Inquisitor 1541 Shift by Gila

May 16, 2018

The last time Gila graced the pages of the i I fell hook, line and sinker for a particularly cunningly laid trap. Ok, some of that was down to a devil-may-care who needs to bother with those extra letters and the preamble. But the memory is still enough to provoke a shudder. So what’s in store this time? Misprints in some clues spelling out, something; two normal clues, the rest of the answers to be modified before we enter them. Thus shift, then. Oh, something to highlight at the close, and I’ve got some beautiful new highlighter pens waiting for exactly this moment. The excitement mounts. Except it’s been one of those weeks and my energy reserves aren’t what they should be. That happens every Saturday I hear you cry, but, like, really this week. So coffee, lots of it, and get on with it.

First ones in? That would be in the SE corner with a handy anagram at 14d and our first misprint. 27ac’s got to be TERRA which we’re supposed to do something with. All answers are real words. Reverse it? Let’s try that (see, I’ve been doing these for a bit now, and can spot some of those tricks-of-the-trade, well, only a little bit later I should do). Americans often get divorced in RENO conceivably, which we can reverse as well. 6d’s going to be one of the normal clues – FRONT – and as 10ac then evidently isn’t going to be reversible with those checking letters, what about a different back to front, moving the last letter to the start? That works. Is there a BACK anywhere in the grid? Not many candidates to pick from there, and yes there is, at 9ac. So BACK to FRONT, which just about sums up what we’ve been up to so far.

What are those misprints trying to tell us? ?HAT A W?Y…

TO MAKE A LIVIN’? Noting the lack of a ‘G’ at the end, which caused me much agonising over whether I’d got 26d right. And I mean a lot of agonising before it occurred to me to google the lyrics and check if it was my memory rather than my clue solving skills that weren’t up to scratch.

BACK is at 9ac, FRONT at 5d, so Nine To Five. Hurrah. Presumably all we have to do now is find DOLLY PARTON (yes, that’s 11 cells) somewhere in the grid and highlight her name. Well, not so much find her first and last names as look at what letters we’ve got and work out where they might possibly lie. Which means that together with a handy key to the remaining misprints the rest of the grid is a bit of a doddle.

I don’t think I’ve fallen into any traps this time. Really, I don’t, with a few nervous glances at a preamble I’ve probably failed to read properly. Because that’s the kind of thing I’m wont to do.

Wasn’t that good, anyway. For once I think I’ve just about understood everything properly as well. Blimey. Anyone else suspicious we’re being softened up ready for that Playfair Puzzle?

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