Inquisitor 1543 Barcode by Xanthippe

May 30, 2018

Or rather who stole the bars? Yes, it’s my favourite sort of puzzle – lots of cold solving, a fruitless attempt to fit the answers into the grid followed by much wailing and gnashing of teeth and an inevitably failed attempt. Except, rewind, that grid is 14 cells wide and the first answer is… 14 characters. Let’s work out where the downs might start and, handily, the first two are both 11 characters and the grid is, wait for it, 14×11. So we’re rolling with a STAGECOACHMAN, a STRIDE PIANO and last but not least THE COLONIES. I can do this, can’t I?

Apparently the grid hasn’t got symmetry. Cornick could tell you lots about the symmetry of a grid but well, I can’t. We’ve got empty cells and, for added entertainment value, two clues that are wordplay only and don’t lead to real words. Well, it is an Inquisitor.

Lots of generous clues. Dessert’s got to be ICE, enemy FOE which doubles for Friends of the Earth who’re suitably green, trial’s a TEST, and even that well known fish the TELEOST is pretty easily clued.

The wordplay only not-real-word answers have got to be down the right hand side and along the bottom of the grid. I can even solve the first, because an amphibian is often a NEWT and apart from a few choices of synonym for “mere” the rest is pretty clear, and well that looks almost but not quite like Winnie the Pooh. How does NIEW get us there? W in NIETHEPOOH presumably. One of the answers is supposed to be an anagram of one of our authors, and LIMEN is certainly an anagram of (AA) MILNE. Another entry’s the name of our other author. Kenneth GRAHAME? Which would make the second book The Wind in the Willows and I’m guessing the illustrator of both EH Shepard is what links them. Did I mention I’m a big fan of Milne? Well, now I have.

That bottom entry? OS(ZEPHYR)IERS because a zephyr is a wind in some willows. And the mark of Zorro was only ever going to be one thing.

Now we’ve got to identity and highlight EH SHEPARD in the grid and bob’s your uncle. Lots of those letters in the grid, but they’re not grouped properly… The title of the puzzle says barcode, so what happens if we put the bars in the grid? Oh look, they make up the letters of his name, very neat, and that’s why the grid is asymmetric.

I liked that. So thanks to our setter with the thoroughly unpronounceable name for an enjoyable time.

In other news, Courtney Barnett has got a new album out. 🙂

One Response to “Inquisitor 1543 Barcode by Xanthippe”

  1. Cornick said

    All I could tell you about symmetry of grids is in relation to regular daily cryptics – the world of the Inquisitor seems to operate according to laws of an altogether more mysterious nature, in which seemingly anything goes… One day I might get there… one day.

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