Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1208: Special Delivery by Shark

Posted by HolyGhost on December 28th, 2011


Three unclued entries, some clashes, “thematically placed”. Clashes resolve to give an appropriate word reading down the grid. “Three similar words” (similar to what? each other?) “again thematically placed”, forming relevant shapes (16 cells in all) …
Slightly mystified by the rubric, but sure that it’ll become clear as we progress.

This started off very fast – after solving three clues I guessed REINDEER down the top right column, and after a couple more I guessed Santa Claus down the middling column, soon amended to ST.NICHOLAS. (Obviously all the seasonal indications in the clues helped.) Managed just under half the across clues and just over half the down clues on the first pass, but slowed down after that, having pencilled in STAR as the third unclued entry near the top right.

Some clashes were identified, and a little later a pattern began to emerge: every other row, alternating left and right of the middling shaded column, so the other cells where there were clashes could be pinpointed.  [… time passes …]  OK, I now had a completed grid, and had resolved all the clashes bar one – the entry at 4d could be CALKIN or MALKIN, intersected by PRICER or PRIMER. But by now it was late in the evening, and no time to start hunting for the “appropriate word” reading “down the grid”, or the “three similar words … thematically placed” with “relevant shapes” – that can wait until the morning.

Armed with a coffee after a couple of croissants, I inspect the grid. Nothing springs out until I hit the bottom, and I see GIFT in the lower left corner, then PRESENTS in the lower right; 4 cells to go – et voilà – TOYS just left of centre, also rectangular and in the bottom two rows. Still can’t spot the appropriate word reading down the grid as I go out to chop some logs – “What is Santa Claus coming down to leave those things?” I ask myself; “A CHIMNEY of course!” I fire back. And that’s that – done.

And so we have a star on high, a reindeer alongside, and Father Christmas coming down the chimney to leave a gift, a present, and toys, all wrapped in boxes. Good festive fun – thanks Shark.

{“once” seems to be redundant in the wordplay for 9d}

[XYZ]! = homophone

No. Answer/Clash Wordplay
2 PRICER RICE (grass) in PR(esent)
10 TANNA [(s)ANTA]* around N(ame)
11 SAVOIE SAVO(ry) (winter herb) IE (that is)
{ref.: department in the French Alps}
12 STEALTH STEAL (nick) TH(e)
14 INRI IN (dwelling place, obsolete) + RI (Religious Instruction)
15 EEL [ELVE(s)]* – V (vide, see)
16 NULL (y)UL(e) (Christmas) in NL (Netherlands)
17 ARCTOID ARCTIC (North Pole) – IC (in command) VOID (useless) – V(elocity)
19 ON END [NOE(l)]* + ND (no date)
20 CADENCE CA (circa, about) + DEN (dean, Scots) + CE (Church)
22 GIDGEE GID (sturdy) + GEE (g, first letter of “ground”)
24 MARSHMALLOW MARS (disfigures) HM (Her Majesty, Queen) ALLOW (OK)
26 MANOAO M(istletoe) O(verground) around ANOA (ox)
27 INLAYER IN (into) LAYER (turkey)
29 SILEX S(ection) + ILEX (holly)
32 TEE-OFFS TOFFEE (humbug) with OFF (not eating or drinking) later + S(ons)
36 DARE [DASHER]* – SH (quiet)
38 DOC COD (fish) rev.
39 AGOG (s)C(r)O(o)G(e) with AG (silver) for C(ratchit)
41 FIRLOT LOT (a large amount) after FIR(m) (stable)
{ref.: river in north-western Germany}
43 DEYS DONKEYS – ON (beside) and K(ing)
44 DRANTS D(ecember) RANTS (sings noisily)
No. Answer/Clash Wordplay
1 AT SEA [EAST (m)A(gi)]*
2 PATER PASTER (slip of paper) – (Christma)S
3 INAPT NAP (sleep) in PIT (bed) – P(arty)
4 MALKIN MA (mother) L(eft) + KIN(g) (Melchior)
5 RATU RA (god) + TU(esday)
6 TALL OIL TOIL (work) around ALL (everything)
7 AVIAN A(ccepted) VIAN(d) (piece of food)
8 RONNE (d)ONNER with R at start
9 FIRE-NEW FIR (Christmas tree) ENE (smooth) W(ilt)
{don’t understand “once” in the clue:
“… Christmas tree once smooth beginning to wilt”}
18 DEBIT DEB (new girl) + IT (sex appeal)
20 CAMSHAFT SH (quiet) after CAM (river) AFT (towards rear of vessel)
21 DAN (heral)D AN(gels)
23 GOY G(l)O(r)Y
24 MAIL-GIG MAGI (Three Wise Men) around IL (Israel) + G(rand)
25 SANDBOX [XMAS BOND]* – M(ass)
28 LEBOWA BOW (bend) in LEA (open country)
{ref.: former homeland in north-eastern South Africa}
30 LOORD DROOL (salivate) rev.
31 EAGLE [ANGEL]* – N(ew) + E(uropean)
33 OFTEN OF (on) TEN (card)
34 FOMES FO(x) (vixen) ME + S(leigh)
37 RUED [RUDE]! (harsh)
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6 Responses to “Inquisitor 1208: Special Delivery by Shark”

  1. kenmac says:

    Chambers definition 2 of EVEN lists E’EN as obsolete, hence the OLD in 9d.

  2. HolyGhost says:

    Yes, Ken, but EVEN^2, with its obsolete form E’EN, means “evening”, whereas the clue (“once smooth”) must refer to EVEN^1 “flat; level; smooth;” with no mention of an obsolete form in those senses.

  3. John H says:

    HG and Ken, you both appear to have missed an appropriately-placed theme-word!

  4. HolyGhost says:

    Surely not TREE? (Sticking through the chimney and not well grounded.)

  5. John H says:

    But the prezzies must be UNDER it?…

  6. Shark says:

    Thanks HolyGhost. Glad you enjoyed it. TREE was not required for the solution. It was one of those words that I only noticed after I constructed the puzzle and it just so happened to be in a (sort of) thematic place. Completely unintentional. So rest assured, no highlighting.

    It was a fun puzzle to construct and I couldn’t resist giving the clues a festive make over.

    Happy New Year to all bloggers, solvers, setters and editors

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