Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 88 — OVER AND UNDER by Obtrox

Posted by Colin Blackburn on September 12th, 2008

Colin Blackburn.

Working away from home for the last couple of weeks meant doing most of this puzzle quickly last night. Some wordplay led to extra letters; some omitted letters (potentially more than one per clue). The omitted letters somehow help in highlighting three shapes in the grid; the extra letters provide further help.

It took a few cold solved clues to work out that the omitted letters were omitted in both directions if they fell in a checked square. As the letters appeared in the across clues, EGTRU…, they didn’t seem to spell out anything helpful at all. The extra letters, on the other hand, were starting to suggest words and I eventually guessed as CIRCUMFLEX as being a possible word in the sequence.

OVER AND UNDER…accents! Another look at the poitions of the omitted letters and there it is: the shapes of an acute and a grave accent. What’s more the letters spell out ACUTE and GRAVE, now obvious if I look at the order of omitted the letters in the down clues. Assuming the puzzle wasn’t going to address the full panoply of accents in world or European languages I guessed sticking to French might be best.

Since there has to be an UNDER I looked for CEDILLA near the bottom of the grid. One omitted letter I had fitted with the potential shape. A few clues later I had my cedilla drawn in. This in turn helps in identifying all the clues with extra letters and filling in the rest of the phrase. It turned out to be THE CIRCUMFLEX IS ANOTHER ONE giving the four standard French accents.

A fairly satisfying puzzle from Obtrox with a few tough clues amongst generally easier cluing. I have one or two unexplained answers that I’m sure commenters will help with.

Missing letters in red; extra letters in blue.

Across
1 UNTIED E UNTID(y)
6 REGAINS G SARNIE*
12 PARTAKE T ARAK in PE arak is a strong drink, sometimes spelt arrack.
13 FERRET R E in FRET excellent misdirection with ‘search engine’.
14 TRUEST U T+REST
15 CASCARA A ChAoS+iCyRoAd not sure I like this one as there is an ‘on’ between the two parts from which the odd letters are taken. It doesn’t feel right for me.
16 AMERCE T AM+TERCE
20 RED-EYE E delaYED ERic< a RED-EYE is an overnight flight so called because of the colour of one’s eyes after such a flight. Having done a double red-eye from Hawaii to London I fully understand.
21 LETTUCES H (CUTLET SE)*
23 TESTS E TESTES excellent double definition!
25 WHELK C HEW* + LK
27 FISHY I IF+I+SHY shy as in throw.
29 ANKLE R RANKLE
31 CLAMBAKE C A+MB in LAKE I knew the word but didn’t know it was a traditionally outdoor meal.
33 TRIAGE E A in TRIG
38 EDGIER D EG+IE+R(ot)
41 ONE-TIME C CON + TIM in E+E E = ecstacy.
42 INVOKE I (E+KO+VN)<
43 SIMILE U US+I+MILE I stalled for a while trying to use SI here.
44 ALGEBRA L AGE+BRA
45 SCANDAL AL CAN in SD SD is not the most obvious IVR. Here AL forms the bottom line of the cedilla.
46 CEREAL M ERE in CALM
Down
1 UP TO F PT in UFO
2 NARC C RAN<
3 TRUANT U RA in TNT
4 ITEMS T SEMI*
5 EASEFUL E A+S+(FUEL)*
6 RECCE L ECCE in RL
7 GESTE G ST in EE middle of Leek.
8 ARCADES R A+C for H in HADES C = canine in dental notation.
9 IRADES A R in IDES
10 NERVY V NERYS – S Nerys is a Welsh name, cf Nerys Hughes.
11 STATESMEN E S for E in STATEMEN(t) very tricky here to get the right omitted letter.
17 RICK E ERICK
18 ALBATROSS A (BORSTAL’S)* the first A of albatross is the missing one and forms the left hand side of acute in the grid.
19 HEWN X HEX+W+’N’
22 EEL I lovE EILeen I think this is right but I’m not fully sure. I read this as a hidden clue with ‘with’ joining the two parts of the container.
24 TYKE S ? a tyke is a Yorkshireman, as I am, but I don’t see the word play. “Yorkshireman teaches in East End (4)”
26 ELASTIN A (EAT SNAIL)*
27 FANG N F+ANN+G
28 IMPINGE O IMP+IN+GEO I think this is right with ‘of’ = IN
30 KINEMA T KIN+TAME<
32 AEROBE H HERO in ABE Abe Lincoln.
34 RUNIC E RUN+ICE
35 GUILD R GR(id) for B in BUILD
36 IDEAL DL I+EA two missing letters here forming two parts of the cedilla, both being checked by across answers.
37 LEVER O LO+EVER
39 OKRA N OK+RAN
40 HEAL E HEALE(y) this one only dawned on me as I typed. Denis Healey is the Ex-MP. For a while I was trying to fit Edward Heath in and wondering why it wasn’t the more specific Ex-PM.

9 Responses to “Inquisitor 88 — OVER AND UNDER by Obtrox”

  1. Geoff Moss says:

    Colin

    I agree with your interpretation of 22d and 28d.

    For 24d I had ‘tyke’ = cockney pronunciation of ‘take’ with take[s] = teaches.

  2. Hihoba says:

    I’m still not entirely clear how it’s supposed to work. If you take out “The circumflex is another one” you are left with “EGTRUAECEDILALCUTEGRAVEADL”
    EGTRUA seem to point to the letters of acute and grave in row order, then I get lost. I have a spare E, then “cedil” but letters in the wrong order for the LA, a missing A for acute, the GRAVE, then an extra A and DL. Anyone else done better?

  3. HolyGhost says:

    I agree with Colin about the ‘on’ in 15a but decided it was just about OK.
    And also concur with Geoff about the three down clues he refers to.
    As to Hihoba’s problem …
    the five letters of ACUTE can be found between row 5, col.1 and row 1, col.5;
    the five letters of GRAVE can be found between row 1, 5th. last col. and row 5, last col.;
    the letters in CEDILLA are in the appropriate shape in the middle cols. at the bottom.
    So, in the list “EGTRUAECEDILALCUTEGRAVEADL” (if it’s right – haven’t confirmed) most of the letters of ACUTE, GRAVE & CEDILLA will appear twice (if the cell is checked) and the rest, e.g. the first A of ALBATROSS/ACUTE, appear only once as they appear in barred off cells.

  4. Geoff Moss says:

    The extra letter(s) required in each clue is (are) the one(s) that need(s) to be highlighted to form the accents.

    So we have 1 E, 6 G, 12 T, 13 R, 14U, 15 A, 20 E, 31 C, 33 E etc.

    Just work through the clues highlighting the letters. Where there are duplicates, choose the following:

    13a the first R
    11d the first E
    18d the first A
    20a the third E
    45a the second A

  5. Colin Blackburn says:

    Yes, perhaps I should have made it clear in the introduction. The omitted letters in checked squares appear as omitted in both the across and down clues. This confirms the positions. The shapes themselves spell out ACUTE, GRAVE and CEDILLA as they are drawn.

  6. Colin Blackburn says:

    …so some omitted letters appear twice in the red letters above, some appear just once (those in unchecked positions.

  7. Colin Blackburn says:

    Geoff, thanks for “takes”. Despite the East End indicator I obviously missed this one. I’m not sure in this case that I even follow the pronunciation. How I say TYKE is a very strange way to pronounce “take”. Perhaps Cockney indicators should stick to dropping aitches.

  8. Hihoba says:

    Thank you all for the help. It’s another one where you could send the solution off without fully understanding the answer! My pet bugbear!

  9. nmsindy says:

    Had a great PDM with this, having struggled with it for a long time. With hindsight the key words in the preamble were “assist solvers to highlight”. I’d been looking for a message – once I saw that position was what mattered I found ACUTE and GRAVE straightaway and the other had to be CEDILLA. I found some of the clues quite tough esp the NE quadrant.

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