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Inquisitor 1256: The Answer is 5 by Eclogue

Posted by HolyGhost on November 28th, 2012


Eclogue is a setter new to the Inquisitor, though I gather from Dave Hennings’ Crossword Database that they have featured in Magpie over the last couple of years. (I say “they” because a Google search indicates that Eclogue is a partnership comprising Eclipse & Logogriph.)
All clues have an extra letter to be removed before solving; these letters spell out a question, to be resolved by changing 12 letters to give the submission grid. (The letter in cell 5 completes the question.) Other thematic material is to be found at regular intervals throughout the clues.

Slightly mysterious preamble; and is there any significance to the missing cells in the Top Left & Bottom Right corners? Never mind, let’s crack on.

Some of the letters that had to be removed were more obvious than others – anagrams, hidden words, etc. The question was developing nicely as HOW MANY _ _ _ _ S WITH _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ AS LEAD _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ HAVE THERE BEEN? And CLINT EASTWOOD suggested itself for the unclued 5 down, maybe because half-subconsciously I’d noted DIRTY, HARRY and ENFORCER embedded in three clues. A quick check, and Dirty Harry was the nickname of HARRY CALLAHAN, the San Francisco policeman played by Clint Eastwood in five crime thrillers that came out in cinemas in the 1970’s & 80’s. So once I’d solved the several remaining clues, I’d have to replace CLINT EASTWOOD at 5d by HARRY CALLAHAN (12 letter exchanges as the central A is common, and leaving real words in all cases).

So the first two gaps in the question were filled with FILMS and FIVE DOWN, leaving me with C_ARI_TER … until I realised that the letter to be removed from clue 8d wasn’t the I from SERIAL (leading to the answer LEARS), but the A (leading to LEIRS); and also that there was a letter to associate with the unclued 5d. So the question was HOW MANY FILMS WITH FIVE DOWN AS LEAD CHRACTER HAVE THERE BEEN? The Answer is 5, namely Dirty Harry, Magnum Force, The Enforcer, Sudden Impact, and The Dead Pool.

A quick trawl through the clues for the “other thematic material” and we find Dirty in 4d, Harry in 39a; Magnum in 21d, Force in 12a; Enforcer in 9d; Sudden in 30a, Impact in 45a; and Dead in 29d, Pool in 20a. These are in fact clues number 5, 10, 16, 21, 26, 31, 36, 41, and 46 (if we include the “5d unclued” as a clue) – so, at (fairly) regular intervals of 5 – a nice touch.

To be frank, I found a couple of the composite anagrams rather cumbersome (e.g. 40d “Gun Scorpio then shot could’ve made cops hot in this drive”, and 9d “Enforcer cools off this deed for one potentially”) and I really struggled with the wordplay for 20a “Rushes in pool of salt water outside of temple” (needing to ask my Listener colleague for help). I guess this was to incorporate the extra thematic material.

But thanks to Eclogue for this. (On a personal note, our cat died on Friday evening, aged 15+, and we buried him on Saturday afternoon … so solving a puzzle this weekend was a welcome distraction.)

And thanks to kenmac for giving me a tutorial on animating GIFs.

PS Dipping into Channel 5’s screening of Dirty Harry last Saturday, I was reminded that the antagonist is Scorpio – so we have a further thematic element in the clue for 40d.

No. Answer Extra letter in clue Wordplay
1 NEST H: he’s E’S in NT (National Trust)
4 SCAMBLES O: mob SCALES (balance) around MB
10 TURNIP W: wheat PIN (staple) RUT (heat) rev.
11 LIDLESS M: missed [ISSED LL (line twice)]*
12 OCTA A: canopy’s bait (def.) OC (commander) + TA (Territorial Army, force)
13 LAIDS N: kind LAD (kid) S(ort) around I (current)
16 FLATTEN Y: irony (def.) FLAT (apartment) TEN (X)
17 SPARRY F: flight AR (annual return) in SPRY (light)
18 ICHS I: history (celt)IC HS(tory)
20 TEARS L: salt [SAT WATER − WAT (temple)]*
21 LAKH M: in India many amount (def.) HAL(f) around K(ilo) rev.
22 PIETS S: start PIE (tart with a cover) + ST(reet) rev.
24 TALC W: law CT (court) around LA rev.
28 APES T: paste [PASE]*
30 HOSTS H: harmed troops once (def.) [SHOTS]*
31 ICED F: fed ED after IC (in charge)
32 STILT I: is S + LIT (on) rev. + T (tee)
{clueing LIT by “on” is stretching things somewhat;
though I have come across IN being clued by “alight”}
34 EILD V: devil [DEIL]*
37 GLAIRY E: eg G + LAIR (earth) + Y(ttrium)
39 WUSSIES D: sussed [SUSSE WI]*
41 MOORS O: so MOOR (secure craft) S
42 PANE W: pew AN (ante, before) in PE
43 MADROÑO N: random [NO RADOM]*
44 GUILDS A: ads [UGLI DS]*
45 THIAZIDE S: shave H(ave) I(mpact) A(ffecting) (whiz)Z in TIDE (time)
46 ENDS L: pelters (def.) EN (nut) DS (detective sergeant, cop)
No. Answer Extra letter in clue Wordplay
1 NUCLEAR E: eu [CENTRAL]* with U for T(ime)
2 SNATCHES A: nipas (def.) [CHASTENS]*
3 TILTH D: turned up dearth (def.) H(ospital) after TILT (charge)
4 SPAE C: capes [APES]*
5 H unclued
6 AIDS A: caribs in study (def.) [SAID]*
7 BLEAR R: strand L(ake) in BEAR (stand)
8 LEIRS A: serial [SERIL]*
10 TOFU T: tot TO FU(ssily)
14 SPASM E: esp SP AS (so far) + M(ass)
15 SYNCED R: turned (def.) DEC(laration) NYS (is not, Spenser) rev.
19 SILO H: pith (def.) S(outhern) IL (Israel) + O(range)
21 LIANGS A: play (ma)GN(um) in SAIL (ply regularly) rev.
23 TITE V: vite ITE after T(ime)
24 TAILSPIN E: plane [PLAN IS IT]*
{this clue works as an &lit. only if the E from “plane”
is removed part way through solving the clue, not before}
26 CHIRM T: tracy C(olourful) H(ero) I(n) R(acy) M(ovie)
27 LEGENDS H: hedda, say (def.) ENDS (dies) after LEG (stage)
29 PALLAH E: clothe PALL (cloth the dead bore) AH (of course)
32 SAUDI R: radius [ADIUS]*
33 TIARA E: ear TIA (aunt, Spanish) + AR rev.
35 ISSUE B: buses [USES I]*
36 USES E: see (yo)U SE S(elling)
38 YONI E: one (divinit)Y ON I(ndian) &lit.
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3 Responses to “Inquisitor 1256: The Answer is 5 by Eclogue”

  1. Hi of hihoba says:

    I thought this was a brilliant grid spoiled by some pretty obscure (even poor) clues.

    I agree with HG’s comments about 20A, 32A, 24D and 40A. I would add that “peters” on its own in 46A does not mean ends unless it is followed by “out”, and that in 28A “apes” may be goons (stupid people, American) but they are not “hired” to my knowledge or in my dictionaries. Also defining WUSSIES as “girlies” in 39A is poor – the dictionary indicates only the most tenuous connection.

    The crossword was solvable, but these problems rather spoiled an otherwise entertaining Inquisitor.

  2. Liz Geear says:

    Well I thoroughly enjoyed this one. 20AC couldn’t have been anything else so it went in but thanks for the explanation now, HG. It might not be in the ‘dictionary’ but in the US those hired thugs are definitely sometimes referred to as being ‘apes’ (they sent the apes in). BRB gives peter(s) (vt) as ‘dwindling away to nothing’ – ends, surely?. Re 39a…mmm I can see what you mean about a tenuous link,Hi. A wussy being a timid person and a girly being a patronising term but I have heard men called wussies as an alternative to (BIG)girls! However I think there is a place for non-dictionary definitions in this type of puzzle – usually topical and humorous anyway – and a smattering of TIC is not a bad thing.
    Thanks Eclogue – no complaints from me.
    And thanks HG for an illuminating blog!

  3. Bertandjoyce says:

    We’ve recently returned from holiday and are only just catching up on the Inquisitors.

    We thought this was a very cleverly constructed puzzle although we also feel that there was some rather obscure clueing. We also needed your help HolyGhost with the parsing of 20ac so many thanks.

    Thanks Eclogue for the amusement which lasted quite a few days!!

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