dull, mainly an American usage, MIT being the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and -LOGY (the suffix ending of most sciences, biology, agrology, archaeology etc.)
4 INURNS INURNS I (independent) + NURSE(health worker without the E [mostly]) containing (goes round) N (new) = INURNS (entombs)
5 REFASHION REFASHION Anagram of (cooking) ON FIRE containing (to include) ASH (burnt remains) = REFASHION (adapt)
6 AMLA AMLA Hidden word in (conveyed by) …steAM LAunch … = AMLA (East Indian tree)
7 MOOLAH MOOLAH LOO (facilities) contained in (secured by) HAM (amateur) and all reversed (on the rise, being a down clue) = MOOLAH (money, or ‘the necessary’)
8 PARRAKEET PARRAKEET PART (role) +containing RAKEE (an aniseed flavoured spirit from Turkey) = PARRAKEET (parrot, bird smaller than a turkey)
9 UNCI UNCI Reversed (inverted) hidden word in …ArabIC NUmerals… = UNCI (hooks)
12 SESAME SEED SESAME SEED SED (Miltonic spelling of said/spoken) containing (about) SAME (uniform) + SEE (look) = SESAME SEED (a common topping for burger buns)
14 SOLECISTS SOLECISTS SOLE (only) + CISTS (a stone tomb) = (will do for) SOLECISTS (one who breaches syntax or engages in non-standard grammatical practice)
15 LAGER LOUT LAGER LOUT Anagram of (set right) OUTRAGE’LL = LAGER LOUT (rowdy drinker)
19 SCRIEVE SCRIEVE CR (credit) contained in (in) SIEVE (strain) = SCRIEVE (Scottish word meaning to glide swiftly along, or coast)
21 CASBAH CASBAH CASH (money, reference to 7d [moolah]) containing (having held in) BA (Scottish or Highland word for ball) = CASBAH (castle or fortress in N. African town)
22 YVONNE YVONNE ENVY (grudge) containing (about) NO (New Orleans) all reversed (being overturned) = YVONNE (girl’s name)
26 DYNE DYNE N (newton) contained in (in) DYE (shade) = DYNE (unit of force)
27 WHEY WHEY W (west) + HEY (country dance) = WHEY (a by-product of cheese making [e.g. Cheddar])
28 ZOEA ZOEA Final letters (ultimately) of MehtA chosE ShlomO MintZ all reversed (uplifted) = ZOEA (larval [young] stage of some decapod crustaceans, e.g. fiddler crabs))

6 Responses to “Inquisitor 78 – Closely Packed by Kea”

  1. Nestor says:

    In 20A the definition is “Insert a pipe into” (not just “insert a pipe”, as “intubate” is transitive) and the wordplay is IN (= burning, as a fire) + TUB (= barrel) + ATE. “Barrel” is perhaps a bit loose for “tub”, but it’s too late now!

    The answer to 23A is INCAN, with the wordplay referring to thematic sardines being closely packed IN a CAN. This was intended as a hint for the quotation.

  2. HolyGhost says:

    INCAN was fine – and as 23A was the only ‘vanilla’ across clue, this stood out as thematically very relevant.

    In 20A, TUB for “barrel” is also fine (Chambers gives “barrel: wooden container made of curved staves bound with hoops”; “tub: open container, orig. of wooden staves and hoops”), but I felt that IN for “burning” was a bit iffy, rationalising them as loosely synonymous with “topical”.

  3. rayfolwell says:

    The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations has the quotation that is used in the puzzle.

    A bottle of Olive Oil arrived at the Folwell household today !

  4. Duncan Shiell says:

    Thanks to Nestor (presumably Schadenfreude) for the correction from INCAS to INCAN,and to Holy Ghost for the correcting parsing of INTUBATE. I should have spotted INCAN myself.

    I’m afraid my version of ODQ predates Eric Cantona’s mutterings. I’ll have to consider an updated version.

    Congratulations to Ray Folwell on the prize!

  5. nmsindy says:

    Nestor is Kea, I’m sure he won’t mind my saying.

    In a very recent Crossword Club entry, Schadenfreude explained he did not have access to the Internet.

    When Nestor’s first Indy daily cryptic appeared a year or so back – it had AKA KEA hidden in the grid.

  6. Kea says:

    I don’t mind at all – in fact it was by accident that I posted the first response as Nestor instead of Kea. And I forgot to mention that it was the ODQ wording I used, even though it doesn’t ring quite true.

    Chambers defines “in” as “alight” (adverb), ie “burning”, as in “Is the fire still in? No, it’s gone out.” It’s a familiar usage from my childhood (since when I haven’t lived anywhere with a functioning fireplace).

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