Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 108 SKYLIGHT by Phi

Posted by Colin Blackburn on January 30th, 2009

Colin Blackburn.

An excellent puzzle from Phi as usual. The title immediately suggested something either astronomical or related to atmospheric physics. I considered rainbows and halos but eventually, after getting some letters in 44, saw the theme as stellar. The letters in 27 represent the spectral types of the main sequence stars, essentially their temperature or colour. The main sequence is the life-line of your average star. As a star ages it traces a path along this line, represented on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram as a plot against absolute brightness, or some related quantity. I studied this diagram in minute detail for my astrophysics module as part of my physics degree. I knew I could scrape a pass by answering the one question on the H-R diagram well. I did just scrape a pass too. Still, it came in handy here.

The mnemonic, Oh Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me gives the order of the spectral type letters, outside of the requirements of this puzzle Guy can be substituted for Girl. The grid then had examples of stars for each spectral type other than O. Bright O-type stars are rare and so the few notable examples don’t have standard names that could have easily fitted into the grid. I’m sure Phi tried to fit in Zeta Puppis somewhere. I did worry over this for a while thinking I’d missed something.

That aside the puzzle was very enjoyable and it was nice to not only have a bit of science but a bit of science I once knew something about.

Mnemonic letters are in black, spectral types are almost in their correct colours against a black background and the extra words are bracketed.

(XYZ)* anagram
X[Y]Z insertion
X[y]Z deletion
ZYX< reversal
.X.Y.Z final letters
vwXYZab hidden word

11 TINEID TIN DIE< a type of small moth.
12 O ORLE atOR LEso (obstructed) a heraldic border. The extra word used to break up the hidden sequence for the first time.
14 H CANOROUS CA[NO]ROUS[el] (Hit) musical appears twice, the adjective defining the answer and the noun signifying Carousel.
16 SCAB SC[A]B ScB = Scientiae Baccalaureus. I initially though this was the less justifiable Sc = science + B = bachelor (grad).
18 A VEGA AVE GA[le]
19 B OVERTLY OVER[T]LY (bulky) it = ‘t.
23 E ITALA (A LATI[n])< (ecclesiastic) Itala = Italic version, a translation of the Bible into Latin.
25 NOTT N[OT]T OT = one third of ballot.
27 OBAFGKM unclued
29 STAR unclued
33 A PADELLA PAD (ALL E)< (Angled)
36 YLEM ME[a]LY< the original substance from which the elements developed according to some theories.
37 F REPUDIATE R[(I DUPE)<]ATE (fatuous)
40 I OIL WELLS [t]OIL WELLS (itemising) ref. H G Wells.
41 RURU RU[n] RU[n] Phi must know a fair few NZ birds by now, this one is the mopoke.
42 N DULL DUL[cet] L (not)
43 E FERMIS FE[RM]IS (Easter) an Irish festival or assembly.
44 MAIN SEQUENCE unclued
1 STRAVINSKY ARTS< V IN[S]KY I had loads of the checking letters in before getting this one quite late on.
2 PIOLETS PI[OLE]TS not IO in PLETS as I first thought, although PLETS doesn’t exist PELTS can mean stones and so I hung to the explanation for too long.
3 G CEREAL C[ERE]AL (grown) Cal = California.
4 TIMBO TIM BO two men, one named.
5 ASAR (ooR AS Alw)< reverse hidden words are harder to spot.
6 LUNA LUNA[tic] another moth.
7 I TOON TOO N (Irish)
8 F PROCYON PROF C[Y]ON Y = unknown along with X, Z and sometimes N.
9 ELUANT EL[U]AN T that old U non-U thing again
10 R YES ilY ESti (revised) a simple enough hidden word but with the extra word interrupting it was less than obvious.
14 L CAVIARE CA[VIA]RE (Leaving)
17 M BETELGEUSE BETEL GEUMS E betel is the leaf of the betel pepper tree rather than pepper itself. Geums are Rosaceous plants.
20 EIFEL EIF[f]EL Eifel is a hilly area of Germany.
22 TOKO TOK[y]O toko = punishment.
24 ABED AB[out] ED the definition here is cleverly, “Ready to go out”.
28 K TANTRIC TAN TRIC[k] (kick) Be careful googling tantric sex.
30 I TELIUM T[ELI]UM (infected)
32 S CHIRRE CH I ERR< (seat’s)
34 S ADIEU A DIE U (Symphony)
38 M ELKS .E.L.K.S (Musk)
40 E ODD OD D (enthusiasm) OD = overdose.

2 Responses to “Inquisitor 108 SKYLIGHT by Phi”

  1. Duncan Shiell says:

    Another very satisfying puzzle from Phi, including what seems to be his mandatory New Zealand bird reference.

    Like you I looked around for an O star but came to the same conclusion that all of them were just too obscure to be clued.

    BETELGEUSE was the first star I got and that was enough to point me in the right direction.

    Had an interesting time doing the research on Hertzsprung-Russell and spectral types.

  2. Colin Blackburn says:

    I did read that Zeta Puppis, the brightest O-type, had the name Naos. I assume, though, that this isn’t its official name (that being Zeta Puppis). I did scan the grid just in case NAOS appeared as a Nina.

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