Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1118 – Mine by Charybdis

Posted by duncanshiell on April 1st, 2010


A pleasant puzzle from Charybdis – nothing too taxing.  I finished this in one sitting on the Saturday evening of publication.

When the preamble mentioned Latin I groaned a bit.  Foreign languages are not my forte.  Give me a computer language any day.

The preamble told us that the Latin motto (6,6,3) of 26 across appears at 17,19.  A cynical anagram of it a in English (2,7,6) appears at 33,39.  The middle letter(s) of extra words in thrirty six clues spell out the song to accompany an old children’s game (3,8,6), hinting at how eight grid entries are to be reduced thematically to form new words.

A quck scan through the answer lengths showed that there were actually nine clues where the lengths differed from the available space.  In the end the length of 16a (7) appeared to be a typo.  There were 44 clues, so it seemed a fair assumption that no clues did double duty in having an extra word and an adjustment before entry.  This assumption proved true although I did look hard at all of ‘unusual’, ‘very’ and ‘strange’ as potential extra words in 3d before realising this was clueing a word that required an extraction.  Four of the adjusted entries formed two symmetric pairs in the grid, but the remaining four didn’t display any symmetry.

It was a fairly steady solve from beginning to end.  The need to take out chemical symbols for metals came clear fairly on with PAGANINI and SAUTEED.  As I hadn’t deduced the words of the childrens’ song at that early stage, I started thinking there would be a whole range of metals involved.  In the end it was just Silver (Ag) and Gold (Au) that were removed,  or picked up, from eight solutions to form new real word entries, as confirmed by the words of the song.

The extra words yielded the song:


Wikipedia tells me that "Tom Tiddler’s Ground is  an ancient children’s game in which one player, "Tom Tiddler," stands on a heap of stones, gravel, etc.; other players rush on the heap, crying "Here I am on Tom Tidler’s ground," while Tom tries to capture the invaders or keep them off. By extension, the phrase has come to mean the ground or tenement of a sluggard, or of one who is easily taken advantage of.  The essence of the game lives on in such more modern games as Steal the Bacon and other variants of Tag."

Building up the checking letters in the Latin quotation and the cynical English anagram yielded 14 of 15 letters in both.  There was only one unchecked letter I in both.  The Latin quotation resolved to DOMINE DIRIGE NOS and the English phrase to IN DODGIER MONIES.  The quotation is the motto of the City of London also known as THE SQUARE MILE which forms the unclued entry at 26 across.,

I suspect the puzzle title of MINE refers to the City of London being a gold mine for many financial traders, at least when the markets are stable or rising.  Of course, it’s been far less of a gold mine during the recent recession when ‘dodgy money’ appears to have been around.

I’ m afraid that I haven’t been siezed with the urge to read the short story ‘TOM TIDDLER’S GROUND‘ by Charles Dickens, published in 1868, but Wikipedia links it to a Christmas Budget continuing the theme of money.  Dickens often wrote about London, so I guess it was set in the City.  Unfortunately, my tastes in literature are more down the escapist trash line

As the answers built up, the extra words were usually fairly easy to spot although I recognise that the surfaces of the complete clues were smooth and convincing.

There was one further occurrence of AU in the puzzle, in 27d MOINEAU where AU was specifically clued as gold in the wordplay.  I suppose there was another occurrence in that AU is to be found in reverse in THE SQUARE MILE, but that’s a step too far.

As well as being responsible for blogging this Inquisitor, I was also assigned to blog the blocked crossword that appeared in the main bit of  The Independent on the same Saturday.  Both puzzles had TATTOO among their answers.  The definitions were different, but there was a fair degree of similarity in the wordplay of the clues, perhaps not surprisingly.  The Inqusitior has ‘Military entertainments’s rubbish [display] as well’ while the blocked puzzle had  ’…… drumbeat rubbish moreover’.


No. Extra Word Letters Wordplay Solution Extracted Entry (if different)
1 scheme HE S (succeeded) + HUT (building) SHUT (closed)    
6 agrees RE BA (graduate) + TATA (later; In America later can be used to mean goodbye) BATATA (vegetable; sweet potato)    
12 anyways W WET (not dry) + HERS (that woman’s) WETHERS (castrated rams; swigged also means castrated)    
14     PAGAN (ungodly) + I (one) + NI (Northern Ireland; Ulster) PAGANINI (reference Nicolo Paganini, violinist) AG PANINI
15 addresses E JANET (girl’s name) JANET (the acronym for the Joint Academic NETwork    
16 flared AR PARTITA (suite) excluding (leave) I reversed (retro) ATTRAP (dress)    
17           DOMINE
18 bleak E B (second) + ETH (letter used in old English) BETH (girl)    
19           DIRIGE NOS
22 story O Anagram of (might make) THE SUNDAY TIMES excluding (not) (THE SUN and A [with a]) STYMIED (foiled)    
25 fountain NT Anagram of  (sprinkled) ONCE and A (drop of [first letter of] Acid) OCEAN ([the] drink)    
26           THE SQUARE MILE
28 Maori O Anagram of (loose) LARIAT excluding (cut ) L (length) RIATA (lariat) &lit clue    
31 recommend M Anagram of (for a change) OR A TOUR ROTORUA (tourist resort in North Island, New Zealand)    
            IN DODGIER
36 Entire TI FEAT sounds like (they say) FEET (on the end of legs – ‘the stuff of leg[-]ends’) FEAT (exploit)    
40 cider D Anagram of GLAMOROUS excluding (goes from) GAS ORMOLU (gold leaf prepared for gilding; superficial show of wealth)    
41 avoidable D T (the) + IDES (Reference Caesar who was assassinated on the Ides of March ) TIDES (regular changes)    
42     RUM (strange) + MAGE (sorcerer) + R (runs) RUMMAGER (plunderer) AG RUMMER
43     Anagram of (liquid) AGAR SEEPS SEA GRAPES (mass of cuttlefish eggs) AG SERAPES
44 Eileen LE MOURNS (sounds like MORNS [early days]) MOURNS (grieves)    
45 burly R MUTES (silent ones) excluding the first letter (scalped) M UTES (Native American people of Utah, Colorado and New Mexico)    


No. Extra Word Letters Wordplay Solution Extracted Entry (if different)
1 beset S S (section) + WEDES (sounds like [we hear] WEEDS [unwanted plants]) SWEDES (vegetables)    
2 disgrace GR HERO (champion) + D (dead) HEROD (cruel king)    
3     Anagram of (unusual) GRAHAM ITS TAGHAIRMS (inspiration sought by lying in a bullock’s hide behind a waterfall – ‘very strange’ indeed) AG THAIRMS
4 avoid O BENN (Reference Hilary Benn, cuirrently Secretary of State at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) + I BENNI (sesame; seed-plant)    
5 liqueur U R (drop of [first letter of] Ratafia) contained in (included in) FEE (bill) FREE (gratis)    
7 granddad ND PAPAYA (fruit) excluding the first and last letters (skinned) P and A APAY (an archaic [old] word meaning satisfy)    
8 display P TAT (rubbish) + TOO (as well) TATTOO (military entertainment)    


I Hidden (in) hERITage in reverse (that’s raised) TIRE (flag)    
10 fickle CK (NA [not available] + TT [teetotal; abstainer]) all contained in (in) AA (Alcoholics Anonymous; rehab group) ANATTA (a bright orange colouring matter)    
11     Anagram of (fixed) HEAD UPON and I (first letter [head] of Ivories) AUDIOPHONE (hearing aid) AU DIPHONE
13     Anagram of (bananas) USED and ATE SAUTEED (lightly fried) AU STEED
20 bin I GUM (goo) containing (around) E (base of natural logarithms) GEUM (a plant) of the rose family    
21 End N HEIR (sounds like [heard] AIR [affected manner]) HEIR (one who succeeds)    
23 figure GU Anagram of (bizarre) HEADY excluding (leaves) D (Director) YEAH (casually agreed)    
24 vapid P First half of PRODUCER (impressario) PROD (reminder)    
26     TAU (greek character) + (FOR [in favour of] contained in [being introduced to] RIM [skirt]) TAURIFORM (having the form of a bull.  Europa was abducted by Zeus in the form of a bull) AU TRIFORM
27 budgets G Anagram of (redistributed) MONIE (almost all [mostly] the letters of MONIES) and AU (gold) MOINEAU (a small flat bastion to protect a fortification when it is being erected)    
29 scholars OL ITEM (article) containing (about) RU (Rugby Union) ITERUM (again)    
30 aides D WANGLER (Machiavellian) excluding the first letter (lifting the lid on) W ANGLER (rod)    
31 collation A ROOT (grub) + S (is) ROOTS (reference ‘roots music’; music with a folk influence and discernible ethnic identity)    
32 tundra ND ASSES (donkeys) + S (spades) ASSESS (evaluate)    
34 Gangsters S D (died) contained in (in …. setting) GORY (bloody) GO DRY (move towards prohibiiton)    
35 anxious I

Two separate wordplays leading to the same answer.

KEENER (mourner) excluding first letter (uninitiated) K reversed (about);  RE (again) + NEE (born)

RENEE (French lady’s name)    
37 halved LV Hidden (content) in mAMMOn AMMO (contents of a magazine in a gun)    
38     Outer letters of (worn by) AUDREY HEPBURN, star of the first film version of My Fair Lady AUBURN (hair colour) AU BURN
39 Overly ER Anagram of (tricksy) MINE (the title of the puzzle) MIEN (air, look; appearance)    

3 Responses to “Inquisitor 1118 – Mine by Charybdis”

  1. HolyGhost says:

    Not so difficult. As with Duncan, PAGANINI and SAUTEED gave me the silver and gold removals; then, having solved 1d, 2d, 4d and 5d, I was led to “Domine d…i…” and 26a almost before I’d really started.

    Regarding 18a, Duncan’s parsing seems reasonable enough, though I had it as a DD, BETH being the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

  2. Mike Laws says:

    I was impressed by the splendid appositeness of the anagram, given the current financial climate.

    HolyGhost’s reading of the clue to BETH was the setter’s intention, and my reading of it when I solved it.

    I don’t think ‘second’ = B is acceptable – ‘second-class’ maybe, but not just ‘second’.

  3. Chris Poole (charybdis) says:

    That’s right, Mike.

    Re: “I suspect the puzzle title of MINE refers to the City of London being a gold mine for many financial traders, at least when the markets are stable or rising.”

    That’s right, too, though I was also intending a brief synonym for ‘Bags I!’

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