Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 131 – Feat by Hypnos

Posted by petebiddlecombe on July 10th, 2009


Solving time: about 90 minutes

This puzzle’s thematic material was provided by both extra and missing letters in wordplay, and two grid entries – one unclued, one clued without definition. The letters missing in wordplay were to be highlighted in the grid (14 letter in 19 clues), showing who carried out the feat. Their real name and two relevant locations were provided by the extra letters.

Clues were fairly easy for the top of the grid, and this turned out to be where the extra letters were. The name “Charles” emerged on the left, and it was fairly clear that the squares to be shaded formed a shape with mirror symmetry. Using this, the right hand half emerged as Blondin, and I remembered reading (a very long time ago) about the Blondin who tightrope-walked across Niagara Falls, which was fairly obviously the unclued entry at 47A. 35A then came out fairly easily as FUNAMBULATION – (M.B. in AULA, replacing the C in “function”). It turns out that Enigmatic Variations 869 was celebrating the same 150th anniversary – see previous report!

I didn’t know Blondin’s real name, but Jean was soon fairly obvious as its first word. At the end of the extra letters, USA and CANADA were fairly obvious as the two locations. I cheated with Chambers Biographical Dictionary for the rest of Jean Francois Gravelet.

This was an enjoyable puzzle and the shape made by the name was a nice illustration of the shape of a rope-waloker’s pole above the falls. But I do wonder whether the “extra letters in wordplay” device is being milked a bit too much at the moment. And whether I’ve made some crass mistake at 17D.

Missing letter clues (all)
15 MATIEST – ES = M,A,T.(I)T.
16 BLOTTO – BL = OTTO=German
18 CURLING-STONES = R,N – (unties clogs)*
20 ASHAME – A = S.(HAM)E.
25 HEADY – D = H.E.,AY
27 HOPI – H = OP.,I
29 LOKI – I = L.,O.K.
31 CNIDA – C = A,DIN reversed – or maybe A DIN(G) reversed – I’m not sure whether cnidae are good features of jellyfish
3 LITER – R = lite = archaism for “little”
4 FOIL – L = FOI(l) – a foil is a “small arc in tracery”
5 ESSEN – the second S = hidden word in “active seniors” –
6 REBUS – B = sure*, ref. Inspector Rebus
7 ALOO – o = (h)ALO
11 TENIA – E = AINT rev.
13 CLOTHE – L = C(O.T.)HE
14 STEED – D = S(T)EE, ref. John Steed in ancient TV series “The Avengers”.
15 MICAH – H = MI,CA.
19 NAOS – S = A,O.S.
30 INNER – IN = NER(d)
Extra letter clues (some)
1 SELF-REPROACH + J = (half corps jeer)*
28 WINCE + N = W(INC(h))EN – wen = a big city such as London
33 DOTISH + F = DOT,FISH – a fish is a counter in games
17 AGENDUM + G = ? – there has to be one clue I don’t understand. Slightly puzzled by the answer as agendum isn’t in Chambers, but can’t see an alternative
22 HID + A = HAID(uk) – haiduk is the necessary brigand
38 IQBAL + A = I.Q.,BALA
40 GETA + A = GEAT,A
42 EARL + A = E,ARAL=rev. of (Brian) Lara

9 Responses to “Inquisitor 131 – Feat by Hypnos”

  1. Duncan Shiell says:

    AGENDUM for ‘schedule’ is in both Collins and the Shorter Oxford.

    I think the wordplay is as follows,

    GAM (school, of whales) containing (in) (GEN [information] + DUE [exactly] without the E, ‘almost exactly’)

    The leading G of GAM is the extra G we need.

  2. nmsindy says:

    Very enjoyable puzzle, a little easier than Inquisitor usually is. I read the CNIDA as referring to ‘ding’ tho I toyed with ‘din’ also. Thanks for explaining counter = fish.

  3. Simon Harris says:

    I thought this was great, though I think AGENDUM was last to go in, as I too couldn’t see it in Chambers.

    This one was also a great help with the subsequent day’s EV, I note!

  4. nmsindy says:

    You wait 150 years for one, then two come at once…

  5. HolyGhost says:

    6d: a REBUS is a puzzle in which the parts of the answer are represented by pictures, symbols, etc. (Chambers: “an enigmatical representation of a word or name by pictures representing the component parts of the word, as in a puzzle”) – I didn’t notice a connection with Inspector R.

  6. petebiddlecombe says:

    6D: The clue is “Enigmatic representation sure to confuse inspector”. You can read the whole clue as a definition, but that’s a bonus – as this answer provides the B in Blondin, there must be wordplay to indicate “REUS”, and this seems to be “sure to confuse”. This leaves “Enigmatic representation” and “inspector” to be explained. I think both are definitions. If not, “inspector” seems to be floating around doing nothing.

  7. qadzbork says:

    A-GEN-D(S)UM: ADSUM is boardingschoolspeak for “Present”

  8. HolyGhost says:

    Comment 6: Having seen the clue again, I think Peter is right – it’s a definition + wordplay + a second direct indication (“inspector”).

    Comment 7: ADSUM indeed means “I am present”, but it isn’t part of the wordplay here.

  9. Hypnos says:

    Many thanks for the comprehensive blog and comments.

    Just to clarify three clues:
    31a CNIDA is a din(g) (rev) – g (good) is removed from wordplay, ie NOT part of the definition
    6d REBUS is two defs (enigmatic representation+inspector)
    with anag of sure as wordplay between them
    17d AGENDUM is gen+du(e) in gam with the g of gam as the extra letter

    Hope this helps

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