Fifteensquared

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Inquisitor 1267: Woodchuck Puzzle by Plench

Posted by kenmac on February 13th, 2013

kenmac.

Preamble: Five answers must be amended as suggested by a thematic phrase (two words, to be deduced in part, and highlighted). Chambers recognises two meanings for this phrase. Appropriate to the first meaning (in which two alternatives are implied), an element of the phrase is subject to a ‘timely’ interruption (six cells, to be highlighted). In choosing whether or not to highlight a further six cells, solvers must opt for the alternative that is also more consistent with the second meaning.

Preamble: Five answers must be amended as suggested by a thematic phrase (two words, to be deduced in part, and highlighted). Chambers recognises two meanings for this phrase. Appropriate to the first meaning (in which two alternatives are implied), an element of the phrase is subject to a ‘timely’ interruption (six cells, to be highlighted). In choosing whether or not to highlight a further six cells, solvers must opt for the alternative that is also more consistent with the second meaning.

Preamble: Five answers must be …

OK, that’s enough of that!

My first reaction on seeing this puzzle was, “the editor’s made a mistake, this is the same as last week’s!” so I checked 1 across and 1 down, “yep, he’s made a mistake, even the clues are the same.” Then I suddenly remembered that my first reaction to last week’s puzzle was, “he’s put it in a week early. Woodchuck is the same as groundhog and Groundhog Day is not till next week!”  So that explains the Déjà Vu (1 across) and ditto (1 down)! The same puzzle title two weeks in a row, what genius!IQ1267

I’m guessing that knowing that a groundhog and a woodchuck are the same animal and given that Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray is one of my favorite movies meant I twigged what was going on quite early (probably before putting pencil to paper, in fact.)

Chambers’ two meanings are:
1. 2 February, supposed to mark the end of winter if a groundhog emerging from hibernation on that day does not see its shadow
2. A day when things seem to happen in exactly the same way as on the previous day

(and this puzzle appeared on 2 February – sheer genius: I’m rushing out to buy a hat so I can take it off to Plench!)

As it transpires, the groundhog failed to see its shadow so it promises to be an early spring: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/02/groundhog-day-punxsutawney-phil-weather.

Groundhog Day (the movie) is about a misanthropic TV weatherman who is forced to report on the Groundhog Festival, on February 2nd, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He then relives the same day over and over again. Funnily enough, in my opinion, the film gets better every time you watch it.

Anyway, back to the puzzle, we have GROUND in 5d and HOG DAY in 29d (column g) separated by the T of WINTER (a T(imely) interruption!) The five answers to be modified (11a, 33a, 38a, 17d, 27d) have the unclued letters of HOG redistributed (ground.)

Finally, we have to choose whether to highlight a further 6 cells, and, consistently with the second meaning, we must highlight DÉJÀ VU in 1 across. And, is it a NINA?, we have SHADOW, heading NE, through h9,i8,j7,k6,l5,m4.

I have to echo Hihoba’s words on last week’s WOODCHUCK PUZZLE: We bloggers always prefer the grid to contain only real words if possible, and this was accomplished with panache!

For the benefit of anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, here’s a couple of quotes:

Rita: Do you every have déjà vu?
Phil: Didn’t you just ask me that?

Phil: Do you ever have déjà vu, Mrs. Lancaster?
Mrs. Lancaster: I don’t think so, but I could check with the kitchen.

And you can see the second one here: http://youtu.be/ubM-VE5Gdo0

I’m going to stick my neck out here and suggest that Plench is none other than our esteemed editor John Henderson.

And I leave you with this thought: how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Across
No.
Clue
Entry
Wordplay
1 Unoriginal material leaving the French juve lead bemused DÉJÀ VU JUVE LEAD (minus LE (the in French); anag: bemused)
6 I seek woman’s love, proffering diamonds, maybe – and gold SUITOR SUIT (diamonds, maybe)+OR (gold)
10 1-0 on aggregate IN ONE I (1)+NONE (0)
11 A heartless individual’s lying PRONGHOE PeR (A as in once a year: once per year; heartless)+ONE (individual)
13 In repeat performance, Lou Reed at last adopted blues, perhaps? ENCOLOURED LOU inside ENCORE (repeat performance)+reeD (at last)
14 Revered leader 0.1 of the way to a century? TENNO TEN NO (not out; presumably until he’s out, there’s a chance of a century)
16 Very poor returns stifling leader of work force in plant LUFFA Force inside AwFUL (very poor; rev: returns; minus Work (leader of))
18 Craving drink, one getting tipsy quickly knocked back single OENOMANIA ONE (anag: getting tipsy)+IN A MO (quickly; rev: knocked back)+A (single)
20 Chambers giving “refuge” as “new arrivals’ only insurance at points of entry” NAOI New Arrivals Only Insurance (first letters: at points of entry)
22 I briefly cement blocks together for northern accommodation IGLU I+GLUe (cement; briefly)
23 Ed’s call to urge on Mistress Quickly, if energy runs out? ALEW ALEWife (minus IF Energy; Mistress Quickly is a Shakespearean inn keeper)  
24 Put down artists, out of step? INTER paINTERs (artists; minus PAS (step)) the “?”gets over the fact  that PAS is not consecutive
25 One overseeing rash actions crushes new advance ANTE N (inside: crushes) ATE (the Greek goddess of mischief and of all rash actions and their results)
30 US duffer making flash mob a lot lighter! SHMO flaSH MOb (hidden: a little lighter)
32 Census regularly stopped time; I didn’t actually stop tide CNUT CeNsUs (regularly; containing Time)
33 Steals loveless kisses, having chewed it over GHOSTINGS IT (inside: chewed) SNoGS (kisses; loveless) (all rev: over)
36 Discharge inmate, say, upon review CONGE CON (inmate)+EG (say; rev: on review)
37 How a weird circle is burning bush WAHOO HOW A (anag: weird)+O (circle)
38 One bouncing baby girl’s ultimately smashing passion DOGHANDLER girL (ultimately) inside DANDER (passion)
40 Claw what father had back from extremely cold point APHELIAN NAIL (claw)+EH (what)+PA (father) (all rev: back)
41 Makes Hallé Orchestra render Vaughan Williams’ finales EARNS hallE orchestrA rendeR vaughaN williamS (last letters: finales)
42 Do one’s damnedest to get caught NOOSED DO ONES (anag: damnedest)
43 Well out of time, I recalled scapegoat STOOGE Time inside SO (well)+EGO (I; rev: recalled)


Down
No.
Clue
Entry
Wordplay
1 As before, father-lasher possibly the first to go the wrong way DITTO cOTTID (father-lasher possibly; the first to go; rev: the wrong way)
2 Wearing flash jewellery, nut’s put on charge at the outset ENFEEBLING EN (nut)+FEE (charge)+BLING (flash jewellery)
3 In general, a chap can put on one in Germany when climbing JOHNNIE JOHN (can: toilet)+EIN (German for one; rev: when climbing)
4 Virus corrupted move, Trojan finally infiltrated VENOM trojaN (finally) inside MOVE (anag: corrupted)
5 Garment initially enveloping Ancient Mariner’s bottom? GROUND Garment (initially)+ROUND (enveloping)
6 Our star is almost by itself SOL SOLe (by itself; almost)
7 Island republic with no unknown lizards IGUANA Island+GUyANA (republic; without Y (unknown))
8 Here’s a clue – it’s hard to step across THREAD Hard inside TREAD (step)
9 Disregarding hotel, swineherd organised tents, perhaps RED WINES SWINEhERD (disregarding Hotel; anag: organised)
12 Reduced number attending entertainment centre? That’s not allowed in the US NO FAIR NO (number; abbrev: reduced)+FAIR (entertainment centre)
15 Strong ale’s 100% bad? NOG NO Good (100 bad)
16 Start meal imbibing drop of aperitif LAUNCH Aperitif (drop of) (inside: imbibing) LUNCH (meal)
17 Adding strength in reference to hard-to-ignore article FORTHGOING FOR (in reference to)+ThING (article; ignoring Hard)
19 Existing expertise carries no force IN ESSE fINESSE (expertise; minus Force)
21 In forsaking childhood, date an ineffective, though stylish, performer FANCY DAN inFANCY (childhood; minus IN)+Date+AN
24 SNP’s entrance, initially adopting less defensive position IN GOAL INGO (entrance; Scottish: SNP)+Adopting+Less (initially)
26 No James Bond – complete failure when embracing the girl NON-HERO HER (the girl) inside NO-NO (complete failure)
27 Killer causing antelope to turn tail GUNG-HO GNU (antelope; tail turned)
28 Tickles dogs, avoiding the head ITCHES bITCHES (dogs; avoiding first letter: the head)
31 Farrow, for instance (seen twice in Aboriginal hut) MIA MIA-MIA (Aboriginal hut)
34 Text superficially having little content? TWEET WEE (little) inside TexT (superficially)
35 Lasso useful capturing duck SOUSE lasSO USEful (hidden: capturing)
39 Pheasant’s offspring no longer make a noise going north NID DIN (make a noise; rev: going north)

18 Responses to “Inquisitor 1267: Woodchuck Puzzle by Plench”

  1. HolyGhost says:

    I went for SHADOW.
    If the shadow is seen, then it’s not the end of winter, and today will still be winter, i.e. the same as yesterday, which is more consistent with the second meaning in Chambers of Groundhog Day.

    I, too, think that this has the hallmarks of the current editor. (It would’ve taken quite a bit to set up, and aspects of the style are similar to Let the Cat out of the Bag, #1221.)

  2. Hi of hihoba says:

    I went for DEJA VU like Kenmac – though mainly because I hadn’t noticed the SHADOW. I’m now not sure which is the right answer, though it doesn’t really matter as it was such a pleasure to solve. What a superbly constructed and clued puzzle – or indeed pair of puzzles.

  3. HolyGhost says:

    My reasoning for SHADOW is:
    The rubric says that “Appropriate to the first meaning [in Chambers] (in which two alternatives are implied) …”; I took these alternatives to be (a) groundhog does not see its shadow (and it’s the end of winter), (b) groundhog does see its shadow (and it’s still winter).

    The rubric goes on to say: “In choosing whether or not to highlight a further six cells, solvers must opt for the alternative …”; since the alternatives are the groundhog seeing the shadow or not, I deliberately ignored DÉJÀ VU and focussed on deciding whether or not to highlight SHADOW – and doing so seemed more “consistent with the second meaning”.

    And what finally clinched it for me is that the SHADOW comes up from the base of the GROUND HOG (as if the light source were in column a, row −3).

    Anyway, great puzzle (after feeling I was being taken for a mug early on).

  4. kenmac says:

    H___ G____,

    I’m confused! The second meaning A day when things seem to happen in exactly the same way as on the previous day is not really a reference to the groundhog. I think it’s a newer definition that’s only come into being because of the movie. Given that, it has to be about the day (or in this case, puzzle) repeating itself.

  5. jon surdy says:

    What is a ‘NINA’?

  6. kenmac says:

    Find out by clicking here

  7. nmsindy says:

    The question at #5 is also answered in the FAQ section of this site.

  8. HolyGhost says:

    Ken –
    I don’t see how your imperative to highlight DÉJÀ VU has any bearing on the reference in the preamble to the two alternatives implied in the first meaning in Chambers, or choosing to opt for the alternative that is more consistent with the second meaning …

    And nmsindy: why no expressed view on the DÉJÀ VU / SHADOW debate?

  9. Hi of hihoba says:

    HG, I read the preamble as meaning that I had to highlight/not highlight (the alternative) something consistent with the SECOND Chambers meaning of Groundhog Day – i.e. the same thing happening again in the same way – DÉJÀ VU.

    The first meaning is the only one that refers to the shadow, which tells the end of Winter.

    I’m not saying this is right, but that is how I saw it, and I suspect Ken did too.

  10. Crosophile says:

    The preamble says “In choosing whether or not to highlight a further six cells, solvers must opt for the alternative [i.e. seeing the shadow or not seeing the shadow] that is ALSO more consistent with the second meaning.”
    I can’t see there’s anything about DEJA VU in the first meaning.

  11. kenmac says:

    I’m swaying more towards SHADOW but despite H___ G____’s explanation I still fail to understand what that has to do with the second definition. Perhaps we were meant to highlight (or not) depending on whether Phil saw his shadow, which he didn’t.

    Since I didn’t send off my entry, it hardly matters to me.

    It will be interesting to read the explanation in the paper next week – long may the great groundhog debate of 2013 continue!

  12. starburst says:

    A quite brilliant puzzle, and one that tricked me into firing off an ill-advised email to Mr Henderson before I realised my error. His patience was exemplary

    Bravo

  13. jon surdy says:

    Kenmac, thanks for NINA info – never come across it before.

  14. HolyGhost says:

    OK Ken – one last time (then I’ll give up):
    Yesterday was winter; given a choice between today also being winter or not being winter, the first alternative is more consistent with “A day when things seem to happen in exactly the same way as on the previous day.” Therefore the shadow is seen (by the groundhog).

    Hihoba at #9: I agree that “alternative” in the final sentence of the preamble could refer to highlight/not highlight, but if so the reference to “alternatives” in the third sentence: “in the first meaning (in which two alternatives are implied)” is left unresolved/redundant.

    A great pair of puzzles marred by a fuzzy rubric?

  15. NormanLinFrance says:

    This was my second Inquisitor, the first woodchuck being the first. Excellent (as is the blog). I didn’t spot the shadow, though.

  16. Bertandjoyce says:

    This was a brilliant puzzle in our humble opinion. We had the same sense of deja vu and wondered how we were going to survive the weekend without an Inquisitor! Then we realised how stupid WE were – and not the editor – sorry John!

    We opted to highlight deja vu for the pure and simple reason that we didn’t see our shadow! So…… it must be the end of Winter here in the East Midlands – pity that the weather forecasters don’t think the same way.

    It doesn’t really bother us either way as we have never sent off the completed puzzle – the pleasure is all in the solving – and what pleasure it was this week!

    Thanks Plench and kenmac for the super blog!

  17. regalize says:

    Super-duper stuff from Plench. I almost sent off a message of complaint to the Editor – then I decided to to it the puzzle anyway, even though I could not remember what had happened yesterday, never mind last Saturday. Lovely sneaky, trickery stuff. Vive l’Inquisitor! Thank you Plench, whoever you are and to kenmac for a VERY interesting,informative blog.

  18. John H says:

    WOODCHUCK – THE FULL STORY…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/crosswords/crossword-blog/2013/feb/28/crossword-blog-story-of-woodchuck-puzzle

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