Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1123 – Trendier Days by Raich

Posted by duncanshiell on May 6th, 2010


Raich is a setter with an increasing output.  To my knowledge, he has set Independent blocked crosswords, Listeners, Inquisitors and has a blocked crossword in the latest Magpie.  I have acted as a test solver for Raich on a couple of occasions, but not for this puzzle.

Some overseas work took me away from crosswords for the first three weeks of April, and I will have moved house between writing this blog and its publication. Life has therefore been a bit hectic, so it was a pleasant bit of relaxation to sit down with this Inquisitor.  Once I move out of my house, I will be itinerant in a Motor Home or in holiday cottages or for some time and probably wont have internet access on a continuous basis.  I may not therefore be able to respond to any comments immediately.

The preamble told us ‘in 10 clues the wordplay gives an extra letter.  In another 10, it gives the answer with one letter missing.  In clue order these letters spell out a work.  Four extracts from this, one of two words, form the unclued lights.’ Solvers had to highlight eight consecutive squares in the completed grid, which respresent another two word extract from the work.

This was a puzzle where I initially had virtually all my success on the right hand side.  When I had 10 or 11 of the missing letters I couild see an AND leaping out the page at me and the name ABSALOM was entering my mind.  A little bit of research threw up ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL, a satirical poem by John Dryden (1631-1700).  Knowledge of worthy literature is not really one of my strong points, but a bit more research yielded the fact that two of the one thousand and thirty-one lines in the poem read:

Great wits are sure to madness near alli’d;

 And thin partitions do their bounds divide:’

The four unclued entries were THEIR and BOUNDS going across, plus GREAT WITS and MADNESS going down.  The eight letters to be highlighted were located on the row between THEIR and BOUNDS and read ARTITION, which is a cryptic representation of ‘thin partitions’ (‘partitions’ without the first and last letters).  Of course, these ‘thin partitions’ do indeed divide THEIR and BOUNDS.

The title TRENDIER DAYS is an anagram of DRYDEN SATIRE.

An enjoyable puzzle that didn’t have a fiendishly difficult denouement.  The cluing was fair, and unambiguous in almost all cases.  It took me a while to parse TAUNTON, as I kept thinking Aunt was the old character, but I realised that many people have young Aunts and I was being agist associating Aunt with ‘old’.

No. Extra Letter Missing Letter Wordplay Entry
1   A EG (for example) reversed (from the East) containing (incorporating) MM (millimetre, short measure) GAMME (obsolete ([old] word for range)
4 B   BED (Spenserian [Ed] word meaning bid, invite) + IF (provided) + ICE (reserve) EDIFICE (complex organisation)
10 S   Anagram of (dancing) (AWARDS and N [nationalist]) RWANDA (African country)
12   A Even letters of (regularly) HOURLY OARY (like a propeller)
13     EDGY( irritable, [solution, EDDY with one D {daughter} replaced by G {grand}]) EDDY (Man’s name, he)
14     ZA (South Africa, international vehicle registration) + RN (navy, sailors) + EC (Ecuador, international vehicle registration) ZARNEC (a naturally occurring sulphide of arsenice, such asd orpiment)
15     Anagram of (around) (AT [first and last letters {extremely} of ALERT] and RUN) ARNUT
16     (WEN [an enormous congested city, e.g. London] + <font color="blue">ER [queen]), all reversed (in recession) RENEW (extend0
18     LIE (story) LIE (press) – double definition
19   L NEB (Scots word [in Ayr]  for bill, beak) + first letter of [beginning to] USE + A NEBULA (a liquid for spraying)
20     WISE (reference Ernie Wise, straight man in the comedy duo Morecambe and Wise) WISE (showing good judgment)
21   O Anagram of TYRES (remoulded) OYSTER (a source of advantage)
25 M   S (society) + (MAR[(damage] + DNA [genetic material]) reversed (returned) SANDRA (woman’s name)
27   A GALLERY excluding (wanting) GALL (assurance) AERY
28     TO (against) containing (accepting) an anagram of (foreign) RICE TERCIO (an infantry regiment, soldiers)
29     CU (copper) + R (right) CUR (one deserving contempt)
32   N APE (clumsy person, North American usage) reversed (retreated) + L (left) NEPAL
33 D   Anagram of (misplaced) TRUST containing AD (commercial) STUART (royal house of Stuart)
35   A I (Italy, intenational vehicle registration) + ON (supported) IONA (Scottish island)
36 C   F (female) + CELT (one from Ireland, say) FELT (was emotionally affected)
37 H   Hidden word inside …. (not everything) in INSIDE THEN TELL DETENTE (relaxation of strained relations))
38     Anagram of (possibly) NUDIST excluding the last letter (removing his last item) T NIDUS (a place where anything is origimnated, starting-place)


No. Extra Letter Missing Letter Wordplay Solution
2     TAWDRY (worthless and showy) excluding T (time) AWDRY (reference Reverend W Awdry, author of the Thomas the Tank Engine books)
3   I NOTE (reputation) reversed (rising) containing (accepted) DI (detective inspector, investigator) EDITION (reference ‘limited edition)
5     DENS (offices) containing (in) OZ (Australia) The clue indicated ‘offices in Australia’, but also said ‘quite the opposite’ to give ‘Australia in offices’ DOZENS (many)
6 T   IL (‘the’ in Italian) + NAT (nationalist) reversed (upset) ILAN (man’s name, guy)
7     FORE (a warning cry in golf) + BEAR (animal) FOREBEAR (one higher up the ancestral tree – I’ve always found ‘ancestral trees’ rather strange in that they apparently grow downwards.  Most trees I know tend to grow up from their roots.)
8     Hidden reversed (heads north) word (in) NAIRN IAN (man’s name, he.  Also possible reference to Ian and Nairn both being Scottish))
9   O CREEL (fish container) with the last letter (at last) L moving up the word. CREOLE (native)
11 P   CAP (international player) reversed (put up) + R (resistance) + E (European) ACRE (unit of measurement)
17     Anagram of (spoilt) CLASSY GAL LACY GLASS (an early form of pressed glass [e.g. a glass dish from some time back])
18 H   LATHE (an old division of Kent) containing EACH (every single one) LEACHATE (liquid, solution)
22     TAU (Greek character, old character) + NT (New Testament, books + ON (about) TAUNTON (Somerset town)
23     RES (residence) + POND (reference ‘pond’ measning Atlantic Ocean) RESPOND (half-pillar attached to a wall to support an arch)
24   E SETTER (I, Raich, the setter of the puzzle) excluding the last R (left unfinished) SETTEE (a single decked Mediterranean vessel)
26     DO (ditto, as before) + IT (drink, Italian vermouth)) + IT (drink again, doubled) DOITIT (in dotage, senile, past ones best
29     C (about) + RIB (to make fun of) CRIB (child’s bed)
30     AN (indefinite article) reversed (turned up) + N (name) + DU (French for ‘of the’) NANDU (rhea, or South American ostrich, bird)
31 L   MERLIN (magician) excluding the first letter (losing head) M ERIN (literary name for Ireland)
34     Hidden reversed (upflifting) (extract from) ST LUKE ULT (ultimate, last, like this final clue, briefly [abbreviation]))

6 Responses to “Inquisitor 1123 – Trendier Days by Raich”

  1. Mike Laws says:

    “Great wits” and “madness” are also close to each other in the grid.

  2. Hypnos says:

    Thought this was very enjoyable. Had heard of the poem but not the quote. Top half seemed much easier than bottom half and liked the way in which the title of the poem emerged from the extra letters about the same time as MADNESS appeared as an unclued entry. Favourite clues SETTEE and DOITIT.

  3. Simon Harris says:

    So few comments? I thought this was classic Inquisitor stuff – entertaining, educational and challenging yet not mind-boggling.

    My own knowledge of Dryden is nowhere, which made this solve more yet pleasing. In that way, it reminded me of Raich’s Larkin-themed Inquisitor a year or so ago.

    Brilliantly blogged as always, thanks Duncan.

  4. scarpia says:

    I totally agree Simon – classic stuff. Finished the puzzle and got the theme in 2 or 3 hours,but it took me longer than that to spot ‘artition’!
    Memo to self :- Must improve the legibility of my handwritng.

  5. Jim T says:

    Very enjoyable puzzle. Perfect level of difficulty, I thought.

  6. Raich says:

    Thanks, Duncan, for the superb blog and to all for their comments which are much appreciated.

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