Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1108 – French Polish by Nutmeg

Posted by duncanshiell on January 22nd, 2010


We were told that seven grid entries, clued without definition, were of a kind.  Their response to an exhortation would affect the method of entry of a further seven clue answers.  Further, all clues that did have a definition contained a misprint of one letter, always occurring in the definition part.  The correct letters would spell out the quotation [which proved to be the exhortation] and its author.  The person referred to in the exhortation had to be highlighted in the completed grid.

This was not too difficult to solve.  I had completed it by the evening of its publication.

There were some fairly obvious misprints – e.g. waving, bund, Ealing, judies and elves – but there were also a few well hidden ones.

It was fairly clear which seven entries were going to have thematic adjustments as there were seven clues where the length of the solution was longer than the space available in the grid.  It would have been a tougher challenge if all lengths referred to grid entries.

The first adjusted solution I solved was LOCAL DERBY and it fairly soon became apparent that only LOCAL would fit in the grid.  This got me thinking about towns as the element to be omitted from adjusted solutions.  Wrong!

The penny dropped when I had deduced a couple of the unclued entries as being words meaning gentlemen.  By that time I had a word looking like OFF in the quotation and GENTLEMEN  could be formed from the framework being built by some of the other letters in the quoaation.  A bit of research then produced the quotation – HATS OFF GENTLEMEN. A GENIUS! – said by Robert Schumann about Frederic Chopin.

The hats to be removed were as follows:

Clue Number Hat Description
1 Across TOPI pith helmet
16 Across DERBY bowler hat
25 Across BERET flat round, woollen or felt cap
31 Across LUM chimney-pot hat
33 Across TAM cap with broad circular flat top
4 Down HAT generic
30 Down TILE top hat


The gentlemen were:

Clue Number Hat
22 Across SIGNORE
2 Down SEÑOR
27 Down VALET


Chopin can be found in the fourth row from the bottom starting at cell numbered 30

I am a bit confused by the title: French Polish.  Chopin is Polish, but I don’t think the Schumann who coined the quotation is French.  I think he is German.  (There was a French statesman, Robert Schuman (one N) who served as Prime Minister of France in 1947/48, but even he was born in Luxembourg and didn’t assume French citizenship till the middle of his life.)

The clues were fair and generally provided good surfaces.  I have had no difficulties parsing them for this blog.  Not something I can always say.

No. Misprint Letter Hat Wordplay Solution Entry
1 waving » having H TOPI I + SO (Staff Officer) + TOPIC (head) ISOTOPIC (having the same atomic number but having different mass numbers) ISOC
5 bund » band A   H (first letter of [initially] Hesitant) + AUT (Association of University Teachers [Union]) + BOYS (kids) HAUTBOYS (old name for oboes, i.e old members of orchestra [band]) HAUTBOYS
10 Ealing » eating T   PIC (picture,film) containing (includes) anagram of (barking) PET PEPTIC (relating to or promoting digestion; untroubled after eating) PEPTIC
11 venture » vesture S   Anagram of (arranged) HOPE  and D (first letter of [leader] Diocesan) EPHOD (surplice; a white linen vestment [vesture] worn over a cassock) EPHOD
13 mast » most O   Anagram of (to be repaired) ISN’T IT DUE UNTIDIEST (most in need of trimming) UNTIDIEST
14 sound » found F   (HALO [ideal or sentimental glory or glamour attached to anything; celebrity’s light] + OK [approval]) all reversed (returning) KOOLAH (obsolete form of koala, an animal found in Australia [Oz]) KOOLAH
15 slight » flight F   CONN ([American] State of Connecticut) CONN (direct the steering of; traditionally nautical, I think, but some dictionaries also refer to control of planes) CONN
16 name » game G DERBY LOCAL (pub) + DERBY (sounds like Darby; reference Darby and Joan, a devoted elderly married couple) LOCAL DERBY (game for neighbours) LOCAL
18 quits » quite E   MANON (heroine of Puccini’s opera Manon Lescaut) excluding (losing) the letter M (money) ANON (quite soon) ANON
20 skis » skin N   MORPH (transform) + EW (reference East, West, partners at Bridge) MORPHEW (skin eruption) MORPHEW
22       IGNORES (doesn’t acknowledge) with the final letter S moved to the front (the last shall be first) to give SIGNORE SIGNORE (gentleman) SIGNORE
24 now » not T   CORRAL (cattle-pen) excluding the first and last letters (out-of-bounds), C and L ORRA (Scottish [Ayrshire] word meaning supernumary, worthless, not important) ORRA
25 variant » valiant L BERET GREEN BELT (protected area) with L (learner) replaced by RE (about) GREEN BERET (valiant soldier) GREEN
29 cult » celt E   HE (His Excellency; ambassador) + CH (church) HECH (Scottish [Celt] expression of surprise [outcry]) HECH
31 taking » making M LUM RUMINANTS (cud chewing animals, e.g. goats) with R (right [hand] replaced by (because it was using the wrong hand) L (left [hand]) LUMINANTS (ways of making light)


32 tram » team E   Anagram of (in motion) CAR NOTABLE excluding (lacking) T (time) BARCELONA (Spanish [football] team) BARCELONA
33 hard-hit » hand-hit N TAM LAMB (reference Charles Lamb, British essayist [1775-1834]) excluding the first letter (beheaded) L contained in (in) TURIN (Italian city) TAMBURIN (Edmund Spenser [Ed] word for tambourine, a hand-hit musical instrument). I think there is a misprint in the indicated clue length of (9) as TAMBURIN is only 8 characters long, but seems to be correct. BURIN
34 Frith » faith A   Anagram of (changes) DECLARE excluding the final letter (shortly) E CREDAL (regarding statements of faith) CREDAL
35 judies » judges G   ASSESSES (cryptic definition of a female ass [jenny]) ASSESSES (judges) ASSESSES
36 chuck » check E   TEST (first few letters of [short] TESTAMENT [section of Bible]) TEST (check) TEST



No. Misprint Letter Hat Wordplay Solution Entry
2       SENIOR (higher up the order) excluding (gets dismissed) I (one) SEÑOR (gentleman) SENOR
3 gets » gens N  

OP (opus,  work) + anagram of (designed) TOOL + GY (abbreviation for the SI unit gray)

OPTOLOGY (the science an oculist needs to gen up on) OPTOLOGY
4 arms » aims I HAT CHAT (bird) + ‘TIL (until, before) + Y (final letter of [end of] partY) CHATTILY (how a charmer aims to attract) CTILY
5       HO (house) containing (stands in) ([GLAD {cheerful} + last letter {finally}of DisraelI] all reversed [up]) HIDALGO (gentleman) HIDALGO
6 RN » UN U   UNES (Franglais version of one’s) + CO (company) UNESCO (United Nations body for Education, Science and Culture) UNESCO
7 tent » test S   Hidden word (kept in) in …InstituTES LAb… TESLA (reference ‘tesla coil’ a simple source of high-voltage oscillations for testing vacuums and gas) TESLA
8 Athena » Athens S   OH (exclamation) + IO (priestess in Greek mythology) OHIO (American State.  Athens is an important city in Ohio State) OHIO
9       YONKERS (city in New York State) excluding S (son) containing (in) U (film classification indicating that the film is suitable for all to see) YOUNKER (a young gentleman) YOUNKER
10       (KKA [spirit within a person] + [I + HAS] reversed ([knocked back]) contained in (in) PUB (bar) PUKKA SAHIB (gentleman) PUKKA SAHIB
12       SAW (motto) reversed (turning up) contained in (in) an anagram of (fractured) SUNDIAL DUNIWASSAL (a Highland gentleman of inferior rank) DUNIWASSAL
17 try » cry C   (R [king] + DONE [ended] reversed [up]) contained in (interrupting) THE THRENODE (an ode or song of lamentation ; poet’s doleful cry) THRENODE
19 write » white H   NUS (Greek characters [nu]) containing (in)  (I’VE + O [ I have nothing]) NIVEOUS (white) NIVEOUS
21 decks » ducks U   RUNNERS (a long narrow strip of carpet used for passages, so ‘many in passage will step on these’)  Also RUNNERS could be considered to be ‘many in passage’, e.g. runners in The London Marathon’. RUNNERS (members of a breed of domestic duck) RUNNERS
23 fade » made M   RE (second note of the scale in sol-fa notation) + PROSE (writing) excluding the final letter (ends prematurely) E REPROS (modern copies made of period styles) REPROS
26 elves » eaves A   ROANS (animals, e.g. horses of a roan colouring) ROANS (Scottish word for roof-gutters. often found close to the eaves of a house) ROANS
27       ALE (drink) contained in (in) TV (the box) reversed (knocked over) VALET (a gentleman’s gentleman) VALET
28 pals » pans N   EATS (Japanese [menial] workers) containing N (new) ETNAS (a vessel [pan] for heating liquids in a saucer of burining alcohol, presumably most used in laboratories) ETNAS
30 raid » rain N TILE CORTES (reference Hernan[do] Cortes, one of the most famous Conquistadors)  containing (tackling) IL (Italian for ‘the’) CORTILES (enclosed usually roofless courtyards.  Rain may well penetrate here) CORS

3 Responses to “Inquisitor 1108 – French Polish by Nutmeg”

  1. Barkface says:

    Nice blog!As you say,nothing too difficult.
    I think the French in the title refers to the fact that Chopin lived most of his life in France(eventually becoming a French citizen).
    He also had a long standing relationship with French novelist Aurore Dupin, better known as George Sand.

  2. nmsindy says:

    I’ll have to admit I guessed the theme immediately from the title, having seen press articles about the bicentenary of Chopin’s birth.

  3. HolyGhost says:

    TAMBURIN at 33a was the last answer I got, as I was looking for a four-letter hat.

    Don’t like TIL for “before” in 4d, tho’ it obviously leads to the right answer.

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