Inquisitor 1618 The Missing Piece of the Jigsaw by Nimrod

November 5, 2019

This was published on the weekend of the latest gathering of solvers and setters up York way. I also understand that it coincided with another celebration that meant it was no surprise our editor had given himself this week’s slot. Happy belated birthday, John!

An offering too that appeared on first, second and third glances to be as fiendish as they come. A jigsaw with no hints as to clue length, up or down, some stuff about clue order based on first or last letters, and also where they might start or end in the grid. It took me a day too long to appreciate that we were being thrown a much needed life-line… They say that with age comes wisdom, but evidently not in these parts.

I made do with floundering, badly. My copy consisting for a long time of answers jotted beside a pathetically short selection of clues. You know you’re in trouble when you start counting how many you’ve got and how many there are to go, the grand total of 14 by late Saturday evening.

In retrospect loads weren’t as fiendish as they seemed at that point. MED wouldn’t have taken half as long if I’d thought to Google the Latin looking bit. BURN should have been a given. The only one that was a little naughty was clearly flagged as being so – WIDED. It’s a cricket thing, apparently.

You know the thing with jigsaws is to look at what you’ve got and hope it’s enough to chuck in a couple of answers and get started. In my case a handy 6 cells in the NW corner, the same to the SE, and some nice long crossing answers – CUNJEVOI being particularly useful, having finally untangled that anagram.

From that point the grid was basically filled clockwise SW to SE, realising belatedly that the Terminal clues had a limited number of entry points, as did the Conventional, based on the position of the grey (yes, grey!) cells.

But I thought you started in the SE corner? Yep, but that’s where I also made the biggest hash of things. Oh well.

CONCERTO. I almost forgot, unclued entries. The birthday boy’s something of a classical music buff, though it took me too long to work out that the entry in question wasn’t in fact one of the clued ones.

So, CELL(O) CONCERTO. No prizes for guessing that we were looking for ELGAR elsewhere in the grid, another of Mr Henderson’s pen-names.

Job done, eventually, with an eyebrow raised on realising that ZEISS and ZEIN were fated never to meet.

Satisfying, too, so thanks. Though you do realise that GMT meant we only had the one extra hour to work with?

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