Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1112: Shifty Characters by Phi

Posted by HolyGhost on February 19th, 2010


Some answers have a letter shifted before entry, and these letters spell out the name of a group. The members of the group form a number of other entries, but the answers to their associated clues are their disguises.
I soon discovered a few clashes (focussed on the main diagonal), and got the answers to 43a and 34d which were not the corresponding entries. A little later I tumbled (almost simultaneously) to the entries for 9d and 6a which were not the answers to the clues – and the penny dropped, giving me the name of the group … and quite a bit of tidying up to do.

The shifted letters move to the main diagonal, spelling CAMBRIDGE FIVE, the members of which, BURGESS, MACLEAN, PHILBY, BLUNT and CAIRNCROSS, are clued as their cryptonyms: HICKS, HOMER, STANLEY, JOHNSON and LISZT.

Good stuff from Phi.

No. Answer Wordplay
1 FLAT CAP FLAP (=fluster) around ATC (=Air Training Corps)
6 STANLEY TAN (=brown) in SLEY (=reed)
11 AUDITORIUM AUDITO(r) (=examiner) + I (=one) in RUM (=curious)
12 MALT MAT (=where one’d be) around L(itre)
13 SWIG SWING (=hang) – N(ew)
14 NORI NO + RI(p) (=tidal effect)
17 REARMS REAR (=last) + MS (=manuscript)
19 ATWEEL A + TWEE (=very nice) + L(ine)
20 PI-DOG PIG (=feast) around DO (=party)
22 TIN HATS THAT’S around IN (=fashionable)
24 OMELET COME (=arrive) – C(afé) + LET (=poor service)
27 PLISSÉ PLIES (=folds), ES switched, around S(pecial)
29 AGRIPPA AP(parently) + A (=one) around GRIP (=power)
31 END-ON (t)ENDON (=body tissue)
33 SCROBE SC (=scilicet =namely) + ROBE (=dress)
35 NEEDLE NEEDLESS (=without cause) – SS (=ship)
40 NETT ET (=extraterrestrial =alien life) in NT (=Northern Territory, Australia)
41 URUS URDU’S (=language’s) – D(utch)
42 VIAL VITAL (=important) – T(he)
43 LISZT LIST (=inclination) around (Berlio)Z
44 INCITE IN (=home) + CITY (=town) – Y (=unknown) + E(uropean)
45 WELSHES WEL(l) (=successfully) + SHES (=women)
No. Answer Wordplay
1 CRACKPOT CRACK (=excellent) + POT (=drug)
2 FLAIR FAIR (=woman, archaic) around L(ibra)
3 LAMMED SLAMMED (=criticised) – S(ucceeded)
4 TRUCAGE TRU(e) (=accurate) + CAGE (=pen)
5 ADSUM A + SUM (=problem) around D(emocrat)
6 PTISAN ‘TIS (=it’s) in PAN (=cooking vessel)
7 HOG IT HO (=moderation) + GIT (=wretch)
9 HICKS (c)HICKS (=girls)
10 YMIR RIMY (=frosty) rev.
16 TWAIN T(he) + WAIN (=wagon)
18 STAND (i)T in SAND (=beach)
21 OLIOS SOIL (=ground) + O (=zero)
23 DENTELLE DENT (=impression) + ELLE(n) (=woman)
25 HOMER HOME (=in) + R(ussia)
26 ERRATIC ARR(ives) in CITE (=state) rev.
28 LEGLESS G(ood) + L(itre) in LEES (=remnants of liquor) + S(econds)
30 PEARCE [CAR]* in PEE (=water)
32 DILATE DIE (=suffer) around LAT (=latissimus dorsi =muscle)
34 JOHNSON SON (=disciple) after JOHN (=lavatory =facilities)
36 EUSOL LUE(s) (=pestilence) rev. around SO (=thus)
37 VEDAS V(ery) + SADE (=cruel nobleman) rev.
38 UNCI UNCIVIL (=rude) – VIL(e) (=nasty)

3 Responses to “Inquisitor 1112: Shifty Characters by Phi”

  1. Richard Heald says:

    An excellent idea beautifully executed as always by Phi. I expected this to be much harder than it was and solved 30-odd clues cold before even starting to fill in the grid. Like HolyGhost’s, my PDM was spotting the real entries at 6 Ac and 9 Dn, but I needed good old Wikipedia to get all the real names and cryptonyms. My only gripe is that the SHIFTY example given in the preamble led me (wrongly) to assume that the letters had to shift by 3 places in each case.

  2. Hi of Hihoba says:

    An excellent puzzle which I found “challenging”. As usual with Phi it was scrupulously fair. I found the RHS easier than the left and had half a puzzle for quite a time before spotting Philby and Burgess. I then had to do some rearrangement to fill in the diagonal, which gave me a lead into the LHS where I found Maclean and Cairncross. I didn’t sort out all the shifted letters until the grid was almost complete!

  3. duncan shiell says:

    i thought this was an excellent puzzle with a number of penny dropping moments.

    I got my first inkling of what was going on I could see that PHILBY fitted at 6 across, but I had to resort to research to learn about the codenames.

    The next key moment was when I realised that all clashes were on the diagonal and I could insert CAMBRIDGE FIVE along the whole diagonal. From this I could deduce that clues with answers off the diagonal were normal.

    My favourite Inquisitor of 2010 so far.

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