Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 118 – Crazy Couple by Poat

Posted by duncanshiell on April 10th, 2009


We were told that wordplay in twelve clues was deficient by a single letter, the omissions making an arrangement for what the couple failed to provide when it was first demanded.

Further, solvers had to ignore the unmentionable in the grid (a total of six letters) in order to reveal the couples names which had to be highlighted.

Finally, the unclued down answers, two four letter words, one starting at the top left hand corner, and one ending at the bottom right hand corner, were to be deduced from their context. We were informed that one of these words was obscure.

The concept of wordplay being deficient by a single letter has been debated on another crossword message board recently with differing views expressed about what it means. I took it to mean that the wordplay in the clue would only generate n-1 letters of a defined n letter word. The solver has to use the definition to deduce which letter is omitted.

I find it more difficult to solve clues where the wordplay is incomplete than solve clues where the wordplay generates an unnecessary extra letter, so it took a while to identify which of the clues were not normal. I think I solved considerably more of the normal clues first.

As you will see below, I have struggled with the wordplay on a number of clues in this puzzle, so I will be interested to see how others have done. The one that has defeated me most is 12a – DYE. I am also slightly unsure of the full wordplay in 26a – RUBINES , 7d – ADULATING and 25d- GEMEL

The omitted letters turned oput to be an anagram of WALDORF SALAD. This rang a faint bell in my mind about an episode of Fawlty Towers when Basil was asked for such a salad by an American guest. Basil, of course, had not the faintest idea what a WALDORF SALAD was. Further thinking dredged up the phrase ‘don’t mention the war’ from another episode of Fawlty Towers. A scan of the completed grid showed that column 5, rows 1 to 8 and column 8, rows 3to 10 contained BATHESIL and SYWARBIL respectively. Extracting THE WAR gave us BASIL and SYBIL (Fawlty) to highlight. Without doubt they are a crazy couple.

The final stage was deducing the two unclued answers. It took me a few minutes to realise that the first and last columns, still short of two letters in each case, contained a lot of the letters of FAWLTY TOWERS. At that point I deduced that I needed to use the two unused letters of FAWLTY TOWERS to generate WOWF at the top left hand corner and TWAY at the bottom right. Quite which of those words is the more obscure is open to debate. WOWF is a Scots word meaning crazy. TWAY has two meaning both related to the word ‘two’, one Spenserian and one Scots. Together WOWF TWAY can mean crazy couple, the title of the puzzle. As a Scot, I have heard of TWAY, but not WOWF.

As can be seen below, I struggled with some of the clues, as I have done with puzzles by Poat before, but I am sure that is due to lack of knowledge on my part rather than any problems with Poat’s cluing. There were more clues tending towards the & Lit end of the spectrum than normally found in the Inquisitor, but that is no bad thing at all. I solved the puzzle in a single afternoon session, but it was a long afternoon.

No. Letter Entry Components of Wordplay
2 A HEBRAICAL HEAL (welfare) containing (requires consumption of) BRICK (loaf in the shape of a brick) without K (potassium) = HEBRAICAL (relating to the Hebrew people)
10 L OUTLAW OU (a man in South Africa) + TAW (tan, as in tan leather) = OUTLAW (ban)
12 DYE I am defeated by the wordplay in this one. I am confident that the D is part of the wordplay and not a letter omitted, although it was a bit of a toss-up , for me, for a time, between the D here and the D in ADULATING (7 down). Clearly a dye is a tinge, stain or colouring liquid, and can be created from a single colour or from a combination of colours. Any colour can be derived from the primary colours, but I would have liked to use the word ‘primary’ to indicate the first letters of something. According to Chambers, primary colours can be considered in three ways,; light (red, yellow, green); printing, with which I am most familiar (yellow, cyan and magenta) and general (red, yellow, blue). In no case do the three initial letters spell out DYE.
13 WALD WALDO (generally, a mechanical gadget, usually a remote control unit) without the final (falls short) O = WALD (a type of salad plant [dyer's rocket] in Scotland [e.g. in Perth]) Possibly a cryptic reference to WALDORF SALAD?
14 THESEUS THE SE US (The South East United States, the answer to the question ‘Where’s Miami?’) = THESEUS (The slayer of the Minotaur in the labyrinth. He was given a clue that helped him navigate back out of the labyrinth. Solvers of Listener crosswords will recognise Theseus and the Minotaur from a recent Listener puzzle [4021])
16 FLY-SLOW FLY LOW (hedge-hop) containing (round) S (south) = FLY-SLOW (as the word suggests, don’t be in a hurry)
17 STONE ME Hidden word (part of) reversed (on reflection) in thEME NOT Satisfactory = STONE ME (expression of astonishment, you don’t say!)
18 LEHRS LERS (half of BROILERS, i.e.not half of BROILERS) containing (inside) H (hot) = LEHRS (glass-annealing oven which will get very hot. & Lit clue)
20 A PSALTER Anagram of (from crazed) EPISTLER excluding (procured separately) IE (id est; that is) = PSALTER (Book of Psalms printed separately from the rest of the Bible) ‘Separately’ may serve a dual purpose here.
21 ANANIAS I contained in (lurking in) ANANAS (fruit) = ANANIAS (liar; deceiver)
23 ROIST R (last letter of [end of] YEAR) + anagram of (go off) IS TO = ROIST (to revel or party)
26 RUBINES Not sure of the wordplay here. RUBINE is a Spenserian, or poetic word for rubies, i.e. gem of poetry is used as a cryptic definition. RUB equates to a Scots form of rob which means plunder, as does scoff, but where the US hicks come in I am not sure.
29 TENUITY TENUE (manner of dress) without the final (short) E + I (in) + TY (first and last letters [outskirts] of TORQUAY = TENUITY (thinness)
30 S MISCALL CA (cases) contained in (in) MILL (factory) = MISCALL (give wrong name or label to)
31 O FLOW First letters of (initially) FOUR LETTER WORDS = FLOW (a sea basin or sound in Scotland)
32 REN Homophone of (is said to) WREN (member of the genus Troglodytes of small birds) = REN (an old word for run, flee)
33 IGUANA Anagram of (bewildered) GUARDIAN excluding (losing) RD (way) = IGUANA (monitor lizard)
34 L LEADERENE E (English) + AD (advert, notice) + SERENE (calm) without (but there’s no) the S (society) = LEADERENE (a female leader, especially a domineering one. The clue gives Mrs Thatcher as an example.)
No. Letter Entry Components of Wordplay
1 QUARTE QU (queen) + A + R (run) + T (last letter [ending] of THAT) + E (last letter [finally] of NINE) = QUARTE (a run. or sequence of 4 cards in piquet, illustrated here by Queen to Nine [& lit clue]))
3 D ELDIN Hidden word (the cockles of, the heart of (?)), in the shell of) hotEL INspector = ELDIN (fuel, something that could be used to generate heat, warm, for food [cockles]. & Lit clue)
4 BATHE H (Henry) contained in (landing in) BATE (rage) = BATHE (a beachside activity)
5 AWELESS (WE [one] + L [left]) contained in (in) and anagram of (rough) SEAS = AWELESS (fearless, daring)
6 CHESIL CH (surgeon, from chirurgeon , an old word for surgeon) + anagram of (about) LIES = CHESIL (a dialect/local word for bran, a health food)
7 D ADULATING A + HULA (reference hula hoop) excluding (not at all) H (hard) + TING (I think this relates to crazed pottery or porcelain which has small cracks in it) = ADULATING (praising). I can’t fit the D into any wordplay, so I think this is the clue that generates the second D
8 LYSOL LYE (washing liquid) with the E (Spain) replaced by SOL (solution) = LYSOL (a disinfectant)
9 W FELWORTS Anagram of (scattered) FLORETS = FELWORTS (gentians, which presumably is a species whose overall flower is a composite of smaller flower heads [florets])
11 PSYWAR PR (public relations, or ‘spin trade’) containing (introducing) an anagram of (new) WAYS = PSYWAR (a contraction of psychological warfare used to influence the hearts and minds of the enemy)
15 A JOHANNINE N (north) contained in (in) JOHNNIE (condom, rubber) = JOHANNINE (of or relating to John, reference John Major)
17 SLATTERY SWINERY (pigs generally) with the contained word (drinking) WINE replaced by LATTE (coffee) = SLATTERY (dirty)
19 SILICA BASILICA (palace) excluding (losing) BA (Scots [Caledonian] for ball) = SILICA (quartz, crystal)
20 R PARTAKE PAT (a bit of butter) + AKEE (fruit) without the last (mainly) E = PARTAKE
22 NAUSEA NAUGHT (ill, taking first three letters of [half of]) + SEA (tide) = NAUSEA (feeling ill)
24 SECOND SONDAGE (opinion poll) exclduing (ignoring) AGE containing (about) EC (city [of London]) = SECOND (back)
25 GEMEL ME (one) contained in (ensconced) GEL (‘girl ‘ in Sloane speak (?)) = GEMEL (a pair of bars placed close together; nearby bars)
27 BILGE G (German) contained in (in) BILE (bad temper) = BILGE (rubbish)
28 F IN FUN U (film classification indicating film is available for all to see) contained in (in) INN (hotel) = IN FUN (light heartedly)

8 Responses to “Inquisitor 118 – Crazy Couple by Poat”

  1. deejay says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle, but also had a couple of queries. I couldn’t fathom DYE and I was unsure whether THE WAR had to be erased in the finished diagram, or whether it was just ignored during the highlighting OF BASIL and SYBIL. (I plumped for the latter.) I liked the way that the left and right columns, anagrams of FAWLTY TOWERS reflected the way that the hotel sign appeared with its letters jumbled (give or take) at the beginning of every episode (such as WATERY FOWLS, one of the cleaner ones).
    RUBINES is RUBES (US country bumpkin) scoffing (ie eating) IN (= at); I agree with ADULATING, and also that Sloane is a bit of a weak definiion, even with the question mark.

  2. Ray Folwell says:

    12A I decided that DYE was hidden in “reD YEllow”.

  3. deejay says:

    Now that you mention it, I did too, but was far from convinced. Reading the clue again just now, it seems a bit more obvious/acceptable.

  4. Duncan Shiell says:

    I can see that DYE is in reD YEllow, but surely that would be an ‘indirect hidden word’? Indirect anagrams are frowned on, so I would have thought that indirect hidden words would be a complete no-no.

    Why would you automatically choose red and yellow? Why not red blue or cyan magenta?

    I can kick myself over RUBES as part of RUBINES, but I don’t think I shall kick myself over DYE

  5. Colin Blackburn says:

    I think DYE is from ReD and YEllow combining. Although it is indirect there are a limited number of combinations within each primary colour set chosen.

    “Sloane” is given in Chambers as a noun as meaning the same as “Sloane Ranger”. It includes something like “usually female” in the definition so I think GEL is reasonable given the question mark

  6. Jim T says:

    Smashing puzzle – really liked the Wowf/Tway bit.

    In 7 dn I think it’s ‘a hula thing’ with ‘h’ removed twice as indicated by ‘not hard at all’.

  7. Andrew Fisher, aka Poat says:

    Thanks for the comments, and apologies for the potentially misleading preamble (mea culpa). DYE was indeed an indirect hidden word, but as Colin says there are only a few options so I thought it might just about pass muster. Incidentally, one of the meanings of COCKLE is an oven, so “something to warm the cockles” works for ELDIN as a kind of fuel.

  8. HolyGhost says:

    Thanks for alerting me to the final flourish: WOWF TWAY = Crazy Couple – I’d missed that one.

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