Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1120 – Name the … by Phi

Posted by petebiddlecombe on April 16th, 2010


This was a pretty straightforward puzzle except for locating the last piece of thematic material to highlight in the grid – I’d guess that two thirds of the clues could be solved quite happily by a broadsheet daily cryptic solver without Chambers.

Four unclued across answers had to be completed “somewhat unconventionally, in accordance with thematic material on the same level”. “level” here turned out to mean row of the grid. The first of these I completed was on the third row, where STAT?TTE seemed impossible to complete with a single letter. Just as I saw that STATUETTE matched the visible letters, I saw SHROVE on the same row, matching Tuesday which would provide the necessary TUE. Other thematic rows contained a name for a day in or close to Lent, with the three-letter abbreviation for the day to be entered in a single cell, completing a thematically completed word – DIAMOND, STATUETTE, ALL THUMBS, AFRICAN. In the central row, WED had to be written in the central unchecked cell. The named days are Collop Monday (which I didn’t know about), Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and Spy Wednesday – see comments, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (the last being the day before the puzzle was published). And the puzzle’s full title is of course “Name the day”.

A remaining minor puzzle is that the instructions say that “All six items of thematic material must be highlighted”, when there are only five names of thematic days. I assume this is because COLLOP contains letters from two grid entries which are counted as separate “items”, but I won’t be too surprised if someone tells me that HOLY (Saturday) or EASTER (Sunday) is somehow concealed in the grid. Wrong – see first comment from Inquisitor editor Mike Laws. This sort of slip is my best excuse for never seriously chasing after the Listener Solver’s Silver Salver.

1 COLL = abbrev. for colleague, and to hug
4 (c)OPES – this is the best place to mention that collops were slices of meat eaten the day before Shrove Tuesday, after which meat was off the menu.
11 A(QUIL(l))A
13 SH,ROVE – shrove is the past tense of shrive = to confess or to hear confession – confession as well as merry-making was common just before Lent.
15 CRE(N)EL – a crenel is a notch in a parapet
17 F.O.,LIA = ail rev.
19 CAL(I)M,AS – a calima is a dust storm in S Europe, coming from the Sahara
22 (c)ASH
24 SP(ra)Y
25 BE(LIN(e))D,A
28 P(ALE)R.
30 ONLINE = (El Nino)*
32 MAUND,Y from clemencY – surprisingly, there is no connection between maund = to beg, and Maundy as in Maundy Thursday or Maundy Money, in which Maundy comes from the Latin ‘mandatum’=command
35 RHEA – move the R in Hera.
36 GOO,D
1 CAS(e),CO. – a casco is a cargo barge from the Philippines
2 LU(c)RE
3 LION CUB = (bouncily – Y)*
5 PA(t)ELLA – both the knee-cap and cranium are ‘pans’
6 ESSE – ES = “are” in French, forwards and backwards
7 SH,TUM – an instant write-in for Times solvers, who get corporation = TUM about twice a week when the setters aren’t feeling original
8 DE(ad),AF(r)AID
14 T(i.e.,P)IN
16 RASCAL – first/last letter swap in lascar=sailor
20 ADERMIN = (remained – E)* – adermin or pyridoxine is a member of the vitamin B complex
21 SEAL,UNG = rev. of gnu
22 ALP,A,C,A
26 L.A.,BO,R
27 K(EYE)D – KD = Kuwaiti Dinar
29 ESTH – hidden word
31 INT(r)O

12 Responses to “Inquisitor 1120 – Name the … by Phi”

  1. Mike Laws says:

    Brewer’s gives “Spy Wednesday. A name given in Ireland to the Wednesday before Good Friday…”.

  2. petebiddlecombe says:

    Ah – looked in Chambers but not Brewer, despite having tried it for any further detail on Collop Monday. The position of SPY symmetrically matching ASH should have made me look harder.

  3. Colin Blackburn says:

    Thanks for the explanation about SPY, I missed it completely. I spent a good while looking for HOLY WEEK or EASTER. There were a surprising number of almost-Easters in the grid in egg-like shapes! As you add, Peter, the position now makes it obvious.

    It certainly was a puzzle that could be solved mostly by anyone who could do a broadsheet daily. I did this puzzle while XC skiing in Norway (well, not at the same time!) and did almost all of it without needing Chambers. Even the tougher answers were guessable given a few checking letters and the word play.

  4. HolyGhost says:

    Another one who missed SPY – never come across it before. (Maybe the Listener would have noted a non-Chambers reference?) So, we have three consecutive days indicated at the start of rows (and Lent), and three at the end … nicely constructed, Phi.

    (Has Pete noted that he can publish these blogs on Wednesday nowadays?)

  5. petebiddlecombe says:

    HolyGhost: No he hasn’t – very slack! (I think you meant to include the fact that the three at the beginnings of rows were at the beginning of Lent, and ditto for ‘end’.)

    Colin: I have student memories of someone (not me!) who used to warm up for London Colleges League cross-country races, carrying a Times or other broadsheet crossword on a bit of cardboard.

  6. nmsindy says:

    SPY WEDNESDAY is in Collins.

  7. petebiddlecombe says:

    So it is – a place I’d not usually think to look for barred grid puzzle material.

  8. Jake says:


    I really struggle with the Inquisitor puzzle. I must say Mr Laws that your puzzles are very distinctive from other thematic puzzles.

    I find a lot of abbreviations that I am unfamiliar with, so one thing I will ask…

    Is there any plan in the near future to release an Inquisitor book?

  9. Jake says:

    So I can acclimate myself with the style.

  10. petebiddlecombe says:

    I obviously don’t know about future plans but there have been three or four previous books of these puzzles (produced before the change of name to ‘Inquisitor’). The most recent can be seen at:

    But as these puzzles can in principle “do anything”, it’s not certain that previous puzzles will help that much. From this puzzle, you’ll know that putting something other than a single letter into a square is within the range of gimmicks. You could get information about possible gimmicks from blogs about previous Inquisitor puzzles.

    On the abbreviations: they should all be justified by entries in Chambers.

  11. Jake says:

    re: books – thanks mr Biddlecombe.


  12. Hi of Hihoba says:

    I know it’s a bit late to comment, but I am one who did get Spy Wednesday. I spotted that the Lent days were on the left and Holy week on the right. A simple lookup of “wednesday before easter” in Google gives a Wiki page with alternative names for the day. I was unsure whether we had to write three letters in one square for each day abbreviation or just use the initial. I plumped for the former.

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