Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1126: Area Code by Ikela

Posted by kenmac on May 27th, 2010


Pretty easy going at first. I had the grid (with the exception of the four thematics) filled in about an hour. The thematics, however, proved a little troublesome until the penny dropped.

The biggest problem with the thematics was that they had to be cold solved as the grid entry was to be encoded.

The first thematic I got was 10 (ILFRACOMBE.) After a lot of hunting around looking to see what’s special about Ilfracombe and coming up with nothing much (with apologies to Ilfracombe residents), I forced myself to start solving the other thematics. 31 looked like it wanted to start with OK, making a guess that we were probably looking for towns, I started a search for 10 letter towns beginning with OK. I could only find OKEHAMPTON. Aha, Ilfracombe and Okehampton are both in Devon, the title is Area Code, I could be on to something.

At this point I started working on the code. From the first and third letters of 10, I could tell that the keyword must contain IG and F _ _ T and from the second and third letters of 31, K _A and E _ _ H.  A bit more research brought forth BUCKFASTLEIGH – woo-hoo! a13-letter Devon town with no repeating letters. This means that the code is: BUCKFASTLEIGHDJMNOPQRVWXYZ.

Thematic entries original and encoded:

No. Entry Definition Wordplay
1 AUSSIE Victorian perhaps IS (rev: recollected) inside A(merican)+USE (employment)
5 HERESY Contrary belief HER+E[s]S[a]Y (oddly)
10 GITYILYXEQ ILFRACOMBE (Thematic: Devon town) FRAIL (anag: unusually) + B(ook) inside COME (arrive)
11 FANGED With real teeth F(ellow) + N(inety) inside AGED
12 ALEPH First of traditional series ALE (beer)+PH (public house)
13 ELITE Pick E(xpand)+LITE (low calorie)
16 STRADIOT Horseman DARTS (rev: back)+IOT[a] (letter from abroad without A)
18 PAVO Stars V(amp) inside OAP (rev: recalled)
20 MORPHO Butterfly MORPH (transform image of)+O(rdinary)
21 AJOWAN Plant A(mateur)+JO[t] (to make a note of)+WAN (pale and sickly)
24 IGOR Prince [r]IGOR[ously]
25 POLTROON Coward PLOT (anag: twist)+ROON (thread)
28 TANKA Japanese poem T(unes)+ANKA (Paul Anka)
29 LYART in Scotland, Grey L(arge)+RAY (rev: about)+[caugh]T
30 ERENOW Before this time ONER (expert) inside WE (all rev: backing)
OK (agreed)+EH (what)+AMP (current)+TON (fashion)
32 THREAT Kind of ultimatum H(otel) inside TREAT (negotiate)
33 GAY-YOU Narrow boat GAY (merry)+YOU (second person)
No. Entry Definition Wordplay
1 AGNESI Mathematician (Maria Gaetana
IS+ENG(ineer)+A (rev: rising)
2 STAIRFOOT Level at the bottom OO (goalless draw) inside AT FIRST (anag: upset)
3 SYNTAX Grammatical structure [solzhenit]SYN TAX[ing]
4 ELEA Old colony E(ast)+LEA (open country)
5 HYDROMEL Mead OLD RHYME (anag: cracking up)
6 EXACTOR One claiming title, perhaps EX (retired)+ACTOR (thespian)
7 RELY Bank RE[al]LY (heartless)
8 SZPJVHJOK AXMINSTER (Thematic: Devon town) AX (American cut)+MIN[i]STER
9 YAH-BOO Defiant expression OH BOY A (anag: staggeringly)
14 LTYJGDYIH TAVISTOCK (Thematic: Devon town) A inside TV (box)+I (single)+STOCK (set of items for sale)
15 TAPHONOMY Study of fossils AT (rev: upset)+O(ld)+M(ale) inside PHONY (fraud)
17 INNOCENT Blameless INN (hotel)+O[rganise]+CENT (change in some places)
19 NAPHTHA Distillate that’s inflammable) PANT+HH (very hard) (anag: manoeuvering)+A
21 AIGLET Anything dangling GALE IT (anag: battered)
22 FRANZY Cross (in some places) A(ustralia)+NZ (New Zealand) inside FRY (Elizabeth Fry)
23 YNAMBU Large exotic bird MANY (rev: turning up)+BU[s] (coach)
26 BRAE Bank of (in) Scotland BRA[v]E (V(ictor)’s out)
27 BRIG US jail B (second class)+RIG (equipment)

3 Responses to “Inquisitor 1126: Area Code by Ikela”

  1. Quixote says:

    Many years ago I produced a Playfair puzzle for Crossword with BUCKFASTLEIGH as the code word and four six-letter Devon places encoded. Much earlier than that, I discovered, Ximenes had used the same code word in a competition puzzle. As a Devon lad, I was very pleased to see this old idea recycled with a new twist.

  2. RayFolwell says:

    The first thematic we got was AXMINSTER, so we spend some time thinking that the theme might be ‘carpets’.

  3. HolyGhost says:

    Like RayF, AXMINSTER and ‘carpets'(?) came first, but ILFRACOMBE scotched that one. Had three of the four thematics and was working on the keyword when TAVISTOCK hit me – and it all became very simple (but only after having gone back to the near complete puzzle over a period of a day or so).

    Quite a challenge, and different from those of late. (Didn’t like “really” for “certainly” at 7d that much; but OO for “goalless draw” at 2d produced an appreciative groan – last time out it was clued as “spectacles”.)

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