Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1181: Repetitive Practice by Charybdis

Posted by duncanshiell on June 22nd, 2011


The preamble stated that unchecked letters of the 10 unclued grid entries, including mutual crossing letters, spell CELIBATE BEDTIME WEEK. The unclued entries could be described by 13 contiguous cells (3,6,4) which extend from top to bottom of the grid.  These cells (forming the ’27′?) must be highlighted.

The preamble was fairly succinct and understandable on first read through.  Perhaps this was going to be a reasonably easy puzzle, even though I had spotted that there 4 cells that were completely barred off.  Presumably we would find that the final 13 cell phrase would involve these cells.

Having solved the puzzle in one session of a couple of hours, I think I would place it towards the easier end of the Inquisitor spectrum, but other solvers may have different views.

It took me a while to deduce the unclued entries, but once I had a couple and had realised the theme, it made the deduction of the rest far easier.  I didn’t really use the phrase of unchecked letters other than at the end to deduce MISER.

The theme, was slightly strange being focused on tools that bored holes, but it all hung together well.

The ten unclued entries in normal grid order are:

No. Entry Definition
19a CORKSCREW a device in the shape of a screw for boring into and drawing corks from bottles
27a CENTRE BIT a joiner’s tool for boring circular holes in wood
31a GIMLET a small hand-tool with a pointed screw-tip for boring holes in wood
35a AIGUILLE a slender boring tool
38a TEREBRA a boring instrument or organ
3d AUGER a carpenter’s boring tool
7d BRADAWL a small boring tool
9d WIMBLE an instrument for boring holes
26d BROACH tapering, pointed instrument used primarily for boring or rounding holes
32d MISER a well-boring instrument


It was GIMLET that helped me get the required spelling of RIEVERS as I would normally spell it with E before the I.

This left the final stage, to find the 3,6,4 phrase, using, as suspected, the 4 unfilled cells.  The phrase is THE BORING BITS and the letters form the shape of a CENTRE-BIT (27 across, hence the reference to 27 in the preamble)

The picture below is designed to highlight all the key elements of the puzzle, including the 19 letters that can be anagrammed to form CELIBATE BEDTIME WEEK




















The title, REPETITIVE PRACTICE can describe a boring activiity.

This was a pleasant puzzle with precise cluing that produced a few smiles as I solved the puzzle. The parsing I agonised over most was the wordplay at 11a where I struggled a bit with the two Ws in A NEW MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT.  I decided that one of the Ws had to be an abbreviation for ‘with’ in MEZUZAH w[ith] ANCIENT TWIRL.  I am happy to be told that there is an alternative interpretation of the wordplay. I was also a bit confused over the definition of ‘undergarments’ for ALBS at 16 across, but found a definition of ”chasuble’ [spelling corrected - thanks Holy Ghost at comment 1] which said it was worn above the ALB.

I smiled at 2d – SEAFOOD and 4a – IZARDS when I understood the definition.

A pleasant puzzle.

No. Clues Wordplay Entry
1 Very square palms (6) ASSAI (very – a musical term) + S (square) ASSAIS (South American palm trees)
7 Tincture knight’s put on beneath crest (5) BROW (edge of a hill; crest) + N (knight, in chess) BROWN (shade of colour; tincture)
11 This parchment scroll with ancient twirl could be a new Martin Chuzzlewit hit (7) An anagram of (hit) A NEW MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT is MEZUZAH W (with) ANCIENT TWIRL, so one phrase could be the other after anagramming. MEZUZAH (a parchment scroll containing scriptural texts)
12 A first-rate bank over in the Middle East (6) A + reverse of (over) (A1 [first-rate]+ BAR [bank; e.g. sandbank]) ARABIA (an area of the Middle East)
13 Stab eternal optimist? – that’s no loss (4) PANGLOSS (reference Dr Pangloss, a character in Voltaire’s Candide who views everything with unwarranted optimism) excluding (that’s no) LOSS PANG (a stab of pain)
14 Flowering plant, an avens, covering desert (8) A GEUM (a plant of the Geum genus of the rose family; an avens) containing  (covering) RAT (desert, as a verb) AGERATUM (any plant of the tropical American genus Ageratum with clumps of long-lasting purple flowers)
16 Pound invested in all sections for undergarments (4) LB (pound) contained in (invested in) AS (all sections) ALBS (undergarments- apparently ALBS can be worn under the chasuble.  ALBS are generally defined as ‘vestments’ which are themselves defined as coverings rather than undergarments)
17 Ed’s rude boys enthuse over a bit of ska (6) DROOL (show effusive or lascivious pleasure; enthuse) reversed (over) + first letter of (a bit of) SKA LOORDS (Edmund Spenser’s word for louts; Ed’s rude boys)
18 They keep people staying afloat after hats have changed hands (7) BOATERS (hats) with (R [right] exchanged for L [left]  - changed hands) BOATELS (boats or ships which function as hotels; they keep people staying afloat)
21 Lord in his year working, before sloth (6) AD (in the year of the Lord) + ON (working) + AI (the three-toed sloth) ADONIA (a name of God in the Old Testament, usually translated as Lord)
24 Sub abandons junior officer once switching sides (6) SUBALTERN (an officer below the rank of  Captain; junior officer) excluding (abandons) SUB ALTERN (archaic [once] word for alternate, which can mean, of leaves placed singly with change of side at each node)
29 Portion cut off in outskirts of the farm (7) RANCH (farm) contained in (in) TE (the first and last letters of [the outskirts of] THE) TRANCHE (slice; block or portion cut off)
34 A letter that’s very small (4) IOTA (a very small amount) IOTA (Greek letter)
36 Some energy chucking ball out for a duck? (4) SOME + E (energy) excluding (chucking out) O (ball) SMEE (a name for various ducks, such as smew, pochard, wigeon and pintail)
37 Greywacke estimated to bear fruit (6) Hidden word in (to bear) GREYWACKE ESTIMATED ACKEES (a small African tree, now common in the West Indies and its edible fruit)
39 Mews outhouses (5) SHEDS (moults; casts; mews) SHEDS (outhouses)
40 Assumed one’s advocate is in the marketplace (6) IS contained in (in) MART (marketplace)

MARIST (a member of an evangelical Roman Catholic sect emphasizing teaching, preaching and foreign missions, i.e. an advocate of Mary.; reference the Assumption of Mary)


No. Clues  Wordplay Entry
1 What provides a drop of medication for injection if Paul is unwell? (5) Anagram of (unwell) PAUL containing first letter M of (a drop of) MEDICATION AMPUL (a small sealed glass container for a hypodermic dose; what provides a drop of medication)
2 A dose of runs? – it might be mussels (7) Anagram of (runs) A DOSE OF SEAFOOD (mussels are a type of SEAFOOD)
4 Magi head off – they’re well-balanced at a high level (6) WIZARDS (magi) excluding the first letter W (heads off) IZARDS (chamois from the Pyrenees mountains; these animals will have a good sense of balance)
5 When recalled they’re the same old stories (5) SAGAS is a palindrome, so when reversed (recalled) the word remains the same – SAGAS SAGAS (old stories)
6 Broad slow movement in a well-known key (5) Reference KEY LARGO, a well known resort area in the Florida Keys LARGO (a term in music meaning broad and slow)
8 Knock at the door? The terriers back again after their quarry? (7) RAT (the quarry of a terrier dog) + TA (Territorial Army; Terriers) reversed (back) + TA (Territorial Army; Terriers) again, reversed (back) RAT-A-TAT (a  knocking sound – e.g. a knock at the door)
10 New assistant I promoted, though no little saint, is rising in the field (8) N (new) + (ASSISTANT excluding (no) ST [saint] with the I moved forward two characters [promoted]) NAISSANT (rising or coming forth [in heraldry]; in heraldry a field is the surface of a shield)
15 Almost eager as regards apparently thematic element? (5) BORE (eager; an alternative spelling of eagre) excluding (almost) the final letter E + ON  (as regards) BORON (a non-metallic element), sounding a bit like the theme of the puzzle BORE ON)
18 Major German river, you might say, after Belgium becomes the sea (5) B (International Vehicle Registration for Belgium) + RINE (sounds like [you might say] RHINE [major German river]) BRINE (the sea)
19 A couple of alternatives to bottles like in wine shops (8) CAN (an alternative to a bottle) + TIN (another alternative to a bottle) + AS (like) CANTINAS (wine shops)
20 A sample of intake bless alma mater? (5) Hidden word in (a sample of) INTAKE BLESS KEBLE (reference Keble College, Oxford as an alma mater, a term used by alumni to describe their university or college)
22 In the minority and gone bust (7) Anagram of (bust) AND GONE NONAGED (in the minority or legal infancy)
23 Gathers funds, perhaps for a luxury holiday, say? (7) Sounds like (say) A CRUISE (a luxury holiday) ACCRUES (gathers funds)
25 I’ll go in to back up mostly old Scottish looters (7) REVERSE (back up) excluding the final letter (mostly) E, containing (go in) I RIEVERS (an alternate spelling of REIVERS, Scottish looters or plunderers.  Usually applied to people of the Scottish Borders.  I am a member of an orienteering club in the Borders with the word REIVERS in the title)
28 Flower artist primarily and muralist (6) RIVER (flower; something that flows) + first letter A of (primarily) ARTIST RIVERA (reference the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera)
30 Duck’s egg held in this broke in lift (5) O (duck’s egg) contained in (held in) an anagram of (broke) THIS HOIST (lift)
31 Robot to move moon vehicle (5) GO (move) + LEM (Lunar Excursion Module) GOLEM (robot)
33 Tucked into Italian restaurant’s linguine finally as a special occasion (5) TRAT (Trattoria; Italian restaurant) containing last letter E of (finally) LINGUINE TREAT (a special occasion)

3 Responses to “Inquisitor 1181: Repetitive Practice by Charybdis”

  1. HolyGhost says:

    As Duncan says, probably on the easy side for regular solvers, but quite enjoyable for all that.

    Explanation of wordplay for MEZUZAH looks spot on to me, and that led me to AUGER as the way in. And used the unchecked letters to finish off the grid with TEREBRA.

    I too wobbled over ALBS as “undergarments”, but let it pass. (BTW, first occurrence of “chasuble” has vowels transposed.)

    I hadn’t noticed the ref. to Key Largo at 6d – I’d just put it down to a weakish clue; how mistaken, so thanks Duncan for the blog (and Charybdis for providing the puzzle).

  2. Charybdis says:

    Thanks, Duncan.
    Only things to add are
    a) that the title also describes ‘drill’ (e.g. in army sense)
    b) the puzzle was inspired by flicking through a tool catalogue when it happened to open itself at section 8 ‘Boring Bits’, (which I didn’t bother to read, naturally).


  3. Philip says:

    11A: You don’t need to abbreviate WITH, just include HIT as well. The anagram indicator is “could be”.


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