Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1236: 1 to 38 by Phi

Posted by HolyGhost on July 11th, 2012


A fairly painless puzzle this week. The route from 1 to 38 [unclued] may be deduced from the letters that are ignored in the wordplay to 12 clues together with the other unclued across entries [28a and 37a]. A further companion is also unclued [10d]. The full title should be highlighted.
A mild ambiguity in the preamble: “letters that are ignored in the wordplay …” – is that letters that have been ignored by the setter, or should be ignored by the solver? But that is soon resolved (in favour of the former) as soon as one of the irregular clues has been solved. And I make it there are eleven such clues, in one of which two letters have been ignored – I coped.

Most of the top right quadrant came easily, and a smattering of bottom right and bottom left. The unclued 10d looked like EDITH, but that didn’t help. After solving three or four of the irregular clues, it became clear that if an ‘ignored letter’ was checked, then it was also ignored in the wordplay of the intersecting clue. WONDERLAND (more likely than WINTERLAND) suggested itself for 37a, but because I’d misentered 22d as the more common GEWGAWS I stumbled over seeing that 28a was ADVENTURES, connected by the ignored letters I & N. And now it wasn’t too hard to see that ALICES would be snaking down rows 2 to 7, and that the route referred to in the preamble was from OXFORD to GODSTOW. Finding the latter helped me finish the remaining couple of clues in the bottom left corner, and the former meant that the underpopulated top left was soon complete.

A quick check confirmed that the full title to be highlighted was indeed ALICES ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND, and that EDITH Liddell was Alice’s younger sister. Lewis Carroll used to picnic with them, plus their father (and other sister?), near Godstow Lock on the Thames, where he reputedly made up the stories that became the book.

The route from Oxford up the Thames to Godstow is generally NW, the initial part being largely west, turning predominantly north with a few wiggles, so the highlighting works, but I thought it was a bit of a shame that OXFORD and GODSTOW were geographically misplaced … maybe that’s asking too much. (Brought to mind was Kruger‘s Military Marches, Inquisitor 6 from February 2007, which did achieve broad accuracy in tracing Offa’s Dyke Path through various towns.)

Very tight clueing (as usual from Phi, to whom thanks). And there was still plenty of time to watch Andy Murray toil through the third set then blast his way past Baghdatis in the fourth under the roof of Centre Court.

PS: As Phi points out (in his comment below), this puzzle was published close to the 150th anniversary of the the original telling of the tale.

No. Answer Ignored
1 OXFORD   see preamble
5 ARRANGE   AR(ab) + RAGE (passion) around N(ame)
11 PREVAILING A P(aint) + REVILING (railing)
12 ENROLLS L RN (navy) in SLOE (source of gin) rev.
14 PIROGI   PI (very good) R(ecipe) + I GO (try) rev.
15 RORIC   CIRR(i) (clouds) around O (nothing) rev.
18 PLANET   PLANE (tree) + (i)T
19 DOCTOR-FISH C DOSH (ready, money) around [IT FOR]*
21 TOUGHIE E OUGHT (is supposed) with T(ime) at beginning + I(nstitute)
27 RIVETER   RIVE (split) + TER(m) (end)
28 ADVENTURES   unclued
31 LEAGUE   LEAGUE(r) (ambassador, confused)
34 RIATA I A TAR (sailor) rev.
35 AU PAIR   A U(niversity) AIR (song) around P(enny)
36 PARDNER N PARADER (one in procession) − A
37 WONDERLAND   unclued
38 GODSTOW   see preamble
39 SWELLS   double definition
No. Answer Ignored
1 OPERATE   ATE (worried) after REPO (finance agreement) rev.
2 FERROUS   FUS(s) (bother) around ERRO(r) (inaccuracy)
3 OVOID   O (nothing) VOID (useless)
4 DILL L LID (cover) rev.
6 RIPPON   RIP (slash) PON(y) (horse)
7 AGRAFFE   A GIRAFFE (tall creature) − I (one)
8 NGONI   GO (turn) in INN (pub) rev.
9 GAGE   G(ood) AGE (time)
10 EDITH   unclued
13 NO GOOD   NOD (agree) around GOO (sentimentality)
16 COHO   COO (expression of surprise) around H(ot)
17 ITERUM I E R(ule) in TUM (belly, corporation)
20 SVELTE   [STEEL + V(anadium)]*
22 GEEGAWS   S(pecial) WAGE (payment) EG (say) rev.
23 AVER   AVERAGE (mean) − AGE
24 ETHANAL N [HEALT(h)]* around A
25 BRIARDS   R (queen) + I (one) in BARDS (poets)
26 STERNO S TERN (schooner) + O (zero)
28 ALANG   NALA (ravine) rev. + G(ood)
29 VAPID   AP(parently) in VID (recording)
30 SIDLE I S(eeme)D L(ouch)E
32 EURO   RUE (regret) rev. + O(old)
33 HAES   SEA (main) + H(ospital) rev.
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5 Responses to “Inquisitor 1236: 1 to 38 by Phi”

  1. Al Dente says:

    Good morning HolyGhost (I’m up and about much earlier than I would normally be). There was indeed another
    sister of Alice’s named Lorina. She also accompanied Alice and Edith on the river trips and picnics.
    Thanks for the blog as it cleared up an uncertaintainty I had with 17d.

  2. Phi says:

    Quite right about the number of affected answers, which slipped past me (and all the editors and test solvers too, it seems, but I should have got it right at the outset).

    I paid no attention to the geography of Oxford and Godstow, as my main concern was fitting in ADVENTURES and WONDERLAND in the correct positions in the title, and GODSTOW wouldn’t mesh with the other end of WONDERLAND.

    It was, of course, the sesquicentenary of the trip (which took place on 4 July 1862) a few days after the puzzle appeared.

  3. Hi of hihoba says:

    A very enjoyable solve, thanks to Phi’s usual immaculate clues. I had to do some Googling as, being a Cambridge man, I was unaware of Godstow’s existence and didn’t know the name of Alice’s sister. Other than that I had no question marks on my copy – unusual for the Inquisitor, and a pleasant change from recent offerings!

  4. Dormouse says:

    Well, I completed this in that I appear to have the right letter in every square, and that doesn’t often happen for me with an Inquisitor puzzle, but I couldn’t understand the preamble – the misdirection worked and I was assuming letters had to be dropped from the clue – and got those answers purely on the definition. It’s obvious now that it’s been pointed out.

    I didn’t see the “route” either, but that was because I was so surprised at filling in the grid I left it at that. The theme was one I knew well, not only being an Alice fan but Lewis Carroll/Charles Dodgson is buried about a mile from where I live.

  5. HolyGhost says:

    Phi at comment 2:
    There was no implied criticism of the layout of your grid – as I have said before, I have much admiration for anyone that can compose a thematic crossword such as yours. (My mind did take a flight of fancy regarding the possibility of extending it to a 13×13 grid with a barred off central cell to contain the apostrophe between ALICE and S.)

    Thankyou for alerting us to the fact that the publication date of the puzzle closely marked the 150th anniversary of the initial telling of the tale. I’ll add a footnote about that to the blog when I get home.

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