Inquisitor 1488 Captain’s Log by Harribobs

May 10, 2017

Aboard the good ship Harribobs. The second bank holiday weekend in quick succession, and as grey and damp as you’d expect, so lots of time to get our teeth into the Inquisitor. Nice and straightforward preamble – extra letters in the wordplay of some clues, which will (hopefully) give us the name of the mysterious captain, and something we’re going to have to trace out afterwards. Always my weak spot, but we’ll see how that goes.

To the clues, which feel surprisingly gentle. I’d go so far as to stick my neck out and say this is a good one for solvers wanting to get into barred grid puzzles. Lots falling without recourse to the big red book, even those with those pesky extra letters. A bit of drug slang at 13ac (just how do these setters know so much of it?) 38ac goes in rapidly, as it’s just down the road, and surprisingly it’s in Chambers too. A bit of uncertainty about the parsing of one or two, which means that the final message begins something like, well… something like this: HISCO?ERADOP?S anyone? It’s not Welsh, anyway.

OK, let’s apply a bit of logic, think about what letters would work there, and go back and look at what Harribobs was really trying to get at in one or two of those clues. The exact parsing of 1d still eludes me, even if the answer doesn’t, but in the end I’ve learnt a few new abbreviations, and got this:


I’ll make a wild stab in the dark and say that’s ADOPTS. Captain Flinders? Bingo, “Captain Matthew Flinders RN (16 March 1774 – 19 July 1814) was an English navigator and cartographer, who was the leader of the first circumnavigation of Australia and identified it as a continent.” No prizes for guessing what we’re going to be tracing in the grid.

So, the across clues are supposed to give us directions, starting from the silver cell, showing the ship’s progress. Lots of S’s, N’s, E’s, W’s in there, so follow them, and… We’re somewhere off the right hand side of the grid. Because for some reason best known to myself I’ve spelt SEISED with three and not two E’s, and an S too few, together with the crossing down clue. And sober as well, to boot. Try again, and we’ve got something that looks a lot more reasonable, and a bit like the continent in question. Is it right? Is that stray line in the NE supposed to be the voyage south? The published solution will no doubt show I’ve cocked it up altogether, but that’ll do me.

Edited to add: If only I’d taken note of the preamble’s instruction to “trace the ship’s positions at the end of each fortnight”, then I might have ended up with a far less blocky map, which is probably what Harribobs had in mind. Oh well. 🙂

Until next time, and a little poetry care of Triton.


2 Responses to “Inquisitor 1488 Captain’s Log by Harribobs”

  1. AndyT said

    Well done again, Jon. 🙂 Another success here – what on earth is going on?

    I’m full of admiration for Harribobs’ efforts, and can’t remember a more rewarding puzzle for ages. How he/she embedded all those vectors is a mystery to me. Super stuff. All the signs are that normal service will be resumed next week, as Triton’s Blank Verse puzzle is wearing me down.

    • jonofwales said

      Thanks, but I don’t think I’ve got the map right. Over on Fifteensquared Holyghost has got a nice map of Australia, by taking the end of each clue’s set of directions. Oh well. Close, but no cigar. 🙂

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