Inquisitor 1642 Transfer of Power by Phi

April 21, 2020

At this stage of proceedings we’ve been in lockdown for three weeks, and I’ve been on leave for one week. Which is to say that I can barely remember what day it is, my own name, what it feels like to be able to pop to the shop for non-essential items without risking arrest, and have got to feeling decidedly odd. Which it appears can be good for lateral thinking. Because, after struggling badly for an age to get a handful of clues in the grid, though enough to get some of the extraneous letters, the thought occurred – let’s try another approach and see if we can guess the motto from the letters we’ve got. Combined with a punt at ODYSSEY, it proved to be an unexpectedly inspired one. Ex Luna Scientia like a shot, the ill fated Apollo 13 mission for which it was the motto, and hence the astronauts involved who make up the twin letters missing from the answers in the top of the grid but present in the bottom… Though I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember exactly where that morning I’d been reading about said mission, and hence the moment of rare inspiration.

Oh well. Armed with the remainder of the letters from the astronaut names, a likely looking AQUARIUS to the south, and APOLLO 13 across the centre (bang, the two answers we had to enter in a less than conventional manner), progress proved to be more rapid. First to the north, because I could see what we had to do with the twin letters, and then to the south, but only then on parsing HOKUMTH. Yep, needless to say we had little in the way of real words in the finished grid.

All of which proved to be a satisfying test of our parsing skills, what with the lack of recognisable collections of letters all over the shop. With the showers thankfully limiting themselves to a couple of random dots on my copy of the paper, and the sun continuing to shine, a very pleasant solve it was too, albeit while still feeling… decidedly odd. Apparently residents in a town in Derby are mooing out of their windows every night. I’m considering joining them, in spirit if not in body.

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