Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 103 – The Top Ten by Charybdis

Posted by duncanshiell on December 26th, 2008


Solvers were told that nine clue-answers had to be jumbled to form new real-word grid entries. We were also told that the first letters of these nine clues would spell a word, referred to as X. There were two unclued entries at 1 across and 12 down. We were then advised that we would have to determine ’12 down X 1 across’ The next instruction was fairly cryptic – viz, the top ten of ’12 X 1′ may read (3,7). Further, the probable all-time world number one (8) had to be highlighted as had the full version (8,5,9) of the acronym in the top three, and their only UK number one (6). On the first read though the preamble was therefore fairly obscure. to say the least. However all became clear as pennies dropped throughout this enjoyable puzzle.

I guess the setter had some fun with this puzzle as well by incorporating a couple of the best known cliches in the crossword world. I haven’t seen ORCHESTRA as an anagram of CARTHORSE for years, and every setters favourite girlfriend ‘IN/GRID’ made an appearance at 1 across.

The first letters of the 9 clues whose answers were jumbled before entry spelled out FREQUENCY. The answers and their associated entries are shown in the detailed analysis table below. As mentioned above, 1 across was deduced as INGRID. 12 across was deduced as LETTER to generate 12 X 1 as LETTER FREQUENCY IN GRID.

An analysis of the grid showed the top ten letter frequencies to be:
E 22; L 19; O 15; R 15; A 14: T 12; I 12; N 12; S 9; G 8.

These could be re-arranged to spell our ELO RATINGS. I am sure some of you knew, but I certainly did not, that the Elo rating system evolved as a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in two-player games such as chess and Go. Wikipedia suggests that the system is now used in team games as well. "Elo" is often written in capital letters (ELO), but it is not an acronym. It is the family name of the system’s creator, Arpad Elo, a Hungarian born professor of physics in America. ELO was originally invented as an improved chess rating system.

A study of the grid showed that Garry KASPAROV, regarded by many as the greatest chess player of all time, and said to have had the highest ever ELO rating at his peak, is hidden in the grid in column 6, rows 2 to 9.

The three letter acronym ELO can also be expanded to generate the Electric Light Orchestra, a Birmingham based symphonic rock group. Their best years were 1971 to 1986 and they were more successful in the United States than in their native United Kingdom. Their only UK number one was XANADU, located in the grid column 10, rows 8 to 13. ELECTRIC can be found in the grid as 39 across, LIGHT in row 4 columns 9 to 13 and ORCHESTRA at 9 down.

This was a most enjoyable puzzle with a wealth of thematic material, especially as there were two separate ELO themes being explored . The clues read well and the whole thing kept generating moments when I went ‘ah!, now I see a bit more of what’s going on’.

No. Letter Answer
Components of Wordplay
5 ADAPTOR APT (prone) contained in (in) anagram of (splattered) ROAD = ADAPTOR (chameleon)
10 RANKLE R (right) + ANKLE (cute [in Chambers under ‘cuit’]) = RANKLE (to annoy, or ‘get your goat’)
PAL (friend) + E+ R (first letters of [initially] ‘eats’ and ‘rather’ respectively) = PALER (more pasty)
13 PLOT Double definition PLOT (pluck) and PLOT (secret scheme)
14 ALLSPICE ALLICE (fish, species of shad) containing (stuffed with) SP (special) = ALLSPICE (seasoning)
S (soprano) + LATER (goodbye) = SLATER (a reviewer who criticises unfavourably or pans)
19 AMPLE SAMPLE (small portion) without (is taken away) S (is) = AMPLE (more than enough)
S (has) + TONE (depth of colour) = STONE (e.g. [say] emerald)
21 LIONS GANGLIONS (nerve centres) without (evicting) GANG = LIONS (brave people)
23 ENDORSE ORSE (hackney = horse; ‘ackney = ‘orse) preceded by (first) END (goal) = ENDORSE (support)
26 WRONG Anagram of (up) GROWN = WRONG (sin)
29 ENGLOOM ENG (English) + LOOM (a diving bird) = ENGLOOM (obscure)
31 EXERT EXE (one river) + R (another river, to give two rivers) + T (the letter tee) = EXERT (give it your best shot)
33 SCULL Three meanings SCULL (shoal of [load of] fish [obsolete, under ‘school’]);SCULL (fish basket); SCULL (light rowing boat)
34 VIRGA VIRUSES (pathogens, without (with no) USES) + GA (most of GAS) = VIRGA (trails of water droplets)
37 MENAGE MEN (blokes) + AGE (grow old) = MENAGE (Scottish benefit or friendly society)
Anagram of (quirky) CIRCLE containing (eating up) T (time) + E (energy) = LECTRICE (female reader)
40 ALOO VINDALOO (hot curry) without (V [Vatican, or Holy See] + IND [India])= ALOO (potato)
41 ELLIE Contents (i.e. all but first and last letters of) BELLIES (stomachs) = ELLIE (girl’s name meaning bright [see Helen])
42 GOURDE GOURD (fleshy fruit) + E (last letter of ‘maize’) = GOURDE (standard monetary unit [bread] of Haiti, whose capital is Port-au-Prince)
43 HEATHEN HE (that man) + AT (almost all of ATE [devoured]) + HEN (chicken) = HEATHEN (one who does not believe)
44 LOUDLY DULL BOY is an anagram of LOUDLY and B (first letter [initally of ‘banned’]) = LOUDLY (far from piano [soft])
No. Letter Answer
Components of Wordplay
(R [king] +IM [I am]) all contained in (caught in) PAL (mate) = PRIMAL (primitive/original ; ur- is a prefix meaning primitive/original)
2 NILL NIL(nothing) + L (left) = NILL (refuse)
3 GROTTOS GROT (garbage) + reverse of (throwing up) SOT (drunkard) = GROTTOS (caves)
4 INARM IN (held by) + A + RM (Royal Marine, also known as a ‘jolly’) = INARM (embrace or clasp)
5 ALLELE ALLELUJAHS (songs of praise) with E (energy) replacing (for) the second half, UJAHS = ALLELE (gene)
6 DELVE Anagram of (wild) VELD containing (found in) E (earth) = DELVE (research)
7 PEPINOS Anagrams of (nuts) ONE PIPS = PEPINOS (fruits)
8 TAIG Odd (uneven) letters of TRADING = TAIG (a Catholic in Northern Ireland; a Tory is also defined as anIrish Catholic in the 17th century)
ART (skill) contained in (showing) anagram of (variety) CHORES = CARTHORSE (equine worker)
16 SPAR Three meanings SPAR (shut); SPAR (crystal); SPAR (box)
O (nothing) + G (good) + LED (conveyed) = OGLED (to look at lecherously, i.e. looked at in ‘a pert or fresh way’)
18 LIONCELLE ONCE (at one time) contained in (in) LILLE (French city) = LIONCELLE (a small lion used as a bearing in heraldry; a field is the surface of a shield in heraldry)
22 SWOLN SWORN (bound by oath) with R (right) changed to L (left, i.e. changing sides) = SWOLN (bombastic)
SET (established) + TEE (part of a golf course) = SETTEE (couch)
25 ILLICIT IMPLICIT (not questioned) with L (left) replacing (for)MP (Military Police) = ILLICIT (criminal)
27 NORM N OR M (both en and em are measures used in the printing trade. N or M offers a choice) = NORM (type))
28 REGALED REGAL (royal) + E (energy/electromotive force = power (?)) + D (duke) = REGALED (entertained)
30 MINION MINI (short skirt) + ON (acceptable) = MINION (favourite)
32 THEORY TORY (conservative) containing (accepting) HE (masculine form of the third person pronoun) = THEORY (explanation)
35 GENRO GEN (information or dope) + RO (run out) = GENRO (the Japanese elder statesmen who advised the Emperor in the early twentieth century. Mikado is the name given to the Emperor by foreigners)
36 TELA TEA (char) containing (to tackle) L (left) = TELA (a web)
38 GOOL GO (run) + reverse of (up) LO (look) = GOOL (marigold, flower)

2 Responses to “Inquisitor 103 – The Top Ten by Charybdis”

  1. deadeasy says:

    Thanks, Duncan, for telling us about ELO RATINGS. I’d taken it to be a reference to the musical group’s hits, and had done diligent research (via Wikipedia) on what was to me a fairly arcane topic (now if it had been on the Grateful Dead . . . ).

    I had identified KASPAROV, but hadn’t made the connection with ELO.

    My flash of inspiration came when I made a tentative association between ELECTRIC and ORCHESTRA, and I then looked for and finally saw the LIGHT. Though I don’t remember the order I solved the puzzle, I recall that I was able to work out at a fairly early stage the words INGRID and LETTER, and realised that the missing letters spelt FREQUENCY before I’d finished solving the clues. It’s almost helpful if you can work out the phrase in advance, as it can help work out which clues are “dodgy” and which are “straight”.

    Another fun crossword.

  2. HolyGhost says:

    28d: Not very happy with “power” being used to clue “E”.

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