Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 92 — THE RIVER by Loda

Posted by Colin Blackburn on October 10th, 2008

Colin Blackburn.

A very nice puzzle as usual from Loda. Ignoring 1a and 38, I plugged away at the clues hoping to spot a few misprints as I went. Luckily I had KEN… very quickly. There aren’t many authors called Ken, and very few that were around 100 years ago. Kenneth Grahame sprung to mind, was 14 letters long and Wind in the Willows was published a century ago. Sometimes knowing the misprints can help, sometimes not. 21 was a case of the latter as I corrected the wrong ‘louse’ and spent too long on a dead end. However, before long I had most of the answers in place and could look at the thematic elements.

The river was made up of four characters from the book, BADGER, TOAD, RATTY and MOLE. The river was very much their playground and so 1a was a cryptic indication of part of a quotation that encompasses this. 38 turned out to be simply a word for a wind inside the genus of the willow.

I was lucky that the penny dropped very quickly for me but that didn’t spoil an enjoyable puzzle with some very good clues. Oh, and RATTY was a vole.

1 BOGNISSEMATS MESSING< in BOATS Cryptic reference to the phrase forming the final part of a quotation from the work in question, “There is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
9 MEAL triple def. nice running together of three simple definitions, the last by example.
10 TARAND TA+RAND TA = Territorial Army who form part of the UK army reserves. RAND is a strip of leather.
12 K MADGES D in GAMES* MADGE is a name for both the barn owl and the magpie. Def. they might be seen in the sKy.
13 GALOOT GA+LOOT a GALOOT is a clumsy or inept fellow.
15 E BROGAN B+GROAN* BROGAN is the same as brogue. Def. stout shoE
18 CIAO ChInAgOt not even an indication of alternate letters!
19 HYMN “him”
20 STERIC ST+ERIC ERIC is the classic crossword fine.
22 N COMFY M+F in COY the misprint was used to good effect here, “Smug and evasive…” Def. sNug.
23 N FIRTH double def. FIRTH as in Firth of Forth or Moray Firth. Oddly, in the second definition FIRTH is derived from frith. Def. iNlet.
25 DEVOUT (U+VOTED)* U is the middle of Labourite.
28 ELSE shESLEftie< the ellipsis connects this clue to the last for a combined surface reading and covers the simple definition of ‘besides’.
29 E OATS A for U in OUT+S Def. seEds.
32 COMSAT OM in ACTS* OM = Order of Merit.
34 T ETERNE pETERNEutralises Chambers has this as an archaic variant of eternal under that headword. Def. continually repeaTing.
35 PRIEST PIERS* + T side or Trent gives T whichever way you look at it. A PRIEST is a small club that an angler would use to kill fish. The Trent is one of England’s great coarse fishing rivers so the surface works really well here with the slight quibble that most coarse fish are returned alive to the river. I’m sure there must be some game fish in the Trent though.
36 SLOGAN GAL(l)ONS Loda’s second dig at the political classes (see 25).
37 ETAT TATE< French for state or rank. Tate is the first gallery to consider in any crossword clue.
38 SALAQUILONIX AQUILON in SALIX Cryptic reference to the title of the work published 100 years ago and written by Kenneth Grahame, Wind in the Willows.
1 H BIMBOS I in BOMBS* not sure about the definition here! Def. tHick dolls.
2 OMAR M in OAR OMAR as a name means flourishing.
3 G NAGGER NAG+GER Def. one often Grates.
4 ILEAC bILEAccelerates
5 R SAGGARD RAGG< in SAD Def. box for fiRing pottery.
6 MALT MALT(a) Malta’s first appearance of two in this puzzle.
8 SATINY TIN in SAY e.g. = SAY
14 ATOC americATOCanada a skunk.
17 A STILETS SIT* + LETS Def. Awls e.g.
21 H CHATEAU CHAT+EAU Def. House – a large one.
23 A FEVERS EVER in F+S definition by example, amazingly milk and Malta are both fevers. Def. maltA and milk e.g.
26 VOMITO V+O+MIT+O although it has the sound of an alternative cabaret act VOMITO is in fact the worst form of yellow fever, usually accompanied by black vomit.
27 TETTIX TT in EXIT* TT = dry, a TETTIX is a cicada but also a cicada-shaped hair ornament.
31 M PROA PRO+A Def. palMy vessel.
33 E ASTI AS+TI< Def. winE.

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