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Inquisitor 1209: The Calm Before The Storm by Samuel

Posted by duncanshiell on January 4th, 2012

duncanshiell.

The preamble stated "in every clue, the wordplay leads to the answer together with an extra letter not to be entered in the grid.  In clue order these give the first line of a work, minus one key word.  The work’s second line suggests the entry method for six answers; it’s final line, a timely message, completes the unclued part of the perimeter."

Given the puzzle was printed on Christmas Eve, there was a fair chance that there was going to be a Christmas theme.  Indeed there was.

For me, the first line of the puzzle fell fairly early on when I had T_ASTH_N as the opening letters of the line.  The work of Clement Clarke Moore came to mind as I had seen it a puzzle before.

The key lines are

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, WHEN ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE excluding the word CHRISTMAS

NOT A CREATURE WAS STIRRING, NOT EVEN A MOUSE

By this point, I had six other letters that were in the wordplay, but not in the answer.  The quotation therefore helped a lot by pointing me towards 28 extra letters.  Significant additional help also came from fitting the final line of the poem to the few letters I had in the perimeter. Perhaps not surprisingly the words of the last line started at the bottom left hand corner of the grid and flowed round to the bottom right giving

HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

I didn’t immediately cotton on to the method of entry for the six treated solutions, but the crossing letters soon gave me the required nudge.  Six answers with an angram of MOUSE in consecutive letters had to be entered with the letters of MOUSE in the correct order, such that NOT EVEN A MOUSE STIRRED.   That device was a clever cryptic interpretation of the second line of the poem.

The final grid was a follows.

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

In the past I have found I usually get enjoyment and satisfaction from solving Samuel’s puzzles.  This occasion was no exception.  There was nothing particularly difficult.  The clues were relatively easy to parse.  The ones I had to think about most were 37a - Ceremonial light upset women united from demon (MENORAH) and 38a Henry left in brief exercise about Balaclava, perhaps (HELMET).

As mentioned in the detail below, I have some difficulty reconciling the spelling of SANA at 9d with the more common spelling of the capital of Yemen as SANA’A.   

Across  
No Clue Wordplay Letter Solution Entry
8 Japanese waitress quits, according to playwright after sumo wrestling (7) Anagram of (wrestling) SUMO  + MEET (the Shakesperean [playwright] meaning of ‘meet’ is ‘quits’)

T

MOUSMEE (a Japanese girl, especially a waitress) MMOUSEE
10 Shout over Niall, endlessly lippy? (6) BAWL (shout) reversed (over) + NIALL (excluding the first and last letters [endlessly] N and L)

W

LABIAL (of or formed by the lips; lippy) LABIAL
11 Copy knight in gentle term of endearment (7, 2 words) APE (copy) + (N [knight, in chess notation] contained in (in) TAME [gentle])

A

PET NAME (a name used in familiar affection; term of endearment) PET NAME
13 Special forces criticise wood (5) SAS (Special Air Service; special forces) + PAN (criticise)

S

SAPAN (brazil wood; variant spelling of SAPPAN) SAPAN
15 Servant and idiot accepted large instrument (7) MAN (servant) + DOLT (idiot) + A (accepted)

T

MANDOLA (a large tenor or bass mandolin) MANDOLA
16 Distraught liar hid from part of the Eye? (6) Anagram of (distraught) LIAR HID

H

IRIDAL (relating to the iris of the eye) IRIDAL
17 Newly arrived fancy, one guy (5) Anagram of (fancy) ONE GUY

E

YOUNG (newly arrived) YOUNG
19 I shot Germans for cameras perhaps (7) I + anagram of (shot) GERMANS

N

IMAGERS (devices that records images, cameras for example) IMAGERS
22 Hasten once women cut (3) HIE (archaic or poetic [once] word for hasten) + W (women)

I

HEW (cut) HEW
24 Drink after gravy at first stirred goes lumpy (7) G, first letter of [at first) GRAVY + RUM (drink) + anagram of (stirred) GOES

G

GRUMOSE (lumpy) GRMOUSE
25 Brooding music disturbed home (3) Anagram of (disturbed) HOME

H

EMO (a type of guitar-based popular music featuring brooding and introspective lyrics – Chambers 11th edition onwards)) EMO
26 Initially enjoy concise volume over book (7) E, first letter of (initially) ENJOY + TIGHT (concise) + V (volume) + O (over, in cricket – another one that only appeared first in Chambers 11th Edition)

T

EIGHTVO (variant on OCTAVO, a book printed on 8 sheets) EIGHTVO
27 Getting books for hospital lout sucks! (5) YAHOO (brutal or boorish lout) where the H (hospital) is replaced by B (book) and B (book again to give books) (books for hospital)

B

YA-BOO (reference the phrase YA-BOO sucks) YABOO
28 Thrust group of peacekeepers mortar (6) POTE (thrust) + G (group, as in G8 or G20 economic forums / fora ) + UN (United Nations; peacekeepers)

E

POTGUN (mortar)

POTGUN

30 Feathered emus flop about (7) Anagram of (about) EMUS FLOP

F

PLUMOSE (feathered) PLMOUSE
32 Former Berliner, perhaps bears bears silicon (5) OWES (bears [a person a grudge]) + SI (chemical symbol for silicon)

O

WESSI (a citizen of the German Federal Republic [West Germany] before reunification in 1990)

WESSI
33 Drawl sermon sister cables (7) HAW (to speak with hesitation or drawl) + SER (sermon) + SR (sister)

R

HAWSERS (cables) HAWSERS
36 Greedier American rivalled queen (6) A (American) + VIED (rivalled) + ER (Elizabeth Regina; queen)

E

AVIDER (greedier) AVIDER
37 Ceremonial light upset women united from demon (7) Anagram of (upset) WOMEN + RAHU excluding (from) U (united)

W

MENORAH (a candelabrum with a varying number of branches, usually seven, used in Jewish religious ceremony; ceremonial light)

MENORAH
38 Henry left in brief exercise about Balaclava, perhaps (6) H (henry [derived SI unit of inductance]) + (L [left] contained in (in) [THEME {brief exercise} reversed {about}])

H

HELMET (reference a balaclava helmet [a knitted hat covering the head and neck, with an opening for the face])

HELMET
39 Catch French relaxing (6) DÉTENTE (French for relaxation)

E

DETENT (anything that checks motion, a catch) DETENT
Down  

 

     
No. Clue Wordplay Letter Solution  
1 Greasier duck almost cooked in rear (8) SMEE (name for various ducks) excluding E the last letter (almost) + anagram of (cooked) IN REAR

N

SMEARIER (greasier) SMEARIER
2 Dress fool up (3) GOAT (fool) reversed (up; down clue)

A

TOG (dress) TOG
3 Fool usually boxes South African men (3) Hidden word in (boxes) FOOL USUALLY

L

OUS (OU is a man in South Africa, so men is OUS)

OUS
4 Climbing, fit jumps for Ed (4) SPELL (fit [of irritation, illness etc]) reversed (climbing; down clue)

L

LEPS ([Edmund] Spenser’s word for ‘leaps”; jumps for Ed) LEPS
5 Last rat chewed up tables (6) Anagram of (chewed up) LAST RAT

T

ALTARS (tables) ALTARS
6 Overprotective note Chinese native with New York issue (8) N (note) + HAN (native Chinese people) + NY (New York) + ISH (issue [yes, really - a term in Scots law]

H

NANNYISH (overprotective) NANNYISH
7 Seasonable condition damaged all but the top of the house (7) TRIM (condiiton [for sailing or flight]) + anagram of (damaged) HOUSE excluding H, the first letter (all but the top of)

R

TIMEOUS (seasonable) TIMOUSE
9 Ultimately repossess ox from Indonesia’s capital (4) S, last letter of (ultimately) REPOSSESS + ANOA (wild ox of Sulawesi in Indonesia)

O

SANA (I assume this a reference to the capital city of Yemen, but it must be a variant spelling as the far more common spelling is SANA’A.  The TEA software package gives SANA as a valid spelling, so perhaps Samuel considered that a good enough authority.  I did wonder if ‘capital’ was referring to money or currency, but I can’t find anywhere where the SANA is a unit of currency) SANA
12 Darn regularly seamy brother I felt sorry for raising (9) EM, 2nd and 4th letters (regularly) of SEAMY + BRO (brother) + I + (RUED [felt sorry for] reversed [raising; down clue])

U

EMBROIDER (darn) EMBROIDER
14 Slowly wander about Shetland creek (6) GAD (wander) + A (about) + GIO (a creek in Shetland)  Note that GAD can be defined as ‘wander about’, but ‘about’ seems to be needed for the A

G

ADAGIO (slowly, term in music) ADAGIO
18 Dote on the girl (6) Anagram of (on [?] – I note that Chambers 12th Edition lists this as a valid anagram indicator in its Word Lover’s Miscellany section.  Certainly one meaning of ‘on’ is ‘on the way to being drunk’.) DOTE + THE

H

ODETTE (girl’s name) ODETTE
20 Horrible government regrets book (8) G (government) + RUES (regrets) + TOME (book)

T

GRUESOME (holiday) GRMOUSEE
21 Hostilities only united prayer with new junior doctor (8) HO (hostilities only) + U (united) + SHEMA (Jewish prayer) + N (new)

H

HOUSEMAN (junior doctor) HMOUSEAN
23 Little bits of base metal trouble internet communication (7) WEE (little) + BM first letters of (bits of) BASE and METAL + AIL (trouble)

E

WEBMAIL (internet communication) WEBMAIL
26 Stick out witch put over river (6) HEX + (SET [put] containing [over] R [river])

H

EXSERT (protrude; stick out) EXSERT
29 Rising court gent uncovered Welsh youth? (4) WOO (court) reversed (rising; down clue) + GENT excluding first and last letters (uncovered) G and T

O

OWEN (Welsh boy’s name; Welsh youth) OWEN
31 Experienced unionist made application (4) U (unionist) + SUED (made application)

U

USED (experienced) USED
34 Share bed … (3) SCOT (a share [of a reckoning])

S

COT (bed) COT
35 … before trial in Perth (3) PREE (to make a trial of – Scottish [Perth] word)

E

PRE (before) PRE

6 Responses to “Inquisitor 1209: The Calm Before The Storm by Samuel”

  1. Hihoba says:

    I agree, Duncan, a most enjoyable Christmas conceit. I had an almost identical solving experience to you, including the two most troublesome clues.
    Thanks to Samuel for seasonal fun!

  2. John Lowe says:

    Sana or Sana’ is an old spelling for the capital of Yemen. (I have a good collection of old atlases and easily found this version in a 1988 edition…) Any version will be a transcription into the roman alphabet from the Arabic, and subject to change due to the currently popular way of transcribing. Sana’a is definitely the flavour of the moment.

    You have dropped the O from the wrong position in Anoa in the explanation of the wordplay.

    Thanks for the blog – a lot of work goes into making it so clear!

  3. duncanshiell says:

    John Lowe @ 2

    Thanks for the information on the capital of Yemen.

    Thanks also for pointing out the error in ANOA – I have corrected it now. I remember getting into a mess when typing, editing and proof reading that bit of parsing.

  4. HolyGhost says:

    A pleasant Christmas Eve stroll, started late, and polished off on Christmas Day. Getting the first line, and therefore the last as well, made matters much easier.

    My troublesome two were the wordplay for EIGHTVO – I’d forgotten that O for “over” is only in the more recent editions of Chambers – and POTGUN (the CD-ROM would have helped me here). (By the way, the G in the wordplay for the latter comes from “group of”, not just “group”, making one fewer redundant words in the clues.)

    Greetings of the season to Samuel, and to fellow bloggers.

  5. mc_rapper67 says:

    Lovely puzzle, very enjoyable solve – and great blog, Duncan.

    I like the touch of that one black square – as a mouse-hole in the skirting board of the grid?!

  6. Samuel says:

    Thanks, Duncan, for the good write-up, and for the positive comments.

    I’d like to say that the mousehole in the grid was thematic, but I never thought of that interpretation! Blame these poets who write lines with odd numbers of letters.

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