# Fifteensquared

## Inquisitor 1254: ALIKE by Ferret

Posted by Hihoba on November 14th, 2012

Ferret’s only previous crossword in this series was 1213 earlier this year – Twenty blocks and twenty bars – and the rubric mentioned 90 degree symmetry. This time it was the more conventional 180 degree symmetry involved, but with a splendid twist which made this a most unusual grid. So thanks to Ferret for a very clever offering. The grid must have been very difficult to compile!

The rubric was quite complex, was critical to the puzzle’s completion, and is reproduced here in full:

Clues are in conventional order and lead to answers which are all alike. Four unclued across entries suggest how solvers must colour, or not, four alike squares; the unchecked letters in these entries are alike, forming part of a set. The other member of this set must be written thematically under the grid. All the unchecked letters signal what the theme word means. Numbers need not he entered, but all bars must be shown in the completed grid, which exhibits 180° symmetry.

It rapidly became clear that all the answers were 6 letter words and that you actually had four separate 6×6 word squares to solve, rather than the conventional barred crossword, so the bars required divided the grid into four square quarters plus those between the letters in the four unclued down columns.

There were 20 down clues, which meant five for each square, so one of the down 6 letter blocks in each quarter had to be part of the “unchecked letters . . . forming part of a set”. Armed with this knowledge solving the clues proceeded at a reasonable rate and the unclued across clues appeared as ROUGED, ALBINO, BLANCH and RUSSET. The unchecked letters in these are respectively O, I, A and E. The other member of this set (of vowels) is U and this is to be written thematically below the grid.

The “unchecked” letters in the down columns formed the warning YOU ARE STANDING INTO DANGER – most sailors would recognise that as a flag signal, and the flag had to be composed of two red and two white squares. I had to look up the flag and found the information here.

The relevant flag is the flag   and in the phonetic alphabet U is UNIFORM which is a synonym for ALIKE, the title of the puzzle.

So the Theme Word to be written under the grid is UNIFORM.

I hit a minor snag when I entered ENSIGN in the bottom left quadrant before realising that there were two successive across entries beginning with EN!

I was uncertain whether or not it was necessary to place bars between each letter of the unchecked letter phrase. I (Hi) would not have done, but Ho would. They are included in the diagrams.

Two diagrams are shown, The one on the left showing the colours and the warning, the one on the right being the puzzle as submitted.

 Across Down Clue Answer Definition Wordplay A yen to strike back alongside American people AYMARA (South American) people A + Y(en) + RAM reversed + A(merican) Doctor unpegs old drain SPUNGE old drain (obsolete spelling of sponge) [UNPEGS]* Local girl once started showing a horse MORGAN a horse (named after breeder) MOR (local girl) + GAN (archaic form of began) Our cat mutilated a bird TURACO a bird [OUR CAT]* Historical yeoman maybe backing both service and unit FARMER Historical yeoman (old name for a farmer) RAF reversed + REM (unit of radiation dosage) reversed Seasonal lakes keep back South American grasslands LLANOS South American grasslands Hidden reversed in seaSONAL Lakes River fish supplying organic compound UREIDE organic compound URE (river) + IDE (fish) Plug for a cut that is attentive to Cameron TENTIE attentive for Cameron (Scottish word) TENT (a medical plug) + IE (that is) Minor French article rejected research LESSER minor LES (French article) + RES(earch) reversed Elaborate lyrics performed inside theatres ODEONS theatres ON (performed) in ODES (elaborate lyrics) No longer sputter over soft old suit collars BESPIT no longer sputter (sputter is an old word for to spit on) BESIT (archaic word for to suit) round P (soft) Craft coasted; Cambridge finally lost eights OCTADS eights [COAST(e)D]* (e removed is the final letter of CambridgE) Make jar from a French barrel with a bit of effort UNTUNE Make jar (discord) UN (a French) + TUN (barrel) + E(ffort) This was once neglected in favour of a gun FORGAT this was once neglected (archaic word) FOR (in favour of) + GAT (gun) Spenser’s to run after female – a stranger to him FRENNE Spenserian word for a stranger F(emale) + RENNE (Spenserian word for run) Relatives depart for school in Perth KINDIE School in Perth (Australian word for Kindergarten) KIN (relatives) + DIE (depart) Space to put a cross on paper flag ENSIGN flag EN (space) + SIGN (put a cross on paper) Destroy short article and write no more ENDITE write no more (archaic form of indite, to write) END (destroy) + ITE(m) (short article) Aussie vaunts aircraft aboard ship SKITES Aussie vaunts KITE (aircraft) in SS (ship) For example the Queen’s speechmakers SAYERS speechmakers SAY (for example) ER’S (the Queen’s) Clue Answer Definition Wordplay Ultra disconcerted about female cunning ARTFUL cunning [ULTRA]* round F(emale) Malta set up game reserve for guillemots MURRES guillemots M(alta) + RU reversed + RES(erve) A school is supplying trumpeters in S America AGAMIS trumpeters (birds) in S America A + GAM (school of whales) + IS Unprecedented arrests decline RECEDE decline Hidden in unpRECEDEnted One worships in a Byzantine order ADORER one worships A + [ORDER]* Cut little portion of glass for mosaic SMALTO glass for mosaic SMALL TOT might be a little portion, and cut it is SMAL(l)TO(t) but I don’t find this very satisfactory! Is there a better explanation out there? Yes – see comment 2 below! Politician showed the way and voted POLLED voted POL(itician) + LED (showed the way) Society’s condemnation breaks old practice of City URBANE of City BAN (society’s condemnation) in URE (old word for practice) Gourde immediately covering one hard layer GANOIN hard layer G (symbol for Haitian currency) + ANON (immediately) round I (one) An informer found in El Salvador unions ENOSES unions NOSE (informer) in ES An American boy with uncut hair trimmed a trifling amount BUBKES a trifling amount BUB (American boy) + KES(h) (uncut hair, trimmed) Connect closely without for example kneeling unnaturally ENLINK connect closely [KNELIN]* (kneeling minus eg) Contract cancelled in port authority PUNDIT authority UNDI(d) (cancelled) in PT (port) Offer inducement (5 to 100 dollars) to move into action INCITE move into action INVITE (offer inducement) with C (100\$) for V (5) Escort, straight man sent up for laughs TE-HEES laughs SEE (escort) + HET(ero) (straight man) all reversed Officers in charge sacrificed the first advances OFFERS first advances OFF(ic)ERS These horns gee up or otherwise encourage CORNUA horns [(e)NCOURA(ge)]* Formal time for daughter with plaited hair TRESSY with plaited hair DRESSY (formal) with T(ime) for D(aughter) Confess once; easing suffering AGNISE confess once (obsolete) [EASING]* Finally arrange for independence in allowances and taxes in Scotland STENTS taxes in Scotland STINTS (allowances) with (arrang)E for I(ndependence)

### 4 Responses to “Inquisitor 1254: ALIKE by Ferret”

1. Liz Geear says:

Hihoba, I agree absolutely that this was a gem from Ferret. My heart sank initially when so many solutions were of six letters (there always seems to be a preponderance of them in carte-blanche type puzzles], but of course this helped in the end with the four-square grid. I also entered the bars of the unchecked letters of the phrase, if only to emphasise it.
My biggest mistake was highlighting the grid on top of a clean white tablecloth.
A great blog, thanks to you and Ferret.

2. kenmac says:

Hi HI,

I didn’t do this puzzle but I think I can sort out SMALTO for you.
How about: SMALl=little portion (cut by one letter)+TO=of?

3. Hi of hihoba says:

Yes, that’s better Kenmac, thanks.

4. HolyGhost says:

This was one classy puzzle from Ferret – 10/10 from me.

The veils peeled away one by one. All answers 6 letters; each of 4 groups fitting into a quadrant; unclued entries, one per quadrant, indicating a colour, and having a different vowel unchecked – so U was the remaining member. All the unchecked letters stacked in columns to yield a message, that not only confirms U=Uniform, but also the shading of the quadrants. Wow.

And I missed ALIKE being synonymous with UNIFORM – so thanks to Hi.

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