Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 106 – Pared Down by Kea

Posted by duncanshiell on January 16th, 2009

duncanshiell.

There was a very short preamble on this puzzle – ‘each Across clue contains an extraneous definition of one of the Down Clues, which are otherwise unclued’.

There were twenty-one Across clues. A quick scan of the grid confirmed, thankfully, that there were exactly twenty-one Down entries to be found.

Initial impressions were mixed – firstly, I realised, happily, that I had only twenty-one cryptic clues to blog. One puzzle I blogged recently had over 50 clues and secondly I realised, less happily, that there would be a fair amount of cold solving to do before I would be able to see what was going on.

I noticed fairly early on that the grid was not symmetric in the normal manner, but there was however an element of a different kind of symmetry to it, of which more below.

The surface of the clues was excellent, making it difficult to spot the extraneous definitions. Only one or two seemed to stand out immediately, e.g. ‘Sioux‘ in 1 and ‘brandy’ in 14

After I had solved about seven or eight Across clues, I detected my first Down answer as LAKOTA (Sioux) , followed by RELIT (dismounted again) and STURTS (Scot’s troubles).

Solving progressed fairly steadily after that given help from the letters I already.

It was not until close to the end that the real wow factor of the grid hit me, at which point I could only sit back and wonder ‘how did Kea do that!’.

Every Down answer is a reversal of an Across answer – SNOOPS/SPOONS; STIMED/DEMITS, ERGO/OGRE etc. This fact helped me confirm a couple of answers that I wasn’t 100% sure of, particularly PLAPat 21 across.

What is even more remarkable is the transformational relationship between the Across answers and the Down answers. If you take the grid with just the Across answers entered:

S N O O P S S T I M E D
E R G O A T O K A L
R E P E L C R A M
S P E E L S
N A I L E D E L I O T
D E S S E R T S
S E D I L E D E V A S
T I L E R P L A P
D E D A L
R E V I L E D U P G O
T E E M S P A C E R
S T R U T S S N O R E S

-

and then rotate it through 90 degrees, you get:

S T R T N R E S
T E E I S A E R N
R E V L E I P G O
U M I D E D L S E O O
T L E R I D E P L P
S S E D L E D E A S
S P D A E S E T S
N A L D S E L O T
O C U S P E E L S C K I
R E P L V R I R A M
E R G A A T O A L E
S O P S S T M D

-

and then flip it about the central horizonal axis, as follows:

S O P S S T M D
E R G A A T O A L E
R E P L V R I R A M
O C U P E E L S C K I
N A L D S E L O T
S P D A E S E T S
S S E D L E D E A S
T L E R I D E P L P
U M I D E D L S E O O
R E V L E I P G O
T E E I S A E R N
S T R T N R E S

-

you end up with all the Down answers in their correct positions. No doubt there is a mathematical term for a 90ยบ rotation followed by a reflection, but I don’t know what it is.

Those of you that do The Listener as well as The Inquisitor will be familiar with Kea’s recent Listener 4011, Conflict Resolution. For those who aren’t familiar, Conflict Resolution was another tour de force in grid construction where the original solve generated a clash of letters, one in each row or column, yielding 12 clashing cells in all. The clashes were resolved by moving every grid entry to a different location in the same grid in such a way that all the original answers fitted together without conflict.

The title of this puzzle was PARED DOWN, and indeed the clues were pared back to their definitions only in the down direction. The quality of the puzzle certainly was not pared in any way. I enjoyed this very much with many of the clues raising a smile when I solved them, e.g. the use of ‘shucks ‘ in 7, the use of ‘regularly censored’ rather than the far more common ‘regularly” in 9 and ‘giving of hands’ to mean ‘deal’ in 15.

I think I have extracted all I can from this puzzle. I did check to see if the Down clues were presented in any logical order and also checked to see whether any Downs were reversals of the Across in which they were hidden.

Thanks to Kea for a very stimulating puzzle.

There was also a bonus mini-puzzle by Eddie. This was 5*5 grid and I have blogged it below the analysis of the Across clues in Kea’s puzzle. I realise that the answers to the mini-puzzle were printed in last week’s magazine alongside the new Inquisitor 107, but I’d written the blog by then, so I’ve kept it in.

Across
No. Entry Components of Wordplay Extra word(s) Down answer
1 SNOOPS NO (number) contained in (involved in) SOPS (concessions) = SNOOPS (secretly watches) Sioux LAKOTA
2 STIMED First and last letters of (edges of) SpliT InseaM EnfoldD = STIMED (Scots word for peered) thin material TOILE
3 ERGO ERGON (business) without the last letter N (not concluded) = ERGO (it follows that) encounter MEET
4 ATOKAL AT ALL (in any way) without the last letter L (diminished) containing (keeping) OK (all right) = ATOKAL (without offspring) under strain STRESSED
5 REPEL REEL (waver) containing (about) P (first letter of [start of] ‘peasants’) = REPEL (revolt) Secret Police OGPU
6 CRAM C (caught) + RAM (batter) = CRAM (crowd) feel PALP
7 SPEELS S (Sweden) + PEELS (shucks, as in shucks corn) = SPEELS (Scottish [Highland] word for ‘climbs’) giant OGRE
8 NAILED NED (unruly youth) containing (getting in) AIL (trouble) = NAILED (pinned down) Scot’s troubles STURTS
9 ELIOT NEIL SIMON with letters 1,3,5,7 and 9 omitted (regularly censored) + T (to) = ELIOT (novelist [George] Eliot) summarises RECAPS
10 DESSERTS DESERTS (defects) containing (including) S (special) = DESSERTS (menu items) stored on disk SAVED
11 SEDILE S (southern) + EDILE (Roman magistrate) = SEDILE (seats for the officiating clergy, on the south side of the chancel) to hand over DELIVER
12 DEVAS DE (‘from’ in French [Paris]) + VAS (vessel) = DEVAS (good spirit sin Hinduism and Buddhism) of Apollo’s birthplace DELIAN
13 TILER L (league) contained in (in) TIER (row) = TILER (a freemasons’ doorkeeper) dozes SLEEPS
14 PLAP PL (pace) + AP (before a meal) = PLAP (a flatter ‘plop’ [drop into water]) brandy MARC
15 DEDAL DEAL (giving of hands, as in cards) containing (with … in) D = DEDAL (intricate) courtships SPOONS
16 REVILED RED (cardinal) containing (welcoming) EVIL (depraved) = REVILED (bitterly abused) outcast LEPER
17 UPGO Hidden word in (partially in) coUP GOvernor = UPGO (mount) dismounted again RELIT
18 TEEM Double definition: TEEM (empty) and TEEM (plentiful) – interesting that the two definitions are almost opposite in meaning old crates SERONS
19 SPACER SP (special) + ACER (plant of the maple genus) = SPACER (astronaut) sends down DEMITS
20 STRUTS ST (stone) + RUTS (grooves) = STRUTS (supports) put on board LADED
21 SNORES SN (tin) + ORES (mine products) = SNORES (boring people) cuts off ELIDES

-

Eddie’s mini-puzzle also had a short preamble – Once the answers to the seven clues have been filled in, jigsaw-fashion, the three letters needed to complete the diagram will be obvious.

The grid had no numbers, but there was space for five 5-letter answers (one across and four down) and four 4-letter answers, all Across. There was also space for one 3-letter down answer. There were however, only clues for four 5-letter words and three 4-letter words, leaving (5,3,4) unaccounted for. Given the date of publication, 3rd January, an obvious phrase came to mind, but the puzzle had to be solved to prove it.

Four letter words
No. Entry Components of Wordplay
A PAWL Sounds like (eavesdropping) PAUL (McCartney), songwriting partner of John (Lennon) = PAWL (catch)
B SNOT SHOT (stroke) with the angle of the horizontal in the ‘H‘ changed to a diagonal to give ‘N‘ = SNOT (bogey, nasal mucus)
C HICK THICK (very friendly) without (sparing) T (time) = HICK (maligned countryman)

 

Five letter words
No. Entry Components of Wordplay
A KOALA Reverse of (up) OK (all right) + ALAS (sadly) without the last (unfulfilled) S = KOALA (bear).  NB this was a down entry, so ‘up’ was a useful help to identifying the direction of entry.
B PLEAT LEA (meadow) contained in (rounded up by) PET (dog, typically) without (expending) E (energy) = PLEAT (fold)
C OTTER Harry POTTER without the first letter (heading off) H = OTTER (fur)
D ISLAY

Anagram of (off) SAIL and Y (first letter [at first] of ‘yacht’) = ISLAY (Scottish island)

Fitting the answers together within the grid gave the following:

H I C K O
S N O T
P L E A T
P A W L E
Y A R

-

leaving the solver to add A, Y, and E to generate HAPPY NEW YEAR.

4 Responses to “Inquisitor 106 – Pared Down by Kea”

  1. Colin Blackburn says:

    A rotation through -pi/2 followed by a reflection in h is just that, a compound of the two transformations. You could achieve the same result with other compounds of transformations.

    Remarkable grid though!

  2. HolyGhost says:

    The transformation mentioned is simply a reflection in the TR-BL diagonal. This implies that when the TL triangle above that diagonal is filled in with words whose reversals are also words, the BR triangle below that diagonal automatically sorts itself out. But still – no mean feat!

  3. rayfolwell says:

    PARED DOWN is a hompophone of PAIRED DOWN and the down answers are paired with the across ones.

    This puzzle was too hard for us in the aftermath of New Year.

  4. Wil Ransome says:

    I didn’t do this puzzle but the grid construction looks quite brilliant, and it looks as if a huge amount of work has gone into the blog. I hope the small number of responses doesn’t correcpond to the number of people who appreciated it.

    The two transformations are equivalent to a single reflection, in the diagonal from bottom left to top right.

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