Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1178 – Begin at the Beginning by Nimrod

Posted by Hihoba on June 1st, 2011

Hihoba.

Having failed even to start the blank grid in 1177 by Phi, my heart sank when I saw another blank grid for this week’s puzzle. I find these difficult to do, but even harder to blog!

First the normal clues. At least we were told they were in the “normal” order and that the grid used the usual symmetrical layout.

Solving this type of crossword seems heavily dependent on being able to get the first one or two across clues, and fortunately these were quite simple (though it took me some time to understand where the second I in ISLAMIC came from). With ISLAMIC|TESTS for the top row I started looking about half-way through the clues for the down items which yielded SAND hidden in Titus Andronicus, so the first down entry possibly started with I and with ICONOCLASTIC appearing as a pretty simple anagram, I was up and running! The previous two clues had to be 5 and 7 long and fit along the bottom, and so were CLANK and SPRYEST, and a clear anagram indication for “not ice skates” gave SEASON TICKET for the right hand side.

The remainder of the clues gradually yielded the rest of the grid, though I finished with seven question marks for un-understood wordplay, now all happily resolved, though my knowledge of Dr Johnson and of fine dining had to be supplemented by Ho, whose family treated him to dinner at the Fat Duck!

Finding the 21 letters to highlight still eluded Ho and me for a long time, however. The quote from the trial scene in Alice in Wonderland should have been a help, but turned out not to be.

Row 2 contains CARTE BLANCHE (12 letters) which refers to the blank state of the initial grid – “the Beginning”, and (thanks to a hint from HolyGhost) the diagonal from bottom right to top left contains the Latin equivalent TABULA RASA (9 more letters).

An excellent, if challenging, week’s work. Thank you Nimrod. The completed grid is shown below. I’m afraid including the clue numbers in the grid was beyond me and I hope I have placed all the bars correctly!


Across
Number Clue Answer Definition:Wordplay
1 Muslim writer’s ridiculous claims ISLAMIC Muslim: I (writer) + [CLAIMS]*
6 They examine some of the brightest students TESTS They examine: hidden
10 Conveyance delivering paintings to clubs CART Conveyance: C + ART
11 Pale imitation of the Chinese business division? BLANCH Pale: as Chinese would say bRanch (business division) – gave me a laugh, but took a long time to twig!
12 Single touring men only acting ON STAGE Acting: ONE round STAG
14 Female lecturer’s distinctive character LAURA Female: L(ecturer) + AURA
15 Georgia and Victor backing fight measures GAVOTTES Measures: GA + V(ictor) + SET-TO reversed
16 Elegant first-nighter forgoes broadcasting (two words) ON AIR Broadcasting: DEBONAIR (elegant) minus DEB (first-nighter)
19 My name for grain CORN Grain: COR (My!!) + N
20 We aren’t bothered about where we live lacking oxygen EARTHMEN We: [ARENT]* round H(o)ME
21 Source of great warmth observed in men like Milton, looking back LIMEKILN Source of great warmth: Hidden backwards
24 Concerned with all but what goes round border ABUT Border: AB(o)UT
28 Basic taste observed by single mother having letter returned UMAMI Basic taste: I (single) + MA + MU all reversed. {I had trouble with this as the start of this line contained the possibility of ACIDITY}
29 Very flat, wet land on western border of the county SOMERSET County: SO (very) + MERSE (flat marshland) + T (west end of The)
31 The irony of brnging back all bar the leader in exile? TROPE Irony: (d)EPORT reversed
32 Admiral will do rating a turn – unusual, but right on surface OUTRANK Admiral will outrank rating (clever!!): OK round [ATURN]*
33 Something to follow advancement ASCENT Advancement:  A SCENT is something to follow
34 Stake needed through heart? ANTE Stake: the heart of (w)ANTE(d) (needed)
35 The heavy metal sound gets the family rocking, in essence CLANK Heavy metal sound: CLAN + (roc)K(ing)
36 None more agile than this Mr Bond having to be still, blending in SPRYEST None more agile than this: SPY and REST mingled
Down
1 C&C coalition’s randomly attacking established beliefs ICONOCLASTIC Attacking established beliefs: [CCCOALITIONS]*
2 The author of Titus Andronicus SAND Author: hidden
3 Got it, and ate stew ATTAINED Got: [ITANDATE]*
4 Lacking in fertility married a bore MEAGRE Lacking in fertility: M + EAGRE
5 Chlorine each student bottled with dexterity CLEVERLY With dexterity: CL + EVERY round L
6 No little scope when turning undealt cards TALON Undealt cards: NO + LAT(itude) reversed
7 Shield bearing cross is a problem SCUTUM Shield: SUM (problem) round CUT (cross)
8 About to dive into the crowd THREE Three’s a crowd: THE round RE
9 What loyal football fan wants is, amazingly not ice skates! (two words) SEASON TICKET What loyal football fan wants: [NOT ICE SKATES]*
10 Mineral box SPAR Double meaning
17 Apparatus for lifting is thus preserved? CAISSONS Apparatus for lifting: if IS SO is in CANS it is preserved
18 Dr Johnson’s Thamesside location boasting fine restaurants and fine fabric CHAMBRAY Fine fabric: Dr J was referred to as “The great CHAM of literature” (possibly the great khan or the great I am – see Chambers) BRAY is the location of “The Fat Duck” & “The Waterside Inn” (see comment 1).
22 Flower represented in Maoism MIMOSA Flower: [MAOISM]*
23 In Glasgow one kisses a loony NUTTER Double meaning, loony and a “Glasgow kisser” (to nut someone is to give them a “Glasgow kiss” – not in Chambers but well known I think)
25 Gilbert wants a cake BABA Cake: BAB (W.S.Gilbert’s pen-name) + A
26 The Great Barrier Reef builder is Charlie, upon examination CORAL Nice definition “The Great Barrier Reef builder”: C(harlie) + ORAL
27 Indian running down to King’s Bay CREEK Bay: CREE + K
30 Very poor President’s ignored workforce? ANTS Workforce: (p)ANTS

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5 Responses to “Inquisitor 1178 – Begin at the Beginning by Nimrod”

  1. HolyGhost says:

    Small point – “Le Manoir au Quat’ Saisons” is in Great Milton, Oxfordshire. You were probably thinking of “The Waterside Inn”, which is in Bray.

    And yes – thanks to Nimrod and Hi(hoba).

  2. Hi of hihoba says:

    Thank you HolyGhost! I’ve updated the blog – bum information from Ho I’m afraid. I can’t bring myself to spend that much money on food. I’m sure it is fabulous, but it’s a bit like ocean racing (standing under a cold shower tearing up £20 notes), and only for the very rich!

  3. Quixote says:

    Some of you may not know that the Inquisitor’s crossword editor Mike Laws died recently. His obituary was in The Times yesterday and his funeral is on Monday. A very gifted crossword man and the very sad loss of one still relatively young.

  4. Gordon says:

    He will now be 1 down

  5. HolyGhost says:

    Still don’t understand the relevance of the quote from Alice in Wonderland.

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