Inquisitor 1612 High-ups by Gila

September 24, 2019

We’re used to getting a mix of highbrow and lowbrow stuff in the IQ, but is this the first time we’ve had a mix of the two in the same puzzle? High-ups of the TV kind, and of the musical kind too. About which on both counts I know very little.

Tony Soprano. Tick. Callas and Te Kanawa, too. But the rest called for a hefty bit of Googling and resort to Wikipedia. For which we thank the gods of the internet.

A complicated preamble that boiled down to misprints in alternate clues, and a nifty bit of maths to get letters from the clues in between. I bet you thought you’d make a mess of that too, but I only managed to miscount one letter, quickly resolved. Oh yes, other thematic entries in the perimeter, with a handy list of unchecked letters. I like handy lists of unchecked letters, they mean I don’t have to guess.

No 1ac to speak of, so let’s start with SCRAWLS on the next row down, which I generally do in pencil. A slow but mostly steady grid fill, out in the sunshine which is rather surprisingly hot, interrupted only by somebody who’s training their dog out on the back lane, displaying more patience than I’m capable of.

This week’s incorrect entry? MEANT at 6d, which only on failing to find a suitably named soprano is corrected to LEANT.

And of course the one doubt. ESCAPEE or ESCAPER at 7d? Oh, and don’t you love that last unchecked letter. Let’s go with the former. I think it’s something to do with PE ACES repeated – I can’t parse it any further than that, but there’s no R in there.

But that was before I got stuck in the NE corner, and with a couple dotted round the grid. That’s alright, we’ll complete the perimeter and get some more checking letters. Except, no, nothing’s leaping out.

OK, the 11 cells we’re supposed to highlight. Aha, SW to NE I’ve got THE SOPRAN??. No guessing what the last two letters will be.

Grid full, with a little help from…

Let’s look up the series, which I’ve not watched. Reference the handy list of characters to aid the above. Letters found. Characters discovered. Tony, Meadow, Carmela, TJ. Which mean little and less to me, but…

Got to be sopranos of the singing variety in the border? Yep, and there’s a handy list of famous sopranos on Classic FM’s site that I’m betting Gila referred to too, though my LOI, PONSELLE, wasn’t listed. For that one I had to resort to actually trying to juggle the letters given, which is what we were supposed to do.

Job done. And all in one session.

Huzzah, and huzzah again. And thanks, Gila, I enjoyed that.

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