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Inquisitor 1273: Manoeuvres by Nutmeg

Posted by duncanshiell on March 27th, 2013

duncanshiell.

Nutmeg is a fairly regular contributor to the Inquisitor series and always makes the solver think

For this puzzle we had a fairly short preamble: "Nine answers must be adapted before entry in the grid, in response to a well-aired if imprecise command.  Solvers must fill the central cell to display the setting.  Across clues contain a misprint of one letter in the definition:  correct letters give two names which solvers may find helpful".

We were not told whether the nine adapted answers were in the Acrosses, the Downs or both so that made me fairly cautious in making entries in the grid before I was sure that the letters would be in the right place.  I did establish that the available cells for every answer matched the answer length in the clues.  That implied some sort of shuffling of the letters of the nine relevant answers.

I struggled a bit in the early stages of this puzzle until I began to see the possibilities of LESLIE, LESLEY or PHILIP for the early part of the first name.  PHILIP was fairly soon dismissed as the first name, but surprisingly something like it seemed to be a strong candidate for the first surname.  Trying LESLIE PHILLIPS helped me identify some likely misprints, so I iterated to a solution for the first full name.  I had TWE towards the end of the second name, but it took a while for the penny to drop and JON PERTWEE to emerge.  Fortunately I’m old enough to remember THE NAVY LARK as a radio programme, predominantly broadcast in the 1960s.  The first episodes appeared in 1959 and the series ran into early 1970s.  One of the catch phrases of the programme was LEFT HAND DOWN A BIT a rather imprecise instruction to the wheelman to steer the ship in the right direction.  It may well be that JON PERTWEE conjured up thoughts of Doctor Who for some solvers.

With LEFT HAND DOWN A BIT in mind and the frequent occurrence of LH in a number of the down answers I had already solved, the penny finally dropped completely and the puzzle became a lot easier.  At that point I was able to forget my unfruitful attempts at entering jumbles of Across answers to intersect the Downs.

With hindsight, the clues seem to be easier than I first thought.  I have been able to parse them all without too much difficullty, although I have put a couple of queries into the detailed parsing in the table below.

I was interested to see that the misprinted words contributed to the parsing of the clues on a couple of occasions – e.g. Lear’s bird in 14 across (although I accept it could just be bird) and Mason in 34 across.  

Favourite clues for me were those for ALMONDS, STARETS, POOH-BAH, HELLHOUND and AT ALL HOURS.

We were asked to display the setting by filling the central cell.  Putting a B gives TROUTBRIDGE up the majority of the diagonal from bottom left to top right.  The majority of the The Navy Lark episodes were set aboard HMS TROUTBRIDGE.

The title MANOEUVRES refers to the instruction LEFT HAND DOWN A BIT to MANOEUVRE TROUTBRIDGE

The final grid looked like this

Inquisitor 1273

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across            
No Clue Misprint / Correction Letter Wordplay Solution Entry

1

 

Step back with leading foot (7)

 

foot – fool

 

L

 

PAS (step or dance especially in ballet) reversed (back) + HEAD (leading)

SAP< HEAD

SAPHEAD (fool)

 

SAPHEAD

 

7

 

Once over the border, finds grass back to front in America (6)

 

finds – fines

 

E

 

NLAW (LAWN [grass] with the final letter N moved to the first place [back to front]) contained in (in) US (United States [of America])

U (NLAW) S

UNLAWS (fines or penalties in Scottish [over the border, unless you live in Scotland as I do])

 

UNLAWS

 

11

 

Gangster has to concede reportedly bushed (5)

bushed – bushes

S

 

AL (reference AL Capone [gangster]) + OES (sounds like [reportedly] OWES [has to concede])

 

ALOES (trees, shrubs; bushes)

 

ALOES

 

12

 

Dancing in Leeds cut off from band (7)

 

band – land

 

L

 

Anagram of (dancing) IN LEEDS

 

ENISLED (made into an island; cut of from land)

 

ENISLED

 

13

 

Boiling hot places, no cold Mycenaeans burned there (6)

 

burned – buried

 

I

 

Anagram of (boiling) HOT + LOCI (places) excluding (no) C (cold)

 

THOLOI (dome shaped tombs from the Mycenaean period; Mycenaeans buried here)

 

THOLOI

 

14

 

Lear’s bird losing heart to good feline at last (4)

 

Lear – Leer

 

E

OWL (reference Edward LEAR‘s poem the OWL and the Pussycat; well I thought it was that until I realised that LEAR had changed to LEER, so OWL is just an example of a bird) with the middle letter (heart) W replaced by (losing … to) G [good]) + E (final letter of
[at last] FELINE)

 

OGLE (leer)

 

OGLE

 

16

 

In some tarts that’s a pretence (5, 2 words)

tarts – parts

 

P

 

AS HOW (dialect [in some parts] phrase for THAT)

 

A SHOW (a pretence)  double definition

 

A SHOW

 

17

 

Local meat comes from this quality of pig changing hands (5)

 

meat – heat

 

H

 

GREED (one of the qualities of a pig when it comes to eating) with the R (right) changed to L (left) (changing hands)

 

GLEED (hot coal or burning ember producing heat)

 

GLEED

 

18

 

Babyism led to this expression of contempt nanny cut short (5)

 

Babyism – Babiism

 

I

 

BAH (expression of contempt) + AIA (variant spelling of AYAH [nursemaid; nanny]) excluding the final letter (cut short) A

 

BAHAI (development of Babism (can be spelt Babiism] following the teaching of Baha-Ullah)

 

BAHAI

 

19

 

Learner’s aboard punt causing wash (4)

 

wash – lash

 

L

 

L (learner) contained in (aboard) BET (punt)

BE (L) T

BELT (lash)

 

BELT

 

20

 

It’s a goal – fluky second leaving problem for mugs (7)

 

mugs – lugs

 

L

 

Anagram of (fluky) ITS A GOAL excluding (leaving) S (second)

 

OTALGIA (earache; problem for lugs [ears])

 

OTALGIA

 

23

 

Not stuff to go smoothly on belly when stripped (5)

 

stuff – stiff

 

I

 

SLITHER (slide [go smoothly] especially on the belly) excluding the first and last letters (when stripped) S and R

 

LITHE (supple; not stiff)

 

LITHE

 

26

 

Manx confederate in retreat, smnall number slain (5)

 

slain – plain

 

P

 

ALLY (confederate) excluding the last letter [(Manx, reference the tailless Manx cat) Y reversed (in retreat) + NO (abbreviation for [small] number)

LLA< NO

LLANO (one of the vast plains of northern South America)

 

LLANO

 

28

 

Fruity party leader heading to the back (7)

 

Fruity – Fruits

 

S

 

SALMOND (reference Alex SALMOND, First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party) with the first letter (heading) S moved to the end (to the back)

 

ALMONDS (fruits)

 

ALMONDS

 

29

 

Leader leaves gap in regions unsuitable for Buggins (4)

 

Buggins - juggins

 

J

 

SHARD (dialect [in regions] for gap) excluding (leaves) the first letter (leader) S

 

HARD (juggins is a simpleton, so something that’s HARD is unsuitable for him/her)

 

HARD

 

31

 

Medic free from son’s embrace – daughter pushed in (5)

 

in – on

 

O

 

(SURGEON [medic] excluding the letters of (free from) SON which form an embrace round URGE) + D (daughter)

 

URGED (pushed on)

 

URGED

 

34

 

Mason possibly works in old-fashioned way (5)

 

Mason – Manon

 

N

 

OPERA (plural of OPUS which in addiiton to meaning a musical work is also used in naming various styles of Roman [old-fashioned] masonry

 

OPERA (Manon is an opera by Massenet)

 

OPERA

 

35

 

Being narrow-minded with passionate heart’s a snag (5)

 

snag - snap

 

P

 

PO (PO-faced [stupidly solemn and narrow-minded]) containing (with … heart) HOT (passionate)

P (HOT) O

PHOTO (snap)

 

PHOTO

 

36

 

Humanitarians rejected one suitable title for Indian saga (4)

 

saga – sage

 

E

 

RHS (Royal Humane Society; humanitarians) reversed (rejected) + I (one)

SHR< I

SHRI (in India, a title of great respect given to a man, now generally used as the equivalent of Mr; a suitable title for an Indian sage)

 

SHRI

 

37

 

Those excluded don’t get this call sound (6, 2 words

)

sound – round

 

R

 

LOOK IN (reference the phrase DON’T GET A LOOK IN [be excluded])

 

LOOK IN (call round)

 

LOOK IN

 

38

 

Religious Tudor queen’s bizarre tatses taking hold(7)

 

Tudor – tutor

 

T

 

Anagram of (bizarre) TASTES containing (taking hold) R (Regina; queen)

STA (R) ETS 

STARETS (religious tutor in Russia)

 

STARETS

 

39

 

Adult quits talks over housing for porkers et al (5)

 

porkers – workers

 

W

 

SPEAKS (talks) excluding A (adult) reversed (over)

 

SKEPS (beehives; housing for worker bees)

 

SKEPS

 

40

 

Masses of calls I once delayed on board (6)

 

calls – cells

 

E

 

I + (LET [archaic [once] meaning is hindered or delayed] contained in [onboard] SS [steamship])

I S (LET) S

ISLETS (small groups of cells differing in nature and structure from surrounding cells; masses of cells)

 

ISLETS

 

41

 

Grow perplexed when French refusals withdrawn (7)

 

Grow – Grew

 

E

 

NONPLUSSED (perplexed) excluding (withdrawn) NON (French for no; French refusals)

 

PLUSSED (increased; grew)

 

PLUSSED

 

Down            

2

 

Capital invested in oil has appreciated (5)

 

 

 

 

 

LHASA (hidden word in [invested in] OIL HAS APPRECIATED)

 

LHASA (capital city of Tibet)

 

ALHSA

 

3

 

Ring up about Harvard’s top graduate, a snooty type (7)

 

 

 

 

 

HOOP (ring) reversed (up; down clue) containing (about) (H [first letter of {top} of HARVARD] + BA [Bachelor of Arts; graduate])

POO (H BA) H<

POOHBAH (a person who affects superiority; a snooty type)

 

POOHBAH

 

4

 

Cerberus discovered beheaded, first two heads separated by some distance (9)

 

 

 

 

 

(H [heads] + H [heads]  ) containing ELL (a varying measure of length; some distance) + FOUND (discovered) excluding the first letter (beheaded) F

I can’t find a reference book that gives H as an abbreviation for heads but I’m assuming that is what is meant.  I don’t think first is referring to the first letters of heads in the clue, as I think first is telling us that the wordplay for HELLH comes first before OUND

H (ELL) H OUND

HELLHOUND (Cerberus is a fabled dog with three heads that guarded the entrance to Hades [Hell])

 

HELOULHND

 

5

 

Old maid’s carriage in trouble (7)

 

 

 

 

 

BIGA (two-horse chariot;carriage) contained in (in) AIL (trouble)

A (BIGA) IL

ABIGAIL (old-fashioned name for a lady; old maid)

 

ABIGAIL

 

6

 

Uplifting claim by former guide crossing hot city in subcontinent (5)

 

 

 

 

 

I LED (claim by guide; past tense [former?]) reversed (uplifting; down clue) containing (crossing) H (hot)

DEL (H) I<

DELHI (city in India [subcontinent])

 

DEILH

 

7

 

Lingerie, top of range we released, not valued (6)

 

 

 

 

 

UNDERWEAR (lingerie) excluding (released) (R [first letter of {top of} RANGE] + WE)

 

UNDEAR (not expensive; not valued)

 

UNDEAR

 

8

 

In film he recreated mythical misty domain (8)

 

 

 

 

Anagram of (recreated) IN FILM HE

 

NIFLHEIM (a region of mist in Norse mythbology; misty domain)

 

NIFEILHM

 

9

 

Wares for locals left in possession of commander European (5)

 

 

 

 

 

(L [left] contained in (in possesion of] AGA [commander]) + E (European)

A (L) GA E 

ALGAE (WARE is a Scottish and dialect word [for locals] for seaweed or ALGAE)

 

ALGAE

 

10

 

Where to get water very possibly with froth on top (8)

 

 

 

 

 

WELL (very possibly) + HEAD (froth on top, for example on a pint of beer)

 

WELLHEAD (source of a spring; where to get water)

 

WELELHAD

 

11

 

An unlikely charmer’s one going out irregularly (10, 3 words)

 

 

 

 

 

A + TALL (unlikely, as in TALL tale) + HOURIS (voluptuously alluring woman’s) excluding (going out) I (one)

 

AT ALL HOURS

 

ATALOULHRS

 

15

 

Son, 16, arranged extra accommodation (10)

 

 

 

 

 

Anagram of (arranged) SON SIXTEEN

 

EXTENSIONS (extra accommodation)

 

EXTENSIONS

 

19

 

Pirate coming aboard accounts for long-handled blades (9)

 

 

 

 

 

HOOK (reference Captain Hook in Peter Pan) contained in (coming aboard) BILLS (accounts)

 

BILLHOOKS (cutting tools with long blades)

 

BILOLHOKS

 

21

 

Formal attire which is obscuring everything (8, 2 words)

 

 

 

 

 

THAT’S (which is) containing (obscuring) ALL (everything)

T (ALL) HATS

TALL HATS (top hats; formal attire)

 

TALALHTS

 

22

 

Faction’s complaint allowed to undermine government (8)

 

 

 

 

 

G (government) + ROUP (an infectious disease of the respiratory passages of poultry;complaint) + LET (aloowed)

 

GROUPLET (faction)

 

GROUPLET

 

24

 

Valerian’s about to stop abruptly what broke loose in uproar (7)

 

 

 

 

 

A (about) contained in (to stop) ALL HELL (reference the phrase ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE to describe an uproar) excluding the final letter (abruptly) L

 

ALLHEAL (the great valerian or other plant thought to have healing properties).

 

ALEALHL

 

25

 

What 22s crack spoils agreement for upcoming game (7)

 

 

 

 

 

INJURES (spoils) with OK (agreement) replacing (for) UR (reversed [upcoming; down clue] of RU [rugby union; game])

 

IN-JOKES (jokes that can only be fully appreciated by members of a particular limited group; what grouplets crack)

 

INJOKES

 

27

 

Doctors jump up full of energy (6)

 

 

 

 

 

START (startle; jump) reversed (up; down clue) containing (full of) E (energy)

TR (E) ATS<

TREATS (doctors)

 

TREATS

 

30

 

Skirting ancient city, artist left country (5)

 

 

 

 

 

(RA [Royal Academician; artist] + L [left]) containing UR (ancient city)

R (UR) A L

RURAL (country)

 

RURAL

 

32

 

Get hold of good fruit in Perth (5)

 

 

 

 

 

G (good) + RASP (raspberry, Scottish [Perth] usage)

 

GRASP (get hold of

 

GRASP

 

33

 

Strain cutting end of flower stalk (5)

 

 

 

 

 

STRIPE (strain) excluding (cutting) R (last letter of [end of] FLOWER)

 

STIPE (stalk)

 

STIPE

 

 

8 Responses to “Inquisitor 1273: Manoeuvres by Nutmeg”

  1. regalize says:

    I got myself into a terrible mess in places moving the LH sections, but I did enjoy the puzzle even though I am far too young to remember the show. It was getting Pertwee that gave me the way in to the theme but as you suggested I was looking for the Dr Who connection. 4Dn… I assumed it WAS the first two letters of ‘heads’. I was stuck for a long time on 7ac as I was thinking of a reversal of lawn which didn’t work, of course.
    Another enjoyable puzzle from Nutmeg and nice blog. thanks Duncan.

  2. HolyGhost says:

    I found this quite tough. I’d filled the grid, moving all the LH’s without getting the “imprecise command”. But eventually Leslie Phillips & Jon Pertwee led me to The Navy Lark, the “setting” to be highlighted, and (at last!) the key phrase.

    Normally Nutmeg’s clues are so rigorously tight, but here I had a couple of minor quibbles. Why “French refusals” (plural) for NON (singular) in 41a? And all the BILLHOOKS I’ve ever come across were short-handled with long blades (19d).

    Nevertheless, thanks to Nutmeg for the puzzle, and to Duncan for the blog. (I’m off to Melrose tomorrow to begin walking St.Cuthbert’s way – maybe our paths will cross …)

  3. Bertandjoyce says:

    We took a while to get started. It wasn’t until Bert guessed that it was PHILLIPS that we began to make faster progress. Once PERTWEE was deduced it became even clearer although we needed a google search revealed it wasn’t Bill but John!

    Thankfully Bert also remembered The Navy Lark and the relevant phrase.

    We hadn’t noticed the two points raised by HolyGhost – maybe we were just too pleased to be able to solve them! As far as H for heads is concerned we didn’t even bother to check. Joyce remembered many statistical trials from her schooldays and teaching using coins where H and T needless to say were used as shorthand.

    Once again, an enjoyable time was spent scratching heads.

    Thanks to Duncan and Nutmeg.

  4. Nutmeg says:

    To HolyGhost: I apologise about the two clues you mention. 41ac should have read refusal’s, and I failed to spot the omission in the final proof. Re billhooks, I’m not well acquainted with them, and misread the definition in Chambers (blades long rather than handles…). Mea culpa
    I admit the programme first aired a long time ago, and I do remember it first time round, but it is still being repeated on BBC Radio 4extra, and the tagline has made it into ODQ. My apologies to younger solvers nonetheless

  5. starburst says:

    I’m sorry to say that this was the least likeable Inquisitor I think I have ever done. Even allowing for deducing that all the affected answers had LH in them, there is still an unfair distance between that and knowing of the thematic phrase and therefore what to do with the solutions. In other words, you really needed to be already aware of the phrase ‘Left hand down a bit’ BEFORE being able to make sense of the grid, rather than after.

  6. Nick says:

    I have to disagree with Starburst here I am afraid. I thought it was fairly obvious early on that LH in some entries had to move downwards and I didn’t find that a big leap at all to get from that to ‘left hand down a bit’ without knowing where it came from. Finding where it came from and the associated names equally was no harder than most other themes.

    That said, I did feel after solving it that it wasn’t the best idea for a theme because it would likely not be well appreciated by younger solvers. It is a difficult one this I have to say and mentioned somewhere else that if a setter is going to choose an obscure theme best make sure it is high-brow as then no-one seems to complain that they have never heard of it!

    The saving grace though was the clues. I love Nutmeg’s clues and have just been jarred into adding something to this thread by the fact that I am really enjoying another set from a puzzle in this month’s Magpie.

  7. Nick says:

    Sorry, highbrows don’t have hyphens!

  8. Chalicea says:

    Yes, though I remember the show, this proved to be too difficult for us but that didn’t detract from the quality of Nutmeg’s clues which always give joy and, indeed, I second the recommendation of this month’s delightful Nutmeg Magpie.

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