Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1174 – Union Activity by Phi

Posted by Hihoba on May 4th, 2011


The title told us that we were in the weddings arena, though the proximity of the forthcoming royal nuptials seemed to be less of a help than I expected.

My first solution was 3D LEGATE, which I unwisely entered, and this effectively prevented the solution of the top half of the puzzle until I realised my mistake!

So I persevered with the bottom half, which came out pretty easily, though I finished with a number of queries (including whether CT SCAN is two words or three). This of course means that I only had the end of the phrase spelled out by the extra letters in the wordplay of the across clues. It seemed to involve “going north”.

None of the down clues in the bottom half had needed alteration, so some down clues in the top half had to be altered by moving some letters “north” and 1A had to be constructed by the altered words. By this time I had EDGE and IN RE for 6 and 7 down, and realised that they made impossible combinations for 9A and 13A. So after some use of the eraser and solving a few more across clues I found the phrase “COUPLE GOING NORTH”  and duly shifted LEGATE to become TELEGA (which I had to look up) and EDGE to GEED, IN RE to REIN and, lo and behold, 1A appeared as GRETNA GREEN – Union Activity for a Couple Going North!

I have a few minor quibbles in addition to the CT SCAN problem. In 33A the word cut seems to be used to indicate an anagram, which I’m a bit dubious about and I don’t like my explanation of the wordplay in 29D. 30D caused serious grief – the answer was clear but not the wordplay, but Ho solved it with a flash of insight a week after this blog’s original version!

There is a completed diagram at the bottom. There is an oddity in the diagram, which is unsual (though not unique). The fourth and tenth rows contain no words, only barred off letters.


Clue Answer Extra letter Definition: Wordplay
9 ARRESTEE C Person in custody: RESTE(d) (remained mostly) in (C)ARE (worry)
11 MARLY O Mottled: MA + half of R(O)LY-POLY
13 MEITHS U Landmarks: ME + I + TH(U)S
15 FINGAN P Coffee cup: GA(P) in FINN
16 BLORE L A blow: LORE after B(L)
17 PETARD E Bomb: PET(E)R (safe) including A + D(unnite)
19 DUAR G Encampment: [(G)UARD]*
22 CAEN I French town: [N(I)CE]* round A
23 NASEEM N Arab character (not keen on this definition!): SEE(N) in MAN reversed
26 TREND G Fashion: (G)EN replaces A in TRAD(itional)
27 STONED N Drunk: SON + E(N)D swallowing half of iT
31 CHEESE O Dairy product: EE in the middle of CH(O)SE
32 DEERE R Greivous (old): ER(R) in DEE
33 ASEPTATE T Not partitioned: (T)ASTE (inclination in Ch Thesaurus) round [PEAT]* (that’s cut as anagram indicator?)
34 NETHERWORLD H Hell: NET (clear) + HERD round W(H)ORL
Clue Answer Grid Entry Definition: Wordplay
1 MEGA GAME Very good: A GEM reversed
2 RANTER ERRANT Preacher: REAR reversed (back, turning up) round N(orthern) T(erritories)
3 LEGATE TELEGA Ambassador: becomes ATE (worried) without LEG (support). Excellent!
4 MANAT ATMAN Asian currency: MAT (tangle) round AN
5 EDGE GEED Bitterness: WEDGE (club) minus W(omen)
6 IN RE REIN Concerning: IRE round N(ame)
7 TROUSES ESTROUS Bags: TRO(n) (market mostly) + USES
8 STERNE NESTER Author: EASTERN, move E to end and remove A
10 SHIRALEES Swagmen’s bundles: SHIRES round ALE
12 YEARNED Desired: YEAR + NED
14 HIERARCHY Organisation running: H(ungar)Y round [HIRECAR]*
16 BLOATED Overstuffed: OAT (pipe) in BLED (ran) not the reverse!
18 DEN Study: D taken from last to first in END
21 RE-ELECT Bring back: REEL + [ETC]*
22 CT SCAN Image in X-rays: CUTS (economies) minus U(niversity) + CAN (is able) but is it two words?
24 SOWETO African area: SOO(N) (presently cut off) round WET
25 ENDEAR Cause to be admired: END (goal) + EAR (attention)
27 STEER Double meaning: control and Scottish form of stir (commotion)
28 YEAH Absolutely!: YE + A + H(istory)
29 ESSE Existence: Hesse is a German writer, which by some stretch might be ‘ESSE in cockney speak (but the pronunciation would be wrong!). If that’s right I don’t like the clue, if not are there any other suggestions?
30 NEED Requirement: E(nglish) in DEN reversed. The “central answer” in the clue refers to 18D (answer DEN) which is in the centre of the grid!

One Response to “Inquisitor 1174 – Union Activity by Phi”

  1. HolyGhost says:

    I must say that this not detain me very long. (Disappointingly easy for me – so, good for beginners.)

    I have no problem with CT SCAN as two words (with a slightly liberal interpretation).

    Regarding the use of “cut” as an anagram indicator in 33a, Chambers has “cut adj (sl) (of a drug) adulterated or diluted.” – so it’s OK; and many (most?) solvers would know that “half-cut” = “drunk”.

    And Hi’s explanation of the wordplay ESSE at 29d is just what I had (Hesse with the H dropped), though I agree about the pronunciation – but I let that pass.

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