Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1245: Barred by Nutmeg

Posted by duncanshiell on September 12th, 2012


Nutmeg is a fairly regular Inquisitor contributor.  This is her (I think) 15th crossword in the Inquisitor series.

The preamble stated:  "Having completed the grid, solvers must remove a significant group of letters representing a famous work, thus making an oblique reference to the person responsible.  Clues whose answers are unaffected each contain an extra word; these hinting at (a) the theme; and (b) a saying that a solvers should heed to make the reference more colourful.

The first thing I noted was that there was no indication how many unaffected answers there were, therefore no way of knowing whether I had got the lot or too few or too many until the very end.  In my case it was too many, before the penny dropped.

On puzzles with preambles like this, I tend to just dive in and hope that the preamble makes a bit more sense as time goes on.

Initially I came up with 8 extra words:

12a – FAST – I wasn’t sure that FAST was absolutely necessary.

21a – JOHN

25a – MILTON

39a – EDITOR’S – the word seemed redundant until I read Chambers more closely




35d – GOLDEN

I’ll even admit to REJECTED in 2d for a while, until I realised that I couldn’t tell my odds from  my evens.

Highlighting the answers to these clues showed that 12a, 2d and 39a looked a bit out of place.  On the other hand, it looked as if 7d was either wrongly selected or it needed a mate, possibly at 27d.  It didn’t

The grid at this stage looked like this:















The words left then were JOHN MILTON JUNIOR CENTENARY SILENCE GOLDEN  It looked as if SILENCE and GOLDEN were hinting at ‘SILENCE is GOLDEN‘.  Now JOHN MILTON, poet,  certainly doesn’t have a centenary at this time – he would have been 400 in December 2008.  However, Google told me that JOHN MILTON CAGE JUNIOR was born on September 5 1912.  The one thing I know about CAGE is that he wrote a piece of SILENT ‘music’, so there was a link between the saying and the theme.  It took longer than it should have to realise that there were 33 occurences of the letter S in the grid.  Another scan revealed only 4 Ms.  CAGE‘ s silent work is entitled 4’33" so the significant group of letters to be removed were 4 Ms and 33 Ss.

After removal, we could see C A G and E revealed at an oblique angle in each of the four corners of the grid, starting at the NW corner, then going SW, NE and SE.  This explained ‘the oblique reference to the person responsible in the grid’.

The final grid therefore looks as follows.  I have used one of the many RGB (red, green blue) configurations I found on the internet to create the ‘gold’ colour in the grid.:















This was a puzzle that grew on me as the various steps panned out.  The clues were not too difficult to solve, although a number of the solutions from wordplay had to be checked in the dictionary.  New words, to me, or words that I have forgotten having seen before, were ISOS, FUSEE, TMESIS, ANDESITE, and BUSSU.

Many of the surfaces of clues related to context of the answer – e.g. SOLI (with it’s musical references), TMESIS (excellent use of semantics), STIMIED (fencing doing double duty), NOES (motion in two senses), ANDESITE (volcanoes and volcanic rock), and KASHMIR (Sikh army)

The title – BARRED – presumably relates to the fact that music is written in bars.  I am not sure what the score for 4’33" looks like.  Is there a key and time signature?.  The word BARRED may also relate to the fact that a CAGE has bars.

As with most Inquisitors, I enjoyed solving the puzzle and learning a bit more about a subject that I know little about.

No. Clue Wordplay

Extra Word


Pay heed to phantom engineers moving to the front (7)


SPECTRE (phantom) with RE ([Royal] Engineers) moving from the last two letters to the become the first two (moving to the front)



RESPECT (pay heed to)


7 Demolishing bananas, Victor goes for seconds (6) RAVING (talking madly or giving the appearance of having lost ones mind; bananas) with V (Victor is the international radio communications codeword for the letter V) replaced by (goes for) S (seconds)   RASING (demolishing; destroying, variant spelling of RAZING)

Grass area where fast cars stop reversing (5)


(A [area] + PITS [place beside the track where [fast] cars in a race can be refuelled and repaired; where fast cars stop]) all reversed (reversing)



STIPA (any grass of the feather-grass genus Stipa).


13 Sabbath religious studies continue to be about God (7, 2 words)

RE (Religious Education; religious studies) + (STAY [continue to be {in a place, position or condition}] containing [about] D [Deus; God])


  REST DAY (Sabbath is defined as a day set apart from work)

Sends abroad schilling for 10 historic vinegars (6)


EXILES (sends on enforced absence from one’s own country; sends abroad) with S (schilling) replacing (for) X (roman numeral for 10)



ESILES (obsolete [historic] word for vinegar)



Additional text contribution to poor book (6)


PS (postscript; additional text) + ALMS (relief given out of charity to the poor; contribution to the poor)



PSALMS (book of the Old Testament)



Act like a dissenter not quite sober (5)


DEMURE (sober) excluding the final letter (not quite) E



DEMUR (dissent; act like a dissenter)



Passage penned by saints has influence (5)


WAY (passage) contained in (penned by) (S [saint] + S [saint], to give saints)



SWAYS (influences by power or moral force; has influence)



Might they give famous conductor time off? (4)


SOLTI (reference Sir Georg SOLTI [1912 – 1997], Hungarian-British operatic and orchestral conductor) excluding (off) T (time)



SOLI (plural of SOLO, pieces or passages for one voice or instrument – the performance of which presumably allows the conductor to listen and rest from conducting the orchestra)



Multinational rejecting 50% of coffee (4)


ESPRESSO (coffee made by forcing steam or boiling water through ground coffee beans) excluding the first 4 letters (of 8, 50%)



ESSO (international tradename for ExxonMobil, a multinational corporation)



Note: E John unfortunately can’t perform again (7)


RE [musical note] + E + an anagram of (unfortunately) CANT



RE-ENACT (reconstruct in action; perform again)



Office Milton associated with one grand abode in north (5)


I (one) + G (grand [$1000]) + LOO (office is slang for lavatory, toilet, loo)



IGLOO (originally a dome-shaped Inuit [indigenous people of Greenland] house made of blocks of hard snow; now usually a dwelling made of other materials; abode in north)


Got to be able to cut dodgy deals (5)


Anagram of (dodgy) DEALS



LASED (became suitable for use as a laser; became suitable for use in cutting; got to be able to cut)



Universal church backs service using no English – it’s extraordinary (7)


NONES (a church service originally held at the ninth hour, or three o’clock, afterwards earlier) excluding (using no) E (English)  + U (universal [film certificate]) + CH (church)



NONSUCH (unique, unparalleled or extraordinary thing)



They let broadcasters repeat one appeal (4)


I (one) + SOS (appeal for help or rescue)



ISOS (short for isolated replays, a facility whereby a section of film can be isolated and the action replayed; they let broadcasters repeat)



Laid-back Penny in sun takes top off (4)


(P [penny] contained in [in] SOL [the sun personified]) all reversed (laid-back)

(LO (P) S)<


LOPS (takes the top of)



During dance, sailor twisted pelvic muscle (5)


OS (Ordinary Seaman; sailor) reversed (twisted) contained in (during) PAS (a step or dance, especially in ballet)

P (SO<) AS


PSOAS (a muscle of the loins and pelvis; pelvic muscle)



Editor’s one cutting payment for match (5)


US (one, in editorial use; editor’s one) contained in (cutting) FEE (payment)



FUSEE (match with a long oval head)



What could make semanticist extremely upset? (6)


Anagram of (upset) SEM and IST the first 3 and last 3 letters (extremely) of  SEMANTICIST



TMESIS (the separation or splitting up of a word into parts by one or more intervening words.  Presumably semanticists, who study the area of linguistics dealing with the meaning of words and the meaning attached to words or symbols, would be upset by the separation or splitting of individual words)



Has no doubt run off with society’s proceeds (6)


IS SURE (has no doubt) excluding (off) R (run [cricket scoring]) + S (society)



ISSUES (proceeds)



He’s called on international support in pursuit of power (7)


VIS (power) + I (international) + TEE (support [for a golf ball])



VISITEE (the person visited; he’s called on)



Bouts of illness primarily seen in rabbits (5)


S (first letter of [primarily] SEEN) contained in (seen in) DOES (female rabbits)



DOSES (bouts of illness)



Arranged in advance to deliver new shed (6)


PRESENT (deliver) excluding (shed) N (new)



PRESET (set initially or preliminarily; arranged in advance)



Made harmless jest, altering direction in writ (7)


FUN (jest) changing N to S (changing direction) contained in (in) DEED (legal or formal document; writ)



DEFUSED (made harmless)



County’s vets oddly rejected it (5)


ES (2nd and 4th letters [odd letters {oddly} rejected] of VETS) + SEX (it)



ESSEX (English County)



Badly sited fencing I’m unable to move effectively (7)


Anagram of (badly) SITED containing (fencing) I’M



STIMIED (in a situation from which it is difficult or impossible to proceed)



One with coat of additional hair (5)


I (one) contained in (with coat of) PLUS (additional)



PILUS (hair)



Accountant’s footwear suitable attire for clerk (7)


CAS (Chartered Accountant’s) + SOCK (footwear)



CASSOCK (a long robe or outer coat worn by clergy and choristers; suitable attire for a clerk [in the sense of a clergyman or priest])



In civil war, junior troops set up throrough search (5)


TRAWL (reversed [set up; down clue] hidden word in [in] CIVIL WAR TROOPS)



TRAWL (thorough search)



Settled make-up of parade, one for a centenary (6)


Anagram of (make-up) PARADE with I [one] replacing [for] A



REPAID (settled outstanding debt)



Jaunty second son wrapped up in an ancient language (8)


(AIRY [jaunty] + S [second] + S [son]) all reversed (up) contained in (wrapped … in) AN



ASSYRIAN (language of the ancient empire of Assyria in West Asia)



Fish crossing lake does nothing useful (5)


IDES (fish of the same family as carp) containing (crossing) L (lake)



IDLES (does nothing)



Cyrano facetiously rises – he’s called in your honour (7)


NOSE MAN (reference Cyrano de Bergerac [1619 – 1655], French dramatist and duellist, who probably had a large nose, but perhaps not as large as a 1990 film suggests; nose man, facetiously) reversed (rises; down clue)



NAME-SON (a male child named after yourself; he’s called in your honour)



Index includes journalist, age 50, supporter of union (10)


FIST (an index [in printing]) containing (including) (ED [editor; journalist] + ERA [age] + L [Roman numeral for 50])



FEDERALIST (supporter of  a union or government in which several states, while independent in home affairs, combine for national or general purposes)


I chose most peculiar tops for romantic dancers (10)


Anagram of (peculiar) I CHOSE MOST



SMOOCHIEST (the most smooth of slow dancing while in an embrace or kiss; tops for romantic dancers)



Sheep primarily lacking means of reproduction (4)


TEGGS (sheep in their second year) excluding ther first letter (primarily lacking) T



EGGS (fertilised ova; means of reproduction)



Those disliking motion about to leave boats (4)


CANOES (light, narrow boats) excluding (to leave) CA (circa; about)



NOES (voters against the motion; those disliking motion)



Rock volcano’s sent up over active side? (8)


ETNA (reference Mount ETNA, volcano on the island of Sicily) reversed (sent up; down clue) containing (over) an anagram of (active) SIDE



ANDESITE (volcanic rock)



People of fashion silence a great number (3)


TON (people of fashion)



TON (a great amount; a great number) double definition



Sikh army briefly abandoned disputed region (7)


Anagram of (abandoned) SIKH ARMY excluding the final letter (briefly) Y



KASHMIR (a disputed region in the north west of the Indian sub-continent.  Different parts of the region are administered by India, Pakistan and the Perople’s Republic of China)



Cut grass round border (7)


POT (cannabis; grass) reversed (round) + SIDE (border)



TOPSIDE ( a lean cut of beef)



Awards involving posh dogs (7)


PURSES (sums offered as prizes, especially in boxing; awards) containing (involving) U (upper-class; posh)



PURSUES (tracks; chases; dogs)



Stop hearing during court recess (6)


LOSE (stop hearing, as in ‘I’ve lost you’) contained in (during) CT (court)



CLOSET (recess or cupboard off a room)



Chinese bottles bottling up stout (5)


OBESE (reversed (up) hidden word in (bottling) CHINESE BOTTLES



OBESE (abnormally fat; stout)  I suspect that stout people will feel they fall short of being OBESE



Prepared for a row, Golden Rose Leader’s withdrawn (5)


SOARED (rose [high in the air]) excluding the first letter (leader) S



OARED (prepared to row a boat)



Palm upturned for all to see p-payment up front (5)


(U [film certificate indicating that the material is suitable for all to see] + S-SUB [advance {up front} p-payment]) reversed (upturned; down clue)



BUSSU (a tropical American palm)



Birds finally leaving eyrie make raucous noise (5)


GEESE (last letters of [finally] LEAVING EYRIE MAKE RAUCOUS NOISE)



GEESE (birds)


6 Responses to “Inquisitor 1245: Barred by Nutmeg”

  1. Hi of hihoba says:

    I got as far as completing the grid and identifying the extra words, identifying John Cage (didn’t know about Milton or Junior!) and the work, then ground to a halt. I was looking for the words “Four minutes thirty-three seconds” + “Cage”, but no luck!

    I am impressed by your finding the Ms and Ss, less so by the “oblique” name – It almost reaches the level of the illegible Pi symbol when no-one managed to solve the Weekend Crossword (as it was then). Even with your solution, Duncan, I could barely discern the letters when the grid was turned sideways. The A is particularly bad.

    Clever stuff from Nutmeg, but one misdirection too much for me.

  2. Thomas99 says:

    Only my third Inquisitor and another corker! I found the various hints towards the theme worked very well in concert. I’m not sure what pushed me in the right direction first – I think it might have been the “S”s – I saw they seemed to make a shape and tried joining them up, imagining that they might link with John Milton and perhaps the serpent’s hissing in Paradis Lost… That showed me what looked like it might be CAGE, which combined with “Barred” and “silence” to suggest another possibility. I still spent a while wondering if the Ms and Ss just indicated the absent “manuscript” for the famous piece until realisation finally dawned later in the day (I was on the tube, I think). So many thanks to Nutmeg for a satisfying challenge and to Duncan for the admirably full blog.

  3. Swando says:

    Doh! I was convinced the answer to 19a was “hols” – time off famous conductor (?) Holst!

  4. HolyGhost says:

    Only one word for this puzzle – marvellous (literally). The misdirection of John Milton (I didn’t get “centenary” till v.late, and started looking for PARADISE which had to be LOST), the interpretation of 4’33”, finding exactly 4 M’s & 33 S’s, then seeing that they traced out CAGE … and finally scrabbling in my desk drawer for a golden highlighting pen.

    Nutmeg – you’re a star. Brilliant!

    Hi(hoba): if you join the centres of contiguous highlighted cells, the surname appears quite clearly – even the A (and E).

    Swando: if it’s any consolation, I too had HOLS for ages, which is why I was held up solving 7d and finding “centenary”. (I had made a mental note that Holst was known more as composer than conductor.) It was only when I was ‘joining the dots’ that I tumbled to the misplaced S and rectified my mistake.

    I could go on and discuss the title BARRED and some fine clueing, but I think I’ll just leave it there.

  5. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Duncan – we had enjoyable lunchtime and cup of tea solving this one. We needed your blog to see the letters hidden when you removed the 4m and 33s!

    It took us rather longer than that to solve it!

    Thanks Nutmeg and Duncan.

  6. Neil Hunter says:

    Bertandjoyce: lunchtime? I consecrate five lunchtimes to the Inquisitor – and even then don’t always finish it. Though in retrospect I’m not sure why I decided to disregard Google’s suggestion of Cage when I enquired about John Milton’s centenary. Nice puzzle; nice blog.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

nine + = 13