Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1113 – Origins by Samuel

Posted by duncanshiell on February 26th, 2010


Samuel is a setter I have come across in The Listener and Magpie as well as here in the Inquisitor series.  I have always enjoyed his puzzles.  This was no exception.  Like all good puzzles, a number of different layers were revealed as I went through.

The preamble was a bit fearsome.  I had to read it a couple of times before I really understood it.  We were told that wordplay in 27 clues generated an extra letter.  In clue order, these 27 letters spell out a saying, less two key words, and its source.  We were also told that clashes between 10 crossing answers must be resolved to display the origins.  These origins were to be symbolised by the most appropriately-shaped letter of the four which did not otherwise appear in the grid.  What this letter symbolised had to be written below the grid.  The 27 letter saying was said to suggest the method of entry for 5 thematic answers clued without definition.  These 5 thematic answers had to be highlighted along with their origins.

There were 42 clues.  27 of these generated an extra letter, 5 had no definitions.  The remaining 10 were therefore going to generate the clashes.  I assumed that these clues would be normal.   Given that 27+5+10=42, I assumed, and certainly hoped, that no clue would do double duty as a combination of generating an extra letter, lacking a definition or clashing.  In the event, this assumption was right.

The 27 letter phrase was GREAT FROM LITTLE GROW PROVERBS.  The missing keywords were therefore OAKS and ACORNS.  The full phrase is GREAT OAKS FROM LITTLE ACORNS GROW.  The five clues without definitions yielded DURMAST, ROBLE, ILEX, CERRIS and HOLM, all of which are examples of OAK trees.  Given that trees grow upwards, these 5 trees (all answers to down clues) were entered upwards (in reverse).

The clashes, which were not simple 1 letter clashes, each generated 5 letters which could be re-ordered to spell ACORN.  The clashes were as follows:




31a KINROSS and 32d ANCOME

34a FRONDOSE and 35d CADE

The four letters not used in the grid were J, Q, W and Z.  I substituted Q for the ACORNS on the grounds that the shape of Q most resembled an ACORN.

Finally, and I must admit, not something I had spotted till I came to write the blog, each ACORN was immediately beneath one of the OAKS.  Not surprising really, but a another neat touch in a splendid puzzle.

The theme came to me fairly slowly.  I got HOLM reasonably early on and realised that it could only fit in an upward fashion, but I hadn’t got many letters in the phrase at that point.  The next to fall though was the phrase itself when I could see the bones of GREAT and LITTLE.  I had noticed two or three clues that seemed to be generating answers 2 or more letters longer than the available cells, but I took some time to realise what was really going on. Then I finally got one clash in full and realised that there was an ACORN in there.  The concept of there being more than two letters involved in clash was something I first came across when I started doing puzzles in The Magpie a couple of years ago.  It is a fairly regular occurence in Maqgpie puzzles, and in The Listener recently as well.

I have highlighted each OAK, each Q and have written ACORN below the grid.

A really enjoyable puzzle.

No. Extra Letter Clash Wordplay Solution Entry
1 G   ATT (attorney) contains (outside) (BEG [ask] + S [southern])   AT BEST (ideally) AT BEST
6 R   MUTI (South African traditional medicine) + MRS (mistress) reversed (rejected) MUTISM (inability to speak; being dumb) MUTISM
12 E   EYE (brood [of pheasants]) + LEVEE (embankment) + L (left) EYELEVEL ([at] head height) EYELEVEL
13 A   HAM (overact) + BALE (injury [archaic; old]) HAMBLE (limp [dialect; local]) HAMBLE
15 T   Anagram of (injured) LIMB and TOE EMBOIL (irritate) EMBOIL
17 F   FOE (enemy) reversed (returning) + LIT (fired) + H (hard) EOLITH (stone tool) EOLITH
18 R   RARE (sparse, without the final [mostly] E) + AR (first and third letters, oddly of ACRE) ARAR (the sandarac tree) ARAR
20   NA BAL (balance) + anagram of (upset) (ARLENE [excluding the final {mostly} E and I]) BALLERINA BALLERIQ
22   NAC PUG (beat) + (CIT [townsman] contained in [confined by] NAY [yet more]) PUGNACITY (hostility) PUGQITY
26 O   Anagram of (damaged) E (eastern) and CONIFER ICE FERN (fern-like encrustation on a window in frost)) ICE FERN
27   OC KNOCK (innings) excluding first and last (lacking boundaries) letters K,K + TURN (make) + A + L (fifty) NOCTURNAL (animal active by night; like a bat) NQTURNAL
29 M   MAC (coat) + A (area) + I (in) AÇAÍ (dark-purple fruit of a S. American palm; alternative spelling for assai) ACAI
30 L   LOCH (lake) + ERS (vetch) OCHERS (pigments; paints, American spelling of ochres) OCHERS
31   RO Anagram of (disorderly) SONS IRK KINROSS (town in Fife, very close to the M90 between Edinburgh and Perth) KINQSS
34   RON F (first letter [primary] of FOREST) + RONDO (musical composition) + SE (first and last letters [hollow] of SPRUCE) FRONDOSE (leafy) FQDOSE
36 I   Anagram of (despoiled) FINLANDER FERN LAND (land covered, or formerly covered by bracken;moor) (8 [two words] in my dictionary, not 8 [one word]) FERN LAND
37 T   TURF (horseracing) reversed (backing) + GAL (girl) FRUGAL (economical; sparing; careful) FRUGAL
38 T   S (is) contained in (captured by) (ME [Middle East] + ETAT [state]) MESETA (plateau)



No. Extra Letter Clash Wordplay Solution Entry
2     R (take) conatined in (in) DUMAS (reference Alexandre Dumas, French author) + T (time) DURMAST (European Oak) TSAMRUD
3 L   M (money) contained in (inside) BLOB (drop) BOMB (worn-out car) BOMB
4     ROB (steal from) + LE (‘the’ in French) ROBLE (a name for various species of oak) ELBOR
5 E   SEEL (blindfold) SEL (Scottish [Ian] word for self; me) SEL
6 G   MERGE (join) + LY (the first and last letters ([empty] of LIBRARY) MERELY (only) MERELY
7 R   RULE (control) ULE (crude rubber) ULE
8 O   TEAL (duck) + (OE [18th century gambling game] + F [fellow] containing [capturing] A) TEA LEAF (rhyming slang for a thief) TEA LEAF
9 W   Anagram of (cooking) IN STEW SENTI  (low value Estonian coin; small change in Baltic) SENTI
10     HOLMES (detective; reference Sherlock Holmes) excluding the final two letters (cut short, twice) ES HOLM (holm-oak) MLOH
11 P   (CH [chestnut] + PEN [plantation]) containing PEA (seed) CHEAPEN (devalue) CHEAPEN
14     C (corps) + ERR (go astray) + I (in) + S (society) CERRIS (turkey oak) SIRREC
16 R   RIB (wife) + IS IBIS (bird; flier) IBIS
19 O   A + GOAT (fool) + HA (in his year [Latin hoc anno]) AGATHA (girl’s name meaning good) AGATHA
21   COR Anagram of (worried) ERICSSON and O (11 [XI] a medieval Roman numeral) CORONISES (Greek signs [used in Greek script]) QONISES
23   RO (ROUE [rake] containing [over] G [German]) + IN + G (government) ROGUEING (behaving badly) QGUEING
24     SILEX (shock resistant glass) excluding (lost) S (is) ILEX (holm-oak) XELI
25 V   BR (brother) + anagram of (off) STAVES BRASSET (a piece of armour for the arm) BRASSET
26 E   IN (Spenserian and therefore old form of inn [a public house]) + STALE (pretext) INSTAL (set up) INSTAL
28   RAN RAN (travelled) + CHER (female singer; reference Sonny & Cher, though she sang alone for much of her career) RANCHER (farmer) QCHER
29 R   ANDRE (reference Peter Andre, ex husband of Jordan [Katy Price]) + S (first letter [upfront] of SHUNS) ANDES (mountain range; peaks) ANDES
30 B   BORE excluding the final (endless) E + FF (fortissimo) ORFF (Reference Carl Orff, German composer) ORFF
32   ANC A + N (new) + COME (issue) ANCOME (inflammation) QOME
33 S   A LASS (a young female) excluding the final letter (docked) S ALA (a flat winglike process; wing) ALA
35   CA CADGE (beg) excluding (missing) G (gallon) CADE (cask) QDE

3 Responses to “Inquisitor 1113 – Origins by Samuel”

  1. Mike Laws says:

    Spot on, Duncan! Which took longer, solving the puzzle or writing the blog? :)

    If it’s of interest, the Q substitution was devised to get over the practical problem of entering five letters in a single square for the solution diagram. And you’d have needed a magnifying glass to read them anyway!

  2. Peter Mabey says:

    Having identified Q for the substitution, I decided to enter QUERCUS under the grid, that being the generic oak.

  3. HolyGhost says:

    Nice one from Samuel.

    (Agree that FERN LAND at 36a is two words, but I guess that’s minor.)

    Spotted that the ACORN clashes were immediately under each growing OAK shortly after identifying two or three of the latter, which helped me with the run-in.

    And as you might expect, 29d’s clue for ANDRE gives me ache – will I have to become conversant with Hello or move in with someone that is? (How long before Perroncel or Bridge are referenced by Terry?)

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