Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 107 – Syndrome by Loda

Posted by petebiddlecombe on January 23rd, 2009


Solving time: not applicable!

I’d started this puzzle and then left it for a bit with theme undiscovered, when another Inquisitor blogger forwarded me an e-mail about it. This gave away a good chunk of the theme, so this solution is rather assisted. The syndrome is what you probably know as Chinese Restaurant Syndrome – an excess of MSG = monosodium glutamate (the e-mail talked of the MSGs and I didn’t think they were messages for long). But don’t look for “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” in the grid – you need to find KWOK’S DISEASE (alternative name) in the NW-SE diagonal. The symptoms from first letters of extra words are ‘Chest pain, dizziness and flushing’. In the thematic answers, the first occurrence of a section of ‘MSG’ was replaced by MSG.

I can’t easily say how hard a proper solution would have been, but the implementation of the theme felt a bit below par. The replacements used to insert MSG are a bit inconsistent (DAMS becomes DAMSG, but RAMS becomes RAMSGS), and only one of these grid entries is a real word (Chambers suggests that ‘almsgiving’ is the only other possibility though). There’s also an apparent mistake in one clue (3D). I wondered whether a better treatment might have been to insert MSG into thematic answers like CHOPSUEY and WONTONSOUP, but that probably reduces the number of possible theme entries by at least half, by making them longer.

I haven’t bothered indicating the extra words in non-thematic clues, as most if not all had only one word starting with the right letter. I’ve only explained a few of the non-theme clues, but ask if others have stumped you.

Theme answers
1 KAMSEEN -> KAMSGEEN – one to add to your mental list of winds.
19 EIGNE -> EIMSGNE – (s)eeing*
36 GESTE -> MSGESTE – double def
37 DAMS -> DAMSG – mad rev.,+ S in rusty
39 RAMATE -> RAMSGATE – ram + Ate the goddess of mischief
9 RAMS -> RAMSGS – smar(t) rev.
14 SAIMS -> SAIMSG – amiss*
21 EMONG -> EMSGONG – (men go)*, arch. version of ‘among’
23 TOSS -> TOMSGS – first letters
24 CALMS -> CALMSGS – ca.,L,M,S
25 DIME -> DIMSGE – dim,E
15 REAL=Brazilian money,+M=money
22 BEGAT – e.g. in bat.=battery
28 GALAS – A in slag rev. A=”before” is a barred-grid special
31 SKEGG – SKEGG(er) – which turn out to be a ship part and salmon.
3 MOOL = loom rev. But the best fit found so far for “fine” is MOOI, not MOOL – so this looks like a misread of Chambers or someone’s handwriting, which should really have been picked up by the editor. (Full clue: Fine weaving machine turns erratically – erratically is the surplus word)
4 SKOKIAAN – OK, inside (SKIN outside AA) – a S Afr. home brew “made from yeast” according to Chambers. One of those defs that raises as many questions as it answers …
6 EAR,NED – new Inq. solvers, watch out for ear=to plough
11 OD,D.S. – od is some mystical/philosophical force in C, Lewis was Morses Det3ective Sergeant.
20 SHAKEBAG – (has beak)* + G=good. A fighting cock shaken out of a bag (of course …)
27 INSEEM = (immense – m)*. Today’s new Shak. word
32 EMMA = (j)amme(d) rev. – M in the WWI version of ‘Alpha Bravo Charlie’, occasionally heard from very old military buffers in “ack emma” / “pip emma” for AM/PM. The same version also gave us the old soldier’s org. Toc H = TH = Talbot House

One Response to “Inquisitor 107 – Syndrome by Loda”

  1. Mike Laws says:

    You’re right, I should have picked it up, even though the answer was fully cross-checked. Setters, including the best, do make errors from time to time, and it certainly is the editor’s job to detect them and get them corrected. All I can do now is to offer humble alopogies, and compose an email to let an eminent setter know that possibly major surgery needs to be done on his latest submission!

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