Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 130 – CINEMA CLASH by Lato

Posted by duncanshiell on July 3rd, 2009


When I see the word ‘Cinema’ in a crossword title I tend to go Ugh! as I am not film literate. However, as is often the case with barred cryptics, the title turned out to be cryptic itself.


The preamble stated that there were six unclued entries (one of two words).  These unclued entries suggest six characters.  Extra single letters indicated by the wordplay in ten unspecified clues would describe, cryptically, something bad for which the six characters were responsible.  Finally we were told that one element of this description in full and the initial letters of the other (20 squares in total) had to be highlighted in the completed grid.


I took some time to solve this.  There were 42 clues in all which makes it more difficult to locate the special clues with the extra letter in the wordplay.  Well I find it more difficult.  If I know I am looking for an extra letter in every clue I know exactly what I am dealing with.  Here there was no indication of how evenly spaced the ten clues were.  In the end I found five extra letters in the Acrosses and five in the Downs. with the majority towards the end of each of the Acrosses and Downs.


As I went through slowly detecting the extra letters, the ones I had didn’t seem to spell anything sensible  The unclued words also seemed a fairly random selection with little in common initially.  The first unclued words I deduced were WINE-GLASS and CIGARETTE.  The other four didn’t look very promising for some time.  The two word unclued entry looked like it was going to be LEAN PERSON (still not helping) and FRUIT looked another possibility for one of the remaining three.  


The first breakthrough came with the identification of PLAY as a likely word in the 10 extra letters although the penny didn’t completely drop at that point either.  The real breakthrough came after typing a couple of possible synonyms for WINE-GLASS (FLUTE) and CIGARETTE (SNOUT) into Google together.  Bingo! – A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Peter Quince’s troupe of labourers putting on a fairly mediocre performance of the play PYRAMUS AND THISBE for Theseus’s wedding.  This enabled me to confirm FRUIT (QUINCE) and LEAN PERSON (STARVELING) and deduce COSY (SNUG) and BUTT (BOTTOM).


To put it all together, the ten extra letters, in clue order, spelled:




The unclued across entry was




and the unclued down entries (in standard clue order) were








These therefore suggested


Francis FLUTE who plays Thisbe,

Robin STARVELING who plays Moonshine,

Tom SNOUT who plays the wall,

SNUG who plays the lion,

Peter QUINCE who leads the troupe, and

Nick BOTTOM who plays Pyramus


The play within a play, PYRAMUS AND THISBE (16 characters) was located in the completed grid at row 5, columns 2 to 8, row 7, columns 6 to 8 and row 9 columns 7 to 12.


The remaining 4 characters to be highlighted are AMND the initial letters of the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream in column 3 rows 10 to 13.


The final thematic piece is the title CINEMA CLASH which is an anagram of MECHANICALS the collective name for Peter Quince’s troupe of players.  Tradesmen by day, actors by night.


I found the clues fair, but there seemed to be a lot that were based on the concept of defining one word and taking a letter or letters away at the beginning, middle or end to create a second word.   The first four acrosses were of this form as well as 23 across, 34 across and 3 down.  Also there seemed to be a greater than average number of obsolete or archaic words as solutions, but it all helps to increase knowledge and vocabulary.


I don’t think I’ll admit to a solving time for this one.  It certainly took more than one session.


No. Letter Entry Wordplay
1   FLIC FLICK (film) without the final K (short) = FLIC (policeman; cop, French slang)
8 A RÉCIT Anagram of (to be recast) CERTAIN without the final N (almost) = RÉCIT (a solo part for voice or instrument)
9   INMATE INTIMATE (private) without (dropped) TI (musical note) = INMATE (prisoner)
10   OGGIN NOGGIN (small mug) without the leading N (heading, first letter, off) = OGGIN (sea, naval slang)
11,33   LESLIE ASH LEASH (control) containing (in) (S [has] + LIE [remain]) = LESLIE ASH (actress, probably best known for her role in the sitcom Men Behaving Badly) I think the spelling ‘Leslie’ is more usually applied to males, with ‘Lesley’ being the more common spelling for females, but there is no doubt that ‘Leslie’ is right in this case.
12   ANSATE AN (one) + SATE (Malaysian dish,; a variant on the the more common spelling ‘satay’) = ANSATE (having a handle, handled)
14   RIOTISE RIO (city; Rio de Janiero) + anagram of (abandoned) first and last letters (extremely) of IrresponsiblE amd TraderS = RIOTISE (an obsolete [past] word meaning extravagance)
16   MUSICKER MU (Greek letter) + SICKER (more disappointed) = MUSICKER (an old word for a performer or composer of music)
18   YEDE E (English) + DEY (dairymaid) all reversed (about) = YEDE (to go, as used by Edmund Spenser)
19   BAIT BIT (young woman) containing (in) A (advanced) = BAIT (temptation)
20   FOUR FOUR sounds like (vocal) FORE (previously) = FOUR (rowing crew)
21   PROTEA PEA (climbing plant) containing (full of) ROT (decay) = PROTEA (plant of the South African genus Protea)
22 P DRAPED D (duke) + RAPPED (criticised) = DRAPED (hung)
23   SATS SWATS (studies) without (renouncing) W (women) = SATS (school tests [Standard Assesment Tasks]; I’ve lost track of which age groups actually sit SATS now)
24   RATU RT (right) containing (to adopt) A (accepted) + U (a Burmese title of respect, eg U Thant former Secretary General of the United Nations, 1961 – 1971) = RATU (local chief or ruler in Fiji))
25   TONG T (first letter [start of] Talk) + ON (about) + G (German) = TONG (Chinese secret society)
27   COPE WITH (O [old) + PEWIT [bird]) contained in (in) CH (China) = COPE WITH (successfully handle)
28   ANATASE A + NASTASE (reference Ilie Nastase, Romanian tennis player, most successful in the 1970s; ILIE is also the answer to 2 down, hence the reference to 2 on court) without (wants) S (special) = ANATASE (a mineral consisting of titanium oxide)
30 A ATTUNE ATE (worried) containing (about) (TAU [cross] + N [first letter {initially} of Needing]) = ATTUNE (acclimatise)
31   BEMIRE BEE (worker, possibly, reference worker bee) containing (outside) MIR (a commune in pre-revolutionary Russia) = BEMIRE (an archaic [earlier] word meaning to soil)
33   ANNAT Hidden word (has) in ITALIAN NATIONAL = ANNAT (an obsolete (discontinued) word meaning a half-yearly stipend payable to a Minsiter’s wife or next of kin after his death [no doubt it was his and not her in those days])
34 P ENTERS PEN (author) + TERSE (short) without (cut) the final E = ENTERS (joins)
35   ANTSY ANY (some) containing (admitted) ST (street, way) reversed (back) = ANTSY (eager, excited = nervous)
36   ELDERSHIP Anagram of (different) PIERS HELD = ELDERSHIP (church officer)
37 L DOSS D (department) + LOSS (destruction) = DOSS (a task very easily accomplished)
No. Letter Entry Wordplay
1 A FREAKY FARE (go on) + A (about) + KY (Scottish, therefore Aberdonian word for cows) = FREAKY (odd)
2   ILIE I (independent) + LIE (story) = ILIE (reference Ilie Nastase, Romanian tennis player as mentioned above at 28 across)
3   NIN NINNY (fool) without (leaving) NY (New York) = NIN (reference Anais Nin, a Cuban-Spanish-French authoress)
4   ENLIST ET (Egypt) containing (about) (NL [Netherlands] + IS [Iceland]) = ENLIST (obtain the support of)
5   LAST LAST (hold out) = LAST (load) – double definition
6   SEI SEI (sounds like [on radio] SAY [talk]) = SEI (whale)
7 Y STEERED STEED (horse) containing RYE (grass) = STEERED (guided)
13   TABES Anagram of (injured) BEAST = TABES (wasting away)
14   RUINATE RUE (pity) containing (about) (IN [home) + AT) = RUINATE (destroyed)
15   SERENENESS RE (about) contained in SEN (without) + E (force) + NESS (reference Eliot Ness, US Federal Agent who led a group of incorruptable agents dubbed  The Untouchables) = SERENENESS (calm)
17   COATSTAND Anagram of CADAT (CADET with E [European] replaced by A [American]) and NOT and S (first letter of [at first] Sure) = COATSTAND (you might find an Ulster coat on a coatstand)
21 L PACABLE PAL (mate) + CABLE (telegraph) = PACABLE (an archaic [formerly] word meaning willing to forgive)
24   RISERS (IS [ones] + E [last letter of {finally} nosE]) contained in (breaking) RR (R is an abbreviation of rule, hence RR is rules) + S (sabbath) = RISERS (they get up)
26 A GLENYS GLEAN (pick up) + YS (sounds like [reportedly] wise) = GLENYS (girl)
29   TITE TITE (sounds like [said] TIGHT [drunk]) = TITE (at once)
30   ANTI IN (trendy) containing T (time) + A (Australia) all reversed (turned) = ANTI (the opposite of pro, hence ‘pro, on the contrary’)
32 Y EEL ELY (see, bishopric of Ely, crossword setters’ favourite See) containing E (earl) = EEL (fish)
33   ASH See 11 across

8 Responses to “Inquisitor 130 – CINEMA CLASH by Lato”

  1. nmsindy says:

    I thought this was one of the finest puzzles that has appeared in the Inquisitor series. Like you, I found it hard, but it was a joy to unravel it piece by piece – especially from someone whose knowledge of the play is extemely limited. My route to the theme was quite different to yours, in that the first thematic item that I saw was PYRAMUS AND THISBE and I worked on from there. The clues were quite tough, but completely fair and very good. RISERS I particularly liked. BTW, the puzzle appeared on the Saturday before Midsummer’s Day.

  2. Hypnos says:

    Quite tough and highly enjoyable to solve. Liked how detecting Pyramus and Thisbe helped to determine some of the unclued entries.

  3. qadzbork says:

    The first of the unclued lights I had was -INE-LASS, which I thought had to be WINEGLASS. The only immediate alternative that came to mind was FLUTE, but I thought “That’s a play, not cinema…!” and the equally obvious CIGARETTE didn’t ring any bells. Finally completed the puzzle on 30 June, six days after Midsummer Day.

  4. HolyGhost says:

    I too guessed WINEGLASS quite early, but was having a problem with the NW corner where there were three contiguous unclued entries. About the time I was considering FRUIT, I had 6 or 7 of the extra single letters – suddenly A PLAY within A PLAY leapt out. Having played FLUTE playing THISBE when I was a student, I could see that WINEGLASS was clearly FLUTE and FRUIT was QUINCE. The other unclued entries came quite quickly – I did dally with NOSE for SNOUT, but finding PYRAMUS put me straight on that.

    And I thought the disposition of PYRAMUS AND THISBE in the grid being as symmetrical as word-lengths would allow was a nice touch.

  5. Simon Harris says:

    Oh well, clearly an excellent puzzle, but a bit of a frustrating one for me, this. The grid filled itself out fairly promptly, but for anyone unfamiliar with the play there was no chance of finishing it off. Nothing could be googled, the title was misleading and neither PYRAMUS nor THISBE were likely to jump out of the grid unless you knew them.

  6. HolyGhost says:

    I have some sympathy with Simon H., but one way in would be to google A PLAY WITHIN A PLAY (or even A PLAY IN A PLAY), which leads to A Midsummer Night’s Dream (and a couple of other Shakespeare plays, notably Hamlet), via say

    An earlier Lato puzzle, based on Animal Farm, had a similar theme but was even harder – see

  7. HolyGhost says:

    PS is probably a better, and more direct, link to the earlier Lato puzzle.

  8. Lato says:

    Many thanks for the blog and comments.

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