Inquisitor 1556 Pause for Thought by The Ace of Hearts

August 29, 2018

Back to normality. Back to your own bed, one that is neither too soft or too hard. The first week falling into the former category, the latter… Well… It said memory foam, but I’m guessing the resemblance to concrete is a probable indication of a substantially long memory. You won’t be throwing yourself on that mattress in a hurry. Last but not least in terms of home comforts – a shower that’s a little more substantial than a vague dribble of water. With the result that after one last heroic drive today is a rare Sunday solve following an overly long sleep and lots of coffee. The second appearance by The Ace of Hearts, that most enigmatic of setters, and a lovely long preamble. Seven normal clues entered thematically, other clues, well, one letter ignored in wordplay and grid entry, put them together to get… A phrase and “two-part definition” that explain how to enter the normal answers. And breathe.

First one solved? Those would be the items of currency referred to in the first two acrosses. Handily they’re both normal clues so I’ve got no idea what to do with them. Figures. Onward to 11ac. Donald can only mean Trump – timeless, with an S – bang, our first grid entry. But the extra letter? A sCrump can be a midget apparently. 12ac? hYGIENIC. A fair bit of the grid solved reveals that… The normal clues aren’t particularly scrambled, or backwards or anything like that, so let’s go with the ones we’re fairly confident about.

The phrase? That was always going to be CHEW THE CUD. Is there an anagram of THECUD that might help? Well, no. A more astute or less tired solver would have spotted that the normal answers, for example let’s say ESCUDOS and SCUDI – have something in common that ignoring the “the” in the phrase would have helped with. But I didn’t. Nope. Not until right at the close, having deduced that we had to do something with the CUD bits, but not why until the very bitter end – with the Nicene Creed – when I was feeling quietly pleased that I had a complete grid, a phrase, and the definitions – TO MEDITATE and TO REFLECT. Quietly pleased until I spotted what the chewing CUD thing had been getting at all along, kicked myself for being quite so dim, and promptly congratulated the setter on a thoroughly good offering.

Outstanding questions. Will I have woken up next week? Aren’t you supposed to feel rested following a holiday? Where did I put my brain? All this and more to come.

One Response to “Inquisitor 1556 Pause for Thought by The Ace of Hearts”

  1. batarde said

    Not to my taste I’m afraid – just a grid filled with gobbledegook and no startling insights along the way. Quite disappointing.

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