Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1234: NIMROD’S UNIQUE NIGHT OUT by Nimrod

Posted by Hihoba on June 27th, 2012


Struggled with this one Nimrod. Bit of a quiz if you ask me!

We had to find four items which are members of an extensive list “each unique in the same way” (Huh?).

Then “The coincidentally very apt key event should be named under the grid to record the uniqueness of the discovery” (Huh? again)

In addition letters giving the event are ignored in six pieces of wordplay (I wasn’t sure on an initial reading whether this meant that they were extra letters or missing letters).

The clues to another group of four, related to the first four, lacked a common definition, and they had “unorthodox wordplay involving a substitution”.

Other clues were normal (but difficult!). All in all I found this a four (Ba thought a five!) on the Nimrod/Henderson scale.

To start with the six clues with the letter “ignored” in the wordplay – this turned out to mean that the letter was not included in the wordplay and appeared in the answer out of thin air.


Ignored letter clues giving the “event”
 Number  Clue  Answer  Definition: Wordplay
 1 Down  The least number kicking about autumn leaves (7)  QUANTUM  Q  The least number: [AUTUMN]* (leaves? Couldn’t find any reason for this word.)
 7 Across  More than one backing Ed M & co (3)  PLU  U  More than one (PLU(ral): L(abour) P(arty) – Ed M(illiband) is leader of . . . – not my favourite clue!!
 8 Down  Liquid still sent for analysis (5)  UNSET  U  Liquid still: [SENT]*
 24 Down  During kinky stuff, only one performing lifted feet (7)  MOLOSSI  I  Feet (3 long syllables): SM round SOLO all reversed
 42 Across  A grand new line (3)  ZAG  Z  A new line: A +G(rand)
 29 Down  Stuck in cooler character following bishop in Brahms and Liszt (5)  FRANZ  Z  (Franz) Liszt: R is the character following B(ishop) in Brahms in FAN (cooler). Fiendish!

So the event was a QUIZ. The letters Q, U, I and Z are in the four corners of the grid.

Having soved most of the normal clues and filled in most of the grid, the oddly clued set of four turned out to be countries (the common definition of the rubric): CROATIA, MONGOLIA, ECUADOR and PAKISTAN

For the next bit I (Hi) am indebted to Ho who spotted that the capital cities of these four countries begin with the letters Q, U, I and Z. They are QUITO (Ecuador), ULAN BATOR (Mongolia), ISLAMABAD (Pakistan) and ZAGREB (Croatia). They can be found by starting at each corner, moving anti-clockwise one square and then moving  diagonally. These are the four items to be highlighted in the grid (shown below).

The clues for the countries involve the “substitution” mentioned in the rubric and we have to substitute the name of the capital city for the capital letter of the country.

Country clues
 Number  Clue  Country  Capital  Substituted version  Explanation
43 Across  Who should you try to catch? Ring copper in court having acquired gold (7)  ECUADOR  QUITO  QUITOCUADOR  IT (who should you try to catch in children’s game – though usually “it” was the catcher in my childhood) + O (ring) + CU (copper) in QUAD (court) + OR (gold)
 25 Across  Labouring a lot on a cast (8)  MONGOLIA  ULAN BATOR  ULANBATORONGOLIA  [LABOURING A LOT ON A]*
 7Down  One’s taking fast steps to grab a coffin with a name on it (8)  PAKISTAN  ISLAMABAD  ISLAMABADAKISTAN  I’S (one’s) + LAMBADA (fast steps) round A + KIST (coffin) + A N(ame)
 2 Across  Brother described by a big 7dn general getting about (7)  CROATIA  ZAGREB  ZAGREBROATIA  BRO(ther) in A GREAT (big) all in ZIA (Pakistani (7dn) general)


The only unique feature I could discover was that these are the only capital cities with those four first (capital) letters. So I am still at a loss as to what to write under the grid. Is it as simple as QUIZ? Was there some momentous evening event that we missed? What was the discovery?

We aren’t sure, and look forward to your comments and to clarification from Nimrod.






Normal Clues
 No. Clue   Answer  Definition: Wordplay
 9  Typed addresses covering a range (5)  URALS  Range: U(niversal) R(esource) L(ocator)S (web addresses) round A
 11  Long period of time with Navy (5)  YEARN  Long: YEAR + N(avy)
 12  Take in help for crime novelist (4)  AIRD  Crime novelist (Catherine Aird – pseudonym of Kinn Hamilton McIntosh): R(take) in AID
 13  Top academic’s not following positive argument (3)  PRO  Positive argument: PROF minus F(ollowing)
 14  Bad Aussie poet unusually excluded from outspoken raving (5)  ONKUS  Bad Aussie: [OU(t)S(po)K(e)N]* (outspoken minus poet)
 15  Report from the county circuits (4)  NOTS  Logic circuits: sounds like Notts.
 16  Reducer of noise from social (50 times) (5)  DOLBY  Noise reduction system: DO (social) + L (50) + BY (times)
 17  Kill American formality (3)  ICE  Double meaning: formality and kill (American)
 18  Homer’s accepted Queen of the Underworld (4)  CORA  Kore and hence Cora are names for the young Persephone who later married Hades and became Queen of the Underworld: COR (= Homer – 11 bushels) + A(ccepted)
 19  Black garments Arab women wear down to Marseilles (4)  ABAS  Black garments Arab women wear: A BAS (down in French)
 21  Only partially articulated computing array (3)  ULA  Computing array (Uncommitted Logic Array): in articULAted
 22  A perverse feature of coat of arms written by baronet (8, 2 words)  AT BOTTOM  Basically: A + [MOTTO (feature of coat of arms) + B(arone)T] reversed
 28  Accepted having too much back trouble (3)  ADO  Trouble: A(ccepted) + O(ver)D(ose) reversed
 30  Beat builder silly after lie’s forced out (4)  DRUB  Beat: [BU(il)D(e)R]* (builder minus lie)
 32  Great steeplechaser drops circuit and a former title (4)  NEMN  Former title (to name (obs)): oNE MaN was a great steeplechaser – remove O (circuit) and A
 33  Spoke dirty to Bard (3)  RAY  Double meaning: spoke and Shakespearian for dirty
 34  Crisply brief encounters embezzlement cases (5)  TERSE  Crisply brief: hidden in encounTERS Embezzlement
 35  Breton Saint miles from Swedish city (4)  MALO  Breton Saint: MAL(m)O
 37  A part of siege, no ordinary ex- Taoiseach (5)  AHERN  Ex-Taoiseach (Bertie Ahern): A + HERON minus O(rdinary). A siege is the collective noun for herons.
 38  Throwing weight about, cut head of lager lout (3)  OIK  Lout: [KI(l)O]*
 39  Rock bed, moving son to right medical history (4)  ILLS  Medical history: SILL with S moved to right
 40  Spiced drink Georgia upset saturating back of tabloid (5)  NEGUS  Spiced drink: GE in SUN all reversed
 41  Jumps strange visitor in timeless fun (5)  JETES  Jumps: ET (strange visitor) in JES(t)
 No.  Clue  Answer  Definition: Wordplay
 2  I’ll fill register in on account of S Americans (8)  CRIOLLOS  S Americans: I in ROLL (register) all in ‘COS (because – on account of)
 3  Medals won just after depressing Government a trifle (7, 2 words)  OLD SONG  A trifle: GOLDS (medals won) + ON (just after) with G(overnment) depressed
 4  Exactly 60 mins to get in the groove (6)  THROAT  Groove: HR in TO A “T” (exactly)
 5  Writer visits Hollywood, Beverly Hills etc for images (5)  IDOLA  Images: I (writer) DO (visits) LA
 6  How close place is lost to refuse (4)  DENY  Refuse: DENSITY (how close – a poor definition!) minus SIT (place)
 10  Pub employee doesn’t need binge trade (3)  ART  Trade: BARTENDER minus BENDER (binge)
 11  Young lout sticking up old black chap (5)  YOBBO  Young lout: O(ld) B(lack) BOY (chap) reversed
 18  Heart’s not in Dating Agency – sickly sweet (8, 2 words)  CANDY EGG  Sickly sweet: [D(atin)G AGENCY]*
 20  Quarrelled ominously about wingers missing sitter (8)  MODELLER  Sitter: hidden reversed in quarRELLED OMinously
 23  Bats are ignored by agitated immoderate oppressed workers (7)  TOMMIED  Oppressed (verb) workers: [IMMOD(era)TE]*
 26  SA men angering US with one (5)  OUENS  SA men (plural of ou): [US ONE]*
 27  Appropriately placed units mobilised south of India (6, 2 words)  IN SITU  Appropriately placed: I + [UNITS]*
 31  Club bouncers use freely for turning out wild stallion? (5)  BRONC  Wild stallion? (not in Chambers or Collins, but in Merriam-Webster online): Club seems to be a word indicating anagram of BOUNCERS minus USE
 34  Over powering of Resistance by Yank that bears fruit (4)  TRUG  That bears fruit (a basket): TUG (yank) round R(esitance)
 36  Rest for Milton’s high voice (3)  ALT  Double meaning: high voice and rest for Milton.



10 Responses to “Inquisitor 1234: NIMROD’S UNIQUE NIGHT OUT by Nimrod”

  1. Tramp says:

    I thought this was one of the cleverest puzzles I’ve ever done.

    I wrote CAPITAL QUIZ under the grid but I’m not sure that was right.

    Nimrod sets quizzes. I presume on the evening in question he made the fascinating discovery that the only countries to have unique initial letters in their capital city’s names are Ecuador, Mongolia, Pakistan and Croatioa; Q, U, I and Z, respectively. I find this discovery amazing — as Nimrod did.

    I spotted in the grid quite early on a few countries so tried to work out where some others could go. I then spotted the unclued letters Q, U, I and Z were in the corners of the grid. I made the connection with the capital cities and then I had a great penny-dropping moment when I realised he’d hidden all the capital cities diagionally in the grid.

    I think it’s the work of a genius!

  2. kenmac says:

    I too struggled with this one. I’m just glad that it wasn’t my week to blog. I had no idea how the wordplay in 2a worked, so thanks Hi(HoBa) for that. Like you I would have had no idea what to write under the grid, there seemed to be no indication in the preamble. It was a rather long preamble so maybe some wording had to be cut due to space constraints. I always find it disappointing if there’s ambiguity or lack of instructions for the end game :-(

    And I failed to make the “fascinating discovery” that they are the only word capitals that start with those letters. I’ll be amazing all my friends with my new-found knowledge! 😀

  3. HolyGhost says:

    Yes – this one took a long time to finish. (I’d rate it 4 on the 1–5 scale.)

    Not only are QUITO, ULAN BATOR, ISLAMABAD and ZAGREB the only capitals to start with Q, U, I & Z respectively, but, as Tramp indicates at Comment 1, no other letter of the alphabet leads to a unique capital city – so I just wrote QUIZ below the grid.

    The wordplay for 32a NEMN (via ONE MAN – never heard of it) took an age; and I’m still not cpmpletely convinced by the wordplay for 6d DENY. (As for “leaves” in the clue for 1d, Hihoba’s comment “Couldn’t find any reason for this word.” seems apt.)

    But a very impressive grid construction. Thanks, Nimrod.

  4. ele says:

    Amazing indeed. Managed to fill the grid but completely missed the capital cities and even with Hihoba’s excellent explanations of the substitutions find it difficult toget my head around it. :)

  5. Jockie says:

    I put QUIZ CORNER as it seemed to be apt, but I agree that a bit more guidance about what was required would not have gone amiss (number of words, or letters, say).

  6. chesley says:

    Thanks to Hihoba for an excellent blog which revealed all. I’m afraid this puzzle was too tough for me (as are most IQs lately!)but, when I see the solution, I can see what a superb construction it was. My thanks and admiration to Nimrod.

    I think the original “Henderson Scale” was 1-3 (much too crude) and was unofficially adapted by bloggers to 1-5. I would definitely give this one a 5.

  7. John Lowe says:

    I also failed the wordplay test for the countries – luckily that didn’t stop me filling and highlighting the grid.

    I feel the rubric was unambiguous: “…key event should be named under the grid… The event’s letters are ignored in wordplay…” So QUIZ should be written under the grid.

    Thanks to Nimrod – very ingenious – and definitely to Hihoba for sorting everything out so clearly.

  8. John H says:

    Many thanks Hi, Ho & Ba for a pretty thorough blog.

    It was certainly a ‘moment’ to discover that there are four and only four capital letters that lend themselves to each single capital, and then to find out they could be arranged as QUIZ, one of which I was running at the time (somehow I wasn’t alert to it at the setting stage!). The gradual dawning on me is reflected in the saving of this puzzle until the date of IQ 1,2,3,4 arrived.

    Individual clue comments/justifications:

    1dn (Q)UANTUM: ‘leaves’ is verbal – if you kick about (the letters of) AUTUMN, you ‘leave’ a word meaning ‘the smallest amount’.
    7ac PL(U): not much to work with here, but I hoped the clue abbreviations led to the abbreviation of Labour Party.
    43ac: IT, usually the minority, whether s/he is doing the catching or the avoiding. Cornish upbringing!
    6dn: density is how closely the molecules/atoms are packed in an entity – ‘how close’ seems fair to me.

    Finally, as John L says at #7, I can see no ambiguity with QUIZ being the necessary entry below the grid.

    Thanks for the great blog and kind comments (Tramp, you flatter me!) on this site and elsewhere, and also to Mark Goodliffe for performing many of the proof solving/editorial duties for this puzzle.

    John H

  9. Bertandjoyce says:

    Another Inquisitor tour de force. Thanks Nimrod.

    It was only a sleepless night on Bert’s behalf that enabled us to solve the puzzle. Lying awake desperately trying to think of connections, the penny suddenly dropped. It was then frustrating not being able to write things down to confirm everything. Joyce was oblivious to all of this frantic brain activity and was somewhat shell- shocked when all was revealed (so to speak!) the next morning.

    Why we have never sent our completed entries off is sometimes a mystery – the challenge we suppose is in the solution and this certainly was one if those that left us amazed.

    Thanks again to Nimrod and Hihoba for the blog.

  10. M R Harold says:

    How about A – Z QUIZ to go under the puzzle?

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