Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 148 – POST-MORTEM by Dysart

Posted by HolyGhost on November 6th, 2009


Four unclued entries, two clued entries and one hidden name are thematically linked, and these last three have to be highlighted (16 cells). Then we have to swap two letters in the grid, revealing an author and a name from one of his works, also thematic.
Dysart’s previous puzzles as an Inquisitor have all been rather good (as were his/her three Listener ones), so I was expecting some high quality cluing and a neat theme – and wasn’t disappointed, though a clearer signal as to the nature of the two thematic clued entries would have been appreciated. The answers came to me largely corner by corner: some of the top left, all the bottom left, then the bottom right (giving me DUPPY and the likely theme), and after finishing the top left (with JUMBY confirming the theme), I was faced with a fairly blank top right, which eventually yielded (spotting BANQUO on the way).

The four unclued entries are all words that mean GHOST: top left JUMBY, top right FETCH, bottom right DUPPY, bottom left SHADE. The hidden name is BANQUO (ref. Macbeth, Act III, Sc.iv), going down from Row 5, Col.8 – but what about the two clued entries? ASTRAL at 5d seemed thematic (astral body = ghost), and I toyed with MIND at 36a (since mind = soul, and ghost = spirit or soul).

Author? Name from work? I stared at the puzzle on & off for nearly four days – I won’t bore you with the synopses of all the ghost stories I skimmed, or the twists & turns I went through when contemplating the completed grid. Finally I spotted IBSGN low down in Col.4, which could become IBSEN, and a distant bell rang – he wrote Ghosts; checking this out, I see that the play concerns the ALVING family: so there we have it – ALVINE at 3d is suitably amended, 23a changing to ARGAL, and 40a changes to PUREES. As we’ve come to expect from Dysart, these latter two are of course still real words (and in Chambers).

But the two clued thematic entries still bothered me, so I rather laboriously checked each one for a ghost connection and – lo & behold! – up popped Peter QUINT (ref. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James) for 31a; and finally I realised that not only does Banquo reappear as a ghost, but so does Julius CAESAR (ref. Julius Caesar, Act IV, Sc.iii) for 2d. So that’s what I’m going with.

[XYZ]! = homophone

No. Answer Wordplay
1 JACAMAR AC(=account =bill) & MA (=mother) in JAR (=grate)
11 UNALIST [AUNT + L(iving) + I(n) + S(pain)]*
13 SITH SITH(e) (=scythe, archaic, =cutter)
14 MAEVE Hidden: (dilem)MA + EVE(ntually)
15 ABROMA ROM (=gypsy) in ABA (=Syrian cloth)
17 RAM (d)RAM(a) (=tense events)
18 BRER BARER (=poorer) – A(nnuities)
19 YEAN A(nnuities) {from above} in YEN (=Asian currency)
21 IBIBIOS I + BIB (=drink) + I (=one) + O (=round) + S(ociety)
23 AREAL LA (=see) + ERA (=geological division) rev.
24 TANKAGE TANG (=seaweed) around K (=potassium) & A + E (=base)
25 CLOWNS CS (=gas) around LOW (=humble) & (Chapli)N
27 NORSEL NOR (=and not) + SEL(f) (=very)
29 OBLIGER (n)OBLE (=stately) + R (=king) around GI (=soldier) rev.
31 QUINT Double definition
34 THEBANS BANS (=governors) after THE
36 MIND N (=knight) in MID (=centre)
37 YEAS YEAD (=go, Spenser) + S(outhern) – D(emocrat)
38 OHO OH NO (=expression of dismay) – N(orway)
40 PURGES P(rimitive) + URGES (=impulses)
41 RIG UP PRIG (=Puritan), first to last, around U (=acceptable)
42 IN SE INSE(t) (=in-service education and training (for schoolteachers))
43 PAYSLIP PAYS LIP SERVICE (=insincerely praises) – SERVICE
44 ASPHYXY AS (=when) + Y (=unknown) around [FIX]! (=dose)
No. Answer Wordplay
2 CAESAR [ARECA (palm)S]*
3 ALVINE (v)ALVE (=flow regulator) around IN
4 MIEN [MEAN]! (=lament, Shakesp.)
5 ASTRAL [L(ike) A(ltair) + STAR]* &lit.
6 TSAMBA T(ibet) + SAMBA (=music)
7 FIBRINOUS [IN OUR B(lood) S(erum) IF]* &lit.
8 THORIAS HO(lmium) in TRIAS (=e.g. Keuper)
9 CAMEO CAMERA (=Canon, perhaps) – R(ector) – A(ccepted) + O (=ring)
10 HOARSELY HOAR (=white) + E(cstasy =drug) in SLY (=expert, obs.)
16 ZEAL ZED (=letter) – D (=Deus =God) + AL (=gangster {Capone})
26 OLEARIA LEAR (=lesson) in [I(raq) A(s) O(rder)]*
28 ETNA ANTE (=advance payment) rev.
30 ENOSES NOSE (=informant) in ES (=El Salvador)
31 QUOTAS QUOT(ation) (=what was said) + AS (=when)
32 IMPISH I’M {ref. setter} + PISH (=drunk) {?}
{pish =piss (Scottish), so pished =pissed =drunk}
{see Comment 14 by Dysart}
33 NIGGLY IGGY (=Pop {US rock singer/songwriter}) under N(ew) around L(abour)
35 HEUCH (t)HE + U(nderground) + CH(urch)
39 TRYP TRY (=test) + P(ositive)

14 Responses to “Inquisitor 148 – POST-MORTEM by Dysart”

  1. George Hill says:

    Well done Duncan! I found the ghostly theme quite quickly and spotted both Banquo and Caesar quickly, but failed on astral, and was nowhere near the Ibsen play!
    I am unhappy about the clue for IMPISH. PISHED means drunk in my Chambers, pish does not! Also I am amazed that you found CAMERA for “Canon”. We (Ho and I) racked our brains and didn’t come close! I think it is rather too vague. Canon make a lot of things other than cameras, and Canon is not a synonym for camera.
    I still don’t really follow the &lit quality of ECOTYPES either!
    I think QUOT(E) is “what was said” in 31D rather than quotation.

  2. George Hill says:

    Sorry I meant Quint not astral!

  3. HolyGhost says:

    George – I am not Duncan. I agree about PISH/pished and had already noted it in the blog (hence the {?} after the explanation of the wordplay).

    In 31d, QUOT. is in Chambers as an abbreviation for “quotation” and “quote” as a noun is defined as a “quotation”.

    The definition of ECOTYPES in Chambers (“a group of organisms which have adapted to a particular environment and so have become different from other groups within the species”) seems to fit quite well with the whole clue at 22d (“Species notably adaptable from these organisms in labs”), which in turn also indicates a composite anagram.

  4. nmsindy says:

    This was a multi-layered, puzzle, extremely hard, as I’ve learned to expect from Dysart. Like the blogger, the real words gave me confirmation of the ALVING part. I got the rest too except that I failed on QUINT, which I’d not heard of, so congrats for getting that which I’m sure is right.

  5. George Hill says:

    Sorry HolyGhost about the naming confusion! I was carried away by the colourful presentation which is normally Duncan’s hallmark!
    Re QUOT – I assumed it was just quot(e) – rather than a true abbreviation, so didn’t even look it up! It could be read either way.
    I must be being dim about 21D as I don’t see the composite anagram. Could you elucidate please?
    Relatively easy to fill in the grid but the final step – I agree with nmsindy – hard!

  6. HolyGhost says:

    George – as I tried to indicate in the blog (by [SPECIES NOTABLY – IN LABS]*), if you use the answer, ECOTYPES, to replace “these organisms” in the clue then what is “adaptable from” ECOTYPES + “in labs” is “species notably”.

  7. kenmac says:

    Well done HolyGhost. I’m glad it wasn’t my week to blog it. I found BANQUO but like you, I couldn’t find the two clued entries and I couldn’t see the author or work. As it wasn’t my week I gave up at that point – too much like hard work :-(.

    I did get CAMEO but like George, I didn’t really know why.

  8. IanN14 says:

    Finished the grid, but too literary for me to sort out the rest…

  9. Fletch says:

    Same here … as kenmac said, the rest of it looked too much like hard work.

  10. George Hill says:

    Now you’ve explained it I am very impressed by the ecotypes clue! Like kenmac I’m glad it wasn’t my week to blog!!

  11. Simon Harris says:

    I’ll put up my hand as another one who filled the grid yet didn’t finish the puzzle. Hovered over “astral” but then spotted “Quint” – it felt odd to have two from Shakespeare and one from elsewhere, but it must be right. The final author and character remained undetected until I read this post.

  12. RayFolwell says:

    I’m another who finished the grid but not the puzzle. I saw Caesar and Banquo but thought SITH might be the 3rd ghost – the Ghosts of Sith have some Starwars connection according to Google (but I’m not a Starwars fan).

  13. HolyGhost says:

    Ray – before finding QUINT, I did chase up the SITH possibility from Star Wars, but decided it wasn’t sufficiently thematic and it didn’t sit well with Dysart’s style (so omitted it from an already lengthy blog).

  14. Andy Stewart says:

    Thanks to HolyGhost (rather appropriately named on this occasion) for an impressive bog and thanks to others for your comments.

    Completing the grid in a number of my previous puzzles has been fairly difficult but the final stage has been relatively straightforward. I decided to make most of the clues for this puzzle easier but the finale rather tougher. I realized that finding the letters to swap was going to be a tall order, especially for those to whom Ibsen’s Ghosts did not come readily to mind, but I think it proved more difficult than I anticipated. Perhaps I should have included in the preamble a comment to the effect that the letters to swap occurred in the same row or column, but as my final test solver did not appear to have serious difficulties in this respect I left the preamble as it was.

    The clue for IMPISH wasn’t based on the Scottish word for ‘piss’. PISH merely represented the slurred sound of a drunk saying ‘pissed’, hence the question mark after the clue.


Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

7 − one =