Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 115 – In Memoriam by Schadenfreude

Posted by petebiddlecombe on March 19th, 2009


Solving time: about 2 hours, with reference help

This puzzle presented thematic material in a novel way in the grid, and from each clue. We were told that the perimeter contained a writer and his description of what his works were about. Letters to be removed from each clue before solving provided four of his works (short of an initial “The”). We also had to highlight the writer’s name and “sixteen other symmetrically disposed cells”. The letters dropped from clues always left real words behind – which seems a neater piece of work than the common “wordplay leads to answer plus the extra letter I need”. It was soon clear that various answers (8 of them, it turned out) were too long for their grid entries. I should have seen immediately that these were connected somehow to the 16 squares to shade, but missed that until nearly the end.

Progress in solving clues was OK and the first thing I picked up in the extra letters in clues was something like ?IRTHat the beginning. After momentary flirt with “Firth of Forth” as a possible title for something from Iain Banks, I got to something like ?IR?HD??PA?T?D?M… and saw “The BIRTHDAY PARTY”. To my shame, I needed the Oxford Companion to Eng Lit to confirm that this was by Harold Pinter. It was then easy to see The CARETAKER in later letters, and The DUMB WAITER emerged after that. It took later web searching to find The DWARFS though. In the grid, it was easy to see HAROLD PINTER across the top line, but the quote was pretty stubborn. Only THE at the beginning and CABINET at the end were easy to see. After getting rather bogged down on the bottom half clues, I cheated with the ODQ to find “The weasel under the cocktail cabinet”, and completed most of the grid. I was still looking for what to do with surplus material from the eight overlong answers (not all solved), and being stuck, decided to had a look for anything promising towards the sixteen other letters to shade. I’m often hopeless at this, but managed to see BORN running across from square 12, and DIED in the same position a few rows down. Then the cleverest part dawned on me – each of the ‘extra stuff’ answers I’d solved included a spelled out digit or something easily represented by one. Replacing these with the digits and using this information to complete the rest gave BORN1930 / DIED2008.

Plays aren’t really my thing, so I could have got bored by the puzzle, but this element kept me interested until the end. As I didn’t know the weasel quote or about one and a half of the plays, I wasn’t bothered about having to look things up. There are mystery wordplays for you to help with at 21 and 36 across, and puzzlements at 14 and 22 down.

The plays from extra letters were, in order: BIRTHDAY PARTY, DUMB WAITER, CARETAKER, DWARFS. In most cases there was only one word containing the relevant letter in the clue, so this and the “whole word” restriction should mean that you can find all the amended words without me listing them.

8 EVACUANT – (van, acute)*
10 EAGLE = badge (badger) – anag. of (large + E – R)
17 SPREW = inferior asparagus. Cat = SPEW with R = “last bit of weir (weird)” inside it.
18 BERAY = obs. word for spoil – BE=live, RAY=fish
19 MOLASSE – a seies of sandstones & marls from France & Germany. MOLA=fish,SSE=ess rev.
21 AFRICAN – the original clue is “A father in Paris from Cairo perhaps” and a P must be deleted. Perhas and erhaps not being words, even in C, we must be solving “A father in aris from Cairo perhaps”. “from Cairo perhaps” must be the def, and A=A, Fr.=father looks promising for the beginning. But this leaves “in aris” to provide ICAN. Aris seems only to be the bizarre two-step Cockney rhyming slang for arse, at which point I’m stumped. Over to the audience.
27 CRITS = critics = snipers. C,RITS = scratches – classic barred-grid Scots word
36 ACALEPHS = marine creatures – can’t remember exactly what kind. Clue is “Marine creatures changing shape around coloured buoy”. “colored buoy” is possible I guess but “coloured boy” seems more convincing. But after losing A/EPHS = shape*, I can’t make the remaining CAL fit either of these.
1 ARAISE = to lift. New word-meaning for me – raise = cairn.
4 PAVONE => PAV1 – a Spenserian peacock – (van poe)*
5 NUN – a “Clare” = nun of that order, and (new again) a spinning top.
9 CANINES => CA9S – I in Cannes
12 BOR = neighbour – B=born, OR=men
13 THREEPART => 3PART – three,part=piece. 1 is not counted as a prime number despite seeming to me to qualify, so 3 is the second one.
14 LOVERS => 0RS – L,over,S
20 ONETWOS => ONE2S – def. is punches (paunches). O,NET=pure,W,OS=v. large. Not sure how ‘once’ becomes the O – from o=old?
22 FRANCK – “Father new Charlie King, a French composer”. Whatever I do here I seem to be a letter short. If Fr=father, we can have NCK=”new CHarlie King”, or ACK from “new Charle King a” if we can make anags of abbrevs. The only other option seems to be Fra=father, but C says “brother or friar” which doesn’t seem close enough. Or should I be looking at “knew Charlie ing”? Surely not – ing=meadow takes us nowhere.
25 AHEIGHT => AH8 – A=are,H=Henry,EIGHT=boat crew
28 SENE = “Samoan tin” – a currency unit. SEN=without,E
30 ANILEST = A0EST = “most like an old woman”. (A,NET,L,IS)*
32 NAUGHTIER = 0IER – (Gaunt,H,ire)*
34 E,LO = “Professor Arpad”. Prof Arpad Elo was a chess grandmaster, but is now better known for the system he invented for rating players.

6 Responses to “Inquisitor 115 – In Memoriam by Schadenfreude”

  1. Ken MacKenzie says:

    21a CAN=buttocks=aris=aristotle=bottle=bottle-and-glass=arse
    36a c(oloured) AL(=boy’s name)

  2. Duncan Shiell says:

    In 20d the O is an abbreviation of ‘of’. ‘Once’ refers to the obsolete meaning of ‘net’ as pure’

    For 22d, I also had a query against the clue, but felt that ‘fra’ = brother or friar was probably referring to ‘father’. The K has to come from ‘knew’ to give the NCK at the end. It wouldn’t be the Inquisitor these days if we didn’t have something to query.

    Interesting to see ELO appearing again, as it was a thematic feature of an Inquisitor not so long ago – Inquisitor 103, where both the Elo ratings and Electric Light Orchestra were highlighted.

    Overall, I enjoyed the puzzle. Like you, I didn’t know all the plays or the ‘weasel’ quotation but it was an interesting bit of research to track it all down.

  3. Peter Biddlecombe says:

    Thanks Ken. CAN sounds like a new meaning to me, but I should have spotted Al.

  4. George Hill says:

    Unlike you, Pete, PAVONE gave me the number 1 almost at the start, so the number clues were quite straightforward. The rest of the “weasel” quote and “The Dwarfs” (which I hadn’t heard of) were unashamedly Wiki’d, and the BORN and DIED didn’t dawn until almost the end!
    In 22D I thought that It must be FR + (k)N(ew + CK, and the A was from “A French . . .). Certainly Fra does not stand for Father in my dictionary – brother or friar only. I couldn’t see why the A had migrated towards the front though!
    I found the aris clue highly entertaining (if a little rude!) and struggled for a long time with LOVERS until I spotted the removal of the E from ONE to give ON.
    Entertaining fun.

  5. HolyGhost says:

    I, too, have a problem with FRANCK at 22d. I assumed that although FRA is “brother or friar” this is what the setter had in mind for “Father”. Also, Franck was born in Liege (of seemingly Germanic parents), so some sources have him as Belgian, not French (although he did spend most of his working life in Paris, according to Grove).

  6. Peter Biddlecombe says:

    Franck: you’ll wish you never asked (“we didn’t”, they cry). Born in Liège in 1822. Liège was originally French but given to the Dutch (Kingdom of the Netherlands) in 1815. Then Belgium was created in 1831. Other facts as above.

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