Posted by duncanshiell on February 29th, 2012
The preamble stated that ‘Solvers must fill the central cell and highlight it together with 12 others, so identifying a character whose first action provides the theme. Each perimeter entry is a pair of words thematically related to solutions to the relevant clues, which are not to be entered. The answers to the remaining clues must be thematically modified before entry: numbers in parentheses refer to grid entries’
I didn’t really understand the preamble when I first read it, so I decided to try some cold solving and see if anything in the solutions would help undrestand the preamble. It soon became clear that answers were longer than the space available in the grid. The first few I solved were 22a LUSTRE, 25a LACUNARIA, 28a LEARNT and 19d CORTISONE. This gave me some crossing letters. My startegy on solving puzzles where there are clashes and multiple letters initially in cells, is to use an Excel spreadsheet as the grid and study each cell to see how to reduce the potential clashes. What became clear fairly quickly was that the final 2 letters in each answer had to be entered normally. After solving a few more crossing in the NE and SW corners, my first thought was that I would be entering odd letters numbered letters as well as entering the final two. This made me thinks of ODDS and ENDS as a theme for a while.
However it eventually became clear that this initial thought wasn’t going to work as I couldn’t get first letters of answers to intersect properly. Solving a few more clues and studying the potential clashes showed at that all answers were one and half time the space available in the grid – i.e. all 6 letter answers had 4 cells available, all 9 letter answers had 6 letters available and all 12 letter answers had space for 8 letters in the grid. This helped identify the length of missing answers. Eventually the penny dropped that every third letter starting from the first had to be omitted before entry into the grid.
At this point I still had no idea of the specific theme or the character. A further study of the grid around the central cell showed the the ANCIENT MARINER was lurking on the diagonals. As I’ve mentioned in other blogs, poetry and literature are not among my strengths, so further research was needed.
A Google search on ANCIENT MARINER revelaed that the first lines of the RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER are:
It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
Therefore we have the reference to the first action that provides the theme to stop of one of three letters. We also have the title confirmed as REQUEST STOP, with the ANCIENT MARINER requesting that the Wedding Guest stop for him.
Turning now to the perimeter clues, we had four anwers that were much shoprter than the space available, with 2a HOOK, 10d ENGLAND, 29a BELL and 1d TAG. The letters available for grid entries made it fairly easy to deduce LINE SINKER for the association with HOOK, BOOK CANDLE for BELL and RAG BOBTAIL for TAG. The association for ENGLAND took a bit more research (lack of poetic and literary knowledge again) to find an aria on the Death Of Nelson which contained the phrase ENGLAND, HOME and BEAUTY.
The final grid was a follows.
This is Ifor’s second Inquisitor puzzle, I blogged his previous one 1161 Nicknames, just over a year ago. I enjoyed this even although it was a bit of a struggle to fit the jigsaw pieces initially. The clues were fair and I was able to parse them without difficulty. There were quite of lot of anagrams throughout the clues. I counted 19 in total (including one clue, 17d INGLENOOK, that had two)
As ever, I learned some new words, RAUCLE, STREETAGE, STRIGGING, LACUNARIA, HIBERNICISED, ALGAROBAS, PITAYA made more difficult by being listed in Chambers under PITAHAYA) and TIERCERON. Some of the others I have only come across before in crosswords.
The Inquisitor series continues to provide an enjoyable challenge every week.
|2||Excuse, satisfactory after moderation (10)||HO (moderation) + OK (satisfactory)||HOOK (excuse or pretext)||LINE SINKER (reference the phrase HOOK LINE AND SINKER Accoridng to Brewers, to swallow a tale HOOK LINE and SINKER is to be extremely guillible, like the hungry fish that swallows not only the baited HOOK, but the SINKER [lead weight] and some of the LINE as well)|
|8||Harsh in Barlinnie; clear suffering for all imprisoned (4)||U (universal, designating a film that is available for all to see) contained in (imprisoned) an anagram of (suffering) CLEAR||
RAUCLE (Scottish word meaning rough. [Barlinnie prison is in Glasgow])
|9||Enter without authority in desperate search after gun (6)||GAT (gun) + an anagram of (desperate) SEARCH||GATECRASH (enter wihtout authority)||ATCRSH|
|11||Vegetable’s very dull eaten after fruit (8, 2 words)||CHERRY (fruit) + (MAT [dull] contained in [eaten]TOO [very])||CHERRY TOMATO (vegetable; internet research shows that the TOMATO is botanically a fruit, but for culinary purposes it is regarded as a variable. Apparently the United States Supreme Court ruled in 1893 that a TOMATO should be considered a vegetable for tax
|12||Nuclear weapon – start of ban latterly ignored, to instinctive voiced hate (6)||A-BOMB (atomic bomb; nuclear weapon) excluding (ignored) the second occurrence of (latterly) B (the first letter of [start of] BAN) + INATE (sounds like [voiced] INNATE [instinctive])||ABOMINATE (hate)||BOINTE|
|14||Half of me yet confused? (4|)||MOI (me) + an anagram of (confused) YET||MOIETY (half, either of two parts or divisions)||OITY|
|15||Cross in step? It’s required when using some US roads (6)||TREE (a cross for crucifixion[archaic usage]) contained (in) STAGE (step)||STREETAGE (in the United States, a toll for street facilities; it’s required when using some US roads)||TRETGE|
|16||Stands down after leading section’s ignored rules (4)||RESIGNS (stands down) excluding (ignored) S (first letter of [leading] SECTIONS)||REIGNS (rules)||EINS|
|18||Restaurant once again returning leftover food (4)||BIS (twice; a direction in music indicating that a section has to be repeated; once again) + ORT (fragment, especially one left over from a meal) reversed (returning)||BISTRO ([small] restaurant)||ISRO|
|20||Tackle stone before removing stalk from fruit (6)||ST (stone) + RIGGING (tackle)||STRIGGING (renoving the stalk from [fruit?] Chambers doesn’t mention fruit but The Shorter Oxford offers currants as fruit that can be STRIGGED)||TRGGNG|
|22||Fame’s result abandoned… (4)||Anagram of (abandoned) RESULT||LUSTRE (renown; fame)||USRE|
|25||… unfortunate launch without hard vocal solo depressed panels (6)||Anagram of (unfortunate) LAUNCH excluding (without) H (hard) + ARIA (vocal solo)||LACUNARIA (sunken panels; depressed panels)||ACNAIA|
|26||Rendered Irish, calling attention to poorly inscribed English (8)||HI (calling attention) + an anagram of (poorly) (INSCRIBED and E [English])||HIBERNICISED (rendered Irish)||IBRNCIED|
|27||Tropical fruit (also bargain in squashed bananas) (6)||Anagram of (bananas) ALSO BARGAIN excluding (squashed) IN||ALGAROBAS (carob or mesquite; the fruit of either; tropical fruit)||LGROAS|
|28||Memorised rental rolls (4)||Anagram of (rolls) RENTAL||LEARNT (memorised)||EANT|
|29||I’ll be upset – I missed ring (10)||Anagram of (upset) I‘LL BE excluding (missed) I||BELL (ring)||BOOK CANDLE (reference the phrase BELL BOOK and CANDLE, which is the popular phrase for ceremonial excommunication in the Roman Catholic Church [Brewers])|
|1||Thanks grand closing words (10)||TA (thanks) + G (grand)||TAG (closing words of a play)||
RAG BOBTAIL (when I was a young lad in the 1950s I remember watching regularly a black & white childrens’ television programme in the Watch with Mother series called RAG TAG and BOBTAIL about a hedgehog, mouse and rabbit. Brewers goes a bit more highbrow with RAGTAG [one word] and BOBTAIL which referred to the riff-raff or great unwashed.)
|2||Edited volume one in live sex show (6, 2 words)||(Anagram of [edited] VOLUME and I [one]) contained in (in) BE (live)||BLUE MOVIE (pornographic film; sex show)||LUMOIE|
|3||Art of information gathering in taping criminal society (8, 2 words)||OILS (news, information [Australian term]) containing (gathering) an anagram of (criminal) IN TAPING||OIL PAINTINGS (art)||ILAITIGS|
|4||Disbelieving minority blocking money for esoteric science (6)||HERETICS (people whose views are at variance with those of the majority; disbelieving minority) containing (blocking) M (money)||HERMETICS (esoteric science)||ERETCS|
|5||Feel sorry for one grasping a cactus (4)||(PITY [feel sorry for] + A [one]) containing (grasping) A||PITAYA (variant spelling of PITAHAYA a cactus of the genus Hylocereus)||ITYA|
|6||Begins to chase in turns (6)||Anagram of (turns) TO CHASE IN||INCHOATES (begins)||NCOAES|
|7||Invests stakes covering first two in selection (4)||BETS (stakes) containing (covering) SE (first two letters (first two in) of SELECTION)||BESETS (besiege; surround with hostile intentions; invests)||ESTS|
|9||Advocates occasionally neat hair (4)||BAR (the legal profession; advocates [Scottish term for barristers]) + NET (a word that can mean NEAT but rarely used us such [occasionally])||BARNET (hair)||ARET|
|10||Defile and glen country (10)||Anagram of (defile) AND GLEN||ENGLAND (country)||HOME BEAUTY (reference the words ENGLAND, HOME and BEAUTY taken from ‘The Death of Nelson’, an aria in the opera The Americans by John Braham [1774-1856])|
|13||Row one’s filling in later randomly, between the gaps (8)||(SPAT [row] + I [one]) contained in (filling in) an anagram of (randomly) IN LATER||INTERSPATIAL (between the gaps)||NTRSATAL|
|17||Hot seat in gin rummy left one playing all right (6)||Anagram of (rummy) GIN + L (left) + anagram of (playing) ONE + OK (all right)||INGLENOOK (an alcove by a large open fire; seats are often placed in alcoves, hence hot seat)||NGENOK|
|18||Secondary rib ligature replaced corner (6)||TIE (ligature) + anagram of (replaced) CORNER||TIERCERON (architectural term defining a subordinate rib springing from the intersection of two other ribs; secondary rib)||IECEON|
|19||Steroid is not casually injected into heart (6)||
Anagram of (casually) IS NOT contained in (injected into) CORE (heart)
|21||SA birds in cages I’m against returning (4)||Hidden word in (in) CAGES I’M AGAINST reversed (returing)||AGAMIS (golden-breasted trumpeters, crane-like birds of South America [SA])||GAIS|
|23||Boat free to leave Caribbean island (4)||Anagram of (free) BOAT + GO (leave)||TOBAGO (Caribbean island)||OBGO|
|24||This cuts Arc odds? (4)||Odd numbered letters of (odds) of THIS CUTS ARC||TIC-TAC (bookmakers telegraphy by arm signals) There is also a reference here to the classic horse race known as the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe, run in Paris [Longchamp in the Bois de Boulogne])||ICAC|