Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1154, Belt up by Meissa

Posted by Hihoba on December 8th, 2010


At first glance the rubric seemed pretty complicated, involving words entered normally, as anagrams and in unlocated places in the grid. A quick look at the “Unlocated” clues gave me AIT for the first one. (I am attending beginners Spanish classes and we have just done “the family” – TIA is spanish for aunt!) No others sprang out, so I started on the normal clues and soon made inroads into the bottom right hand corner.

As I continuued, a place to insert AIT appeared and there seemed to be a number of three-letter unclued locations, so a second attack on the unlocated ones yielded AWE, ERG, EWE, ION, ROC, TUN and UNI and places for these appeared as solving continued. I solved all the clued lights before starting on the theme.

An initial guess at “Belt up” having something to do with Orion’s belt (being “up” in the sky) was rewarded by finding ( The Wiki page is here!) that the stars in the belt are named ALNITAK, ALNILAM and MINTAKA. These were entered unmodified in the diagram. Wiki also listed BETELGEUSE, RIGEL, SAIPH and BELLATRIX as the principal stars in the Orion constellation. SAIPH went in unmodified.

So the three anagram entries were BETELGEUSE, BELLATRIX and RIGEL.

One of the unlocated clues mentioned the word Cross – LIGER is a cross between lion and tiger and an anagram of RIGEL. However, there were four clues outstanding and only two entries to connect them, so the entries must be two words. 1A was BETELGEUSE which is SEGUE + BETEL, while BELLATRIX is EXTRA + BILL. So that was that part over.

Two other (minor) stars were mentioned in Wiki, HATSYA and MEISSA. After some time searching for either of these hidden in the diagram, Meissa rang a bell. The setter! (Finding EDDIE in the grid aroused suspicion concerning the identity of Meissa!) The first letters of the entries in the diagram correspond approximately to their positions in the constellation, and MEISSA is a star in Orion’s head, so the setter’s name should be highlighted above the diagram. Finally ORION should be entered as the overall theme below the diagram.

Not too difficult, but vastly entertaining and instructive.

About three hours to finish – much of it thinking and reading time!

Here are the stars and “Unlocated” answers in the grid.

 8   ON END  Continually: ONE (joke) + N(o) D(ate) 
 10  LUXOR  Archaeological site: UX in LOR!
 11  STAIDNESS  Sobriety: D(uke) in STAINES + S
 14  ORDAIN  Establish: ORD (point) + A (one) + IN (elected)
 16  STEARIN  Solid fat: SIN (pity) round TEAR (rage)
 17  NERVE  Audacity: ERVEN (plots) with N (knight) first
 20  HAIRY  Risky: Esau (22) was an hairy man!
 21  REAL ALE  Traditional tipple: RE (on) + [EL AL (airline) + A(merican)] reversed
 25  RUN LOW  Near exhaustion: RUN (series of performances) + LOW (depressed)
 27  GARIBALDI  GI round A + RIBALD (licentious)
 28  SANCTITUDE  Blessed state: [UN DICTATES]*
 1  SO-SO  Tolerable: OS (seaman) in SO (note)
 2  ENTREE   Course: ENT (hospital department) + EER reversed 
 3  EDDIE  A man’s here: ED + DIE
 4  TEST  International: SET reversed + T(ense)
 5  ELSE  Otherwise: EISEL is an old word for vinegar, bit the clue is not quite right. Needs a word for anagram rather than “laid-up” which I took to mean reversed.
 6  ROJI  Garden design (in Japan): J(apan) in ROI (often Louis). Japan serves a dual purpose here
 7  GRANARY  Storehouse: [ANGRY AR(ab)]*
 9  ANNONA  Describing fruits: AN + ANON reversed
 12  ADRENALIN  Increases (blood) pressure: LANE reversed in [DRAIN]*
 13  BATMAN  Double meaning.
 15  AVAILE  Spenserian word for lower: AVE round AIL
 16  SMIKE  Dickensian character: hidden
 17  NEAREST  First of those approaching: EARNEST with the N promoted
 18  ILORIN  Nigerian city (good old Google): [RELIGION minus EG]*
 19  ERODED  Being eaten: ROD in DEE reversed
 20  HUBLI  Indian city (Google again!): HUB + LI(t)
 22  ESAU  Cheated brother: S(on) in EAU (Uganda)
 23  AGHA  Commander: hidden (= group of insiders – nice clue)
 24  LAIN  Remained (lie = remain): Not good at psychiatrists, but I suppose this refers to (R.D.) LAIN(g)
26  WIRE  Information from NY: W(ith) + IRE
   AIT  Island: TIA (Spanish aunt) reversed
   AWE  Wonder: A(bout) + WE
   BETEL  Nut: BET (lay) + EL (railroad)
   BILL  Double meaning
   ERG  Unit of work: ERG(o)
   EWE  Sheep: sounds like you
   EXTRA  Double meaning
   ION  Atomic physics: (l)ION
   LIGER  Cross: LI(n)GER
   ROC  Fabulous bird: COR reversed
   SEGUE  Carry on without interruption: EG in SUE (archaic for court)
   TUN  Cask: NUT reversed
   UNI  College: UNI(t)

7 Responses to “Inquisitor 1154, Belt up by Meissa”

  1. aloo2 says:

    I had ‘I ORION’ highlighted, as the sword on Orion’s Belt. I was, however, never confident about it.

  2. Hi of Hihoba says:

    I hadn’t noticed that occurrence of ORION! I think my explanation is more probably correct. I noticed that the wording of the rubric very carefully avoided saying “highlight in the grid”.

  3. Hi of Hihoba says:

    P.S. Ba also found IKELA hidden in the grid, and from the Editor’s figures published this week, which included “Ikela (etc.)” my suspicion about the identity of Meissa as mIKE LAws is confirmed!

  4. Duncan Shiell says:

    While I am 99% sure you are right about Ikela being Meissa, technically it could be Charybdis under a pseudonym if he/she is to get to 3 puzzles for the year.

    If you allow IKELA as a wordsearch, with its crooked pattern, you will also find KEA (twice). More straightforwardly, you will also find PHI is a straight line. You have also got MIKE (Laws) almost in the middle of the central column. There are probably other setters in there is you allow some off-the-wall patterns of letters. I think the only Inquisitor setters in 2010 you can’t get are Schadenfreude (no F in the grid) and Quixote(no Q)

    I only finished the puzzle late last night because of other things. The first theme word I got was BELLATRIX which initially had me heading down the Harry Potter road. BETELGEUSE put me on the right road.

    I am not sure of the reason for all the unlocated three letter words – maybe it was simply to help with the location and deduction of the theme words. I suppose the intersections of AWE and EWE, and ROC and ION look like stars. The position of TUN doesn’t intersect with any of the major stars of Orion, nor does it form a star pattern. It is symmetric with ERG and I note that all the three letter words are symmetrically placed.

  5. REGALIZE says:

    I really enjoyed this one. Struggled for a bit with 11ac. Back in the day when I worked for the GPO, Staines was in Middlesex. I was astounded to find that it is indeed now in Surrey and has an interesting reason for being so.

  6. HolyGhost says:

    When I saw Belt Up and the 3 unshaded middle rows, then solved the ‘unlocated’ BETEL, I immediately thought of ORION. Checking a star atlas led me to Meissa, and so before I’d even started on the ordinary clues I felt I was well on my way. (I ignored noting other stars so as not to spoil my enjoyment.)

    I suspected Mike Laws up to one of his tricks (see 1111 – as Hi says, “the wording of the rubric carefully avoids mention of highlighting in the grid“), seemingly confirmed when EDDIE emerged as the entry at 3d.

    P.S. I think the 8 three-letter unlocated clues were merely a diversion to make it less easy to identify the 5 that led to the thematic entries.

  7. scarpia says:

    Thanks Hihoba.
    Really enjoyed this one,even though the theme took me quite a while to work out – astronomy not being one of my strong suits.BETELGEUSE was the way into the theme for me after that the rest fell pretty quickly,but still spent time looking for Hatsya in the grid,before re-reading the rubric.
    Special thanks to Gaufrid,who kindly sent me a scan of the grid as,due to bad weather,the U.K papers did not arrive on Guernsey that day.

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