Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1222: JOINER by Hypnos

Posted by Hihoba on April 4th, 2012


Reasonable start this week, but a tricky finish.

We were asked to identify a “joiner” from “components” deduced from the unclued entries, and from misprinted letters in 15 clues.

There were also blank spaces in 11 answers where the given grid length was longer than that of the answer.

The JOINER turned out to be the AMPERSAND. Coincidentally I have recently read the excellent book by Simon Garfield, “Just my Type” which has a chapter devoted to the ampersand, which is a LIGATURE OF E AND T, the phrase spelled out by the misprinted letters. i.e. it is the Latin ET formalised in a single symbol. Perhaps Hypnos was also given the book for Christmas!

The “components” were to be indicated by the unclued entries which were: Down, WELSH, NOVELIST, MORNING and FOR EACH, and Across, COLOUR, PERIOD and MEMBER.

Now MORNING led easily to AM, and a vague memory of the Welsh Assembly led to AM also being an Assembly Member – a WELSH MEMBER.

PER is defined as FOR EACH and is also an abbreviation for PERIOD and

SAND is a COLOUR (a bit weak) and also Georges Sand the NOVELIST.

This breakdown was strangely similar to our last blog on 1218 where we broke SAXE-COBURG GOTHA down in the same way!

This left the problem of the blank spaces, and where to put the few letters in the long grid slots. I worked on the principle that these short words should not interfere with any other clue. e.g. letters from a down clue clashing with blanks in an across clue and vice-versa. This should leave space for a drawn & symbol. The problem is that there are so many possible ampersand symbols – each font has its own – that exactly what to draw is a bit of a lottery! After some difficulty a flash of inspiration connected the B of NOB and the B of BASE, which I had in separate squares. Relocating them to the same square gave me space for a conventional ampersand as shown below.

Two clues remain a problem. 15A uses the word Drudge to define PLOD and I think it should have been Trudge – a confusing extra misprint! In 36A Ho and Ba are happy with IRON meaning “resolution” though (as my comment on the wordplay indicates) I (Hi) am not. I shall be interested to read any comments on these points.

An observation on the clues is that there are five double definition clues, but only one straight anagram. I miss my anagrams!













 No.  Clue with correction. Definition underlined.  Misprint / blanks  Answer  Wordplay
 1  Ill-disciplined L(d)ad might have
received this cut in fall
blocking sportsman’s girlfriend
 L  WALLOPING  WAG (Wives And Girlfriends)round LIN (waterfall) round LOP (cut)
 7  Forbidden key for all to see  TABU  TAB (key) + U(niversal film classification)
 10  Record kept in current era  ENTER  Hidden in currENT ERa
 12  Weak fabric  LAME  Double definition (LAMÉ)
 14  Refined title of respect in Burma  3  U  Double definition
 15  Drudge left in school  PLOD  L in POD (school). I would have been happier if this had a misprint and had been Trudge. I could find no link between drudge and plod.
 16  Brands those with powers of divinity we hear  1  SEARS  Sounds like SEERS
 18  Show exaggerated feeling taking TV device right away  EMOTE  (R)EMOTE
 19  VI(a)le seen in Swiss overlooking lake  I  2  BASE  BASEL (city) minus L(ake)
 20  Stylish number provided by twenty outwardly  1  NIFTY  N(umber) + IF (provided) + T(went)Y
 21  Piece of mail showing river instead of good apple  1  RUSSET  GUSSET (piece of mail) with R(iver) in place of G(ood)
 23  RuG(e)Mexican dancer shunning a prominent feature  G  / 4  MAT  MATACHIN (dancer) minus A CHIN
 25  It might be added to meA(e)t very old group with vehicle  A  VELOUTE  V(ery) + ELO (old group – Electric Light Orchestra) + UTE (vehicle)
 27  Agricultural T(f)ool in school  T  HARROW  Double definition
 31  Plain national literature recalled  LLANO  Hidden reversed in natiONAL Literature
 33  Old type of rhino that’s close? Not half  INTI  (Obsolete currency of Peru); INTI(mate)
 34  Meat, one obtained in open grassland mostly  VEAL  A (one) in VEL(d)
 35  DrU(a)b policeman’s round  U  BEAT  Double definition
 36  Study endless resolution in actor  DE NIRO  DEN (study) + IRO(n) = resolution?? not in my dictionaries!
 37  Come to portion of R(l)iver  R  REACH  Double definition
 38  In East, criminal fE(o)llows Indian vehicle with rear missing  E  TONG  TONG(a) (Indian vehicle)
 39  TV character found ordinary among unusually hot crowd  DOCTOR WHO  O(rdinary) in [HOT CROWD]*
 2  Condition I intend to be taken up among reformist group  ANAEMIA  I MEAN reversed in A(lcoholics) A(nonymous)
 3  Cunning US general put on network  LEERY  (General) LEE + RY (network)
 4  DO(i)g piece of favourable publicity lecturer put out  O  / 3  PUG  P(L)UG
 5  Bring up good tofF(u)  F / 3  NOB  BON reversed
 6  Learner probing old Shetlands instrument getting stick  GLUE  L(earner) in GUE (instrument)
 7  Feature of tE(u)rn perhaps given by Brown once amid cheers  E  TOPMAST  (TERN is a schooner) PM (Brown once) in TOAST (cheers!)
 8  Man not quiet with very large ancient instrument  AULOS  (P)AUL + OS
 9  Aspect of seA(x) perhaps rude town indulged  A  UNDERTOW  [RUDE TOWN]*
 11  Dull game linked to filthy place  1  RUSTY  R(ugby) U(nion) + STY
 13  Bold element in rugby entertaining Northern fellow  MANFUL  MAUL (element in rugby) round N(orthern) F(ellow)
 17  What might unite followers  in clubs over northerly river  2  CREDO  C(lubs) + ODER (river) reversed
 22  PeN(t) getting a home in the home counties  N  SCRIBE  CRIB (home) in SE
 24  A timeless gauge for foreign ruler  1  AMEER  A + ME(T)ER
 26  He might show reD(p) cape with seaweed in a bit on reflection  D  TORERO  ORT (a bit) reversed round ORE (seaweed)
 27  Poor actor allowed in play  HAMLET  HAM + LET – the easiest ever Inquisitor clue?
 28  Eastern god is taken in  EATEN  E(ast) + ATEN (god)
 29  Colour curve on road? Not initially  AMBER  (C)AMBER
 30  PlaT(n)e staying in airport hopefully  T  ORTHO  Hidden in airpORT HOpefully
 32  Poet showing eagerness with love for acting  OVID  AVID (eagerness) with O (love) for A(cting)


5 Responses to “Inquisitor 1222: JOINER by Hypnos”

  1. John Lowe says:

    Thanks to Hi for a detailed blog. I agree with your queries: I also had Drudge as a misprint for Trudge in 15A, until it didn’t fit the definition of Ampersand, and the best I can find for iron/resolution in Chambers is “Ironside or Ironsides n a nickname for a man of iron resolution (eg Oliver Cromwell)”. It doesn’t quite satisfy the clue, though.

    I couldn’t do the bottom left until I could guess the unclued entries for some extra letters to help. I enjoyed the concealed one-letter answer to 14A – one-letter answers to crossword clues are not common!

  2. Hypnos says:

    Many thanks to Hihoba for the fascinating and detailed blog.

    Just to respond to your queries, in 15a, “drudge” was being used as a reasonably close synonym for “plod” (both are given in Chambers as verbs meaning to work laboriously). There was no intention to use “trudge” or to create any additional misprint. In 36a, “resolution” was indeed being used as a synonym for “iron” (iron=strength=resolution).

    I’ve not read Simon Garfield’s book but will try to dip into it now you’ve mentioned it!

  3. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, Hihoba, for an excellent blog and Hypnos for a well-integrated puzzle. Like you I found it an easier start than a finish with the blanks adding quite a dimension of difficulty. But I got there. In end the only doubt about placing that I had was the A in MAT, but, after some thought, I felt it had to go exactly where you have put it.

    I may be totally wrong in this but I did not think the ampersand had to be drawn ie that the blank squares would be sufficient to show it. I also thought once SAND was given as a colour in Chambers that there was no problem there but I’ll admit I was toying with WELSH NOVELIST for quite a while before I sorted things out.

  4. HolyGhost says:

    Good stuff from Hypnos, with a mildly tricksy endgame.

    I too tripped up over “drudge”/”trudge” initially, and eventually decided that “iron”=”resolution” was OK.

    The location of the blank squares seemed to be forced except for “noB” + “Base” and for “mAt” (the latter making the intersecting 17d CREDO my last entry), but that was resolved so as to produce an ampersand.

    Whether or not to ‘join the dots’ to create the character itself? The rubric says that the “[joiner] can be found in the grid” (my emphasis) – is this to be taken literally or are we to do it? Unsure.

    I always appreciate it when the setter comments on the comments – it confirms they read the blog, and care (but I feel it tends to close off the conversation – don’t know if they read later comments). But thanks to all: setter, blogger, and those making comments.

  5. regalize says:

    A bit late to the thread. Thanks to Hi, ho and ba for the excellent blog and to Hypnos for a puzzle that was far from a snooze. 36a did need triple cross-referencing to solve, but did not detract from the enjoyment of the clue. Drudge/trudge? I thought it was close enough and definable enough. Common usage has its place in good crosswords, even when the ‘bible’ does not define it. Creating the character helped to ascertain where those pesky letters should be…. I think!

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