Inquisitor 1627 Tourist Information by Harribobs

January 7, 2020

The last Inquisitor of 2019 comes courtesy of perhaps the most fiendish of Inquisitor setters, but also twofold winner of the best of award, so evidently we’re in for something good.

Something that good, and that fearsome that our editor saw fit to send out a message telling us that the endgame was quite something, but also to:

The endgame does indeed look worthy of the reminder with lots of cycling of rows and columns, the sort of thing Harribobs has had us do previously with diagonals if I remember rightly. The rest is a handful of normal clues, a handful without definition identifying a number of “tourists”, the rest to be cycled on entry. It all looks so straightforward when you put it like that.

FOI then UTIS. It needs cycling, so let’s lob in SUIT as obviously the cycling will produce real words.

Nul points, no they don’t, which swiftly becomes clear with others that no matter how much you frantically cycle them won’t produce anything approaching a real word.

So the grid fill turns into a matter of getting the normal clues in place as anchors, and fitting the cycled ones round them. This surprisingly turns out to be not as fearsome as it first appeared. Luckily as we have the in laws down, and solving time is at a premium.

Highlights? It was good to see RC for peacekeepers rather than the rather more mundane UN, and MARRAM is a thing of beauty.

Ah yes, the tourists. The first was evidently an anagram of “Quiet lan”, but no anagram solver I could find was going to sort that one out. It’s ANQUETIL, a cyclist as suspected pretty much from the start, as are the other three in the grid – CONTADOR, the extremely unlikely looking MERCKX and NIBALI.

Guess how much I know about the sport?

Luckily Google knows rather more. So that when it came to cycling the rows, the fact that GIMONDI and HINAULT would appear in the left hand column was pretty odds on. Both having done rather well in the Tour de France I gather, a sporting event I find – to be quite frank – rather bemusing. My brother-in-law’s a big fan, but he’s busy DIYing in their new house, so probably best left to it.

Thankfully this cycling lark is turning out to be quite un-fearsome, if a little nervy given the potential to destroy that carefully filled grid.

Luckily we live in a civilised age and have something called the spreadsheet which you would swear was designed for exactly this sort of thing. Thankfully a nifty cut and paste also brings over any cell shading. Phew.

Cycling of the columns proves to be equally, sort of alright. Revealing the TOUR down to the south, and two other races to the north and east – the GIRO D’ITALIA and VUELTA A ESPANE – apparently the big three of the sport. Who knew?

And look, there are three more cyclists – FROOME, who even I’ve heard of, THOMAS and S YATES. All three Brits it seems.

So shading with “last year’s colours”. The observant among you will note that the grid below is of a slightly more professional aspect than the one I’m wont to post. That’s because I cocked up the printed copy, missing one clear square when transcribing to the aforementioned spreadsheet, and also jumping to the conclusion that the shading should be that for Team Sky, which seemed to be blue.

In the depths of the night I wondered at the plural “colours”, and also why the shape (shirt?) Thomas appears in is yellow. Is it because Tour winners wear a yellow jersey, which even an ignoramus like me couldn’t fail to be aware of? Yes it is. And do the other two events also have winning jerseys with different colours? Yep, red and a rather fetching shade of pink respectively.

Match last year’s winners with the colour jersey, and shade?

I think so.

Phew. Done and dusted, and hopefully right this time. Harribobs with an early shot at next year’s best of? I think so, because that all hung together rather nicely, didn’t it? Now pass me some of the Scotch that’s cluttering up the cupboard, the New Year approaches.

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