Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1235: Cogito Ergo Sum by Radix

Posted by kenmac on July 4th, 2012


A reasonably straightforward rubric for a change: Two unclued entries must be thematically modified to give two others, and an appropriate word in a dozen down clues must be treated likewise before the clue can be solved. Twentyseven cells in the completed grid must be highlighted, to reveal a thinker plus two dates marking the start and finish of something with which he was famously associated.

So a familiar journey begins, I can’t figure the theme until I’ve figured the clues and I can’t figure the clues until I’ve figured the theme!

There were some words that were quite obviously out of place in the down clues and I soon realized that they were all four-letters but that fact didn’t help much at this stage.  In the grid we had two words shaded yellow and two green, did the greens both become yellow (or vice versa) or did one green become the other green and one yellow become the other yellow?

Whilst solving the clues, I kept my eyes on the diagonals, such as they were but nothing popped out and then I suddenly spotted ALAN (f2) and remembered seeing Google’s “doodle” reference to Alan Turing’s 100th birthday. Then noticing that the square above ALAN (f1) is blocked off, I found T and R either side of it and in the symmetrically opposite squares I had I and G so it looked like TUR (e1) and ING (e13) formed his surname. This meant I had identified 10 of the 27 squares to be highlighted. This plus the 9 on the middle row gave 19 so I still had 8 left to find – hmm…!

Aha! Then I spotted M*THISON lurking in the centre column (f6). Was a man called MATHISON associated with Alan Turing?? A quick trip to Wikipedia revealed that MATHISON was his middle name: 2 squares left to find and I still hadn’t filled 8 of the squares on the middle row. The preamble mentioned dates and since Turing was associated with World War II, I took a punt on them being 1939 and 1945 (the year the war started and the year it ended.) Finally, I spotted WAR between 1939 and 1945- very nice! So there we have the 27 squares. ALAN MATHISON(f6) TUR(e1)+ING(e13) and 1939WAR1945(a7.)

Now, how do we find the association between the four unclued entries (G*ID(a1), C*AN(h1), HA*M(a13) and DU*S(h13))?

Assuming that RADIX doesn’t expect us all to have brains like Turing’s, I imagine that he’s used a very simple cipher but it took me a while (and believe me, I kicked myself when I discovered it) to realize that we had to add 1, 9, 3 & 9 respectively to the letters G, R, * & D to derive H, A, * & M and 1, 9, 4 & 5 to C, *, A & N to give D, U, * & S. The only words that fit the bill are GRID becomes HALM and CLAN becomes DUES. Applying the same cipher to the clues to all answers that touch 1939 and 1945 (with the exception of the two 3-letter answers) allows us to determine the words in a dozen down clues that had to be treated similarly. These words can be found in the DOWN solution, below.

(disclaimer: for the last 8 months or so I have been solving The Inquisitor with my daughter, Laura and she has become much more  confident and comfortable with them just lately. In the discussion of the thematic material above, “I” should read “Laura” as she did  all the thematic solving, so kudos to Laura. Has the pupil finally  become the master? I’d better watch my back. 😉 )

Finally, I’m not sure what the title’s all about. COGITO ERGO  SUM means “I think, therefore I am.” Is it just a reference to  Mr. Turing being a great thinker or is it somehow encoded?

Also, there are a few clues I didn’t fully understand: 30a, 33a, 18d  and 24d.
Nice puzzle, Radix.  Great fun and lots of thematic material!


No Clue Entry Wordplay
9 Stale Indian bread
could be naan
ANNA NAAN (anag: could
10 Jimmy
taking excessively wicked Israelite for Muslim primitivist
WAHABEE AHAB (excessively
wicked Israelite: ref: Ahab)
inside WEE (jimmy
11 Smiley
flaps about chief of spooks being slapdash
(chief of) inside SMILEY
(anag: flaps)
12 Shifting
sand dunes means a bit of work
ERG (double
13 Irish girl must
hate Northern Ireland
Ireland) (anag: must)
15 Rage I’ll be in
tomorrow (not before, note)
MANIA I inside
MAÑANA (tomorrow)
(minus A(nte) before) and minus N(ote)
16 Ian’s to
wag head (about time!) – what informal charm!
SWEETNESS T(ime) inside SWEE (nag
(Scottish))+NESS (head)
17 Lydian queen
has it with Hercules maybe, both topless
OMPHALE rOMP (it: sex)+wHALE (maybe –
couldn’t justify it :( )
19 Learned lady in
vessel travelling west, then another
SAVANTE ETNA+VAS (both vessels)
(rev: travelling west)
26 How to get going on a
cold morning?
– in truth, pass out!
28 Once award a
Tourist Trophy
ARETT A(RE)+TT (Tourist Trophy)
29 Fish knows such a line
is attached to old rod
ISOBAR (Michael
former weatherman)
IS+Old+BAR (rod)
30 Perch and
angler in race
ROD (double
def) – not sure what IN RACE has to do with it
31 Is ‘inane’
possibly the
IS INANE (anag:
32 René’sclose, second about: persevere PRESS ON PRES (close in
French: RENE is a French man)+S(econd)+ON (about)
33 I’m asteroidal
– dial me at will from Perth to get asteroidal!
minus DIAL AT leaves EROS not really sure how to read the
clue :-(


No Clue Entry Coded Word Cypher Decoded Word Wordplay
1 Prostitution on Sunday – flip
finally, I’m mad
about ‘sport’
(prostitution)+S(unday)+gulY (finally)
2 Part of foot wearing silk INSTEP SILK 1939 TROT IN (wearing)+STEP (trot)
3 Ed’s cut grog drunk – what a show-off! DASHER GROG 1939 HARP ED’S+HARp (cut short) (anag:
4 One of two linked communities and
separate farmstead, both in Galloway
TWIN TOWN       TWIN (farmstead)+TOWN
(farmstead) both Scottish
5 Chime, for instance RHYME       &lit clue. RHYME rhymes
with CHIME.
6 Plant found in California? Grin wildly,
getting there first
7 Elevated king or queen above fray
essentially? The reverse!
AERIAL FRAY 1945 GAED gAEd above (not below) RIAL
(king or queen)
8 Cancel slaughter: frag ten, not fifty NEGATE FRAG 1945 GAEL GAEl (no L: not fifty)+TEN
(anag: slaughter)
14 Maori people, women among us? IWI       W(omen) inside I and I (us)
18 Troublesomely persistent? Indeed so,
but without wine, no good
PRESSING       I can see No Good at the end and
nothing else :-(
19 Joint requiring special brog, hard SCARPH BROG 1939 CARP S(pecial)+CARP+H(ard)
20 Goddess: endlessly eild being central
to distinctive character
AURORA EILD 1939 FROM fROm inside AURA (distinctive character)
21 Child’s biro could be a must, I fancy AUTISM BIRO 1939 CRUX A MUST I (anag: fancy)
22 Sian drunk? Like Stephen! (Saint
STONED SIAN 1945 TRES (double def) TRES (very)
23 Peck on one’s friz from Brazilian bird JABIRU FRIZ 1945 GAME JAB (peck)+I (one)+RU
(game: Rugby Union)
24 Queen embraced by graduate –
gay deceivers!
BRA       R (queen) inside BA (graduate) not entirely sure of
25 Croc rests close to swimmers,
causing tension
STRESS CROC 1945 DASH RESTS (anag: dash)+swimmerS (closing
27 Secret police arrest missing Soprano STASI       STASIs (missing S(oprano))

11 Responses to “Inquisitor 1235: Cogito Ergo Sum by Radix”

  1. Richard Heald says:

    Tough puzzle, but enjoyable once the penny dropped. I can help you with the four clues you couldn’t quite figure out:

    30Ac is a triple definition, with ROD also defined in Chambers as a Biblical word for a race or tribe;

    33Ac is a composite anagram with “will from Perth” (see WILL(3) in C) the anagrind;

    18Dn is an anag. of PERSISTENT minus TENT (wine) + NG; and

    24Dn’s “gay deceivers” is defined in C as a foam-padded brassiere (so strictly speaking, the “!” should be a “?”).

  2. Richard Heald says:

    Oh and as for the meaning of the title, I think the “SUM” part just refers to the additive way in which the 4-letter words must be decoded.

  3. Al Dente says:

    Thanks to kenmac for the great blog. On 17a I wondered if has it was sex appeal which gave oomph and
    Hercules as in the tale, both topless giving Omphale the Lydian Queen. On 33a I wondered Eros is an
    asteroid [I’m asteroidal] combine Eros,dial and at giving an anagram of asteroidal. Many thanks once again.

  4. Lansdowne says:

    Thank you to Kenmac for explaining the coding system which is not far short of Turing complexity. Perhaps the preamble could have given a hint that the digits to be entered were needed to solve the codes.

    My understanding of OMPHALE was (o)OMPH (‘it’ i.e. sex appeal) and (m)ALE (‘Hercules maybe’).

    In 13a, not sure how “must” signifies an anagram. And 26a needs to be (two words) or (hyphenated).

    In 28a I assume “a” produces “are” as it is the abbreviation for that metric unit. This is the opposite way round from the usual (full form in clue -> abbreviation in the answer). Can anyone recall other examples of this?

  5. HolyGhost says:

    It took me about three times as long to get the encryption as it did to solve the rest of the puzzle. Admittedly I was slow: with hindsight, a way in was with 19d (“brog” -> CARP) confirming the 1939 modification, guessed from the first date and G?ID -> HA?M. Ah, well.

    With Landsdowne, I eventually settled on OMPHALE = (o)OMPH (it, sex appeal) and (m)ALE (Hercules maybe).

    For 13a, Ch. gives must^4 as “(in a state of) frenzy”. And “push-start” at 26a is indeed hyphenated (as in the blog).

    Finally, I agree that, for example, “a” -> “are” is rare but I feel not unprecedented, tho’ can’t give a specific reference.

    PS Thanks for the work-out, Radix – maybe more of your puzzles will be Inquisitor-bound. And to Ken for the blog – or should that be Laura for the solution & Ken for the grid?

    Re COGITO ERGO SUM – maybe a nod to the Turing Test … just a thought.

  6. Al Dente says:

    Thanks HolyGhost for the nod to the Turing Test. Alan wondered if a digital computer could do well in a
    certain kind of game he described as “THE IMITATION GAME”. I think therefore I am? A nods as good as a
    wink HolyGhost. Thanks again.

  7. kenmac says:

    Thanks all for your explanations and comments.

    And apologies for the few errors that crept into my post, whicha are, hopefully, all sorted now. I found out the other week that my laptop computer is not partial to hot coffee and so I’ve been “stealing” time on other peoples’ computers.

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    Just back from 2 weeks in Greece and woke up early this morning. We have just completed the puzzle – we can’t go away without someone saving us the Saturday Indy. We don’t think we have missed a single one although there have been the odd ones we haven’t completed.

    This was a veritable tour de force. Part way through we saw Alan and made a guess at Mathison. A google search revealed the rest and we remembered the reference to him before we left home.

    Sorting out the thematic alterations/decoding took quite a while and we’re still not sure where crux comes into 21d. Can anyone help please?

    Thanks kenmac – love the flashing! – and also Radix for the puzzle.

  9. kenmac says:

    B: 2 + 1 = 3 == C
    I: 9 + 9 = 18 == R
    R: 18 + 3 = 21 == U
    O: 15 + 9 = 24 == X

  10. Al Dente says:

    Hope you had an enjoyable holiday Bertandjoyce. Was’nt totally sure myself where crux came into 21d so
    referenced Chambers which gave ‘something that creates difficulty or complexity’. I guess that as autism
    is a problem which affects children then this may be where it comes in to the clue. Good to see you back.

  11. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Al Dente (and Kemac). It’s so wonderful to come back to this weather and local flooding!

    We managed to get the coding for crux but we think your interpretation Al Dente is the closest we can get to it. I suppose the restrictions with a four-letter word to help parse it, it was always going to be a bit obscure.

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