Inquisitor 1652 Mirror Image III by Serpent

June 30, 2020

In a parallel universe I woke up, glanced at the IQ cheerily and thought – oh good, it’s another carte blanche. As it was I staggered out of bed somewhat tardily feeling rather the worse for wear, glanced at the paper and thought… Oh dear.

Several hours later… Buoyed by croissants, several cups of strong coffee, and Math’s spiffing Star Wars themed cryptic, I turned to the Inquisitor to find that, unlike the last offering of this ilk, this was actually quite accessible. 13 letter answers at the top and bottom of the grid, and acrosses the positions of which could be deduced by the application of a little logic. The downs? I’ve never got the hang of positioning down answers in this sort of thing, and just kind of lob them in where they fit. Perhaps that’s all there is to it.

So that despite failing miserably to get the first across for an age, it didn’t take long to work out where EQUATIONS went, and with it EYOT and GEAR. Further encouraged by getting the ink blotty test thing down the bottom, the grid, well, it didn’t take too long after all, with, yes, the other related ink blotty thing at the top 3rd from last to fall. Aided by a hunch that it would end GRAPH something.

Leaving something that looked like this:

 

Oh yes, shading and deletions. Well, the top and bottom were thematic, having no definition (yep, forgot to mention that). Presumably we’re supposed to produce something symmetric. So the two lines to left and right, plus some other letters dotted round the grid like this? With the centre one to make up the numbers, being of course symmetric in its centrality.

That was me, confident that this was done and dusted… Until the evening approached and I presumably woke up and realised that the whole of the centre column was as equally symmetric as the centre cell. Gah. So, we’re looking for something that looks remarkably like that III in the title?

Yep. But what about the other symmetrically placed letters? Oh yes, the shaded ones can all be mirrored and remain unchanged – O, T, W, A, I, etc. Unlike E, N, L and so on.

Phew. Trap neatly if somewhat fortuitously sidestepped.

And you know what, I enjoyed that thoroughly despite not expecting to at all. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that’s the best we’ve had for a while. So thanks Serpent. Onto Mirror Image IV, presumably?

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