Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1140 – Hard Going from Phi

Posted by kenmac on September 1st, 2010


Inquisitor 1140 Grid

This puzzle has an interesting preamble – “a significant minority of clues contain a misprint …” First thought is “What on Earth does that mean?” It could be anywhere between 1 and 16 clues. Also, all answers (except the minority) have to be encoded before entry and the encoding for each answer is potentially different – having to move forward a number of letters in the alphabet. So it seems that I’m going to have to cold solve clues until such time as I encounter one that doesn’t need to be encoded. Aha! 28d looks like it has a misprint, poe -> pie and the answer is FLAN. Once this is entered, I can start fitting the encoded words around it so my completed grid starts to spread from the bottom up. Unfortunately, at this stage, the cider seemed to take hold and I made a mistake that left me with a clash in the grid. Luckily, the next morning, by the cold light of day, I spotted my error and was able to finish the grid.

I enjoyed this puzzle as all the bits and pieces were slowly revealed. It turns out that the “significant minority” is 2 and the misprint in each case was PIE, leading to the corrected letters PI. The number of letters to be advanced was equivalent to the individual digits of PI to 31 decimal places, so the first advancement was 3, then 1, then 4 etc. PI to 31 digits being: 3.1415926535897932384626433832795. Thus the central square had to be filled with the Greek letter Π.

The last thing to fall into place was the title – I interpreted this as H(ard) going from P(H)I = PI.

Thanks Phi for a nice interesting tricky puzzle.

Surely 10a should have been marked as two words?? And I had trouble with 24 and 32 across and 4 down :-(

No. Answer Advancement/Misprint Entry Definition Wordplay
1 ARISTOCRACY 3 DULVWRFUDFB noblemen ACTOR IS (anag: sporting)+RACY (spirited)
9 TART P(oint) TART lie -> pie [S]TART (begin) with S(econd) dismissed
10 SHOT PUT 1 TIPUQVU Olympic event SHOT (go)+UP (back)+T[able]
12 TAUTED 4 XEYXIH [Scots] tangled UTE (van) inside TAD (a little)
14 EGG-FLIP 1 FHHGMJQ drink EGG (encourage)+F(ellow)+LIP (lap)
15 MBIRA 5 RGNWF musical instrument B(illion) inside MIRA (star)
16 ZOEAL 9 IXNJU of larval stages O (nothing) inside ZEAL (enthusiasm)
18 VIVAT 2 XKXCV expression of approval V (versus: against)+I (one)+VAT ([value added] tax)
21 BRACE 6 HXGIK two? B(ook)+RACE (people)
22 QUEEN 5 VZJJS card? QUEE[R] (eccentric-R(ight))+N(ote)
24 DISCO 3 GLVFR nightclub Not sure :-( It seems to be DISCO[ver] (find) but I can’t see where
“extremely” comes into it.
27 CREAMER 5 HWJFRJW [American] milk substitute C(ompany)+RE (having)+AMER(ican). AMERICAN appears to be doing double
29 SEA FOX 8 AMINWF shark A+F(ine)+O(ld) inside SEX (oo, err!)
30 ASHRAMS 9 JBQAJVB [religious] retreats A (one)+R(eligious) inside SHAMS (pretends). RELIGIOUS appears to be
doing double duty.
31 OLID 7 VSPK rank I (one) inside OLD (accustomed)
32 ANAESTHETIC 9 JWJNBCQNCRL theatre item? No real idea :-( All I can see is THE (article)
No. Answer Advancement/Misprint Entry Definition Wordplay
1 AQUEOUS 3 DTXHRXV Covering water OU (African man) inside A+QUES[t] (without end)
2 SYCEE 2 UAEGG silver money CE (church [of England]) inside SYE (strain)
3 SQUAT 3 VTXDW illegal dwelling S(pecial)+QUA[in]T (-IN (not fashionable))
4 JAZZY 8 RIHHG displaying flamboyance? JA (certainly in German)+Z[one]+Z[one]+Y (unknown) but I can’t see
what “for that” has to do with anything :-(
5 BLADED 4 FPEHIH with knives LAD (boy) inside BED (apparently sleeping). Nice clue, made me smile.
6 OONA 6 UUTG girl [colorad]O ON A[ircraft] (hidden: passing through)
7 BOOKLETS 2 DQQMNGVU brochures BOO (disapprove)+K(ing)+LET’S (shall we?)
8 VOLK 6 BURQ people V(ery)+O(ld)+L(ine)+K (Cambodia IVR)
11 RUFFE 4 VYJJI fish RUFF[l]E (ripple-L(ake))
13 SKUGGING 3 VNXJJLQJ [Scots] sheltering UGG (a brand of boots) inside S(econd)+KING
17 RHONCHI 3 UKRQFKL bronchial sounds RHO (Greek character)+N(ew)+CHI (Greek character)
19 CROFT 8 KZWNB farm CR[op] (half of)+OFT (often)
20 SPONGY 3 VSRQJB soft S(ulphur)+PONGY (giving off a smell)
23 RHYTA 2 TJAVC drinking cups TRAY+H(ot) (anag: battered)
25 EMBOG 7 LTIVN sink E{nglish)+MB (doctor)+GO (reversed: overturned)
26 WONGI 9 FXWPR Oz (Australian) chat NOW (currently) (reversed: sent up)+GI (US soldier)
27 CREE 5 HWJJ Native American C(aught)+REE (bird)
28 FLAN I FLAN poe -> pie L(ine) inside FAN (enthusiast)

13 Responses to “Inquisitor 1140 – Hard Going from Phi”

  1. HolyGhost says:

    Similar experience to Pete, but I started top left with TART + intersections. (Also solved FLAN early on, so had PI in mind, and then realised that that could explain the title …)

    I don’t have the puzzle to hand, but from memory:
    DISCO at 24a comes from DISCO(very), i.e. “find” as a noun, and “very” = “extremely”;
    “theatre item” at 32a refers to “operating theatre” but can’t remember enough of the rest of the clue to elucidate further.

  2. kenmac says:

    24a Find extremely overlooked nightclub?
    I can see it now: DISCOVER[y] (find) (extremely overlooked: missing last letter)

    32a Article following artistic trends covering theatre item?

    (And … who’s Pete? ;-))

  3. HolyGhost says:

    Sorry Ken – I thought that Pete B. had blogged this one (didn’t read the strapline).

    Surely 24a is: DISCO[very] (=find), extremely overlooked: missing VERY.

    The “article” in 32a is AN, and AESTHETIC = “following artistic trends”.

  4. Hi of Hihoba says:

    I thought this was quite amazing! How on earth did Phi construct the grid?
    Unusually for me I was able to complete it without a dictionary or my laptop as I was in hospital at the time with a lot of time to spare. I did have help on WONGI, and my daughter’s iPhone supplied Pi to a million digits during visiting time!

  5. Simon Harris says:

    I thought this was a work of art from a great setter; Phi’s barred puzzles are always a real challenge and yet always fair. This one kind of just kept on giving as one discovered more facets to it. Top stuff, and well blogged too, sir.

  6. Hi of Hihoba says:

    By the way, did you notice that the misprinted P was in the place of the decimal Point and the I at the end, so even they had significance?

  7. HolyGhost says:

    … and the next digit in the decimal expansion is 0, so had FLAN (the final entry) been ‘encoded’ it would have been, simply, FLAN.

  8. Jake says:

    Great stuff,

    my codes and ciphers book helped here with the shifting. Obvious P(h)I h removed by the title. Luckily doing the EV sometimes the title comes into play, as it did here.

    Nice one PHI, or in this case PI.

  9. kenmac says:

    Thanks Simon.
    Hi, I blogged the P as P(oint) but I didn’t see the significance of the I. Are you implying that there is some significance?

  10. twencelas says:

    Must admit this was my favourite puzzle for many weeks. Though I did guess the theme before answering a single clue. Phi’s puzzles are always a pleasure.

  11. Chris Weston says:

    A very satisfying and amazing puzzle and amazingly satisfying to complete a PI puzzle after being beaten by the first pi many years ago!

  12. Mike Laws says:

    So was everyone else. ‘More or Less!’ by Duck appeared on 18/4/98, and no correct solutions were received.

    The problem was that the shape of the Greek character pi needing identification in the diagram was wrong. The ‘legs’ of the intended character went diagonally down in opposite directions from the mid-point of the line across the top – it looked more like a see-saw than anything else – and no other hints were available as to the nature of what was to be identified, unlike Phi’s meticulously conceived and designed crossword.

  13. Chris Weston says:


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