Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1197: Noises Off by Nudd

Posted by duncanshiell on October 12th, 2011


The Inquisitor index on this website tells me that this is Nudd’s first puzzle in the Inquitior series.  I have, however, come across Nudd puzzles before, in The Magpie.

The preamble stated "In nine clues, the wordplay leads to the answer with one character missing.  These letters in clue order give the name of another character who disappeared – solvers must enter below the grid the direction being followed by that person when he was last seen.  The five unclued entries may assist in this respect."

I found the device of omitting a letter from the wordplay more difficult to deal with than the more common device of putting an additional letter into the wordplay.  Consequently it took me a while to deduce the theme.    Also, Shakespeare plays are not one of my strong points, so even the letters ANTNUS did not trigger any penny drop moments.  Eventually I got enough missing letters to deduce ANTIGONUS and the
whole thing fell into place when I realised that the second N I thought I had found in TRITON should in fact have come from NACRE with TRITON yielding an O.  I’ll be surprised if I am the only solver who thought intitially
that triplet was TRIO rather than TRIN in 4 down.

By doing a little bit of research into ANTIGONUS in The Winter’s Tale, I got the direction followed before I deduced all the unclued entries.

The direction followed, at the end of ANTIGONUS‘s final speech in Act 3, Scene 3 is EXIT PURSUED BY A BEAR

The ten unclued entries fall into five groups of two, with each pair comprising a word alluding to a form of EXIT and the second being the name of a BEAR (EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR), as follows

LEAVING SMOKEY (mascot of the United States Forest Service)
DEATH ALOYSIUS (Lord Sebastian Flyte’s Teddy Bear in Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited)
SWANSONG SOOTY (Harry Corbett’s glove puppet)
EGRESS SHARDIK (A giant bear from the book of the same name by Richard Adams)
DOORWAY TESSIE (Noddy’s kind-hearted girlfriend)


I struggled a bit with the BEARs.  I have not come across SHARDIK before and I was looking for a BESSIE rather than a TESSIE initially.  I dredged ALOYSIUS up from somewhere as I have not read the book and was not an avid follower of the TV adaptation.   I found the EXITs easier to deduce.

There were a lot of unchecked letters in the unclued entries especially if you count the letters of crossing unclued entries as unchecked, but I think I have got there in the end.

The wordplay I had most difficulty with was for EVICTS at 21 down.  I was fixated on ‘ground’ as an anagram indicator and was looking at comopund anagrams with ST and CHIVES or CHERVIL but was getting nowhere, until I realised that  ‘from the ground’ was a reversal indicator and CIVE was a variant spelling of CHIVES.

The Latin abbreviation for ante cibum was also new to me.

There seemed to be a lot of clues where a single letter had to be excluded from a component part.

I suppose 26 down could be considered to be thematic as it could be partitioned into A BEAR

The title seems to relate to noises that will be heard off stage after characters EXIT PURSUED BY BEARs

An enjoyable puzzle with plenty to exercise the mind.

No Clues Wordplay

Missing letter

1 Rested uneasily in address of admirer (7) Anagram of (uneasily) RESTED


DEAREST (an admirer might address you as DEAREST)
5 No 9 not one enthralled by return of Schmeichel? (6) NE (an obsolete word [once] meaning ‘not’) contained in (enthralled by) (DANE [reference Peter Schmeichel or his son Kasper Schmiechel, both goalkeepers from Denmark who have played in the Premiership [DANE] reversed)


ENNEAD (the number nine, from Greek)
8 Bird remembers with a sense of loss having wings clipped (5) REGRETS (with a sense of loss) excluding the first and last letters (having wings clipped)


EGRET (a white heron; a bird)
11 Cowboy’s almost clumsy with head of ox (6) GAUCHE (clumsy) excluding the last letter (almost)  + first letter of (head of) OX


GAUCHO (a cowboy of the pampas, usually of mixed Spanish and native descent)
12 Amateur Member in accomplished display (8) ( M [member] contained in (in) ARCH [accomplished]) + AIR (display)


ARMCHAIR (amateur)
15 Dish Ramsay’s beginning to progress casually (7) SAUTÉ + first letter of (beginning) RAMSAY


SAUNTER (progress casually)
16 Rocky hill, scorched with heat, lacks identity (4) TORRID (scorched with heat) excluding (lacks) ID (identity)


TORR (variant spelling for TOR  [rocky height])
17 Loot from robbery – plants stalks, not money (4) HAULM (stalks or stems of plants collectively) excluding (not) M (money)


HAUL (loot from robbery)
18 Sirenian might be a cormorant? Not right (6) SEA CROW (a name of many birds, such as the skua, chough and cormorant) excluding (not) R (right)


SEA-COW (any sirenian such as a manatee or a dugong))
19 Crush tin containing hormone (6, 2 words) SN (chemical symbol for the elemnt tin) containing (containing) EPO (erythropoieten, a hormone that increases the rate of production of red blood cells)


STEP ON (crush)

Arrange old medicated bandage with end tucked in after opening (5, 2 words)

STUPE (an archaic [old] word meaning a medicated piece of cloth used in fomentation [the application of a poultice]) with the final letter (end) E repositioned (tucked in) after the initial letter (after opening)


SET UP (arrange)
24 Accepted medal (5) GONG (medal)


GOING (accepted)
25 One with allotment initially has 100 square metres protected by sister (6) (First letter of [initially] HAS + ARE (100 square metres]) contained in (protected by) SR (sister)


SHARER (one with allotment)
27 Several cassavas, cold in saucy melange… (6) Anagram of (melange) C (cold) and SAUCY


YUCCAS (several cassavas)
29 … upset paying customers (4) ATE (upset)


GATE (paying customers)
30 Southern fool’s sulky display in Chicago (4) S (southern) + NIT (fool)


SNIT (North American word for ‘sulking’)
31 With nothing inside decorated warhorse received food (7) BARDED (caparisoned; a horse, especially a warhorse that is covered with an ornamental cloth is said to be caparisoned) containing (inside) O (nothing)


BOARDED (supplied with food [and bed]; received food]
34 Strange people wanting a tango overdose on simple songs (8) OD (overdose) + DITTIES (simple songs) excluding (lacking; wanting] a T (in international radio communication , Tango is the code word for the letter T)


ODDITIES (strange people)
35 Dilapidated couple coming to the fore – a promising development (6) BEAT-UP (dilapidated through excessive use) with the final two (couple) letters moving to the front (coming to the fore)


UP-BEAT (a promising development)
36 Terriers with problem from overusing bones in feet (5) TA (Territorial Army; members of the TA are often referred to as ‘terriers’) + RSI (repetitive strain injury; problem from overusing)


TARSI (bones in the feet)
37 Dusty Springfield’s beginning series of concerts before end of May (6) First letter of (beginning of) SPRINGFIELD + TOUR (series of concerts) + final letter of (end of) MAY


STOURY (dusty)
38 Knock down is not half difficult to deal with (7) Second letter of (not half of a two letter word) IS + KITTLE (difficult to deal with)


SKITTLE (knock down)


2 Hostilities in Aramaic manuscript (4) AR (aramaic) + MS (manuscript)


ARMS (hostilities)
3 Take Alabama and unusually vote out of office in Alaska (5) REC (take, from Lation recipe) + AL (Alabama)


RECAL (a rare variant [unusually] of RECALL [to vote out of office in America [e.g. in Alaska)
4 Triplet gets tense aboard ship (6) T (tense) contained in (aboard) TRIN (triplet [by birth])


TRITON (ship, in a figurative sense)
6 Before food starts to replace shellfish (5) AC (before food, ante cibum in medical prescriptions) + the first two letters RE of (starts to) REPLACE


NACRE (shellfish yielding mother-of-pearl)
7 Slavishly follow champion in ball game (4) CH (champion) contained in (in) EO (a mid 18th century gambling game, depending on a ball falling into slots marked E or O)


ECHO (slavishly follow)
9 Guess range when working these pumps (10, 2 words) Anagram of (when working) GUESS RANGE


GREASE-GUNS (lubricating pumps)
10 Violently beat Her Majesty in township (5) HM (Her Majesty) contained in (in) TP (township)


THUMP (violently beat)
13 Engineering piece inside this maybe makes upward turns (6) ROTATES (turns) reversed (make upward) excluding the first letter E of [a bit of] ENGINEERING which is contained within (inside).  I’ve explained this wordplay in reverse, as it really means that if you put E inside the entry STATOR and turn it all upside down you’ll get ROTATES (turns)


STATOR (a stationary part within which a part rotates).  There are lots of ‘parts’ ‘rotates’ ‘reversals’ and ‘turns’ in here but I hope you’ll understand what I mean)
14 Conforming to convention, attaches ribbon round old cat’s-paws (10) PROPER (conforming to convention) + TIES (attaches ribbon round)


PROPERTIES (one of the definitions of PROPERTY in Chambers is ‘a mere tool or cat’s-paw [obsolete] i.e.old]’)
20 Grass up, wanting proper conduct (3) OAT (a genus of grass) reversed (up)


TAO (in Confucianism and some other philosophies, right or proper conduct)  I am not sure what purpose ‘wanting’ is serving in this clue as it tends to imply something lacking and I can’t see what is lacking here.
21 Ejects stone herb from the ground (6) (ST [stone] + CIVE [herb; variant spelling of chives]) reversed (from the ground)


EVICTS (ejects)
23 Small instrument without case warmed up in microwave (3) NUKED (reheated [warmed up] in the microwave oven) excluding the first and last letters (without case)


UKE (a shortened form [small] of UKULELE [instrument], or it may be that a UKE is simply a small instrument in its own right without worrying about the abbreviated form of the word)
25 Slopes away from vertical in northern parts (6) HADES (from HADE, the angle between the plane of a fault and a vertical plane.  This is a mining term.)


SHADES (used in Scotland [northern] to refer to parting one’s hair)
26 Thematically examine gold block in Largs? (5) AU (gold) + DIT (stop, block [Scots word; Largs is a town is Scotland])


AUDIT (examine) I am not sure what ‘thematically’ is doing in this clue although I accept that an audit can look at a specific transaction through all the various steps and could, in that sense be considered to be looking at all the thematic steps.  I certainly can’t link AUDIT to the theme of ‘Exit, pursued by a bear‘ despite the image of auditors in some peoples’ eyes.)

28 No longer tolerate seaman attracting attention (5) AB (Able Seaman) + EAR (attention)


ABEAR (an obsolete [no longer] word meaning tolerate)  I suppose this clue could be seen as part of the puzzle’s theme – A BEAR
29 Mean temperature in centre of hole used in casting (5, 2 words) T (temperature) contained in (in centre of) [and in this case it genuinely is in the centre of] GEAT (the hole in a mould through which a metal is poured in casting)


GET AT (mean)
31 Indo-Germanic man in African tribe (4) IG (indo-Germanic) + BO (in American slang, a familiar form of address for a man)


IGBO (people of East Nigeria; African tribe)
33 Rubbish the taxman in data transmission (4) IR (Inland Revenue; taxman, although the umbrella organisation the tax man in Britain works for today is HMRC [HM Revenue and Customs]) contained in DT (data transmission)  


DIRT (rubbish)

9 Responses to “Inquisitor 1197: Noises Off by Nudd”

  1. Phi says:

    Presumably AUDIT, as an answer, is pursued by A BEAR in the list?

  2. Jake says:

    Even though I didn’t do this puzzle the theme caught my attention as this book I own would of come in handy:

    An invaluable source for those who don’t own a copy. It’s helped me out several times with the EV,

  3. duncanshiell says:

    Phi @ 2 – Thanks for pointing out what I had failed to see for AUDIT and ABEAR even though I had written in the blog that ABEAR could be split into A BEAR. I hadn’t made the obvious link back to the previous clue where I had waffled about my inability to understand the word ‘thematically’ in the clue.

    I note that Nudd has entered a short discussion about the Inquisitor on the Crossword Centre message board (you will have to scroll down a little bit on the Message Board to find it).

  4. duncanshiell says:

    And I can’t even distinguish between 1 and 2!

  5. kenmac says:

    Hi Duncan,

    I’m guessing that you’re not too hot on posting URL links (no offence intended) so here, for all, is a link to the Crossword Centre Message Board thread alluded to (in 3 above): In that thread you’ll find a link back to here.

  6. lorlaa says:

    The title Noises Off refers to the play of the same name which was based on a short play called Exits. “The prototype, a short-lived one-act play entitled Exits”

  7. HolyGhost says:

    I’m with Duncan on this one: I initially had TRIO for “triplet” rather than TRIN in 4d; yes, I noticed A BEAR at 28d; and, yes, I too was puzzled by “thematically” at 26d – even Phi’s explanation means that “thematically” is not part of the wordplay of either 26d or 28d, but relates to the puzzle as a whole.

    I enjoyed the puzzle rather a lot, despite guessing the stage direction relatively early, and moving on from there to complete ANTIGONUS and then finish the other four unclued entries I hadn’t got. And I liked the well worded preamble, referring to characters disappearing in different senses, and the use of “direction being followed” as someting of a misdirection. Thankyou, Nudd (& Duncan for the blog).

  8. Chalicea says:

    I had the pleasure of test-solving Nudd’s ‘Noises off’ some time ago when it was not quite in its current form and didn’t have the same title. However, I was still flummoxed by 25d when I had a new ‘solve’ three weeks ago and am grateful to duncanshiell for that explanation and for the fine blog. (And of course to Nudd for what was, for me, an enjoyable and challenging puzzle twice over.)

  9. Nudd says:

    Thank you Duncan for a fine blog and an equally fine set of solution notes. Yes, Phi set you right on your one slight stumble: I must add that the ‘thematically’ was a late editorial suggestion from John which I happily embraced. As soon as I had ‘abear’ in the grid, I wanted to give it a thematic nod, but my contribution was to include ‘going’ (another exit) at 24 across — but of course it was not directly pursued by ‘abear’, whereas flagging the clue immediately preceding 28D gave a cleaner link.
    Thanks to other posters too for your comments – the title was not actually referring to the Frayn play, but that Exits link is great lorlaa! It was just, as Duncan suggests, an indication of what the playgoer might have heard. In fact, if you check the Chambers definition for ‘noises off’ there is even an unexpected bit of help on my use of ‘direction’ in that it reads “(a stage direction indicating) sounds made off-stage to be heard by the audience”.
    Thanks again to all, and to the Inquisitor team for hosting one of my puzzles.

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