Inquisitor 1507 Shift Work II: Confessions by Ifor

September 20, 2017

Hands up who spent the longest staring at an empty grid. One hour to put in one answer, and a wrong one at that. Ifor wins the prize for the most difficult Inquisitor of the year to date, and that’s up against some stiff competition. You know you’re in trouble when there are modifications to be made in both the across and down clues without any indication of what these modifications need to be. An unknown song title and lyrics to tell us what to do. Except we’ll have done it already. Letters modified give us a songwriter’s real name. Ifor playing his cards close to his chest.

That wrong answer? 13ac. The eventual realisation that it’s an anagram of “promise”, IMPOSER. Except that we haven’t got enough letters. What’s another word for deceiver? IMPOSTER, obviously, which fits so chuck it in. Except that a long time later it becomes painfully clear that we aren’t just adding random letters to the acrosses.

Better luck with the downs? The title is a help here. It becomes clear we need to shift one letter in the clue. Another two hours later and I’ve got the grand total of seven clues entered in the grid. Two of those are acrosses it turns out will be wrong. Luckily I’ve got a cluster of answers in the SE corner that… eventually… make it all too clear that the across grid entries don’t have a lot to do with the definitions. Out with a handy word search to look at what will fit into that bit of the grid. Look again at some of the across clues. And a long time later it becomes clear that we need to take one letter from the answer, and replace with the ones either side. So the aforementioned IMPOSER becomes IMPORTER.

But this is still painfully hard work. Perhaps that songwriter will help. What’ve we got?

J?A??NDER?O? with lots of question marks in the bits before that. The magic of Google to the rescue. I’m guessing we’re looking for ANDERSON, ANDERTON, something like that. That bloke from Jethro Tull doesn’t fit. But, heavens be praised, Roberta Joan Anderson, better known as Joni Mitchell, does. I don’t know much about her, but let’s look at some of the songs in her Wikipedia entry.

Both Sides Now has the line “Well something’s lost, but something’s gained”, the latter part of which fits the pattern that Ifor’s generously supplied in the preamble. And which succinctly describes what we’ve been doing to those grid entries. So with a handy guide now to the modifications in the down clues (was I the only person to think at first that the songwriter’s name would be in the acrosses as well?), progress is (a little) quicker.

A little struggle in the NW corner, where I’m still a little unsure about 1ac, but that’ll do. An epic solve. Just one thing left to do – write the “repeated nine-letter word apostrophised in this phrase” under the grid. SOMETHING, presumably. Pass me a strong drink and some headache tablets.


2 Responses to “Inquisitor 1507 Shift Work II: Confessions by Ifor”

  1. Cornick said

    Bravo on that Jon. I wonder how I could find out which one’s are a bit easier before tackling them?

    • jonofwales said

      Thanks! Some setters are harder than others, and some usually pretty straightforward, as with the daily cryptic, but for the most part it’s a matter of – I’ve been at this half an hour, how quickly is that grid filling. Do I really want to persist? 🙂

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