Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1227: No Question by Phi

Posted by kenmac on May 9th, 2012


The rubric reads: In several cases the answers to across and down clues clash as to the presence or absence of a letter – lengths in brackets refer to the number of spaces in the grid. Solvers should choose one of two overall options for the final grid (even the theme can’t be in two places at once); either way every entry (allowing for spaces) is a real word or a proper noun. Most clues contain a word not needed for solving; initial and final letters of these words form a pair – in clue order, one letter in each pair contributes to something that isn’t a question, while the other identifies the theme. (No, you won’t need 1 across; trust me…)

Aaargh, clashes! That always rings alarm bells with me but the good news is that each clash seems to be concerned with the presence or absence of a letter and as we’re later told “… allowing for spaces …”, which, hopefully, means that the clashes are between a letter and a space, so it’s not all bad. And further good news is that all grid entries are real words. The first part of the penultimate sentence in the rubric is a bit cryptic, though the ultimate sentence immediately makes me think that 1 across will be DOCTOR, as in “Trust me, I’m a doctor!”

So, it turns out that 1a is DOCTOR and the letters generated by the extra words gave us the theme: TIME AND RELATIVE DIMENSIONS IN SPACE (TARDIS) and the non-question: WHO HAS BEEN ACTED BY HARTNELL TO SMITH. Ah, so that’s it, it looks like it could be a question but is, in fact, a statement. Doctor Who has been acted by eleven men from William Hartnell to Matt Smith.

At first I thought that Phi may have made a slight error as Wikipedia lists the D in TARDIS as DIMENSION but he is exonerated by the BBC’s official Doctor Who site, which states DIMENSIONS. TARDIS can be found in the grid at either a3-a8 or i6-i11 and, as I read the preamble, you had to decide which of those locations to fill, and which to leave blank.

8d and 29d caused me the greatest grief as I failed to spot the second TARDIS for ages and I kept trying to justify HISH for 29d – duh!  6a is a great clue, I had PAPA + C(atholic) and wondered where the Y came from, and what WITHOUT meant for ages.

I have to take Phi to task regarding 26d. I don’t think a WIFIE is a partner; as I remember, from my childhood, it is a term for a woman, especially an older one and not necessarily married. And, I couldn’t find DOOZIE (22d) in my dictionaries; I did find DOOZY.

I know next to nothing about Doctor Who, it definitely passed me by as a child and I never got into it as an adult, nevertheless, a very enjoyable puzzle.

No. Clue Extra
Theme Non
Entry Alternate Wordplay
6 Father without smart Catholic office WITHOUT T W PAPACY PA (father)+PACY (smart)
12 Grainy foodstuff that’s come in for Irish zoo IRISH I H ORZO fOR ZOo (hidden: come in)
13 Some European oil-drum incorporates single pressure regulator OIL-DRUM M O BALLONET LONE (single) inside BALT (some European)
14 English bore beginning to ruin one affair ENGLISH E H RIFLING TRIFLING Ruin (beginning)+I (one)+FLING (affair)
16 Eco-aid I arranged for aspidistra plants ASPIDISTRA A A DIOECIA ECO AID I (anag: arranged)
17 Happy editor grabbing delayed notes NOTES N S ELATED RELATED LATE (delayed) inside ED(itor)
19 Difficulty for sport board appearing with book BOARD D B RUM DRUM RU (sport: Rugby Union)+B(ook)
20 Unable to move around either hydrant – bother! ETHER R E SHTUCK SHUCK H(ydrant) inside STUCK (unable to move)
21 Transactions seen in trade empire also EMPIRE E E DEALS IDEALS traDE ALso (hidden: seen in)
24 Wimbledon favourite always here, regardless of London hearts LONDON L N (Arthur) ASHE SHE AlwayS HerE (ignoring middles: hearts)
27 Securing lawyers, call America AMERICA A A BARRING BARING BAR (lawyers)+RING (call)
28 Toilet support – more peculiar cement CEMENT T C LOOPIER LOO (toilet)+PIER (support)
31 Something in nettles irritated Tom, I fear FORMIATE FORMATE TOM I FEAR (anag: irritated)
32 Instruct fool before ceremonies in compounds INSTRUCT I T NITRITES NIT (fool)+RITES (ceremonies)
33 Positions woman possessing tenor voice VOICE V E SITS T(enor) inside SIS(ter)
34 Theologian capturing English cathedral city’s exalted stone EXALTED E D DESEED E(nglish)+SEE (cathedral city) inside DD (theologian: Doctor of Divinity)
35 Beleaguered party – hard year – therefore in retreat in areas of conflict BELEAGUERED D B DOHYOS DO (party)+H(ard)+Y(ear)+SO (rev: in retreat)
No. Clue Extra
Theme Non
Entry Alternate Wordplay
1 Fond fellow to perform intimately, without haste? Not entirely INTIMATELY I Y DOTARD DO DO (perform)+TARDy (without haste)
2 Worthless point incompletely upheld ORRA ARROw (point; incompletely; rev: upheld))
3 Stomach mostly accepting of much vegetarian food MUCH M H TOFU OF inside TUm (stomach; mostly)
4 Man picked up apple ripening well into season, like an orange APPLE E A OBLATE BO (man; rev: picked up)+LATE (ripening well into season)
5 Additional money never reduced, drawing in the German speculators NEVER N R RAIDERS DER (the in German) inside RAISe (additional money; reduced)
7 Star turns completely filled with energy TURNS S T ALGOL GO (energy) inside ALL (completely)
8 The French impression in Chambers shows in prominent positions IMPRESSION I N POLES POLE STAR LE (the in French) inside POES (chamber [pots])
9 Up-beat article is following athletic club races without number ANACRUSIS AN (article)+AC (athletic club)+RUnS (races; without N(umber))+IS
10 American outrage about stomach trouble: chemical engineer left one account OUTRAGE O E CELIAC (US spelling) CE (chemical engineer)+L(eft)+I (one)+AC(count)
11 Laden wagon in Kentucky overturned item in station yard LADEN N L Y-TRACK CART (wagon) inside KentuckY (rev: overturned)
15 Locate school bus for relocating school pupils SCHOOL S L BLUECOATS LOCATE BUS (anag: for relocating)
18 Current measure isn’t a false tale, with river full of water? On the contrary ISN’T I T ABAMPERE A BAM (false tail)+River inside PEE (water)
20 Often fearful about queen getting marked OFTEN N O SCARRED R(egina) (queen) inside SCARED (fearful)
21 Key line incorporated in Independent stories with polish STORIES S S ISLAND LAND L(ine) inside I(ndependent) SAND (polish)
22 Zero potassium found by Australia in pass? That’s a fine thing POTASSIUM P M DOOZIE O (zero)+OZ (Australia) inside DIE (pass)
23 Norwegian city renovated third of hotel rooms TROMSØ hoTel (third [letter] of)+ROOMS (anag: renovated)
25 Anti departure, say, regarding ship ANTI A I EGRESS EG (say)+RE(garding)+SS (ship)
26 Partner data transmission process with electronic concept CONCEPT C T WIFIE WIFI (data transmission process)+E(lectronic)
29 What’s common to his and her hearts? H DISH H is common to H(is) and H(er)
30 Excessive hope over OPEC’s initial oil HOPE E H OTTO OTT (excessive)+Opec (initial)

3 Responses to “Inquisitor 1227: No Question by Phi”

  1. regalize says:

    Lovely blog kenmac, thanks. And of course to Phi for a great puzzle.
    22dn (doozie) is in the ODE as an alternative to doozy.
    I agree with you on ‘wifie’. I was always being sent to get the ‘messages for the wifie doon the stair’ who was never married as far as I know! As you say it just seems to be a generic for a woman of a certain age. However, I have heard it used in an endearing (or patronising) way down here south of the border so I’m not complaining too much.

  2. HolyGhost says:

    That grid’s a bit flashy, Ken!

    POLES at 8d and the solitary H at 29d caused me most problems, but I suppose that’s to be expected. I chose to put TARDIS in this column, since apart from the D in cell labelled i9 every other character was either clued or checked.

    Quite an enjoyable puzzle. Thanks go to all involved.

  3. BadHarry says:

    I had misinterpreted “the presence or absence of a letter” to mean there could be only one clash per clue. Had I noticed the second TARDIS, I might have reconsidered. Very enjoyable nonetheless.

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