Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1165: A Favourite Poem by Phi

Posted by duncanshiell on March 2nd, 2011

duncanshiell.

The preamble stated that the puzzle is based on of Phi’s favourite poems.  The poem features a recurrent phrase, which explains the entry of one normally clued answser.  The phrase is connected in the poem with a sequence of other terms.  Some of these are unclued answers, others occur as redundant words in clues. Where consecutive clues have redundant words, these words form a two-word thematic term.  Wordplay in remaining clues gives the grid entry with an extra letter: these letters in clue order spell out the poet.  Solvers must highlight the poem’s title.

It became obvious fairly early on that were quite a lot of clues with redundant words, but none of them made a great deal of sense to me.  I got my breakthrough when I had enough extra letters in wordplay to determine that the poet’s Christian name was Louis.  A little bit of research established that the poet was LOUIS MACNEICE and the poem was BAGPIPE MUSIC.

The recurrent phrase is NO GO and all the objects subject to NO GO appear as redundant words or as unclued entries in the grid.  There are 24 words involved, 19 of them are redundant in the clues and 5 are unclued entries in the grid.

There are many copies of BAGPIPE MUSIC on the Internet and I was going to include a full copy in this blog.  However, I note that MACNEICE‘s work is still covered by copyright and some web sites recognise that fact.  As I worked most of my life for an organisation that was very rigorous in observing and applying copyright, it would be hypocritical of me to breach copyright rather blatantly.  I have therefore just highlighted the lines that are crucial to the puzzle, as follows.

It’s no go the merrygoround, it’s no go the rickshaw,

 

7 lines

 

It’s no go the Yogi-man, it’s no go Blavatsky,

 

3 lines

 

It’s no go your maidenheads, it’s no go your culture,

 

5 lines

 

It’s no go the gossip column, it’s no go the Ceilidh,

 

5 lines

 

It’s no go the Herring Board, it’s no go the Bible,

 

1 line

 

It’s no go the picture palace, it’s no go the stadium,

It’s no go the country cot with a pot of pink geraniums,

It’s no go the Government grants, it’s no go the elections,

 

1 line

 

It’s no go my honey love, it’s no go my poppet;

 

3 lines

 

The one clued word that is adjusted before entry is 27 Across – AGONISE – which is entered as ANISE (i.e. there is NO GO).  The five words qualified by NO GO that are unclued in the grid are BIBLE (at 1 Across), STADIUM (6 Across), POPPET (16 Across), CEILIDH (37 Across) and MAIDENHEADS (11 Down).  

I note that two of the redundant words in the clues – GOVERNMENT and MERRY-GO-ROUND – each have GO within.  If these had been non-clued entries would they have been entered as VERNMENT and MERRYROUND?

BAGPIPE MUSIC is spelled out down the diagonal running from top left to bottom right.

 

B I B L E S T A D I U M
C A A E I S A B E L L A
E G G A R S O J C L C I
P O P P E T N E E S E D
H O U S I N G T A R R E
A C S R N P A S S M E N
L I S E T T E A E O D H
A N I S E R E M O R S E
L E T T R E B A U E R A
G O A F N P G U T S E D
I L L U S I O N E C I S
C E I L I D H T R O N C

 

I have noticed an increasing trend recently to use foreign words, usually well known, as entries in crosswords. I have noted words from French, Spanish, German and Italian, as well as Latin.  The Guardian in particular has had a number of French words as solutions in the last few weeks, and there have been a few in the Saturday Independents that I solve.  I don’t know if it just me taking a greater interest in the entries or whether it has always been the case that there has been such a large number of foreign words.  

Phi’s clues are generally very smooth, although I think there are one or two occasions here where the requirement to force in some fairly difficult redundant words means that the surface is slightly odd.  I didn’t have any difficulty parsing any of the clues (althougn I am happy to be proved wrong).

I was impressed by the way Phi managed to space out the redundant words and the extra letters so there was no ambiguity.  I was also impressed by Phi’s ability to get LOUIS in only the Acrosses, and MACNEICE in only the Downs.

All in all, another entertaining puzzle from Phi that helped me pass an enjoyable couple of hours whilst solving it.

Across
No. Clues Word or Letter Wordplay Entry
13 Spanish princess is murder victim (linked to the French government) (8) government IS + ABEL (murder victim; Cain murdered Abel as described in the Book of Genesis) + LA (French for ‘the’) ISABELLA (Spanish princess)
14 Grants moths will show urges, circling a rushlight initially (6) grants EGGS (urges) containing (circling) (A + first letter [initially] R of RUSHLIGHT) EGGARS (moths; variant spelling of EGGERS)
17 Moving needles showed impact of pollen (6)

L

Anagram of NEEDLES NEESED (sneezed, possibly as a result of inhaling pollen)
18 Cover for rickshaw mechanism – Chinese warehouse storing American one (7) rickshaw HONG (Chinese warehouse) containing (storing) (US [American] + I [one]) HOUSING (cover for mechanism)
20 Shakespeare’s set on black rock (5)

O

TAR (black; I can’t find a straight dictionary definition of ‘tar’ as ‘black’ but there is enough in the definitions to align ‘tar’ with ‘black’) + ORE (rock) TARRE (Shakesperean word for ‘set on’)
23 Blavatsky trusted prisoners (mass circulating in prison) (7) Blavatsky Anagram of (circulating) MASS contained in (in) PEN (prison) PASSMEN (prisoners permitted to leave their cells to carry out certain duties; trusted prisoners)
25 Girl: "What’s low in calories about fat?" (7)

U

LITE (low in calories) containing (about) SUET (fat) LISETTE (girl’s name)
27 Worry intensely about one’s being restricted by decrepitude (5)   (ON [about] +IS [one's]) contained in (being restricted by) AGE (decrepitude) ANISE – (AGONISE [worry intensely], excluding [no] GO, from the theme phrase used throughout the poem [no go .....])
28 Regret soldiers start to spurn culture whilst in Engineers (7) culture (OR [other ranks; soldiers] + first letter S of [start to] SPURN) contained in (whilst in) REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) REMORSE (regret)
30 French character allowed a broadside (6)

I

LET (allowed) + TIRE (broadside, as in a volley) LETTRE (French for ‘letter'; French character)
32 Yogi Bear confused about gold Australian plants (6) Yogi Anagram of (confused) BEAR containing AU (gold) BAUERA (a plant of a genus of evergreen shrubs found in Australia)
35 Guest distressed man and daughter ate greedily (6) man Anagram of (distressed) GUEST + D (daughter) GUTSED (ate greedily)
36 Unfortunate inducement, though not involving a trick (8)

S

ILL (unfortunate) + SUASION (persuasion; inducement) excluding (not involving) A ILLUSION (trick)
38 Payment system about to be applied to market-place merry-go-round (5) merry-go-round TRON (market place) + C (about) TRONC (the system by which tips for waiters, or other staff, are divided; payment system)

 

Down
No. Clue Word or Letter Wordplay Entry
2 Perfect stage villain? (4)

M

IMAGO (the last or perfect stage of an insect’s development) IAGO (villain in Shakespeare’s Othello; stage villain)  ‘stage’ may be doing double duty in this clue ‘perfect stage‘ and ‘stage villain
3 Picture TV character, mostly offensive, in trousers (7) picture The first three characters (mostly) of PUSH (offensive, as in ‘the big push’ to win the battle) contained in (in) BAGS (trousers) BAGPUSS (TV Character in Children’s TV programme of the same name)
4 Wide gaps apparently cracking the French palace (5) palace AP (apparently) contained in (cracking) LES (French for ‘the’) LEAPS (wide gaps)
5 Country song in Early English (4)

A

AIR (song) contained in (in) EE [EarlyEnglish) EIRE (country)
7 Article found in Pacific island herring, greatly prized item in Auckland (6) herring A (indefinite article) contained in (found in) TONGA (Pacific island) TAONGA ([in Maori culture], anything prized; Auckland being the largest city in New Zealand, home of the Maori people)
8 Board declaration over calm death (7) board DEC (declaration) + EASE (calm) DECEASE (death)
9 Injuries? I will get special constable (4)

C

I’LL (shortened form of ‘I will’) + SC (special constable) ILLS (ailments; misfortunes; injuries) possibly, hence the ‘?’)
10 Unionist, Liberal, Conservative and left-winger accepting European elections as corrupted (7) elections (U [Unionist]) + L [Liberal] + C [Conservative] + RED [socialist; left-winger]) containing (accepting) E (European) ULCERED (corrupted)
12 Cheap calling when roaming causing a headache (11)

N

Anagram of (roaming) CHEAP CALLING CEPHALALGIC (causing a headache)
15 Debris in sea and stream? Identical (6)

E

JET (a narrow spouting stream) + SAME (identical) JETSAM (goods jettisoned from a ship; goods from a wreck; debris in sea)
19 Country doctor to bury last of population (6) country INTER (bury) + final letter N of (last of) POPULATION INTERN (resident assistant surgeon; doctor)
21 It’s used to disinfect cot, one squirming with lice (7) cot Anagram of (squirming) ONE and LICE CINEOLE (a disinfectant liquid)
22 Fire with lust, possibly – that’d be the opposite of this! (7)

I

Anagram of (possibly) FIRE and LUST RESTFUL (a word expressing the opposite concept to ‘fire and lust’)
24 Moorish customs leading to company gossip (7) gossip MORES (customs) + CO (company) MORESCO (Moorish)
26 Quaking upset forward column – one died (6) column PERT (forward) reversed (upset) + I (one) + D (died) TREPID (quaking)
29 It’s by no means the gold sovereign (5)

C

COUTER (sovereign) OUTER (the outermost ring of a target, whose centre is usually gold in colour; by no means the gold)
31 Bones found in Oriental honey? Inexplicable (4) honey Hidden word (in) ORIENTAL INEXPLICABLE TALI (ankle-bones)
33 I love leaving a single portion for female relative (4) love A + UNIT (single portion) excluding (leaving) I AUNT (female relative)
34 Control French monarch (4)

E

REINE (French for ‘Queen'; French monarch) REIN (control)

6 Responses to “Inquisitor 1165: A Favourite Poem by Phi”

  1. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Duncan, for your usual comprehensive,informative and beautifully presented blog.
    This was a first for me, in that I spotted the theme after solving only 3 or 4 clues.
    Blavatsky stood out immediately as I have read the poem a few times in the last few months,having only just discovered the verse of Louis MacNeice.
    Funnily enough it came about from a debate on this site about a word(suddener) in an Azed puzzle.I wasn’t sure if it was a proper word so tried Googling it,which led me to ‘Snow’ by Louis Macneice.I thought the poem quite affecting,so read the other poems by him in the Oxford anthology,which included the wonderful Bagpipe Music!
    This made the puzzle a bit easier but there was still enough difficulty in the clues to keep me busy for a good while.
    I’m surprised that dictionaries give EGGAR as a variant spelling of EGGER as all the field guides etc. to moths only ever use the EGGAR spelling.
    Another very good puzzle in the Inquisitor series – thanks Phi.

  2. Ali says:

    Yet another Phi puzzle which had me guessing right until the end. Despite Googling “poem” + each extra word as and when I came across them, the penny only finally dropped when, like Duncan, I figured out the name of the poet. After that it was pretty much plain sailing, although I did take far too long to cotton on to the A[GO]NISE entry.

    Interesting that the title could be highlighted in 2 different ways. I’m guessuing that both would have been acceptable.

    Excellent blog as always, Duncan. And did I see your name in the winners list a few weeks back? Congrats if so. Which reminds me, I really should post these things off more often!

  3. Thomas99 says:

    This was my first attempt at one of these puzzles and I thoroughly enjoyed it – although I have to say I was incredibly lucky with the theme. When I was about 10 my headmaster read out a big chunk of the poem to us – partly because he liked telling us how he had known Macneice, but also because of the scandalous “if you break the bloody glass…” at the end. The point was that “bad language” (“bloody” seemed very bad at the time) could be effective in its place . As a result I’ve always noticed the poem whenever it’s come up (a friend read it at university, I found it in an anthology etc.) and picked up on the references very quickly. Any other Macneice poem and I’m sure I’d have been sunk.

    So – beginner’s luck for me. Next time will probably be much harder. Thanks for a very complete blog.

  4. Duncan Shiell says:

    Ali @ 2

    I hadn’t noticed that the BAG of BAGPIPE could be highlighted in two different ways until you commented. I suspect that it is the diagonal that is the highlight of preference.

    I was lucky enough to win 10 days ago – still waiting on the Champagne though. I think prizes in many crosswords take a while to materialise.

  5. Duncan Shiell says:

    The Champagne arrived today.

  6. HolyGhost says:

    Rather a tame offering from Phi, I felt – didn’t engage me for very long. (And I seldom attempt the ‘numericals’ in the Listener.)

    Anyway, Duncan – I hope you enjoy the champagne. How many stamps has that cost in submitting completed puzzles? (Or maybe that’s not the point.)

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