Inquisitor 1686 Nearly Ten to Four Eclogue

February 23, 2021

This week’s Inquisitor was hidden in the middle of the i‘s expanded weekend puzzle section. Brief hopes that the 5k on offer were for a successful completion of the IQ appear to be unfounded, and nobody will have struggled with Poins’ enjoyable offering either, so it’s back to work Monday. 😉

Planes, and debacles involving the infernal things (I refuse to fly as a matter of course even in non-Covid times) was this week’s theme. A few years ago this particular one would have been fresh in the mind, but as it was I’d forgotten all about it. Thankfully Eclogue has been kind and left clues that, if only you were to go looking for them, led neatly to what I hope is the required solution. It will come as no surprise to anyone to learn that my first attempts at the end-game involved looking randomly and increasingly desperately round the grid in the hope that inspiration would suddenly strike. Just like the geese.

The two cells with clashes were easy identifiable, all four intersecting answers being too long for the space available. It would only be later after a little fruitless googling regarding TEXANs and GEESE, that I thought to check what the clashing letters actually were, and came up with the name of two airports, and hence the rather unfortunate series of events that led to flight CACTUS 1549 ditching in the sea, with, yes, SKILES in the co-pilot seat.

Perhaps the straightforward grid fill lulled me into the false belief that the rest would fall quickly into place. Maybe I was just losing the plot, as I see noted beside the grid that ONCUS tickled me for reasons I’m unable to fathom now. Perhaps late-lockdown hysteria has set in.

Because by the evening I’d spotted HUDSON, but took until the next day to find RIVER (I’ve highlighted both in an optimistically “appropriate” blue), and then even longer to spot that the flight path was handily marked out by the name of the plane’s pilot, the hero of the day. Yes, I’ve attempted to use two colours to mark the final R in SULLENBERGER, but agree that if they were still marking that the judge would be quite justified in disqualifying my entry, the dual highlighting really being not up to scratch.

Yep, there was a lot to complete / think about, but it was all rather neat, I thought. A welcome change of pace for those of us who can do with the occasional confidence boost. And, shush, don’t tell the other setters, but this one’s already on my voting list for next year.

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