Inquisitor 1603 Partition by Eclogue

July 23, 2019

Until this week I was blissfully unaware that Eclogue is not in fact one but two setters, comprising Logogriph and Eclipse. Or perhaps I did know and have since forgotten, which is entirely possible.

What I’d really like to know though is how our esteemed setters and editor knew that driving lessons are very much on my mind – the eldest has just started learning – when they scheduled today’s puzzle. Spoilers, you might say, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only solver to guess what we’d end up shading with the preamble being quite clear that the shaded area contained letters up to and including a certain one, that certain one most certainly being an L.

What I lacked though was the conviction to follow through on such an inspired guess, spending an age at the close with a spreadsheet trying to sort out where the “partition” might lie, based on the clues which crossed it and those which didn’t. They helped to confirm afterwards, admittedly, but the best bet it turned out was to look for which blocks of letters only containing those in the range A-L, and then checking.

Oh yes, the ones which didn’t cross the “partition” (I keep putting that in quotes, because there really wasn’t one, was there?) They yielded an extra letter in the wordplay which spelt out.. A SIGN DISPLAYED ON A VEHICLE. Aha, I can you hear you say, you got the L there and then? But no, I still went looking for alternatives.

Which takes us right back to the grid fill, which could best be described as being slow but steady, with no major stumbling blocks, but nothing either which could be described as being a walkover. Lots of high scoring letters to make sure we didn’t miss the final shape – OUZO, ZOONOMY and YOURTS fairly blocking off the top bit of the grid, lots of M’s to the bottom.

All in all then job done, and enjoyed. That shading is supposed to be red, by the way. You’d think that with the array of crayons, markers and pencils we’ve got lying round I could find something suitable, but there you go…

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