Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 154 – X by Phi

Posted by duncanshiell on December 18th, 2009


Phi is one of the more prolific setters with his puzzles appearing in a wide range of publications.  There is always something different about his puzzles and this was no exception.

We were told that three-letter words and abbreviations have X(11) from the answers to several clues before entry in the grid.  These three letter words/abbreviations could be brought together to form X by noting the order of definitions (sometimes multi-word) given by surplus single words in other clues.  X had to be written below the grid.

I twigged that X was DISAPPEARED fairly early on in the solving process and also realised that I was going to omit three consecutive letters of DISAPPEARED from a number of entries.  However it wasn’t quite a simple as that because a number of the words to be doctored had more than three consecutive letters from DISAPPEARED within them.  For instance
APPEASE has APP or PPE or PEA within, and TRAPPER has APP and PPE within.

I don’t think the surplus words were really necessary, but they served to complicate the solving process and, I suppose, make it more of a puzzle.  However, as we were told that the order of the surplus words was important, it was fairly east to deduce that we were looking for an ordered set of definitions for DIS, ISA, SAP, APP… etc.  This fact helped me to locate the surplus words more quickly than I would have done otherwise.

The definitions formed by the surplus words and their associated three letter block from DISAPPEARED are as follows:

Definition Three letters
Pluto DIS
Bus system ISA ( a bus system used in early computers)
Vital juice SAP
Apparently APP (abbreviation)
University course PPE (philosophy, Politics and Economics)
Seed PEA
Live ARE
Embarrassed RED


While perhaps not Phi’s most difficult offering, this puzzle provided a pleasant afternoon’s solving session.

No. Surplus Word 3 letters Wordplay Entry
2     PETRI (ref. Richard Julius Petri 1852-1921)n + F (following) + Y (last letter of [end of] surgerY) PETRIFY (frighten)
11 Pluto   Double definition: RELEASE (to make a new film available) RELEASE (grant a new lease of [grant a new life])
12 Bus….   E (last letter of [finally] routE) contained in (blocking) SET (fixed) + O (circular) SEE TO (make sure about)
13     ALL (entirely) + AM (middle letters of [heart of] drAMas) ALLAM (ref Roger Allam, actor)
14     Hidden word (filling) in …paiL IN DAiry…. LINDA (girl’s name; maid)
15   PPE CLIP (ammunition container) + PER (for each) CLI[PPE]R
16     BO (American slang, familiar term of address for a man, fellow) + ROD (baton) + I + N (note) BORODIN (ref Alexander Borodin 1833-1887, Russian composer)
17   DIS BANISHMENT (exile) containing (receiving) L (Liberal) and D (Democrat) BLAN[DIS]HMENT (flattery; it flatters me)
19     LEASE (property document) with L (line) moved to the end (relocating at end) of the word EASEL (support)
20   PEA A (one) + P (quiet) + P (quiet) + EASE (quiet) AP[PEA]SE (quiet)
22   APP T (the) + RAPPER (pop musician) TR[APP]ER (one who aims to secure)
26 ….System   R (run) + (REAR [bring up] with the letter A [one] moved to the beginning [pushing forward] ) RARER (not so often)
37     CO (company) +(METIC [resident alien; foreigner] contained in (aboard [ship]) SS [steamship, hence aboard ship]) COSMETICS (beauty products)
30 Vital….   LIFER (prisoner) containing (collars) U (united) and C (circa; about) LUCIFER (match)
32   EAR BEAR (mammal) + DIE (stop) B[EAR]DIE (hairy creature)
33     CAUL (covering) containing (wrapping) P (first letter of [head of] Pony) CAPUL (horse)
34 ….Juice   LEAN (inclination) containing (to swallow) R (recipe) LEARN (understand)
35   RED CORED (take the core out of; dishearten) containing (about) ALL (everything) COLLA[RED]
36 Apparently   IT reversed (revolving) contained in (during) an anagram of (travelling) SPACE ASEPTIC (repelling micro-organisms)
37     RESTED (stayed) containing (round) E (last letter of [rear of] officE) REESTED (dried or cured with smoke; smoked)


No. Redundant Word 3 letters Wordplay Entry
1     RACKET (criminal activity) in BC (British Columbia) + LOCK (secure) BRACKET CLOCK (household valuable)
2     SPELLS (enchants) omitting the first letter (going topless) S PELLS (skins or hides; body coverings, obsolete [old])
3     Anagram of (confused) PELLS (previous answer)  and IE (that is) ELLIPSE (curvy figure)
4 University….   I’M reversed (turning up) in RALLIES (demos without the final [endless] S) RAMILLIE (hat, in fashion after Marlborough’s victory at Ramillies in 1706)
5     IS + O (first letter [beginning of] Outrage) + BAR (lawyers) ISOBAR (indication of pressure)
6 ….Course   FELT (experienced wihtout the final letter [mostly] T) + O (of) + NY (New York; US city) FELONY (crime)
7 Seed   Hidden word (producing) in …haVE NO Money….. VENOM (show of spite)
8   ARE CE (Church [of England) + DARED (took a risk) CED[ARE]D (with Lebanese trees; ref Cedar of Lebanon)
9     TA (Territorial Army; soldiers) contained in (engaging in) SINS (crimes) STAINS (sources of reproach)
18     HER CUES (what an actress requires) containing (sieze) L (line) HERCULES (powerful man)
21     PÂTÉ (although now mainly referring to a paste made of blended meat, it originally meant pie) containing (pocketing) RED (ref ‘red cent’ old US coin made of copper) PREDATE (eat)
23     Anagram of (to be mixed) COLOUR excluding (out) L (left) + U (first letter of [hint of] Umber) ROUCOU (annatto,a bright orange colouring matter)
24 Lug   Anagram of (reinterpretation of) TALE contained in (in) the first and last letters (in the confines of) StonehengE STELAE (large stone slabs)
25 Live   Anagram of (broadcast) IS OVER VIROSE (nasty)
28   SAP M (minute) + ( I + SAY [comment] containing [about that] PPL (middle letters [core of] aPPLe) MI[SAP]PLY (wrongly use)
29     VI (six) + R (runs) + I +last letter D (finally) of declareD VIRID (green; colour of the [cricket] pitch)
31 Embarrassed  

Hidden word (to some extent) in ….illogiCAL Fatuous…

CALF (slow-witted person)

6 Responses to “Inquisitor 154 – X by Phi”

  1. Michael Harold says:

    Whatever happened to PPE? I spent hours trying to fit it in to 21d.

  2. duncanshiell says:


    Thanks for spotting the ‘deliberate’ mistake.

    It is of course in 15a where I had shown PER rather than the b>PPE that it should have been. The entry is therefore CLIR which I did manage to submit correctly. I’m afraid I didn’t read my notes properly when I came to write the blog.

    I have corrected the blog.

  3. RayFolwell says:

    I read 11a as RE (about) + LEASE (extra life, which Chambers has as a definition)

  4. HolyGhost says:

    As Duncan intimates, this was more of a diversion than a puzzle. I really only needed to look up CAPUL (at 33a).

    W.r.t. 11a, I noted the possible ambiguity in the wordplay, and, if pushed, would have blogged it as RayF… suggests.

  5. duncanshiell says:

    I am happy to go along with the interpretation of 11a by Ray and HolyGhost.

  6. Simon Harris says:

    Enjoyable puzzle, incredibly well blogged. Thanks Duncan.

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