Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1125 – Disaster by Schadenfreude

Posted by petebiddlecombe on May 19th, 2010


Solving time: about 1 hour

In this puzzle, which “depicts an historic event”, the gimmick is that “When the clue answers have been entered, some squares will be empty. In the final grid (in which all entries are real words) a different equal number of squares will be empty. Solvers must highlight what was dispatched and by what (12 squares in all)”.

The biggest puzzle at first was where the empty squares were – the top half of the grid was all completed without any reason to leave anything out, so I started to wonder whether the “empty” squares would contain O=zero or be groups of squares spelling out something like “nothing”. As I worked on the bottom half, I gradually realised that the empty squares were the central 9 ones in the bottom row of the grid. Some instinct or memory of previous puzzle gimmicks led me to look back at the top row, and there, in the corresponding 9 squares, was LUSITANIA – a liner sunk off the Irish coast by a German submarine attack in a WW1 incident (7 May 1915) which helped to persuade the USA to enter the war on the Allied side. All the down answers starting with the letters of LUSITANIA were still complete words if LUSITANIA was erased, and the complete down answers above the blank spaces were still words when the letters were added. The highlighting requirement depended for me on the meaning of “dispatched”. Initially I thought the liner had been dispatched as in “hatches, matches and dispatches”, so I was then looking for a SUB in the grid for the other 3 letters of the 12. During the fruitless search for it, I found UBOAT running from square 36 to 37, and then TORPEDO in a SE-NW diagonal line between squares 37 and 4, so “dispatched” had to mean “sent”. The theme turns out to be the reason for the puzzle’s blue grid colouring.

Overall, a well-constructed puzzle which would make a good introduction to this series.

The two sets of amended words are:


Across answers similarly affected: 1 TO(LU), 10 (A)YE, 46 DA(L), 47 (I)AGO

1 TOLU = (L,out)*
10 A=are,YE=you
14 SERO=rose*,ON
15 DIV3 = n an evil spirit of Persian mythology., O.R.= other ranks = ‘men’,C.E. = Church (of England)
19 EN = (printing) space, I=in,A,C=$100
20 EA(R)N – ean is Shakespearean for “to give birth to” = mother
22 PEAR=fruit,T=time – peart is a version of pert=saucy – though by my reading of Chambers, it’s dialect rather than archaic, as suggested by “old”
24 SALMANASER = (A real, S=square, man’s)* – a variant of salmanazar – one of those huge champagne bottles
26 ENVOYS – 2 defs, though “given to” as a link between them seems a tad iffy
27 IN TOTO – (not)* in I=one,TO=for
33 ERICS = more than one (blood-)fine – S=succeeded replaces A=America, in Erica=woman.
35 ESAU – A=one in rev. of USE=employment
38 C=compliance (Physics),ANON=soon
40 GENISTA = (stage in)* – some time wasted trying to fit an -IA ending.
41 THE,R.E.=(Royal) Engineers,SA=sex appeal =”it” – which I assume was the intention in the printed clue’s ‘… the “i” girl’.
42 MIR = rev. of (R=runs, I’m), IT=sex=”the other”, I=one
46 ‘D=had,A=acceleration
47 GO – rev. of O=of,G=golf (radio alphabet)
1 TESLA = slate*
2 L=length,ARVAL=of ploughed land
3 U=”you”,DO=cook
4 SCONE = (once,S=square)*
5 I,ON=forward
6 TOD=bush,D=deserted – the American showman is Mike Todd, a husband of Elizabeth Taylor
7 A=are,LIEN=right to retain,S=strangeness (Physics again)
8 NAVE = rev. of Evan = Welshman – nave2 is the hub of a wheel
9 I=Independent,NONE=no amount
10 A=advanced,TRIAL=examination
11 ELECT=chosen,R=rex=king,O=of,S=Sweden (IVR)
21 RATH=early,S=Southern
22 PENT – 2 defs
23 RATTA(n)=drumbeat,T=the
25 A(Y)US – fish in the plural
28 TAB=check=restaurant bill,I – tabi = a Japanese sandal
29 TIN(E)A
31 S(ENS=being)E(x)
32 ROSIN = (iron,S=sulphur)*
34 COR2=homer=Hebrew measure,N=”Simpson’s ultimate”
36 UNIO = molluscs – O=nothing for T=160 (medieval Roman numerals), in ‘unit’=one
37 TAI=’of Thailand’, NO=certainly not
39 ‘N=and,ED=educated

4 Responses to “Inquisitor 1125 – Disaster by Schadenfreude”

  1. Mike Laws says:

    I received a number of emails suggesting that “12 squares” should have been “14 squares” in the preamble, and simply replied that there was no mistake, without giving any further hints.

    When I first solved the puzzle, it didn’t even occur to me that “Lusitania” should be highlighted – since it had already been moved to the bottom, there wouldn’t have been any point in highlighting it as well, then U-BOAT and TORPEDO stood out quite readily.

    Thanks, Peter, for not assuming I’d introduced a mistake into an impeccable Schadenfreude puzzle!

  2. petebiddlecombe says:


    I’ve looked daft in public too many times to claim that a puzzle has a mistake in it without checking very carefully indeed. This counts double for things to be shaded in grids, which I often have trouble finding correctly.

  3. HolyGhost says:

    Top half solved very quickly, and LUSITANIA just jumped out. (Rows – or columns – with lots of bars are often a signal.) So I “sunk” the liner, which helped me complete the lower half. Spotted U-BOAT quite soon (more consecutive bars), followed by TORPEDO. The boat sunk in 18 minutes, but it took a little while longer to finish a fairly easy, yet engaging, puzzle.

    Agree that there’s a typo in 41a (“i” for “it”), and, on reflection, with Pete’s reading at 22a (dialect vs. the obsolete PIERT).

  4. scarpia says:

    I thought this was a super puzzle.Like everyone else I solved most of the top half and was curious as to where the blank squares would turn out to be.
    Was impressed that after the sinking we were still left with real words.

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