Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1244: Instability by Phi

Posted by HolyGhost on September 5th, 2012

HolyGhost.

Nine entries hinted at by definitions only – three groups of three. (Definitions refer to all or part of thematic material – we have been warned.) Two thematic references to be highlighted in the grid (8 cells), the third to be written below.
 
The grid filled fairly quickly, particularly the top right quadrant …

… though sorting out WITGAT (at 21d) and then ORTHIAN (at 28a) took a while – how to make sense of that A? The unclued entries were fully or mainly cross-checked, so I had a pretty much completed grid before getting down to the ‘specials’. I stared at this for what must have been an hour getting nowhere fast, frustration building.

At last I spotted the links from Marsupials to WOMBATS to MOW, and from Tumblers to ACROBATS to ORCA, and noticed BATS diagonally in the grid. (Ghost → SPECTRE → RESPECT completes that group – no explicit BATS there, but we were warned.) Next came NUTS symmetrically placed in the grid, giving me a second trio of PALMYRA → PALMARY, COKER → OCKER, and GRAPE → PAGER, Grape-Nuts being an American breakfast cereal (containing neither grapes nor nuts). Finally came CREAM CRACKERS and the rest, providing the third indication of “crazy”, hence the title.

Not that hard, I suppose, but that depends on how quickly (or slowly) the thematic material revealed itself. And I guess that determines how enjoyable an experience it was …


Definition Answer Group Entry
Elite CREAM CRACKERS MACER
Ghost SPECTRE BATS RESPECT
Marsupials WOMBATS BATS MOW
Part of Eliot title {East} COKER NUTS OCKER
Sack FIRE CRACKERS RIFE
Singular theme word NUT CRACKERS TUN
Toddy source PALMYRA NUTS PALMARY
Tumblers ACROBATS BATS ORCA
Uva GRAPE NUTS PAGER

Across
No. Answer Wordplay
9 APOLLO A + L(ine) in POLO (sport)
10 RUAIRI AIR (attitude) in RUI(n) (devastation)
11 GENOM GEN (information) + OM (Order {of Merit})
12 LAUF LAU(d) (praise) + F(rench)
14 UNSCALE [CLUE'S AN]*
15 RIATA AT AIR (display) rev. &Lit.
16 STRATUM SUM (everything) around TRAT (restaurant)
17 TOSA TOP (supreme) with P(ower) replaced by SA (sex appeal, it)
18 FINSKO FINS (hands) KO (knock out, put down)
20 UNWRAP UP about N(ew) [WAR]*
23 ENEW (div)E NEW (not seen before)
25 NOISOME NO (form of theatre) IS OME(n) (something threatening)
26 SUITE SUIT(abl)E (appropriate)
28 ORTHIAN OR THIN (reedy) around A (oboe’s note for orchestra)
{the longest subsidiary indication of the single letter A?}
31 RAGI [GRAI(n)]* &Lit.
32 AZOLE OZ (Australian) rev. in ALE (beer)
33 CHANGE HANG (stop working) in CE (Church {of England})
34 ELATES PRELATES (churchmen) − PR(iest)
35 ANTES ANS(wer) around T(ense) (vampir)E
Down
No. Answer Wordplay
1 APEX APE (copy) + X (indication of error)
2 LONGAS L(eft) ON GAS (impressive object)
3 ALMA-ATA ALMA (essence, Italian) AT A
4 ROBUST ROT (corruption) around BUS (transport)
5 YRENT YENT(a) (gossip) around R (king)
6 OURS [FOR US]* − F(ellow) &Lit.
7 CALCANEUM CALM (still) around CANE (punishment) + U(nwind)
8 KIAATS A+A (articles) in KITS (young animals)
13 STARSHINE S(un) [NEAR THIS]* &Lit.
19 INSTALS INST (this month) ALS(o) (as well)
21 WITGAT WIT (knowledge) + GAT (gun, heat {US slang})
22 PENSÉE PENS (writer’s) EE (Early English)
24 NILOTE NOTE (comment) around I (one) L(ake)
27 EGEST EG (for example, say) EST (estuary, mouth of river)
29 INGS I(talia)N G(arden)S
30 ALEC (m)ALE C(alled) &Lit.
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2 Responses to “Inquisitor 1244: Instability by Phi”

  1. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks HolyGhost for the blog. We’re glad that we weren’t the only ones who hadn’t come across the A as the oboe’s note for the orchestra before! Actually we were quite intrigued as we always thought it was the violinists who tuned the orchestra so we will listen more closely next time.

    We enjoyed the puzzle – we think our experience was much like yours. Quite a few unusual words along the way but all fair but that’s what we expect with Phi so thanks to him as well!

  2. Wickball says:

    Working through my backlog, I have only just tackled this one – I thought successfully until I read Holyghost’s blog!

    I got all the BATS, including the hidden theme word.

    Then my first slip was to assume from the “definitions” that TUN was sufficient for the theme word NUTS. I thought of grapenuts but could not find it in Chambers, so opted for COKERNUTS, PALMYRA NUTS and CREAM NUTS (aka Brazil Nuts).

    This left me with FIRE and GRAPE and I eventually came up with WILD FIRE, WILD GRAPE and, from the bottom left corner of the grid, going north-east, WILD CATS. So my word below the grid was WILD, which also indicates instability.

    Not as neat as the intended solution but a plausible alternative, I would suggest. Perhaps my mistake was to tackle it on April Fool’s Day!

    I was surprised that there was only one response for this puzzle. Presumably a lot of solvers completed the grid and then came to a halt.

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