Inquisitor 1685 AWOL by Kruger

February 16, 2021

A wag would note that what was mostly AWOL this week was the hapless blogger’s solving ability, but in my defence I would note this was only the case for the last quarter or so of the puzzle, if we’re to ignore for a moment a slight cock-up regarding the thematic entries.

They were to be entered in one of two ways. This week I was ready for Kruger, having noted that the preamble indicated that word lengths refer to grid entries. Aha, I thought, not falling for that one again. Some entries are evidently going to be longer, and some shorter than the clued word. The ones which were to be shortened all contained the word HER, which we just had to excise to give our nonsense entry.

They also all contained the word THE, but hush… I only noticed that at the end when it became clear that the most obvious boot part would be an UPPER if I was to lob ISORM rather than ISOTM in the grid. But there’s no such thing as a bad landing, as they say.

We may note that there’s a slight cock-up this week with the clues too, just to show that I’m not the only one capable of them. How I imagine our esteemed editor and Kruger chuckled on noticing the unintended misprint among the deliberate ones we were supposed to pick up on.

Oh yes, misprints. Those give a name. Unfortunately it was rather too close to the real one of one of my favourite authors, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, which led me rather up the garden path for a long time.

PN DESTOUCHES, though I never did find the N. Oh well, Google did throw up this handy quote: “The absent are always in the wrong”, which explains why we had to lose the THE’s, and that the seemingly random letters amidst thematic ones containing an A (VIA, DASH, etc), weren’t random, or something to do with TO ART, but various synonyms for “wrong” enveloping the remaining A. TO(A)RT, S(A)IN, etc.

Having staggered over the finishing line rather late than I’d hoped, I didn’t check the handy list of unchecked / mutually checked letters, so if there is an error in this grid I would not be surprised. Oh, and 8d down is a guess.

Done, dusted. Another worthy challenge. Didn’t that fall together nicely, a rather neat interpretation of the quote. But now to lie down in darkened room…

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