Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1239: MP’s Fancy by Samuel

Posted by kenmac on August 1st, 2012


Four members of a thematic group can be identified in the completed grid by amending the contents of one unchecked cell in each of four entries, one of which so it contains two letters. Three distinct strings of six letters, each spelling out a further member of the group, must be highlighted, also revealing the subject matter. The wordplay in 39 clues leads to the answer plus a superfluous letter not to be entered into the grid: these give five thematically related groups and individuals.

A fairly straightforward rubric so on to the puzzle.

Not too much trouble with the clues, though 23d held me up for ages. It wasn’t until the dénoument stage that it finally succumbed.

The extra letters from the clues took a while before anything meaningful fell out, with the normal problem of having one or two of them wrong. Eventually, I saw IRLEY ASSEY and the penny dropped – who else but SHIRLEY BASSEY?  Never heard of OM JOPES though – oops, 7d’s extra letter came from CAN not CAP 😉 so that’ll be TOM JONES then!

Now, what do SHIRLEY and TOM have in common? Aha, there’s WINGS and DURAN DURAN lurking in the across clues, just leaves SHA – hmm, must be another wrong letter. Aha, it’s A-HA. Air to Air Missile (AAM) not Surface to Air (SAM), as I give myself a quick slap.

So, what do these five entities have in common? Of course, they’ve all done BOND themes:

Artist Song / Film
Wings Live and Let Die
Duran Duran A View to a Kill
A-Ha The Living Daylights
Tom Jones Thunderball
Shirley Bassey Goldfinger / Diamonds are Forever / Moonraker

Right, let’s set about finding the four members of a thematic group. 37a FLEEING looks a likely candidate for FLEMING, Ian Fleming being the creator of James Bond. By now, my knowledge of James Bond is all but exhausted so I resort to Wikipedia to fill in the gaps. Turns out that other people have taken on the task of writing James Bond novels since Fleming’s death. These include Jeffery DEAVER (12a DEALER), John GARDNER (13 PARDNER) and Robert MARKHAM (38a MASHAM.)

OK, so that’s that bit sorted; what about the “three distinct groups of six letters?” My Wikipedia excursion also reveals Raymond BENSON, Charlie HIGSON and Sebastian FAULKS and

they can be found, respectively, in the shape of 007 across the centre of the grid. BENSON runs clockwise: c5, d6, d7, c8, b7, a6; HIGSON runs anti-clockwise: g8, f7, f6, g5, h6, h7 and FAULKS: j8, k7, l6, l5, k5, j5.

The final piece of the puzzle, I guess, is the title. I don’t really understand. My best guess is that MP means Moneypenny and she fancies James Bond, is that even remotely close?

Nice easy, fun puzzle – thanks Samuel.

No. Clue Entry Extra Letter Wordplay
1 Woman married North American EDNA W WED
6 Person charged accountant to exploit
ACCUSED I ACCountant+USE (exploit)+IDentity
12 Clergyman runs after the French trader DEALER N DEAN
(clergyman)+LE (the in French+Runs
13 Talk about the limits of drunken German wife? PARDNER G RAP (talk) (rev: about)+DrunkeN (limits of)+GERman
14 Seer ponders eccentric old person’s
(anag: eccentric)
15 Maine and Arizona golfer dated lepers MEAZELS ME (Maine)+AZ (Arizona)+ELS (golfer: Ernie
16 Clamour to smear a conference INDABA D DIN
(clamour)+DAB (smear)+A
18 Wave retreating over lantern in Cape Wrath subsides ABATES U BUAT (lantern)
inside SEA (wave) (rev: retreating)
20 Sentry retuned, losing TV’s first channel SNYE R SENtRY (anag:
retunrd) (minus T (TV’s first)
22 Brown cask from the east: a source of
(brown)+TUN (rev: from the east)
24 Assembly’s concluding riotously
without debating on the fringes
(anag: riotously) minus DG (fringes of debating)
27 Deplorable book about Yemeni people SABA D SAD
31 Hostilities only agitated roue holding fellow
HOOFER U Hostilities+Only+ROUE
(anag: agitated)
33 Priest left out determined firestarter AMADOU R lAMA (priiest) minus Left+DOUR (determined)
34 Animals returned with tail wagging like a
clear night
35 Spotlight one leaving alien vessel for
leaving)+ROUND (vessel for beer)
37 Taunt about early English running away FLEEING Early English inside FLING (taunt)
38 Yorkshire town backed air-to-air missile hoax MASHAM A AAM (air-to-air
missile) (rev backed)+SHAM (hoax)
39 Female prophet’s not initially from
Kent town
town) minus N (not initially)
40 Water carrier perhaps accepted javelins PILA A PAIL (water



No. Clue Entry Extra letter Wordplay
1 Unhealthy masses cut short paradise –
EDEMAS T EDEn (paradise; cut short)+MAST (nuts)
2 American’s behaviour upset marooned
pirate, finally
(finally) (anag: upset)
3 War with able-bodied ruler NAWAB M NAM (war:
Vietnam War)+With+AB (able bodied)
4 Hospital jeer about habitual response for non-conformist HERETIC J Hospital+JEER
(anag: about)+TIC (habitual response)
5 Power part to work false limb? PROLEG O Power+ROLE (part)+GO
7 Stop envy, perhaps, over card game CASINO N CAN (stop)+SIN
(envy perhaps)+Over
8 Native Americans uncovered gnat’s tooth CRENA E CREE (native
Americans)+gNAt (uncovered)
9 Steal writhing snakes SNEAK S SNAKES (anag:
10 Regularly demean Scottish optics EEN dEmEaN (regularly)
11 Daughter on turbulent stream had
(anag: turbulent)
17 Document signed by publican detailed crosses DSOS H DS (document signed)+HOSt
19 Lewd club’s confused about religious
instruction trouble
LUBRICAL I RI (religious instruction) inside CLUB (anag:
confused)+AIL (trouble)
21 Consumer raised children’s author? ENID R DINER (rev:
23 Anal echo damaged nostrils CHOANAE L ANAL ECHO (anag:
24 Worthless materials irritate fine
25 …wearing jade bit of ring non-smoker entombs INURNS Y IN (wearing)+YU
(jade)+Ring (bit of)+NS (non-smoker)
26 Insect surfaces upside down on
ultimately wet sponges
NOTUMS B ON (upside down)+weT (ultimately)+BUMS (spnges)
28 Revolving hats sound like a goat’s breathingdisorder ASTHMA A HATS (anag: revolving)+MAA (goat sound)
29 Special forces liberate female lacking itemof clothing SAREE S SAS (special
forces)+FREE (liberate)
30 Orphaned calf worries Indo-European DOGIE S DOGS
(worries)+IE (Indo-European)
32 Ambassador sheltered rising Greek
rising)+CHI (Greek character)
36 Fish without constant sign of
OLÉ Y cOLEY (without



3 Responses to “Inquisitor 1239: MP’s Fancy by Samuel”

  1. Dormouse says:

    Fell at the final hurdle in this. Filled in the grid, worked out the Bond connection (although I had to google Tom Jones, Wings and Shirley Bassey to get it) and then failed to find any of the hidden names in the grid. Went off down the wrong track thinking John Barry might be in there somewhere, and never even thought of Bond writers.

  2. HolyGhost says:

    Thank goodness this was fairly accessible – I tackled the puzzle on a flight to Bangkok (no dictionary, no internet) and, after much judicious guesswork, finally finished (almost!) on a raft house on the River Kwai when, by the light of a kerosene lamp & sipping a cold beer, I spotted FAULKS in the shape of a 7, which confirmed my suspicion of BENSON and HIGSON.

    DEAVER & MARKHAM had eluded me (and I was pretty vague on the particular songs/films associated with the artists), but I felt pretty chuffed to have got that far unaided. So thanks to Samuel for several enjoyable hours, and a very neat construction.

    And thanks to Ken for clearing up YU = jade, and the rest of the blog. And MP = Moneypenny is my best guess too – so I suspect that’s right.

  3. Bertandjoyce says:

    We were really pleased to finish this one. We needed to google the artists to find the Bond connection first of all and then lots of dead ends trying Bond characters or films before one of us noticed the possibility of Fleming. More googlng and the other writers were found. Then the other member of the pair wondered about 007 being found in the grid – Faulks was found and the rest is now history! The other writers were all new ones to us both, so thanks to wiki are due.

    Thanks for the blog Kenmac and Samuel for a memorable puzzle!

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