Inquisitor 1608 Advice to Solvers from Serpent

August 27, 2019

Several days have passed since I solved this, and only now I’ve noticed the “from” rather than “by” in the title. A nice touch wasted on the likes of me…

An easy ride this week, with quite clear instructions? Extra letters in 32 clues spelling out advice from Serpent. Well, as it turned out I should have thought a little harder about the other clues, because…

Was I the only person to lob SNIPE blithely into the grid, not noticing that it was too long? Thought so. Luckily PEONY which didn’t fit either crossed so I soon noticed the error of my ways. The answer? To jump in feet first and cut out random letters to make real words – SNIP and PONY – which was of course entirely the wrong thing to do. But why change the habit of a lifetime?

An odd spelling at 12d was surely indicative of something going on, not that I noticed, grateful for a nice long entry and another one down the RHS to get some of that grid filled, which was indeed filled, though not alfresco throughout as the rain to which we’ve become accustomed intervened mid-afternoon.

The advice offered via the extra letters? WRITE IN PENCIL FIRST THEN WRITE IN PEN. Which I do anyway.

What to make of that? Well, as it turned out I made nothing of it, bar a vague feeling of dissatisfaction with the admittedly full grid, and a – was that it? – regarding the instruction. The subtleties of such things again being wasted on me.

Fuelled by a celebratory Chinese takeaway (yep, a huge sigh of relief following AS Level results day), and last night’s beer having finally worn off…

What if Serpent is actually telling us what to do about the answers that don’t fit? Oh yeah, letters from the ones in the NW do indeed spell PENCIL if we put them in the correct cells, and to the SE PEN will give real words too (all that time spent agonising about SYNCS at the close! 😉 )

So sound advice indeed from Serpent, and a satisfying finish to a good puzzle I came very close, through sheer incompetence, to leaving incomplete. Pay more attention next time, Jon.

One Response to “Inquisitor 1608 Advice to Solvers from Serpent”

  1. jonofwales said

    Though it appears I still managed to miss something – according to Fifteensquared I should have written both PENCIL and PEN to NW and SE, and I’ve no reason to doubt them. Oh well…

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