Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1158 Middlemen by Lato

Posted by Hihoba on January 12th, 2011


Stunning puzzle with lots of elements from Lato. First the rubric: long and complex but, once understood, entirly fair and correct.

We had eight clues with two consecutive redundant words which clued “pairs”.

We had Thematic clues which clued a) anagrams of one of the paired items and b) a word or phrase which clued another item by including the pair member as part of the answer. Ths is easy to write now, after solving the puzzle, but at first it was very unclear which you had to enter in the grid, the pair member or the anagram/rest of the phrase or word.

One answer, clued without definition, gave the “link” between the items in each pair.

The rest of the clues were “normal” thank goodness, and not over-complex at that. So it was possible to get a good start on the grid without worrying too much about the theme.

So for a start, let’s fill those in:

 16  EISENSTEIN  Film director: EINSTEIN round SE(t)
 19  SANSEI  Descendant of immigrants: [ENA IS S]*
 21  LITANY  Boring catalogue: LIT (settled on) + ANY (some)
 27  EAT OUT  Visit restaurant: EA(ch) + TOUT
 36  TAHINI  Oily paste: TIN (can) + I round A H(ot)
 38  MYTH  It’s not true: sounds like “miss” lisping
 1  LASHERS  Ropes: [R HASSLE]* (both Ba and I had HALSERS for this at first = hawsers)
 2  ELEMI  Resin: [LIME (tre)E]*
 3  ALNUS  Tree genus: LA (Nice article – beware pronunciation) reversed + N(orth) + US
 4  OARS  Blades: (b)OARS
 5  LAYS  Double meaning
 6  ARCH  Chief: (se)ARCH
 7  TALENT  Special gift: TALE + NT
 8  VEST  Garment: VET round S(on)
 9  ENTITY  Being: [TINY T(h)E]*
 12  ECHT  Genuine: TECH with T moved to end
 14  RENO  Nevada city: ONER (lie) reversed
 17  ELM  Tree: L in EM
 18  RAHU  Demon: RAH (cheer) + U(nited)
 20  ARES  God: hidden in ChelseA REServes
 22  NOH  Drama: NO (not) + H(ard)
 23  TOAD  Hall dweller (Toad of Toad Hall – I enjoyed this!): TO + A(nswer) + D(uke)
 24  RISKIER  Not so certain: (f)RISKIER
 25  PREFAB  House: R (king) in PE(ru) + FAB (fantastic)
 26  TOILET  John: TOIL + E(uropean) + (righ)T
 29  NAIAD  Future fly (a larva): [ADA IN]*
 30  KENTE  Silk cloth: KENT (known) + E(nglish)
 32  RIVO  Drinking cry: RO(mania) round IV (sounds like ivy)
 34  HA-HA  Barrier: (c)HA-(c)HA


This leaves nine clues:

One is the clue with no definition at 28A

28A   OTHER RANKS  No definition: SO (provided) reversed (backing) round HERR (lord) in TANK (US prison)

 So the link must be OR – confirmed by the title “Middlemen” (= OR in the middle).

This leaves the eight “definition” clues. I didn’t get these immediately, but by a process of elimination!

 Clue  Answer  Extra words  Explanation
 10A  AREA  sensible explanation  Region: A + RE + A(ustralian)
 13A  ADEN  last desperate  Port: A(nticipate) + DEN
 15A  HEAT  children’s request  Animation: EH? (what) reversed + AT
 25A  PIETRO  in time  Italian: [PORT]* round IE
 35A  FILLIES  game show  Girls: FILL (stuff) + I(n) + E(l) S(alvador)
 37A  ANNE  final offer  Princess: ANNE(x)
 11D  RAISE  play question  Institute: RAE round IS
 33D  NEMN   quite ordinary  Old name: N(ew) MEN reversed


And the Thematic clues. In the Partial clues I have indicated the grid entry in Blue, and the remaining words (which form half of a pair)  in black:

 Clue 1  Grid Entry  Clue2  Grid Entry
 Look  GANDER  relax  TAKE IT EASY
 Case  ELATIVE  one’s expecting  MOTHER TO BE
 Doggerel  RAT-RHYME  award  ARETT
 Fish  IDE  from the side  LATERALLY
 County  ROSCOMMON  lady  SENORA
 Hamper  SEROON  psychiatrist  TRICK CYCLIST
 Operatic tenor  BOTTONE  turned white  DEALBATE
 Deceive  LEAD ON  eccentric  WEIRDO


This left the anagrams to find, and the paired words, and the matching of the pairs with their definitions:  This took quite a while! The first one I got was ARETT which had to be an anagram of TREAT. This led to TRICK and I realised that TRICK OR TREAT matched with “childrens request”.

 Grid  Anagram  With  Pair  Definition
 GANDER  GARDEN  COMMON  Common or garden  Quite ordinary
 ELATIVE  LEAVE IT  TAKE IT  Take it or leave it  Final offer
 ARETT  TREAT  TRICK  Trick or treat  Children’s request
 IDE  DIE  DO  Do or die  Last desperate
 SENORA  REASON  RHYME  Rhyme or reason  Sensible explanation
 SEROON  SOONER  LATER  Sooner or later  In time
 BOTTONE  NOT TO BE  TO BE  To be or not to be  Play question
 LEAD ON  NO DEAL  DEAL  Deal or No Deal  Game show


I (Hi) found it pretty difficult and would probably not have finished without a few jogs from Ba. We exchanged quite a number of emails before the final solution was reached! On and off it took two days! I also found it difficult to blog, so I hope that this is comprehensible. Finally the grid!


8 Responses to “Inquisitor 1158 Middlemen by Lato”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, Hihoba. I agree this was an ingenious puzzle, and also that it was extremely hard but totally fair, with excellent clues.

  2. Dave Hennings says:

    Yes, another fine, fun and fair puzzle from Lato. I also found it pretty tough, although I suspect it took you longer to blog the puzzle, Hi, than it took me to solve! It was interesting to see how the preamble progressed from utter gobbledygook on first reading through to total clarity by the end … I think! And I too had HALSERS at 1dn to start with, which stymied me in that corner for far too long.

  3. REGALIZE says:

    Thanks Hihoba for a very good blog. I usually finish 1Qs, although sometimes its a skin of the teeth job with me running to the pillarbox late on a Tuesday. This one defeated me however, and your blog has shown me why I missed out on rhyme or reason and so could not complete the grid.

  4. kenmac says:

    Well done Hi, I didn’t finish this one I was just glad it wasn’t my week to blog. I discovered OTHER RANKS reasonably early but had no idea what to do with it :-(

  5. HolyGhost says:

    A rubric that could’ve been tighter, but all clear by the end.

    I got the entry CYCLIST fairly early, coming from “psychiatrist”, but didn’t know what to do with TRICK. Some time later, with most of the non-thematic clues solved, I simultaneously noted the “otherwise redundant” “play question” and saw that “one’s expecting” was MOTHER-TO-BE, entered as MOTHER. So that had come from TO BE OR NOT TO BE – and BOTTONE emerged as the “operatic tenor” and anagram of NOT TO BE.

    So the theme was unveiled, and the rest was rather a doddle, apart from “game show” (should I stay in more? no!), never having come across DEALBATE.

    And, yes Hihoba, a tricky one to blog. Well done.

  6. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Hihoba.
    I take my hat off to you for blogging this one,I didn’t even manage to complete the puzzle.As usual the rubric didn’t make any sense at first but unfortunately even after solving the normal clues no penny dropped for me.
    Thanks to your blog,I can now see how clever the puzzle was,but I think there were just too many elements for my poor old brain to cope with!

  7. Hi of Hihoba says:

    Thank you for your comments everyone. It’s nice to know that I wasn’t the only one to find this one difficult!
    Hats off to Lato, though. How our setters come up with such amazingly tortuous and entertaining ideas is a source of continuous wonder to me.

  8. Lato says:

    Thanks to Hihoba for the excellent blog and to everyone else who commented.

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