Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1249: Grid Change by Syd Lexis

Posted by duncanshiell on October 10th, 2012


Syd Lexis has set puzzles for both the Enigmatic Variations and The Listener series, but this appears to be the first foray into the Inquisitor.

The preamble was fairly short, as follows:

Resulting from a timely grid change one update is needed before entry in the grid.  A further six words in the completed grid are to be deduced and shaded, two of these (crossing) describing the five theme words.  Numbers after clues give lengths of the required entry.

When I started the puzzle I didn’t really understand what ‘a timely grid change’ might mean.  Did I have to change HOUR to DAY or something like that?  Were clock times involved?  When I don’t understand what I’m doing, which seems to be a more and more regular event these days, I just get on with the solving and hope the preamble will eventually make sense.  Given the last statement about lengths of entries, I hoped I might come across some solutions that didn’t fit the grid space available.

None of the clues were particularly complex in their construction, although it took a while to finish off the South East corner.  I felt that 90% of the clues and most of the vocabulary in the entries could have featured in one of the national daily crosswords covered by Fifteensquared.

Fairly early on I could see that DICENTRA at 17d ran into the L of LEES at 44a to generate CENTRAL as a ‘word hidden in the grid’.  I didn’t think too much of it at the time.  It was only when I came to the conclusion that the only word that would fit at 11a was JUBILEE that I made a connection in my mind between JUBILEE and CENTRAL in terms of Tube lines in London.  I had a vague memory that JUBILEE was not the original name for that particular line.  When a bit of research threw up FLEET as the original name for the line everything fell into place.  In the grid, it didn’t take too long to find VICTORIA, DISTRICT and CIRCLE to form 5 theme words along with JUBILEE and CENTRAL.  UNDERGROUND and LINES cross down the central column and the third row.  

Highlighting all of these words (if I interpret the preamble correctly, I don’t think JUBILEE should actually be highlighted), the final grid looked like this:


















The preamble is right that two crossing words (UNDERGROUND and LINES) describe the five theme words, but I thought it a little bit confusing that VICTORIA, DISTRICT and CIRCLE also crossed.

The Title, GRID CHANGE, I think relates solely to the specific instruction to make a change in the puzzle grid. One definition of grid is ‘a network of lines for finding places on a map’, not just ‘a network of lines’. I don’t think the word Grid is interchangeable with London Underground.


No. Clue Wordplay Entry

Ghostly forms faint, mess about (9)


Anagram of (about) FAINT MESS


MANIFESTS ([the forms of] ghosts)



Augment with nothing to send back (4)


ECH (variant spelling of ECHE [to augment]) + O (nothing)


ECHO (send back)



Everybody is about University Academy wing (5)


(ALL [everybody] containing [about) U (university]) + A (academy)

AL (U) L A

ALULA (in birds, the bastard wing)



Navy division is left at sea, circling east (7)


Anagram of (at sea) LEFT containing (circling) E (east)

FLE (E) T*

JUBILEE (this is the timely change, see comments above)



Without stuffing food-shop section provides subsidiary activities (9)


(SINE [Latin, without] containing [stuffing] DELI [delicatessan; food-shop])  + S (section)


SIDELINES (subsidiary activities)



A lecturer marks singular good deed in history (4)


A + L (lecturer) + M ([Deutsch]marks) + S (singular)


ALMS (obsolete [in history] word for good or charitable deed)



Influenced one when together in bed (6)


(I [one] + AS [when]) contained in ([together] in) BED


BIASED (influenced)



Old stars – spendthrifts – take week off! (6)


WASTERS (spendthrifts) excluding (take … off) W [week]


ASTERS (obsolete [old] words for stars)



Circular figure is seen in federal area (4)


IS contained in (seen in) DC (District of Columbia [US Federal District])

D (IS) C

DISC (circular structure; circular figure)



Blend honey with date (4)


MEL (honey) + D (date)


MELD (blend)



Stroke’s in charge – with a nervous twitch! (5)


IC (in charge) + TIC (nervous twitch)


ICTIC ([of a] stroke)



Excited with wine beginning to redden (5)


ASTI (Italian white wine) + R (first letter of [beginning to] REDDEN)


ASTIR (excited)



When uneven I regrade vicar’s way through park (13)


Anagram of  (uneven) I REGRADE VICAR


CARRIAGE-DRIVE (a road for CARRIAGEs through parks etc)



Expel European prisoner not wanting to learn (5)


E (European) + (CONVICT [prisoner] excluding [not wanting] CON [to learn])


EVICT (expel)



Satisfied old American Personal Assistant with proof of age? (5)


A (American) + PA (Personal Assistant) + ID (identitification; proof of age)


APAID (archaic [old] word for satisfied)



Study hard things considered in product analysis (4)


SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.; things considered in a SWOT analysis, a tool frequently used in strategy development or product analysis)


SWOT (study hard)



Slope cut back in highland pastures (4)


SPLAY (slope) excluding the final letter (cut) Y then reversed (back)


ALPS (mountain [highland] pastures)



Symbols of respect carry written work (6)


TOTE (carry) + MS (manuscript; written work)


TOTEMS (symbols of respect)



American base carrying can for unsettling practice (6)


US (United States [Amercian] + E [base of natural logarithms]) containing (carrying) an anagram of (unsettling) CAN


USANCE (usage; practice)



In American stream is a female fish (4)


A contained in (in) RUN (American word for a small stream)

R (A) UN

RAUN (variant spelling of RAWN [female fish])



Independent, nodding about pursuing a new regular payment for me (9)


A + N (new) + (NUTANT [nodding] containing [about] I [independent])


ANNUITANT (one who receives a regular payment [annuity; guaranteed, usually annual payment])



Eliminate – take out chapter’s introduction (7)


PRECLUDE (eliminate) excluding (take out) C (chapter)


PRELUDE (introduction)



Detect a rope (5)


TRACE (detect)


TRACE (rope,attached to an animal’s collar or breast-strap for drawing a vehicle)  double definition



Sediment in river beginning to settle (4)


LEE (reference to one of the many River LEEs in the United Kingdom) + (first letter of [beginning to] SETTLE)


LEES (sediment)



Makes ball spin unexpectedly, and this is at the tail (9)


Anagram of (unexpectedly) SPIN + HERE’S (here is; this is as in, for example, HERE’S a good place to sit)


INSPHERES (gives a spherical form to; makes ball)



Mother’s second principal part (4)


MAS (mother’s) + S (second)


MASS (principal part)



Sloth embracing liberal’s excuse for failure (5)


AI (three-toed sloth) containing (embracing) LIB (liberal)


ALIBI (excuse for failure)



Intestinal bile, acid in part (5)


ILEAC (hidden word in (in part) BILE ACID


ILEAC (intestinal)


4 Regularly frail, ashen, artificial (5)

FALSE (letters 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 [regularly] of FRAIL ASHEN)


FALSE (artificial)



Separate old Eastern tree (6)


SUNDER (separate)


SUNDER (variant spelling of SUNDARI [ East Indian sterculiaceous timber tree of the genus Heritiera])



Short girl is captivated by Saints (4)


IS contained in (captivated by) (S [saint] and S [saint] to give ‘saints’)

S (IS) S

SISS (contracted form of SISTER [girl])



Not often puffed up with success, launch The Story of the Web? (5)


(E [electronic; of the web?] + TALE [story]) reversed (launch; down clue)


ELATE (rare [not often] usage meaning ‘puffed up with success’)



A Chinese person in Castile upset the French (9)


LE (‘the’ in French) contained in (in) an anagram of (upset) CASTILE


CELESTIAL (an old informal or slang term for a Chinese person)



Pigment in border (3)


HEM (variant spelling of HAEM [the pigment combined with the protein (globin) in haemoglobin]


HEM (border) double definition



Those who could benefit financially while on earth start to dig with spades (8)


AS (while) + SURE (on firm ground; on earth?) + D (first letter of [start to] DIG) + S (spades)

Afternote: Hihoba at comment 1 below has pointed a much better parsing for the SURE part of the word play as SUR (on) +E (earth)

ASSUREDS (beneficiaries of insurance policies)



A vestment for Priest to knot up even if … (6)


ALB (priest’s long-sleeved vestment) + (TIE [knot] reversed)


ALBEIT (even if)



… a bloomer is crated in awry (8)


Anagram of (awry) CRATED IN


DICENTRA (any plant of the Dicentra genus of the fumitory family, including bleeding heart)



A narrowing section, with a difficult course coming up in short time (9)


S (section) + ([RUT {difficult course} reversed {coming up; down clue}] contained in [in] TRICE [short time])


STRICTURE (a narrowing)



Noteless woman is re-composing Queen sounds (6)


Anagram of (re-composing) WOMAN IS excluding (…less) N (note)


MIAOWS (sounds made by a cat; a queen is an adult female cat)



Locally blow a short-lived art movement (4)


DAD (dialect [locally] word for  a blow) + A


DADA ( short-lived [from 1916 to about 1920] movement in art and literature which sought to abandon all form and throw off all tradition)



Share an evil spirit’s ego (4)


DIV (an evil spirit of Persian mythology) + I (ego)


DIVI (dividend; share)



Beware a small faction of political seceders (4)


CAVE (beware – school slang, from the Latin cavere)


CAVE (a small faction of seceders from a political party (from the Cave of Adullam in Bible, 1 Samuel 22.1-2) double definition



Chartered Surveyor without personal magnetism in civvies in Delaware … (4)


CS (Chartered Surveyor) containing (without; outwith) IT (sex appeal; personal magnetism)

C (IT) S

CITS (American [Delaware] slang for civilian clothes)



… whispers to the old about society (6)


ROUND (about) + S (society)


ROUNDS (archaic [old] word for ‘whispers to’)



The sounds of idleness (5)


LENES (the definition of the entry can be cryptially represented as sounds without effort; sounds of idleness)

Afternote: Again thanks to Hihoba for pointing out the obvious hidden word in IDLENESS

LENES (consonants articulated with relatively little muscular effort and pressure of breath)



Honesty is a fact in French hospital (5)


FAIT (‘fact’ in French) + H (hospital)


FAITH (honesty)



Books are written about, eg Pope’s Grotto (5)


ARE containing (written about) NT (New Testament; book)


ANTRE (poetic word for a cave; grotto.  Reference to Alexander Pope [1688 – 1744], poet)



Small sums confine a short financial minister (5)


PEN (confine) + CE (abbreviation for [short] Chancellor of the Exchequer; finance minister)


PENCE (small sums [of money])



I beat about sub-continental gardener (4)


(I + LAM [beat]) reversed (about)


MALI (a member of the gardener caste in India; sub-continental gardener)



Vehicles for some Americans (4)


UTES (Native American peoples of Utah, Colorado and New Mexico; some Americans)


UTES (utility vehicles) double definitions


40 Resemble, deceptively, in paperback (3) APE (hidden word in [{deceptively} in] PAPERBACK) APE (mimic; resemble [deceptively])  I am not sure whether ‘deceptively’  qualifies ‘resemble’ or ‘in’.  I feel it could qualify either.

4 Responses to “Inquisitor 1249: Grid Change by Syd Lexis”

  1. Hi of hihoba says:

    Nice blog Duncan. I, too, found these clues easier than normal, and the denouement relatively simple. I agree that JUBILEE should not be highlighted according to the rubric.

    I think the wordplay in 12D is AS + SUR (on) + E(arth) + D + S, and surely in 30D the wordplay is that LENES is hidden in idLENESs.

    (There is a minor typo in the clue for 10A – UniversiOty.)

    Quite fun, but a very quick solve for an Inquisitor!

  2. duncanshiell says:

    Thanks Hihoba – you are absolutely right in all cases.

    I have updated the blog to cover all the points you mention.

  3. HolyGhost says:

    Enjoyable, and not quite as easy as the other two found it.

    I solved FLEET only after I too had tumbled to JUBILEE being the only fit for 11A, then quickly spotted VICTORIA … and the rest. (The NUDIST at the top of column three probably held me up for a while.)

    I wasn’t sure whether to shade JUBILEE in grey, along with using the appropriate colours for the other lines – and I did in the end. But how to shade UNDERGROUND LINES? (UNDERGROUND written in white on a blue background? Still, what about LINES?)

    Quite good fun, so thanks Syd Lexis, and welcome to the IQ stable. And thanks to Duncan for the blog.

  4. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks for the blog Duncan. We’d also like to reiterate HolyGhost’s comment about welcoming the new setter.

    We enjoyed the puzzle but had not remembered that one of the lines had its name changed so needed electronic help at the end.

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