Inquisitor 1544 Tina Turner (Not) by Serpent

June 6, 2018

Another Bank Holiday looms. So does the editor figure we’ve got loads of time on our hands, or that we’ll be otherwise engaged with barbecues and a general breaking out of the beer. Because, yes, the rain’s stopped. A first glance suggests the former. Four clues to be entered normally, but the other acrosses, well, the definition bits are alright, but the wordplay doesn’t necessarily lead to a real word. The whys and wherefores we’ll have to work out for ourselves. Down clues have a surplus letter in the wordplay that spell out a phrase that may or may not help at the close. Apparently the definition of 22d is confirmed by Collins. Well, I haven’t got access to that so I’ll just have to trust in my unerring solving abilities. 😉

Let’s look at the downs then, in the hope of getting some letters in the grid. Oh look, the first is an anagram, and we like those. DELAPSE, with T as the surplus letter. Who wants to bet the first word emerging from the extra letters is going to be THE? A few more downs fall in due course, but not enough to make any inroads into that grid. One across then? Well, that’s going to be one of our normal entries, two parents and a recipe giving DAMAR which is indeed a hard resin. Those normal clues are symmetrically placed? 40ac gives HERRY, a generous 39ac RUTH, and 8ac must be ETCH. Nothing in common, but that’s more of the grid filled.

What about the other acrosses. Surely they can’t be that bad? 11ac. Nope. 12ac – go off is ROT which looks like a grid entry. Could something uplifting be a ROTOR? 13ac – we’re looking for a herb. Is a ray producer a laser? Are there any herbs that begin with laser? Well, there’s the LASERWORT, a little weight is WT and that’s another OR omitted from the grid entry. We’re onto something here.

At the close what do the surplus letters spell out? Because, yes, I’ve got them all. Cue general astonishment. THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE. We have been omitting OR from every across, after all. It doesn’t appear to help though, not really.

Now we’ve got to highlight a name in the grid. THERE IS NO is an anagram of ON THE RISE. Is that supposed to help? No it doesn’t, despite looking from bottom to top through much of the grid, because there’s MARGARET THATCHER across the top and bottom rows. What links the two? Apparently it’s a quote, often abbreviated to TINA that I was blissfully unaware of. And there’s the link to the title. Nothing to do with Ms Turner after all, just as we were told from the start. Is it excuse enough though to listen to this again? Well, yes it is. Thanks Serpent for a fun-filled offering that wasn’t that difficult after all. Bottle of Corona anyone?

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