Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1230 – UNION AMUSEMENT by Kruger

Posted by Hihoba on May 30th, 2012


Baffling rubric until the penny eventually dropped after four days of cogitation. This difficult crossword concerned a “meeting” between A Crosse and D Owen.

The difficulty arose from a number of sources. There were two types of clue. Some had a surplus letter in the wordplay, the extra letters spelling out “how their contributions should be viewed”. Some had something “taken” from them. The actual instruction was “What each has taken from various stages of the meeting should also be taken from some answers” – pretty uninformative! There was no indication of which was which and the “taken” clues had no indication of the length of the “real” answers, only of the grid lengths.

The puzzle element – I’m still not sure why “Union Amusement” should have led me to the theme – took three days to unravel. Added to which some tricky clues – one of which (23D q.v.) continues to elude us –  led me to award Kruger a 4 on the Henderson scale.

The extra letters in 26 of the 36 clues yielded “UNCHANGED ANSWERS TAKEN AS PAR“. It took me a long time to get the last letter from 28 down (see the table re PARLY!), so I was very slow to spot the theme. The light eventually dawned when I realised that there were 18 across and 18 down clues, representing a golf match! Perhaps if you were a golfer (which none of Hihoba is) you would have got the theme earlier.

The other ten clues had words removed before entry as follows:

Across (or A Crosse – non European!) had 10A SNOT, 14A WREN, 20A OWL, 25A DEVIL, 31A OGRE and 33A ERNE

Down (or D Owen – also non European) had 1D REE, 9D CART, 24D COP, and 27D TERN

A word to total non-golfers. Par is the “expected” number of strokes per hole. A birdie is 1 under par, an eagle is 2 under par and a bogey is one over par and the match winner is the one with the lowest score.

A Crosse scored 12 pars, 3 bogeys (snot, devil and ogre), 2 birdies (wren and owl) and one eagle (erne), hence was 1 under par at the end of his round.

D Owen scored 14 pars, 2 bogeys (cart and cop) and 2 birdies (wren and tern), hence finished on level par.

So the winner is A Crosse whose name was to be written below the grid.

Extremely cunning and very satisfying in the end, so thank you Kruger.


 No  Clue  Grid Entry  Extra Letter/ “taken”  Definition: Wordplay
 1  Scratch accepted by wife in melee (6)  SCRAWM  U  Scratch: A(ccepted) + W(ife) in SCR{U}M (melee)
 5  Element of zero sum game from the east is retained (6)  OSMIUM  N  Element: O SUM round {N}IM (game) reversed
 10  You can’t possibly know the longest liner built (11, 3 words)  THERE’{S NO T}ELLING  SNOT  You can’t possibly know: [THE LONGEST LINER]*
 12  Turn over old inferior assistant – he’s contemptible! (4)  TOAD  C  T(urn) O(ver) + {C}AD (Inferior assistant (obs) in Chambers 
 13  Revolting poet’s no good (6)  RISING  H  Revolting: RIS{H}I (Sanscrit sage or poet) + N(o) G(ood)
 14  Rule awfully nice rum is artificial substance ((6)  LAW{WREN}CIUM  WREN  Artificial substance: LAW (rule) + [NICE RUM]*
 16  In a silly way, American plan saves wrecked ship (7)  APISHLY  A  In a silly way: A(merican) + [SHIP]* + L{A}Y (Ch. to design or plan)
 18  Minoan regularly heads to nearest island adjoining coastal region of Asia Minor (5)  IONIA  N  Coastal region of Asia Minor: (M)I(n)O(a){N} + N(earest) I(sland) A(djoining)
 20  Doctor swallows small narcotic drink and some form of rock (7, 2 words)  PILL{OW L}AVA  OWL  Some form of rock: PILL (doctor) round LOW (small) + AVA (same as kava – narcotic drink)
 21  Harmonises state gun reforms (7)  ATTUNES  G  Harmonises: [STATE {G}UN]*
 25  Verse on French river and city in old topical song (5)  VAU{DEVIL}LE  DEVIL  Old topical song: V(erse) + AUDE + VILLE (French river and city)
 26  Hybrid tree, not initially recognized, came into view (7, 2 words)  TEA ROSE  E  Hybrid: T(r)E{E} +AROSE
 29  Second of inquiries to follow laughable end to fiasco – may it come quickly! (6) – but surely 2 words?  ROLL ON  D  May it come quickly!: (i)N(quiries) after {D}ROLL (fiasc)O
 30  Old walrus, migrating, saw nearly all of ocean (6, 2 words)  SEA COW  A  Old walrus: [SAW OCE{A}]*
 31  Officer’s largely inexperienced in Sussex resort (4)  H{OG-RE}EVE  OGRE  Officer: GREE(n) in HOVE
 32  He severely criticizes heartless show of contempt stifling expression of joy (11)  SLAUGHTERER  N  He severely criticises: SN(e)ER (heartless sneer) round LAUGHTER
 33  Neat appearance of retired salesman (once a thief) with cape (6)  DAPP{ERNE}SS  ERNE  Neat appearance: REP + PAD all reversed + NESS
 34  She’s less withdrawn and on good terms with Australian (6)  SELINA  S  She: LES{S} reversed + IN (on good terms with) + A(ustralian)
 1  Desire, perhaps, in passage with Charles (6)  ST{REE}TCAR  REE  Desire perhaps (A Streetcar named Desire):STREET + CAR(olus = Charles)
 2  Teaching aids are awful – wail angrily (6)  REALIA  W  Teaching aids: [ARE]* + [{W}AIL]*
 3  Serving girl in big city’s gauche. Not half! (5)  WENCH  E  Serving girl: WEN (big city) + CH{E}
 4  Grime settled on recording medium (6)  MEGILP  R  Medium: [G{R}IME]* + LP
 6  Silly Miss Short is funny in a servile way (7)  SLIMILY  S  In a servile way: [SILLY MI{S}(s)]*
 7  Wrongly interpret American officer and men following suspension (8)  MISCOLOR  T  Wrongly interpret American: MIS{T} (suspension) + COL + O(ther) R(anks)
 8  In Glasgow, John’s the first to identify advanced bony swellings (4)  INIA  A  Bony swellings: I{A}N (Scottish form of John) + I(dentify) A(dvanced)
 9  Back school to name anonymous leders of children against restricting article “The Basis of Freedom” (6, 2 words)  MAGNA {CART}A  CART  ”The Basis of Freedom”: GAM (school of whales) reversed + N(ame) A(nonymous) + C(hildren) A(gainst) round ART(icle)
 11  Affectedly posh head of industry to lecture in charitable institution (8)  HOSPITAL  K  Charitable institution: [POSH]* + I(ndustry) + TAL{K}
 15  Vie awkwardly after false KO is tending to create dissent (8)  DIVISIVE  E  Tending to create dissent: DIV{E} (false KO) + IS + [VIE]*
 17  Protective headgear in basket on front of cycle not available to priest (8)  SKULL CAP  N  Protective headgear: SKULL (basket) + C(ycle) + {N}(ot) A(vailable) + P(riest)
 19  Opressive tyrant hiding in interior of boat to America (7)  ONEROUS  A  Opressive: NERO (tyrant) in (b)O{A}(t) + US
 21  Edmund’s recommended car hire company to Scottish Education Department (6)  AVISED  S  Edmund (Spenser)’s recommended: AVI{S} + S(cottish) E(ducation) D(epartment)
 22  Pauses probably help SAS, surprisingly (6)  SELAHS  P  Pauses probably: [HEL{P} SAS]*
 23  Gold material found in television (on aerials) (6)  SONERI  A  Gold material: most is hidden in ON {A}ERIals, but how television leads to S, I don’t know. Should it have been televisionS?
 24  Insects came to ripe bananas I discarded (6)  ME{COP}TERA  COP  Insects: [CAME TO R(i)PE]*
 27  Substitute Nationalist for Conservative in dispute (5)  AL{TERN}ATE  TERN  Substitute: change C to N in ALTERCATE
 28  Most of Scottish gingerbread has soft feel (4)  PALP  R  Feel: most of PA{R}L(y) + P (soft). (Parly is Scottish gingerbread in biscuit form – see under “parliament” in Chambers.

7 Responses to “Inquisitor 1230 – UNION AMUSEMENT by Kruger”

  1. John H says:

    Yes, ‘television’ should indeed have been ‘televisions’ in 23dn, so I hope this did not detract too much from the puzzle’s enjoyment. Apologies from Kruger and me for missing it.

    However, only two correspondents noticed!

    And in the title, UNION/AMUSEMENT leads to MATCH/PLAY.

    Thanks for an excellent blog, Hihoba.


  2. regalize says:

    Truly foxed by my Saturday fix. It was still in my in-box last night with quite a few missing, mainly because the theme eluded me. Now, thanks to Hihoba, I can see that I never would have finished it this side of Christmas.
    However, it is this kind of challenge that keeps me on the IQ path to enlightenment.
    Thanks Kruger, for the (enjoyable) headache.

  3. HolyGhost says:

    Hihoba got the right result, but I believe for the wrong reason. His analysis would be correct for stroke play, but as the title and rubric indicate (“compare answers sequentially”) we should use match play scoring: one point for each hole won, half a point for a tie. The crucial “hole” is the seventeenth, where Across got an eagle against Down’s birdie thereby winning that hole to go ‘one up’, and then halving the eighteenth to win the match. (If we move Across’s eagle to a hole where Down scored par, the match would have been a tie overall; and if we move it to a hole where Down scored a bogey, Down would have won the match despite having taken more strokes.)

    Regarding 23d and John H’s remark: I feel it would be more accurate to say that only two of the people that noticed corresponded, rather than the other way round.

    Anyway, thanks to Kruger for the fun, and to Hihoba for the blog.

    {PS I agree that 29a (ROLL ON) should be 2 words.}

  4. Hi of hihoba says:

    I’m sure you are right about the scoring HG, but as I couldn’t parse Union Amusement, I was just lucky that either scoring method gave the same result!

  5. Kruger says:

    Thanks Hihoba for a great blog.

    I actually proof-read this 3 times and, as always, cold-solved into the grid but still failed to see the missing S in 23D. Mea culpa – sorry to you and other solvers. (It had to be a “context” clue too didn’t it !!).

    I also had 29A as 2 words so don’t know where that went either. Like everyone, even compilers have blind spots but I hope the errors didn’t spoil the solving “experience”.

  6. Hi of hihoba says:

    Thank you Kruger for your comments and for an excellent challenging crossword. The two errors certainly did not affect the solving experience, though the two word ROLL ON did delay that entry somewhat.

    I am with HG in that the fact that only two people commented on the missing S does not mean that only two spotted it! The answer to the clue was pretty unambiguous, so it didn’t really affect the issue, I think.

  7. Bertandjoyce says:

    We eventually completed this but don’t worry Kruger, the missing s did not cause a problem!

    We found this really diffcult, maybe because we are not into golf. We totally missed the relevance of the title unfortunately.

    Many thanks for the blog Hihoba and also thanks to Kruger for a really challenging puzzle!

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