Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1150 – Dry by Phi

Posted by petebiddlecombe on November 11th, 2010


Solving time: about 30 mins, except for Googling to confirm the theme.

This was an easy Inquisitor puzzle, with vocabulary that wasn’t too obscure. There were four themewords clued by wordplay only, each entered with one letter removed. The four omitted letters spelled out “an item, the absence of which from any of the four answers has been described using three of the five adjectives forming the remaining unclued answers. The last two adjectives form a slightly unusual but relevant stage name.” If that sounds horribly complicated, use Biddlecombe’s rule of barred grid preambles: The more fiendish the instructions sound, the easier the puzzle turns out to be. I’m sure you can think of counter-examples, but I’ll bet that it works more than half the time.

The thematic answers all turned out to be places to drink, and the four-letter item was BEER. The adjectives (fairly easy to spot once you read the instructions again and remembered that all 5 unclued entries were adjectives) seemed to be DREAR, LONESOME, MORBID and DUSTY, plus one that I guessed as SLUM. Googling this set found “There’s nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear, As to stand in a bar of a pub with no beer. … Written by Gordon Parsons, Recorded by Slim Dusty.” So a quick correction of SLUM completed the job.

A good Inquisitor for beginners, and a pleasant solve for old hands. Here’s the full song for any young innocents who have never heard it.

I’ve only included some of the plain cryptic clues – ask if one of my omissions stumped you. With the answers below, the rest should be “daily paper” material.

Thematic (wordplay only) – missing letter / answer
B B(A, RR = Rolls-Royce)OOM
R HOSTELRY – (rev. of lets = services, R = rector) in HOY = Scottish Island
10 ENTIA = things (Latin) – hidden word
12 BE(TEEM1=bear)E – beteeme = allow is Shak and Spens.
13 AU(CEP)S – an auceps is a hawker (no, not that kind)
14 I’M,(g)AUM – gaum2 is the dialect “heed” – and gorm is another spelling, explaining “gormless”
22 STATELINES – LINES = products in assets* or actually in tastes* – see the first comment
25 O,STENT2 = assessment – ostent is the necessary Shakespearean word
1 BE(C=colt,ASS)E – bécasse = French for woodcock
2 O.(NE)U.P.
3 (n)OTIC(e)
5 (d)RUBS
7 TREMOLANTS = (torment, La, S)* – tremolants are “wavering sounds” for which I’m afraid YouTube failed to provide a video good enough to link to. (You can find some organ anorak clips for “tremulant” showing the mechanism or the sound, but not both in a helpful way)
8 A.B.,EAR – abear is an obsolete term for “behave”
15 (j)UMPS
19 AN=one(I SEE),D=day – aniseed can mean anisette, which is a cordial
23 SNOOT = snob – (guessable from snooty) – rev. of toons = animations
25 (g)ONER
26 ERR(and)S = I didn’t understand this when solving, but managed to think of {commission = errand} just now, and avoid asking for help.

9 Responses to “Inquisitor 1150 – Dry by Phi”

  1. Hi of Hihoba says:

    In 22A there is an error – confirmed by Mike Laws. STATELINESS is not an anagram of assets round lines – too many Ss and not enough Ts!

    Phi submitted a corrected clue (below) which failed to find its way into the final version.

    “Impressive stuff, products accommodating various tastes? On the contrary”

  2. Ali says:

    This was one of those solve-nearly-everything-and-then-worry-about-the-theme puzzles for me. I got a bit held up by guessing that HOSTEL[R]Y was actually one of the adjectives (as HOSTILE), but eventually got there in a slightly different way by Googling ‘stage name slim’. The name is familiar, as in a fuzzy way is the song. I’m sure I heard it while backpacking around Australia!

  3. nmsindy says:

    This was a great fun puzzle, thanks, Phi.

    Brought back very precise memories of the song and where I was then, tho I did not know who the singer was.

  4. John H says:

    Coincidentally (maybe not, knowing the editor…) this appeared on the day of the quarterly Listener crossword gathering at PARSONS Green, where the only thing that was DRY was the humour. 8 ales and 4 ciders to choose from!!

  5. HolyGhost says:

    Something of a stroll in the park (but not as short as Pete B’s).

    With all the normal clues done, I turned to the ‘specials': TAVERN suggested itself, closely followed by HOSTELRY. The song “A pub with no beer” came to mind, and soon I had all the unclued adjectives – but not the singer (eschewing Google, for the moment …)

    SLIM Whitman recorded “A LONESOME Heart”, as did Memphis SLIM with “LONESOME”, but neither fitted the rubric – eventually I resorted to Google, which delivered DUSTY SLIM.

  6. Hi of Hihoba says:

    I was held up by omitting the Z from BOOZER instead of the E, and trying to find ZERO related adjectives until the penny dropped.
    How did we manage before Google? How else could we have found Slim Dusty?

  7. Duncan Shiell says:

    This was an Inquisitor I didn’t do because of pressure of other things.

    However, I have to admit I have a Slim Dusty triple album entitled ‘Pubs, Trucks and Plains’ which I picked up when visiting Alice Springs a few years ago.

    The first CD – ‘Pubs’ has two versions of ‘A Pub With No Beer’ – Track 1 is the 1979 version and Track 20 is the original 1957 version. I am sure there are some pourists who could debate the merits of each he two versions, but they both sound fine to me.

  8. nmsindy says:

    Re Hi’s query at 6, I’ve found Guinness Books of Hit Singles v useful for dealing with pop songs of the past. V well indexed too.

  9. scarpia says:

    Thanks Pete.
    My quickest Inquistor solve ever – not surprised to read the opening words of your blog!
    Good fun though,and I knew of Slim Dusty (through my job in a record shop) but my knowledge of him must pale into insignificance alongside Duncan – a triple CD! :)
    I guess he was more popular in Australia than the U.K.

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