Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1170 Forevermoor by Rasputin

Posted by Hihoba on April 6th, 2011


A new Setter! I haven’t come across Rasputin before, and a very tricky crossword it was too! There was an error in the rubric, which was a bad start, but it was pretty clear that there were 36 misprints, and the corrected letters summarised a quotation. I don’t remember an Inquisitor that caused me to refer as many times to Chambers online, and I am not certain I have understood everything even now! Some nice clues, yielding the occasional smile.

I managed to start at the top left corner for a change, and this turned out to be very important, as 4D soon appeared as EGD?N, and Thomas Hardy sprang immediately to mind. The ODQ yielded the quotation “The sea changed, the fields changed, the rivers, the villages, and the people changed, yet Egdon remained.” from Hardy’s “The Return of the Native”.

So 4/24 was EGDON REMAINED and 9/31 was THOMAS HARDY. Without this early help, I might still be attempting to solve this one! “Egdon remained” is also referred to by the title “Forevermoor”.

The corrected misprinted letters spelled SEA, FIELDS, RIVERS, VILLAGES, PEOPLE, CHANGED, so there was clearly going to be some anagramming to be done. The words defined only in the rubric are shown in the table below, together with their definitions, anagrams and re-definitions.

Grid Entry Definition Anagram Re-definition
ROMANS novels MANORS villages (?)
CANOE boat OCEAN sea
ANOINT beat (see Ch) NATION people
SALE Spenser’s willow LEAS fields
MASTERS navigators STREAMS rivers

Egdon Heath appears in “The Return of the Native”, so EVITAN EHT (at 38A) was the “cryptic representation of the title” and CLYM, “the forename of one of its main characters” (Clement Yeobright) appeared at the start of the same line, all to be highlighted.

Despite finding the quotation early, I still found that it took four or five hours to complete the puzzle. (It takes longer when you have to be certain about all the wordplay for this blog.) My last solution was PIKERS (36D) where we had to find two obscure meanings of the word, hidden amongst meanings 3 and 5 of PIKE in Chambers!!

The grid is shown at the bottom.

Clue number Misprint Corrected word Answer Definition: Wordplay
1 S gossip(y)s ROOMERS Lodgers: sounds like rumours
6 E R(o)ears PRATTS Rears (bottoms!): P + [START]*
11 A p(o)aint OAK EGGER Insect: OAKER (Spenserian for ochre) round EGG
12 F (H)First UMPH Expression of vexation: U(ffizi) + MPH (speed)
13 I m(a)ice MURIDAE Mice: [(N)UR(S)EMAID]* (nursemaid losing head and direction)
17     HOMY Comfortable: HO(use) + M(otor) Y(acht)
19 E f(o)ellows NUMEN Presiding deity: N(ew) U(nionist) + MEN (fellows)
20     PTISAN Medicine: PT (port) + IS + A + N(ew)
22     SATYRA Very lecherous woman: [ASTRAY]*
25 L (N)Lame USELESS Lame: USE LESS = economist’s basic principle
27 D Lea(r)d LYM Lead (leash – obsolete): L(onel)Y + M(adness)
28 S (y)south EVITA Eva Peron (Person – no S(outh)) – “Don’t cry for me, Argentina” = didn’t seek nation’s sympathy – excellent clue!
30 R inve(s)rted NEH Short for Nehemiah (book): HEN reversed
32 I f(a)ixed ENIGMAS Statements with hidden meanings: [GASMEN I]*
34 V lea(s)ves ATTRAP Poetic adorn: ATTAP (leaves) round R, (writing is one of the three Rs)
37 E (v)east YEALMS Bundles (dialect): Y (co-ordinate) + E(ast) + ALMS
38 R T(w)ree KAURI Tree: sounds like COWRIE. Nice clue!
39 S Measure(d)s TUNS Measures: STUN with S moved to end
41 V Peru(g)vians IN CASH Liquid: INCAS + H(angover)
44     ALBAN First British martyr: AL(l) + BAN (anathematise?)
45 I (a)ill EVIL EYE Might bring ill: VILE in EYE
46 L goa(d)l DULE Scots goal: L(ecturer) in DUE (charge)
47 L (R)Light LUXMETER Light measuring tool: bared (p)LU(g) + XM(as) + [TREE]*
48 A gr(o)ass REMEDY Range of variation tolerated: M(onsieur) in REED + Y (American equivalent of YHA)
2 G (J)Gumbo OKRA Gumbo: du(O) + ARK capsized
3 E h(a)erd MEINEY Herd (obsolete): [YEMENI]*
5 S (R)Sun SEEN Being noticed: S(un) + EEN (the whole day before)
6     PROTIST Neither plant nor animal: PROTEST with I(ndependence) for E(uropean)
7 P Cam(e)p RUCKSEAT Camping seat: RUCK (squat) + (refreshment)S + EAT
8 E car(p)es AMAH She cares: HAM (clumsy) + A(mateur) reversed
10 O M(i)ost STEYEST Most abruptly rising: EYE in ST(rait) twice
14 P (h)pint USUAL Regular pint (drink): US + U (acceptable) + AL (Capone)
18 L (p)lie ONE-ER Big lie: ONE before ER
21 E mil(l)e TUISM Apostrophe: IS in T(rades) U(nion) (workers) M(ile)
23 C (j)coin TYIYN Small coin (Uzbekistan): [TINYI]*
26 H (N)Horse-man CENTAUR Half horse, half man: Sounds like SENT OAR (dispatched blade) – another good clue!
29 A Nav(e)al VALIDLY In an efficacious way: hidden
33 N (m)nodule NOULDE Refuse (obsolete): [NODULE]*
35 G (c)gore TASLET A protective skirt (gore 2 in Ch): [LATEST]*
36 E B(a)etters PIKERS Betters (people who place small bets): PIKER (tramp) + S(pades)
38     KAIMS Banks: (sic)K + AIMS (intentions)
42 D (b)dos NEUM A succession of notes (dos) sung to one syllable: NE (not) + U + M(en)
43     HETE Name in the past: HE + T(rit)E

18 Responses to “Inquisitor 1170 Forevermoor by Rasputin”

  1. ele says:

    Thanks Hihoba for the blog and Rasputin for a puzzle which taught me a lot of new words too – and I only have the paper Chambers! Are the Inquisitor setters having a competition to see who can get the most obscure words in? We seem to have had a lot lately. Having solved the puzzle it then took me and a friend ages to work out the two-step anagrams, but we did it in the end. Having put HOME for HOMY at first I struggled with 10d. Very satisfying, even though Thomas Hardy is not one of my favourite novelists.

  2. Ali says:

    Thanks for the blog and the explanation of where PIKERS is in Chambers. They do like to hide things sometimes!

    I thought this was a very impressive debut, but also a real slog. I chipped away at it and eventually guessed at the author with only ?H???? ?A??? to play with. I then finished without fully understanding the anagrams and just went with the given definitions. All makes perfect sense now of course!

    I’m a big fan of misprints in the wordplay as well as the definition. Setters should do this more often, though it does make for some tricky clues.

  3. Gordon Fisher says:

    Have to say I didn,t understand the preamble and never got started

  4. Tilsit says:

    I found the preamble confusing and didn’t pursue it.

    I wish the Inquisitor stopped trying to compete with the Listener and EV and provide an opportunity for experienced blocked solvers who want to get into barred puzzles. In the days of Michael Macdonald Cooper and his predecessors, it was always thus and more enjoyable for it.

  5. HolyGhost says:

    More tomorrow, but in the meantime (adressing Hi’s two ?’s) …

    In Chambers, the headword vill gives “… a manor (hist.); a village (poetic)”.

    And at 44a, “curse” and “denunciation” are given as synonyms of both anathematise and ban.

  6. HolyGhost says:

    Tilsit posted before I did. I utterly disagree, and see Inquisitor puzzles more as an engaging stepping-stone to the Listener – and in some weeks more of a challenge.

  7. ele says:

    Beg to differ with Tilsit too. I enjoy picking at the Inquisitor all week even though it sometimes takes a collaborative effort to finish it – and with a few exceptions the preamble and added features make it more interesting and in the end satisfying to solve. But do think that the preamble needs to be most carefully written. An ill-chosen word can make it more unintelligible than need be.

  8. Hi of Hihoba says:

    Some interesting comments. My approach is like ele’s (7). Unless I am blogging I am happy for the solution to come over several days, and often share ideas with Ho and Ba when stuck. I regard the Inquisitor as an end in itself, not as a stepping stone to the Listener, which I have rarely attempted (and then usually with some frustration!), nor as an easy way for blocked puzzlers to get into barred puzzles. I find the blend of interesting clues and a puzzle element very satisfying, though ele’s point about the preamble (and a number of other Grauniad-like problems) is well made.

  9. Hi of Hihoba says:

    P.S. Thanks HolyGhost for your explanation of village and anathematise, my question marks.
    I am not very happy about clues where the verification involves finding an otherwise unclued and unrelated word containing both references (here vill). Finding common synonyms in anathematise and ban is more acceptable, though I’m still not keen!
    Does anyone else share my reservations?

  10. Ali says:

    I would have thought that a regular solver of thematic puzzles would have been able to unpick the error in the preamble fairly easily. I’ve not been doing these for long but didn’t have any problem with it.

    Completely agree with those who disagree above too. The Listener always used to be my first port of call, but I now find the IQ a far more entertaining solve, much in the same way as the daily Indy is, IMO, a more interesting solve than the Times daily. Horses for courses I guess, but I’ve never got the impression that there’s a level of competition between puzzles, and the average solver (i.e. one who doesn’t do as many puzzles as possible each week and then blog about them!) probably does the IQ because he/she buys The Independent, not because they want to graduate to buying The Times for the Listener.

    Besides, isn’t the general consensus amongst the Listener elite (and they really do see themselves as such) that the puzzle has been dumbing down a bit recently?!

  11. Raich says:

    As a setter who has had puzzles in both the Inquisitor and Listener series, I’d like to comment on this. Each individual puzzle stands on its own IMHO and should be fair, challenging, and of course, capable of being solved, with enjoyment the ultimate object of the exercise. With the rare exception that can happen in any field, I find this is pretty much always the case.

    I doubt if any puzzle series would see itself as being gateway to another! Also, Ali, at #10, while I can only speak for myself, I don’t see myself as part of an elite, nor do I think from my dealings with them that Listener solvers (and indeed setters) do either!

  12. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Hihoba.
    Quite a difficult puzzle but ultimately very satisfying.
    The minor error in the preamble didn’t really bother me,as Ali says,it wasn’t difficult to work out what was meant.
    Very good ending to this puzzle I thought,being a big fan and familiar with the works of T.H. helped considerably.
    Could Rasputin be Monk?

    I have only been attempting the Inquisitor for about a year,having progressed to it from Azed and definitely do not see it as a stepping stone to the Listener or EV puzzles.Unless they were available free online they are off limits to me – I wouldn’t willingly buy either paper,Mr. Murdoch and the Barclay twins will have to manage without my money!

  13. REGALIZE says:

    Thanks HiHoba, I look forward to your IQ blogs. Either its ‘Oh Gawd now I see where I went wrong’ or ‘YESS’.
    Scarpia, I couldn’t agree with you more. As a Guardian/Observer reader for almost forty years, my choice of Crosswords were naturally Araucaria and Azed. One Saturday my newsagent send me the Daily Mail instead of the Guardian. After donning the Marigolds, I took it back to find only the Independent available. I dont think it was called Inquisitor in those days, but after 10days I finally cracked the puzzle – and was hooked. These three are still my choice of Crosswords. I also refuse to subscribe to M****ch sheets (no pun intended) but a friend (who has overcome his prejudices) occasionally scans and sends the Listener on to me. I try to ignore my inner daemons who say this is still ‘selling out’. But I do find they are mostly on a par with the Iqs.

  14. HolyGhost says:

    I am in broad agreement with Hi(hoba)’s comment 9, but more tolerant: I don’t really mind common synonyms (anathematise & ban) and put it down to the range of my vocabuary, but agree that locating a headword (vill) that includes rather unrelated clued word and answer something of a stretch. It’s only another jump to relating ‘white’ (colour) and ‘hard’ (in lead pencils) both as antonyms of ‘black’.

    And I didn’t say that the Inquisitor is a stepping stone to the Listener, just that I felt it is more of a stepping-stone to the Listener than a bridge from the blocked puzzles that I assume Tilsit was referring to.

    Anyway, back to this rather fine puzzle from Rasputin …
    I guessed Thomas Hardy just from the T and Y but that didn’t help much, not being familiar with the book apart from the title. And I felt that the setter’s diverse use of misprints made this hard to solve but pretty satisfying – misprints in definitions of the answers, in definitions of bits of wordplay, in hidden answers (29d naVEL IDLY), in anagram indicators (32a faxed -> fixed), and in mode of entry (30a invested -> inverted) – all highly inventive and clearly an indication of lots of thought given to the cluing.

    Not so keen on the title though – I suppose that the ‘moor’ referred to Egdon being Egdon Heath. But GOOD STUFF all round.

  15. Chesley says:

    Any comparison between IQ, EV and Listener is not really valid as all three vary in difficulty from week to week. I think IQ has become much harder under Mike Laws’ editorship but is still usually do-able and EV has always covered the full spectrum of degree of difficulty. The Listener went through a spell a few years ago when it was more solvable but has now reverted to type and is completely beyond me – even if I solve all the clues the final gimick (shading or whatever) usually defeats me.

  16. BadHarry says:

    Very tricky, not helped, of course, by misfilling in NEUS instead of NEUM giving S?STE?S for navigators. Also didn’t get ATTRAP despite thinking writing might be R.
    Really liked it, thank you.

  17. Chalicea says:

    No, Rasputin is not Monk.We are a group of three compilers who have come together (the others are Ilver and Artix) and indeed, we spent months compiling this one and were delighted with the very fine welcome and response we received. Mike Laws, the editor we have so sadly lost since this was published, attempted to squeeze this into the available space and rather tangled our much more verbose preamble. You’ll be seeing us again soon (but group setting is very demanding – even if the results are effective!)

  18. Chalicea says:

    Sorry – forgot to say thank you, Hihoba for this detailed and perceptive blog.

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