Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1147: Conundrum by Nimrod

Posted by HolyGhost on October 20th, 2010


“Each clue yields a superfluous letter …” (alert: it might not be from the wordplay, but in the definition, or elsewhere?). These give a conundrum, three possible answers, and the initials of the ‘organisation’ that could supply the answer. Four pairs of contiguous cells are untinted, and ignored in the wordplay of relevant clues. Thirty appropriate cells in the completed grid are to be blacked out.
Fifty one clues – so the blog’ll take some time … but I have to solve the puzzle first!

Solved about a third of the clues on the first pass through (not bad for me), and then managed to fill in quite a lot of the top right, bottom right, and bottom left corners. There was enough evidence that the pairs of untinted cells read NO, and New York & Paris were emerging from the superfluous letters as two of the possible answers to the conundrum.

I struggled for a while to justify RAFT at 21a, looking for a Walter Scott term for “conveyance” (with an extra letter) until I realised that the superfluous letter was actually in the clue – amended to read “conveyance for water”. (There were three other similar cases where the extra letter wasn’t produced by the wordplay, but in the clue itself, all in my fairly barren top left quadrant.)

Meanwhile Peckham appeared to be the third possible answer to the conundrum, which then obviously had something to do with Only Fools and Horses. [A friend later informed me that “New York, Paris, Peckham” is written on the side of Del Boy Trotter’s Robin Reliant van.] The conundrum was “Where it all comes from is a mystery“, which proved to be a line from the opening theme of the TV show {thank you Google}, and the last three superfluous letters were TIT (=Trotters Independent Traders). Two lines from the closing lyrics are “NO INCOME TAX, NO VAT // NO MONEY BACK, NO GUARANTEE”, so it was now clear what was in the 30 cells to be blacked out.

VAT is in CRAVATS at 28d, INCOME TAX is in the middle row, and I could see that GUARANTEE would fit in row 3 (thus giving me a leg up with the top left area). One of the occurrences of NO was ‘down’ and two were ‘across’, just like the three items I’d found, so I looked for MONEY BACK on a diagonal, echoing the fourth NO – and then I found it going straight down in the penultimate column, so a trace of disappointment at the end. (Yes – I am hard to please.) But a fair amount of thematic material neatly embedded in the grid; and a second outing for OF&H: see IQ 98 – Favourite by Loda.

[XYZ]! = homophone

No. Answer Extra
1 PARSECS W WARS (=conflicts) in PECS (=pectoral muscles)
6 BRUTAL H RUTH (=OT book) in LAB (=Labour party) rev.
12 ABA E BE (=live) in AA (=Automobile Association =”Carmen”)
14 SAN MARINO R SR (=senior) + [AIRMAN]*
15 JAGUAR E JAG (=special carE) + [YOU ARE]! (=solver)
{extra letter in part of wordplay definition}
16 ANTE I AUNTIE (=BBC) – U(nion)
17 EEC T TEE (=peg) + C(harlie)
20 MIAOW L MI (=M1 =road) + LAW (=rules)
21 RAFT L Double definition
{extra letter in one definition: conveyance for waLter}
22 STREET C ST (=saint =Peter, say) around TREE (=Cash)
{extra letter in part of wordplay definition}
23 PARENT O PARE NOT (=don’t shave)
25 THIN M [HIT]*
{extra letter in definition: leMan}
28 COMET E MEET (=qualified) after CO(mpany) (=firm)
29 AXEL S AS (=when) + LEX (=law) rev.
30 BICORN F [FABRIC – A]* + N(ame)
31 HOCKEY R ROCK (=diamond, say) in HEY (=attention-seeker)
37 RUGBY M [BURY]* around MG
39 DERIVE I IE (=that is) in DRIVE (=approach)
41 IOU S SIOUX (=American Indians) – X (=ten)
42 EACH A EA (=river) + CHA (=tea)
43 SNATCH M MS (=manuscript) + NATCH (=of course, short for naturally)
44 OUTSTROKE Y [SO TUTOR]* + KEY (=locker)
45 EKE S [SEEK]*
46 TSETSE T Hidden: (je)T SET STE(reotypes)
47 POETISE E ÉTÉ (=summer, Fr) in POISE (=balance)
No. Answer Extra
1 PAJAMA R PAR (=standard) + JAM (=press) + A
2 ABACI Y A + BAY (=feature of coast) + CI (=Channel Islands =such as Jersey)
3 STUPOR N PUNTS (=propels boat) rev. + R(iver)
4 ESAU E Hidden: (hag)UE AS E(uropean) rev.
5 SNAP AT W TA (=thank you =cheers) + PAWNS (=little men) rev.
7 RAT-A-TAT Y AT + A (=one) in RATTY
{ref. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame}
9 TIE-IN R TIER (=row) + I (=1)
10 ANEMONE K [MAKE]* + (o)NE (=a ‘cropped’)
11 LOCAL P PAL (=friend) around LC (=letter of credit)
13 AGNATIC A CIA + AGA (=chief) around T(ime) rev.
23 PEONY I PONY (=£25) around IE (=that is)
24 EXEGETE S SEE around EX (=first wife) rev. + GET (=fetch)
26 HIDEOUS P HIDE (=leather) + OPUS (=work)
27 NOSIEST E E (=Spain) + SIEST(a) (=afternoon sleep)
28 CRAVATS C ARC (=curve) rev. + V (=vide, see) + CATS (=jazz fans)
31 HIP-HOP K HI (=greeting) + KOP (=Liverpool fans) around PH (=public house)
32 KUWAIT H H[KU]! + WAIT (=delay action)
33 LYCHEE A Hidden: (p)LAY CHEE(rs)
34 IDIOT M IDIOM (=dialect) + T(wang)
35 BRUTE T BUTTER (=goat) with R(uns) earlier
38 BACKS I BACK (=help) + IS
40 KNEE T [E(ast) KENT]*

2 Responses to “Inquisitor 1147: Conundrum by Nimrod”

  1. Simon Harris says:

    Enjoyed this one, and made fairly swift progress once the penny dropped. In fact this was the first Inquisitor that I’ve finished completely unaided, so it was either an easy one, or my brain was on fire that day. I strongly suspect the former!

  2. kenmac says:

    Hi HG,
    Thanks for the explanation of 21a. I just couldn’t get it at all even though I knew that L was the extra letter. Now, of course, I’m kicking myself! 😉

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