Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1184: Switzerland’s Finest by Chalicea

Posted by HolyGhost on July 13th, 2011


Chalicea – a setter new to the Inquisitor {but see comment 7}, and, appropriately for me, I flew to Zürich the day after the puzzle’s publication and I’m blogging from the Bernese alps.
Clues have a misprint in the definition, correct letters spelling an instruction relating to the unclued 6d (the central column).

After solving over half the clues on the first pass, I thought this was going to be rather a doddle. A few entries in the far bottom right and far top right held me up for a short while, but soon the grid was filled, apart from the single cell in the bottom right corner (see below). Along the way, it became apparent that 6d was CHEESE COUNTER, and we had to ERASE FIVE ITEMS SOLD AT SIX DOWN TO PRODUCE EMMENTAL – a holey cheese. Scan the grid to locate CHÈVRE and BRIE (starting at r3c3 & r3c10), then GOUDA and DERBY (starting at r8c4 & r9c11), and finally EDAM (starting at r6c9) to come out of the grid. (It looks like there are at least two possibilities for DERBY – I selected the one that wrapped to the next row after every other letter, just as the other 4 cheeses had to.)

36a: not sure I’ve got the correct misprinted letter, but can’t see any other;
42a: this caused me most trouble – discussed with colleagues and fellow bloggers, and the consensus is that the corrected definition is “in a bit”, giving SYNE as the answer … but the wordplay is pretty opaque.

No. Answer Corrected
1 SCRY read into … S(teep) + C(u)R(v)Y
11 KAIAKS boats KA (=spirit) + I(ndependence) + A(re) + K(nockout)S
12 SPITAL … the sick’s … PIT (=hole) in SAL (=tree)
13 ARCHIVED placed in … ARCH (=chief) + ED (=editor, journalist) around IV (=4)
15 REAMIEST most foamy … [STEAMIER]*
16 SIRENS … sea witches IRE (=rage) + N(avy) in SS (=ship)
18 SONSIE … curvy for … [NOSE IS]*
20 GEESE berks GEE (=proceed) + SE (=south east, Dover)
22 DIES withers (e)D(g)I(n)E(s)S
23 SET UP create UPSET (=spill) with syllables swapped
25 AMASS build store AM (=in morning) + AS (=when) + S(ultry)
28 TRIG … of maths TRIG (=neat, Scot)
30 ODOUR … by nose O(ld) + DOUR (=grim)
33 ALLUDE without saying … ALL (=the lot) + [DUE]*
34 BORDER form boundary B(ritain) + ORDER (=system)
{is this the correct misprint?
 clue: “Senators subtly showing hands to enemies”}
38 STOREYED made with tiers STOR(y) (=news article) + EYED (=spotted)
39 RATTLE racket RA (=Argentina) + TT (=model × 2) + LE (=the, French)
40 MELLED … beat (s)MELLED (=had odour, 30a)
41 SPONSORED with brass support SPOORED (=tracked) around NS (=north & south, poles)
42 SYNE in a bit SYNE (=synd: “a washing down with liquor”; could this mean “Good luck” in Scottish?)
{not even confident about correctly identifying the misprint here –
 clue: “Good luck to Jock in a bet at Ayr”}
No. Answer Corrected
2 CARBIDE … of mixing … BID (=offer) in CARE (=mind)
3 RICER … soften foods up R (=recipe, take) + ICER (=topping chap) {ice =kill =top}
4 YAHVEH word naming … [HAVE]* in Y(out)H
5 SKIING snow-sport [KING IS]*
6 CHEESE COUNTER See preamble
7 IPOMOEA plant I (=one) + POA (=grass) around MOE (=face)
8 ATRESIAN … are not present [N(ew) SEA STRAI(t)]*
9 TANS insolates T(ape) A(nd) N(on-conducting) S(leeving)
10 ELITES … who are picked ELIDES (=cuts off) with T(aking) for D(ead)
11 KARSTS rough limestone Hidden rev.: (geologi)ST’S RAK(e)
14 BIND oup BIN (=rubbish container) + D(epth)
17 SEND forward END (=death) after S(ickness)
19 STILETTO sharp punch STILET (=piercing part of an insect’s jaws) + TO
21 SNUB cut BUNS (=sweet cakes) rev.
24 PODSOLS subpolar earths POOLS (=puddles) around DS (=darmstadtium)
26 SHEBEEN den of drinkers SH (=quiet) + EB(b) (=decline) + E’EN (=even)
27 SPREDD smear SP(ecial) + REDD (=fish spawn, Scot)
28 TATARS mixed races … TA (=Territorial Army, volunteers) + TARS (=sailors)
29 GUAN a tree bird [GUN A]*
31 ROARED roined Double definition
32 CREELS traps for … C(rayfish) R(oach) + EELS (=elvers)
35 DRYLY in a laconic way D(egree) + SPRYLY – SP (=sine prole, without issue)
37 REAP cull PA(p)ER rev.


9 Responses to “Inquisitor 1184: Switzerland’s Finest by Chalicea”

  1. Hi of hihoba says:

    I had the same problems as HolyGhost – you do get around by the way! I consulted Ba and Ho – they had the same questions about 36a and 42a. I am pretty convinced about the “in a bit” interpretation in 42a, being one of the bloggers consulted, but we really need a word from our new editor to clarify the wordplay and the relevance of “l”ands in 36a.

  2. duncanshiell says:

    I only started this the day before yesterday when I got an e-mail from Holy Ghost asking fellow Inquisitor bloggers for ideas on 42a. I ran out of time to comment back to Holy Ghost, but I had the the same problems on 36a and 42a and came to the same conclusion on 36a.

    On 42a, I too would go for SYNE and ‘in a bit’ as the misprint, but on the grounds that the first definition in Chambers for SYNE is ‘then, next; afterwards, later; ago, since’ (as in auld lang syne’). My guess is that Chalicea is suggesting that ‘auld lang syne’ equates to ‘good luck’, but I am not convinced. I suppose there is also some link to Robert Burns, author of the poem Auld Lang Syne, as he came from a village very close to Ayr

  3. kettledrum says:

    42a I had thought that the misprint was lick …defined by Chambers as ‘a slight smearing or wash’, but like the rest of you was not sure.

  4. Scarpia says:

    Thanks HolyGhost.
    I was hoping for a bit of insight into the ‘problem’ clues,but it seems everyone had the same problem as me.
    I wonder if there is a mistake at 36.

    I have done puzzles by Chalicea before,in Araucaria’s One Across magazine.She specialises in themed circular puzzles and has been known to use words/definitions only found in Chamber’s Scottish Dictionary.
    Enjoyable puzzle.

  5. John H says:

    Hi folks,

    Chalicea and I did a lot of work on the original submission, mainly to cut clue lengths to fit the Indy Magazine slot (something for would-be new setters to bear in mind). In the process, I altered the clue to 42 several times before arriving at the published version. The misprint is indeed the E in ‘bet’ giving ‘in a bit’ as the definition.

    I have searched through the 1184 folder (16 files) for a reason for the rest of the clue. There must have been a reason, but I cannot for the life of me find it. So it does indeed look like an error on my part, for which apologies. However, I’m thinking of offering a separate bottle of champagne for anyone who can help me identify what was going through my head at the time! The newly-discovered stress of editorship is surely not the reason…

    TREASONS, the plural at 36, is no mistake (see ODE, OED and The Merchant of Venice!) and ‘showing L/hands to enemies’ is the definition, containing two pluralised forms.

    Thanks to all bloggers – very helpful! – and to Chalicea for all the hard work. I hope 42ac did not detract from enjoyment.

  6. HolyGhost says:

    Thanks, ed., for clarification on 42a, if not explanation.

    I probably spent as much time on that clue as on the whole of the rest of the puzzle (including blogging), so for me it did detract somewhat – but this cannot be representative, so don’t take it as such.

  7. Chalicea says:

    Hello from Chalicea,

    Thank you, Holy Ghost and all the bloggers. I am somewhat downcast that this was ‘rather a doddle’ – I’ll have to stiffen things up! I’m not quite ‘a setter new to the Inquisitor’ as Mike Laws published our Rasputin ‘Forevermoor’ not long ago (that team is three of us, Artix, Ilver and Chalicea). It, too had a minor problem and I realize now that the muddled preamble came from the fact that poor Mike had to reduce the length of our original over-wordy one – and made a bit of a mess of it – we were not sent a proof for final checking. This one (Switzerland’s Finest) had been sitting in his files for a while and was compiled well over a couple of years ago.

    Our new editor is taking the blame for the guddle at 42ac (sorry Scarpia, about the Scots words – I did upset 1 Across but we do appear on almost every page of Chambers). However, he is being too kind-hearted. Other editors are categorical about it: “… a proof will be sent to the setter. It is his absolute responsibility to check for errors in the grid or text.” So mea culpa; I just hope it didn’t spoil anyone’s enjoyment.

    My tiny excuse is that I was swanning in Spain with drastically limited resources (no Scottish Chambers, no Word) and we were rushing to get this into print. I’ve never encountered such editorial commitment, as John reduced about 600 words to the required 450 or so, including clue numbers and lengths.

    Kettledrum, I believe you should be claiming that bottle of champagne as, of course, LUCK/LICK would have worked perfectly as that misprint – SYNE’s second meaning (see SYND) is ‘a rinsing’ and LICK is a ‘slight smearing or wash’ thus perhaps we over egged the pudding and put a double misprint in there :(

  8. HolyGhost says:

    Chalicea –

    I had noted that Rasputin was the triumvirate of SC, RF & AG-S (tho’ how I found out is now a mystery to me) and that you were SC, but I didn’t put the two bits together.

    Maybe “doddle” seems a bit too dismissive. I have great respect for setters and appreciate that what is a difficult clue to solve for some may seem easy to others and vice versa.

    I originally had SYND as the answer to “Good lick” but couldn’t find any wordplay (thought about SYNDicate betting at Ayr racecourse), and, given that it means a slight wash, it didn’t fit well with good lick. So I asked around, and SYNE for “in a bit” was the consensus …

  9. Chalicea says:

    Dear Holy Ghost,

    Out of the blue, Mike Laws put the real identities of all his compilers next to the crossword on the Indy page just a couple of weeks before he sadly left us. I don’t think it upset anybody, and we, as a new team, were quite glad of the publicity. That’s where you found that information.

    Yes, I am a fellow blogger and have been for a couple of years now, regularly for Listen With Others. I set as Curmudgeon too and have been doing so for a few years. I know just what you mean about the clues getting different reactions from different solvers. No offence taken, honestly – even if I did creep into my doghouse with my tail between my legs.

    And you had every reason to tangle with that clue.

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