Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1193 : Clearance by Shark

Posted by duncanshiell on September 14th, 2011


Shark is a new setter to me, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started the puzzle.

We were told that the wordplay in each clue leads to the answer with an extra letter not entered in the grid.  In clue order these spell out a quotation and the first three words of the situation in which it was said (Oxford Dictionary of Quotations 5, 6 and 7).  Ten symmetrically placed letters must be removed, the result having relevance to the unclued entry.  Ignoring spaces, the orator must be highlighted in the final grid.  One pluralised entry not in Chambers 2008 is justified by the Oxford Dictionary of English.

I did not have much difficulty solving or parsing the clues although there were a couple of times I worked backwards from the missing letters that formed the quotation to fully understand the parsing. It was the final step that I found more difficult,

The missing letters spelt out the quote HOW MANY THINGS I CAN DO WITHOUT

The quote was made by SOCRATES ON LOOKING AT goods for sale at an auction, I think.  The quote reminds of my own thoughts when looking through many catalogues these days when I realise there are so many things I never knew I needed.

The unclued entry, forming the last 4 letters of row 3, was SALE

SOCRATES was hidden in the one of the favourite locations for crossword setters, i.e. down the main diagonal from top left to bottom right.  The hint about ignoring spaces when highlighting the orator clearly implied that four cells on that diagonal must be blanked out.  With these four blanked out, the words OFFERS, DEALS, EVENTS and HOSIER stood out, along with ROUPY and SCANT.  Clearly OFFERS related to SALE, as did DEALS and EVENTS, but HOSIER, ROUPY and SCANT seemed a bit out of place. There was also the question of which other 6 cells had to be blanked

A little bit of research yielded ROUP and CANT as words that mean ‘a sale by public auction’ and ‘a sale by auction’ respectively. This discovery led to the location of 2 more blanked cells and the realisation that we were looking for words that were going to have spaces at either end.  As a result DEALS and EVENT were curtailed to DEAL and VENT. To maintain the symmetry, OFFERS would have to become OFFER and HOSIER would have to become OSIER to give us 10 symmetric cells (symmetric as in 180 degree crossword symmetry)  At this point though OSIER seemed very unlikely as a synonym for SALE, even more unlikely than HOSIER.  However, further study of Chambers revealed that OSIER means ‘any willow whose twigs are used in basket making’ and a more obscure meaning of SALE is equivalent to the 5th meaning of SEAL which is given as ‘willow’.

As shown in the grid below we therefore have OFFER, OSIER, ROUP, DEAL, VENT and CANT as separate words with spaces at each end, and all are a type of, or closely related to the concept of, SALE.




















As ever, there were a number of words forming the entries that I did not know and a least a couple that I would be happy never to see again – SITUATEDNESS and CO-RIVALED.

The title, CLEARANCE, refers to a type of SALE and also to the need to clear some cells in the grid to produce the final answer.

Despite the final struggle, I enjoyed this puzzle and look forward to seeing more from Shark.

I am posting this blog from a campsite in rural Italy where you need to speak to your bank manager before you connect to the Internet and it will be published when I am in another campsite with an as yet undetermined policy towards wi-fi connections.  I may not therefore see comments on the day of publication. I apologise if there are more typos than normal in this blog.

No. Clue Wordplay Letter Entry
1 Enthusiasts confused about editor’s contextualisation (12) Anagram of (confused) ENTHUSIASTS containing (about) ED (editor) H

SITUATEDNESS (the idea that an agent interacts with its environment, receiving sensory information from it and acting in ways that affect it; contextualisation)

9 Blunder with iron – take 7 irons (7) GOOF (blunder) + FE (chemical symbol for iron) + R (take) + S (7 medieval Roman numeral) O GOFFERS (irons used to pleat or crimp paper or material)
11 Spider, perhaps from Indian village follows front of ship (7) PROW (front part of a ship) + GRAM (an Indian village) W PROGRAM ( a spider is a computer program that performs automatic searches on the Internet)
13 Commerce delivered around the world rarely contested in America (9) COM (commerce) + (RID [delivered) containing [around] VALE [world, figuratively, e.g. vale of tears]) M CORIVALED (a variant spelling of CORRIVALED [a rarely used word meaning contended or 'contested' in America)
14 Ah! One time desire (4) LA (ah!) + US (oneself; one) + T (time) A LUST (desire)
16 Shields rocky planet earth (6) Anagram of (rocky) PLANET and E (earth) N PELTAE (small light shields; plural confirmed by Oxford Dictionary of English)
18 Drug without fluid injected into bent hip and knee - the drug displaced potassium (9) DRY (without fluid) contained in (injected into) (an anagram of [bent] HIP and KNEE excluding [displaced] K[chemical symbol for potassium]) + E (ecstasy; drug) Y EPHEDRINE (a alkaloid used in treating hay fever and asthma; drug)
21 Web follows unknown translator to kill nun (9) Z (unknown [in mathematics]) + TELA (web) + TR (translator) + ICE (criminal slang in the United States for ‘kill’) T

ZELATRICE (a nun whose duty is to keep watch on the behaviour of the younger nuns in the convent, or on that of the mother superior)

24 Bob, in Scotland, dismissed at first by male umpire (6) HOD (a Scottish word for ‘bob’ or jog) + first letter of (at first) DISMISSED + MAN (male) H ODDMAN (umpire)
27 Country yoke (4) SPAIN (country) I SPAN (yoke)
28 Train still runs testee (9) Anagram of (runs) TRAIN STILL N TRIALLIST (testee)
31 Old net caught Celt (4) C (caught) + GAUL (Celt) G CAUL (historical word [old] for  ’net’)
32 Rare dogs grimace with deadly diseases (7) MOP (grimace) + PESTS (deadly diseases) S MOPPETS (small woolly breed of dogs, described by Chambers as rare but I am not sure whether it is the word or the dogs that are rare. It may well be both)
33 Drives on with irritable topless knitted goods (7) HOIS (drives on) + FIERY (irritable) excluding the first letter (topless) F I HOSIERY (knitted goods)
34 Small tubes run within broad front to ship’s bows (12, 2 words) R (runs) contained in (within) ECLECTIC (selecting or borrowing from a range of styles; broad front) + EYES (the foremost part of the bows of a ship) C ELECTRIC EYES (miniature cathode ray tubes; small tubes)
1 Yielding most of star fruit (6) SUN (star) excluding the last letter of (most of) N + APPLE (fruit) A SUPPLE (yielding)
2 Short common officer returns to injure once where planes may be kept (8) LOOT (informal [common] short form of lieutenant) reversed (returns) + SHEND (archaic [once] word meaning ‘injure’) N TOOL SHED ( a place where tools such as planes are kept)  This is given as 2 words in Chambers.
3 Anglo-French bar bushy hairstyle (4) AF (Anglo-French) + ROD (bar) D AFRO (bushy hairstyle)
4 Boisterous person tore ear roughly (6) Anagram of (roughly) TORE EAR O TEARER (boisterous person)
5 "We’re almost married" – expression of doubt (3) WE’RE excluding the last letter of (almost) E + M (married) W ERM (expression of doubt)
6 Bone, for instance, inside claw (5) AS (for instance) contained in (inside) NAIL (claw) I NASAL (a paired bone that forms the bridge of the nose)
7 One poet’s match is, for example, another poet’s rest (4) EG (for example) + ALT (Miltonian [poet's] word for rest) T EGAL (Shakesperean [poet's] word for equal; match)
8 Full-grown flower toppled over inside lean-to (6) SHED (lean-to) containing (DEE [there are many rivers{flowers} in Britain called DEE] reversed [toppled over]) H SEEDED (full-grown)
9 Fan Gentile masking infectious disease (6) GOY (Gentile) containing (masking) ROUP (infectious disease of the respiratory passages) O GROUPY (fan who follows pop groups in the hope of having sexual relations with them)
10 Whimper before excuse (4) PULE (whimper) + A (before) U PLEA (excuse)
12 Results start to emerge – see canvas (6) First letter of (start to) EMERGE + V (see, from the Latin vide) + TENTS (canvas) T EVENTS (results)
15 Models fish as well (6) IDE (fish, of the same family as the carp) + ALSO (as well) O IDEALS (models)
17 Little boy in trial is like a noisy tourist (8) NIPPER (little boy) contained in (in) TRY (trial) N TRIPPERY (reminiscent of a noisy tourist)
19 Parsimonious local expert around Canterbury (6) SLY (dialect [local] word for expert) containing (around) CANT (Canterbury) L SCANTY (frugal; meagre; parsimonious)
20 Clear away half eaten sea dove (6) ROOT (clear away) + CHEWED (eaten) excluding the second three letters (half) O ROTCHE (little auk; sea dove
22 Musical pieces from place of rest around Brazilian city – last saint expired (6) (OASIS [place of rest] excluding [expired] the final [last] S [saint]) containing (around) RIO O ARIOSI (musical pieces in the melodious manner of arias)
23 Christ’s renunciation for Greek union (6) KENOSIS (Christ’s renunciation of divine attributes in order to identify with humanity) K ENOSIS (union, the rallying cry of Greek Cypriots demanding union with Greece)
25 Dull Scottish inventor flipped (4) BAIRD (reference John Logie Baird, Scottish inventor of the television) reversed (flipped) I DRAB (dull)
26 Cloudy Milan cocktail obtained from apple juice (5) Anagram of (cocktail) C (cloudy) and MILAN N MALIC (obtained from apple juice)
29 Soldier gets operation by right (4) GI (soldier) + URE (operation) G IURE (by right)
30 Fresh bandage (4) SPICA (bandage) A SPIC (variant spelling of spick [fresh])
32 Decomposed matter – dead body (3) MORT (dead body) T MOR (a layer of humus; decomposed matter)

6 Responses to “Inquisitor 1193 : Clearance by Shark”

  1. Shark says:

    Thanks Duncan for a detailed blog. Glad you enjoyed despite the final struggle.

    In ODQ, “on looking at” finishes with “a multitude of goods exposed for sale”. This gave the justification for deleting the first and last letters to give synonyms of sale. Without ODQ the internet gave a variety of endings but as you found out there were other ways of getting to the end.

    You hopefully should see another Shark Inquisitor puzzle later on in the year.

  2. REGALIZE says:

    Thanks Duncanshiell for another excellent IQ blog. But (the way these things go) had me thinking about Alexis Jordan’s version of ‘Shout’ which I had been listening to just the night before, which, of course set me off on the wrong track completely, but perversely, gave me the link that I needed. 18 across gave me the most problems and I ended up using Ephedrine from my poor recollections as a medical secretary, without actually working out the clue. Inquisitors have long been my most preferred published crossword.

  3. HolyGhost says:

    Thanks go to Shark for a puzzle a bit more challenging than those from some of the other first-time setters (for the Inquisitor) and look forward to #2. As with Duncan, I got a bit delayed by OSIER in the endgame – but fair enough. I had the precise quote (from ODQ), but despite that I didn’t twig the indication of “goods exposed” to deleting the first and last letters of relevant entries. Didn’t spoil it for me though.

  4. davew says:

    Working through my backlog, I have just reached this puzzle!

    With the aid of Chambers, I was pleased to complete the grid and text of the extra letters. However, I did not recognise the quotation and was totally thrown by Shark’s reference to ODQ 5,6 & 7. The title “Clearance” and the unclued “sale”, coupled with this reference, led me to believe the quotation was fairly recent, so I did not consult my well-used 3rd edition of ODQ. I thought of “everything must go” and searched for an EVERYTHING or two THING’s to remove, obviously to no avail. It was not until I had conceded and looked at the solution that I eventually consulted my ODQ3 and found what I am sure would have enabled me to fully complete.

    Perhaps I should have applied ancient Greek logic and understood that ODQ567 did not imply NOT ODQ1234 but simply that Shark had not checked the earlier editions!

    By the way, am I the only one who is so far behind with these puzzles? If anyone has read this comment at this late stage I would be most grateful if you would post a short acknowledgement to reassure me. Thanks.

  5. duncanshiell says:

    Davew@4 – All comments on a puzzle get e-mailed direct to the blogger so there will always be at least one person who reads comments that come in some time after the publication date of the blog. I think it’s always worth looking at whichever version of ODQ you have just in case. Some puzzles require you to look in the older versions as the newer versions have discarded the quote the compiler wants to use.

  6. davew says:

    Thanks Duncanshiell for your quick response. Also for your very helpful contributions to this site.

    I shall periodically return to this page to see if “at least one more” person has read my comment!

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