Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 153 – COMPOSING TWIST by Hypnos

Posted by HolyGhost on December 11th, 2009


Extra letters in the wordplay lead to part of a quotation and its author, from which the (eleven) unclued entries can be deduced. There are ten thematic examples, one of which corresponds to two unclued entries (so I presumed the other nine examples were to do with the remaining unclued entries).
This puzzle was quite slow to start (and slowish to continue): in quite a few of the answers I had only part of the wordplay so couldn’t figure out the extra letter; a number of words were new to me (e.g. RACA, FRIS, VESAK, EARNEST in the sense used here); and there was some deft use of ‘arms-length’ synonyms (e.g. force = waterfall = lin).

At some point I had the author and had guessed enough of the quotation, but drew a blank with my edition of ODQ, so resorted to a web search. This revealed “A man who leaves home to mend himself [and others, is a philosopher]” O[liver] Goldsmith, The Citizen of the World (1762) Letter VII. I’d ruminated earlier on TOTALISER for the unclued entry in col.3, and on seeing philosopher in the full quote I immediately leapt to ARISTOTLE. Very quickly BREATHS for BARTHES, COASTERS for SOCRATES, ARREST for SARTRE, and SCAREDEST for DESCARTES followed. But the unclued entry in the middle row puzzled me – so, back to the rubric – this had to be one of the two non-thematic unclued entries. I told myself “Think of a philosopher containing an anagram of TWINE. Ah! WITTGENSTEIN of course”, the rest coming from SETTING in col.1. (This also resolved the title: COMPOSING TWIST = SETTING TWINE.) SÉANCE for SENECA then fell into place.

The bottom right corner was rather empty, with 36a to solve and three unclued entries to find, but YEAR for AYER seemed a prime candidate. Guess WAKE for 36a, discover that WAT is Scottish for drunk and KEN is a disreputable house (two more new words), slot in TANK for KANT, and knowing that the final unclued entry had an unchecked D gives ARDENT coming from … ARENDT – the only one I hadn’t heard of.

Overall, quite a hard but very enjoyable puzzle – congratulations to Hypnos. (Shame there was nowhere to fit in PLOAT?)

No. Answer/Entry Extra
4 SWANSEA A [A NEW SALSA – L(earner)]*
8 EMMY M MEM(ber) + MY (ref. my goodness)
10 CARACAS A RACA (=worthless) in ACAS (=mediators)
11 TAMALE N MAN (=servant) in TALE (=story)
12 FRIARS W WAR (=contend) in FRIS (=dance, Hungarian)
13 HERO H Hidden: (anot)HER HO(tel)
15 IOTA O O (=duck) in BIOTA (=region’s flora and fauna) – B(lack)
{iota isn’t that near delta in the Greek alphabet}
17 FOLIO L FL(=floruit, flourished) + OLIO (=mixture)
19 PITY E PIETY (=sense of duty)
20 GATE A AGATE (=stone)
TWINE (=twist)
22 MESS V VESAK (=eastern festival) – A K(ing) in MS (=Mauritius)
25 ISLE E I(ndia) + SELE (=good fortune, dialect)
{ref. Isle of Dogs}
28 TRASH S RASH (=spots) after ST (=street, road)
29 ENLIVENS H HEN (=woman) + L(atin) + IVES (=composer) around (sessio)N
30 OTTO O TOT in OO (resembling a pair of spectacles, glasses)
33 LITE M T(ime) in LIME (=fruit)
35 OUSELS E USE (=treatment) in HOLES (=scrapes) – H(ard)
36 WAKE T WAT (=drunk, Scottish) + KE(n) (=disreputable house)
37 EARNEST O EAR (=sense) + [NOTES]*
38 BARREN M MAR (=damage) in BREN (=part of nest, group of machine-guns)
No. Answer/Entry Extra
SETTING (=composing)
1 AMMO E A + MEMO (=note)
2 COLE TIT N OLENT (=with a hum, smell) + I (=one) in CT (=Connecticut)
3 EWER D (l)EWDER (=more blue, obscene)
4 SCROOP H CO(mpany) (=firm) around R(ecipe) in SHOP (=store)
5 NAIL I LIN (=force, waterfall) rev. around AI (=A1, road)
6 EARL M ARM (=division) in EL (Al) (=airline)
7 ASSIST S SASS(e) (=lock, obs.) + IS + T(rail)
9 MAKO E MAKE (=type) + (c)O(nifers)
14 TAINT L TAIL (=suite) + NT (=Northern Territory, Australia)
16 RUSH F FRUSH (=crash, Scottish)
17 FAWN O FAW (=gypsy) + ON (=very little short of)
18 OWLER G L(eft) in GOWER (=peninsula, S.Wales)
{owler =smuggler, obs.}
21 ERITREA O [RIOTER]* + E(stablishment) A(bandoning)
23 SHORTEN L LOT (=large number) around R(ule) in SHEN (=hands-on therapy)
24 AEROBE D [A BREED]* around O(xygen)
26 SVELTE S [VESSEL]* around T (=Thailand)
27 ENLIST M MEN (=fellows) + LIST (=choose, archaic)
TANK KANT, Immanuel
31 JURA I JAI(n) (=Indian ascetic) around UR (=old city)
33 MEAN T MET (=Metropolitan Police, force) + A N(ationalist)
34 IAMB H A(ccounts) in HIMBO (=stupid male pin-up) – O (=0, nothing)

2 Responses to “Inquisitor 153 – COMPOSING TWIST by Hypnos”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was an excellent puzzle. My experience was somewhat different to the blogger. I filled a fair amount of the grid, which took some time, finding the quote when ..SMITH looked like it would appear at the end and I thought of GOLDSMITH. Luckily the quote was in my ODQ which helped. I then solved the rest of the clues and spent sometime using the letters given (a good idea, that) to complete the unclued entries, with STANCE which had been pencilled in at one point, changing as a result to SEANCE.

    But I’d no idea what it all meant. Had noticed there were 11 rather than the 10 I was half-expecting from the preamble. Noticed the title could be linked with SETTING TWINE but still was mystified. Put the puzzle away for quite a while and took it out again. Fairly soon, looking at the letters saw they could make WITTGENSTEIN and all became clear. With hindsight, wondering why I did not think of the anagram possibility earlier.

  2. Hypnos says:

    Thanks to Holy Ghost for the excellent blog and NMSindy for his comment. PLOAT had not occurred to me – and maybe BANCO could also have been included!

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