Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1110 – I beg your pardon by Lato

Posted by petebiddlecombe on February 5th, 2010


Inquisitor puzzles must be subject to the same kind of rule as umbrellas – if I fail to notice that it’s my turn to blog and do them in a hurry, they turn out to be really difficult. This time I did notice and tackled this puzzle on the day of publication. Result: it took about 60 minutes, with only 8 looks at Chambers for me – I can imagine less experienced solvers needing more, but about a dozen looks would probably be enough.

We had ten thematic entries (some with multiple words) plus two words from misprinted defs in clues. These had to be paired and the resulting pairs were clued. It was stated that the pairs were “unlikely to be confirmed in any reference book”. The first part of a pair which I identified was VALET in an unclued answer looking something like ??S?YVALET. I linked this with the clue “The inexperienced servant” to make HOW GREEN WAS MY VALET, a ghastly pun on the 1939 novel by Richard Llewellyn. This (and the title) implied that the pairs were similar puns – a style fairly familiar to me from tackling thematic US-style non-cryptic crosswords. I wondered whether the answers would all be book titles, or members of some other group, but unless I’m being really dense, they’re unrelated. The other five clues and paired answers were:

Rubbish band = TRASH TORC = “trash talk” – a torc is band – a bit of ancient jewellery (TORC and 8D were my last two answers)
Attraction worth looking at = EYEFUL TOWER = Eiffel Tower
Much-loved hat = A FEZ OF THE HEART = Affairs of the Heart
Cheap night for audience = GAWAIN FOR A SONG = Going for a song (night = “knight”)
Supremely confident team = TOTTENHAM CHUTZPAH = Tottenham Hotspur – there may be a little extra joke here, Spurs being the team traditionally supported by North London’s Jewish community.

I’ve only explained about half of the plain clues – ask if any of the others have baffled you.

Misprint clues
9 T – tree INFATUATE – F in (at EU ain’t)*
19 O – plonk W(IN)E
20 W – newt (l)EFT
27 E – letters ETA = rev. of ate = upset,S=special
36 R – writer ZOLA = (laz(y),0)*
1 G – long (p)ITCH
10 A – bashes A(T) TEMPTS
11 W – withered S,EAR=till=plough,ED(ward)=boy
16 A – land SO(I)L – sol = the monetary unit of Peru
25 I – trick STUNT – (T=Thailand, nuts) all reversed
28 N – trunk A(ORT)A – aortas and trunks are both tubes
15 TIRASSE – a device for coupling organ pedals – (stairs)*, E=electronic
18 SITCOM – (cost 1 M)*
22 G=govt.,(r)AGGED – ragged = “performed unevenly”
29 EERIEST – reversal of SEI=whale, in TREE=bay perhaps
33 EXTRA MUROS – Am. in TRURO, all in anag. of sex. I was initially tempted by EXTRA MURAL but couldn’t make the wordplay work and resisted the temptation to write it in
2 NOMOI = provinces – (IOM, on=working), all reversed. I guessed that nomoi is the plural of nome=province from similar Gk. plurals, like discoi
3 ARM = weapon, ET = “occasionally dEnTs”
4 TO(n)Y – Soprano on telly = Tony Soprano
5 EN VERITE – E = English, then IT = sex, in never*
7 O,G(u)LES
8 RUES = “roos”
17 CIA = spooks, O = Ohio
21 ARTEL – alter = change, with R and L (sides) swapped
30 EXPO(rt.)
31 (a)IRMA(n)
32 FEHM = “fame” – a vehm/fehm(gericht) was a mediaeval German court

11 Responses to “Inquisitor 1110 – I beg your pardon by Lato”

  1. HolyGhost says:

    I’m afraid that I found this neither clever nor amusing, and was left feeling somewhat underwhelmed.

    Don’t like clues such as 4d, no matter how highly rated the “Sopranos” was.

  2. nmsindy says:

    I thought this was a great fun puzzle with EYEFUL TOWER the highlight and TOTTENHAM the hardest part. Like Peter, the VALET was the first I saw and it gave the idea. A lot longer than 60 mins.

  3. Mike Laws says:

    Isn’t HolyGhost being just a little po-faced?

    You don’t have to be Jewish (or even live in North London) to support Spurs, but if you do, you’re a Yid (if I may use such a non-PC term), by football fandom’s definition!

  4. Peter Biddlecombe says:


    Agreed – I don’t see why clues shouldn’t refer to TV shows when it’s OK to refer to Greek myth and the like. There’s been some similar fuss about football references at Times for the Times recently, which at least suggests some kind of intellectual snobbery.

    Thinking back, the puzzle reminds me of the Zander (i.e. Custos, i.e. Alec Robins) punny book title puzzles in the Listener – “Justyn Print” I think they were called. The sample clue was, IIRC, “The Broken Window” – answer EVA BRICK. My favourite (i.e. the one I can remember) was “Teach Yourself Psychiatry” by Beatrix I Klist. Like this puzzle, not really thematic in the modern style, but fun.

  5. HolyGhost says:

    Mike – a touch of Eeyore, I agree.

    Pete – Greek myths have stood the test of time (whatever that means) as have some TV & radio programmes, and I have no objection to those.
    Also, I recall “Haunted House” by Hugo First, “Cliff Tragedy” by Eileen Dover, and my personal favourite from a New Statesman comp.: “Parrots as Pets” by Hugh Zapritti-Boyden.

  6. barniebak says:


    I enjoyed this a lot, though it took me much more than an hour.

    Isn’t there an implicit reference to the radio programme ‘I’m sorry, I’ll read that again’, under the chairmanship of Humphrey Lyttleton? And the related publication ‘Uxbridge English Dictionary? There was another not long ago – I can’t remember who set it – with a more explicit reference to that programme , and to ‘Humph’.

  7. Mike Laws says:

    That was Samuel’s “Primary Reference” – he used the sixteenth edition. On the strength of the enjoyment I got out of his puzzle, I amazoned the latest edition, which turned to be the
    “18th EDITION (precisely)
    Comprehensively reviled”
    and the content appeared to be totally different from Samuel’s previous year’s Christmas present.

    Anyone know anything more about different editions of this apparently regular tomelet?

  8. Lato says:

    Thanks for the blog and comments.

    Don’t see why references in clues have to be timeless. If they’re well-known at the time of publication, isn’t that good enough?

  9. Peter Biddlecombe says:

    Barnie: I can remember stuff like “Mr and Mrs Kewl and their daughter Mollie”, which are similar ghastly puns, but you don’t need to know ISIHAC to invent or appreciate ghastly puns, so I’m not sure that there’s any particular reference.

  10. George Hill says:

    A bit late I know, but my favourite book was always “Baby’s Revenge” by Nora Titzov!

  11. HolyGhost says:

    Lato: a reference being well-known at publication is clearly good enough for you as setter (and indeed Mike L. as editor), but lacks a little something for me as solver, hoping to be both entertained and impressed.

    One criterion I have had for many years is “would this puzzle sit well in an anthology?”, looked at 10, 15 maybe 20 years hence; and with little context other than category, number, title, and setter (maybe also date of appearance, if this has some ex post connection with thematic material, e.g. a notable anniversary).

    But as I intimated, it’s a question of personal taste …

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>

four × = 8