Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1138 – Up and Down by Nutmeg

Posted by duncanshiell on August 18th, 2010


The preamble told us that in each column, one letter from the first answer is displaced to the top row of the grid, and one from the second answer to the bottom row, to form a thematic item (two words) at 1 across (top row) and two thematic items at 42 across (bottom row).  Four possible causes of such movement (though not the latest) are symmetrically placed in the grid and must be highlighted.  We were also told that two answers were abbreviations.

Two useful pieces of information gleaned from the instructions were that the first letter of the top down answers had to be entered in row 2 and the last letters of the bottom down answers had to be entered in the second bottom row as you can’t ‘displace’ the first and last letters of these answers to their correct positions.

I concentrated on the across clues first as the answers to these could be entered normally.  I also solved a number of the downs which began to restrict the options for the entries in the top and bottom rows.  I got the inkling of VOLCANO in the top row and then it all began to fall into place.

The top row resolved to VOLCANIC ASHES (I didn’t do the previous week’s Inquisitor so I didn’t have a déjà vu feeling at seeing ASHES again).  The bottom row resolved to TOURISTS and JUMBO, both affected by the recent ash cloud from ICELAND which was the answer at 24 across.

The four items to be highlighted in the grid were the four volcanoes – COTOPAXI (Row 3, Columns 6 to 13), ST HELENS (Row 11, Columns 1 to 8), FUJI (Row 4, Columns 2 to 5) and ETNA (Row 10, Columns 9 to 12).  I got JUMBO before TOURISTS and for a time I was toying with HERCULES as the other thematic item in the bottom row and VESUVIUS as the lower 8 letter volcano, but not surprisingly, it didn’t help.

I was very lucky with the ash cloud in April as I was working in Riyadh for three weeks and came home on my booked flight which was the first Riyadh – London flight for nearly a week.  A colleague spent an extra six days in Riyadh as he was originally booked on the first flight to be hit by the cloud.  As I was due to move house from the South of England to the South of Scotland very soon after the flight, I was beginning to get a teensy bit worried.  Many years ago I drove close to Mount ST HELENS soon after an eruption had deposited ash in a number of local towns.  I haven’t had the pleasure of trips to COTOPAXI, FUJI or ETNA.

This was an enjoyable puzzle that took a bit of time to unravel.  As usual, I learnt some new words – PERSIC, REELMEN and ENACTURE for example, among the acrosses.  I liked the different take on EDMUND [SPENSER].  It took me a while to parse DOMAIN until I realised that ‘function initially’ was an instruction to put DO in front of MAIN

I assume the title refers to the fact that the ash going UP kept the planes DOWN on the ground.


No. Wordplay Entry
14 PROGRAMME (broadcast)  excluding (in need of) PRO (professional) GRAMME (unit)
15 (FA [Football Association; sports administrators] + C [caught]) contained in (in) DEED (act) DEFACED (sullied)
16 LO-CAL (low in calories; informal term interpreted as meaning ‘not offering much sustenance’) LOCAL (public house)
17 A MOTTO (device) containing ER (queen) reversed (keeping back) AMORETTO (lover)
18 EX (former) + SLOT (channel) reversed (on return) EXTOLS (acclaims)
19 PERSIL (detergent) excluding (not) L + C (about) PERSIC (Persian; Middle Eastern)
20 REEL (dance) + MEN (crew) REELMEN  (members of Australian surf life saving teams)
21 ACE (expert) containing (pocketing) N (note) ACNE (spots)
24 ICELAND (thematic answer relating to the source of the most recent air traffic problem with volcanic ash) ICELAND
28 MENSA (group for people with high IQs) excluding the first letter (topping) M ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association which provided entertainments for the armed forces during and, for a time, after the Second World War)
29 SUBJECT (prone) SUBJECT (patient) double definition
32 Hidden word  (only in part) in CONSIDERED MUNDANE EDMUND  (reference Edmund Spenser, beloved of barred crossword setters, for his rather obscure vocabulary)
34 RESIT (repeat test) containing (bringing in) S (second) RESIST (counter)
35 E (earl) + (C [cold] contained in [in] NATURE [essence]) ENACTURE (Shakespeare’s word for fulfilment; achievement)
39 TOILET (Ladies Toilet) excluding the final letter (not quite enough) T TOILE (a thin cotton or linen dress material)
40 TEASERS (ones who mock) TEASERS (puzzles) double definition
41 TR (translator) containing (adopted) ERSE (historic language of the West Hiohlands) TERSER (less flowery)


ABLE (up to ikt)

No. Shifted Letter Wordplay Answer Entry
1 V G (fiinal letter of [finally] of OUTDOING) + LOVER (Casanova) GLOVER (specialist tailor) VGLOER
2 O PROOF (witness) exlcuding (dropped) P (quietly) ROOF (top) OROF
3 L A + CUT (proportion) + ELY (diocese [see] of Ely) ACUTELY (with perception) LACUTEY
4 C JO (sweetheart) contained in (put in) (anagram of [dodgy] CLAIM) + A (about) MAJOLICA (antique [16th c Italian] pottery) CMAJOLIA
5 A MALI (member of the gardener caste in India) MALI (African country) AMLI
6 N (N [new] + C [clubs]) contained in EASE (leisure) ENCASE (line) NECASE
7 I DO (function) + MAIN (chief) (‘initially’ means that ‘function’ comes first) DOMAIN (department) IDOMAN
8 C Anagram of (version of a) A POETIC ECTOPIA (an abnormal displacement of parts; problem with something out of place) CETOPIA
9 A FORE (warning [on a golf course]) + MAN (employee) FOREMAN (gaffer) AFOREMN
10 S APES (mimics; parrots) APES (animals) double definition SAPE
11 H CHATS (birds) CHATS (rabbits, in the sense of talks) double definition HCATS
12 E Anagram of (damaged) SIXTEEN EXTINES (pollen membranes) EEXTINS
13 S Anagram of (out) of DIES contains (on borders) (O [old] + CE [church]) DIOCESE (extent of a Bishop’s jurisdiction, perhaps the furthermost church in the diocese is most susceptible to falling congregations and dying out [?]) SDIOCEE
21 U JUST (fair) found in anagram of (busy) ROAD ADJUSTOR (an organ that determines behaviour in response to stimuli) ADJSTORU
22 T (SET [group] reversed [rising]) contained in (in) MEET (sports event) MEETEST (most qualified) MEEESTT
23 O END NOTE (one way of describing the last note in a bar [of music]) ENDNOTE (an explanatory note at the end of a chapter or volume) ENDNTEO
25 I TENSILE (stretchable) as spoken by Spooner would be CENTILE CENTILE (statistical measure) CENTLEI
26 S Anagram of (upset) RUDENESS (exclduing the final letter (endless) E ENDUSER (client) ENDUERS
27 M EG (for example; say) reversed (reversing) MINIS (cars) GEMINIS (Some people born in June are born under the start sign of Gemini [21 May to 20 June]) GEINISM
29 T STERNE (reference Laurence Sterne, author) with E (east) changed to S (South; change of direction) STERNS (backs) SERNST
30 S US (American) reversed (brought up) + REST (lie) SUREST (most reliable) URESTS
31 O TOTTER (one who retrieves items from dustbins) TOTTER (rock) TTTERO
33 U AU (PAUL, excluding the first and last letters [skinned]) + HAM (part of leg), all reversed (climbing) MAHUA (a kind of butter-tree) MAHAU
36 R CRIES (mews) excluding (leaving) I (one) CRES (abbreviation [small] for crescent; a crescent can be defined as a terrace) CESR
37 J J (first letter of JUNE [June 1st]) + ETE (French for summer) JETÉ (a leap in ballet) ETEJ
38 B ELBA (Island in the Mediterranean Sea) reversed (rising) ABLE (up to it) ALEB

4 Responses to “Inquisitor 1138 – Up and Down by Nutmeg”

  1. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Duncan.
    A very enjoyable puzzle,which turned out to be more difficult(for me) than I envisaged from the preamble.
    Amazing how many permutations there are by just moving 1 letter!
    Found the top half a lot easier than the bottom half and it took me a while to twig 24 across.
    I also liked the misdirection of 32 across.

  2. Simon Harris says:

    Thanks Duncan, your post was as rigorous and helpful as ever. That volcano really caught the imagination of setters, didn’t it! I’m sure we’ve seen several volcano-themed puzzles over the last few months, including an Indy that I blogged that even had “Eyjafjallajokull” as a Nina! I didn’t spot it, of course.

  3. Mike Laws says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle – including checking spelling for the solution notes:

    “Tourists and a Jumbo, among other people and jets, were grounded by volcanic ashes from Eyjafjallajökull, in Iceland, recently. Four volcanoes were hidden in the diagram: Cotopaxi, Fuji, Etna and St Helen’s.”

    Apparently “Eyjafjallajökull glacier” would be like “PIN number” in that “jökull” means “glacier” in Icelandic.

  4. nmsindy says:

    That’s a nice PDM moment, Mike.

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