Inquisitor 1691 Death Wish by Serpent

March 30, 2021

Familiarity with the bard’s work was never going to play to my strengths, so my efforts could best be summarised thus: guessing bits of a quote and a play, and utilising the services of a popular search engine to fill in the rest.

Unclued entries this week, which means lots of isolated bits of the grid and a lack of checking letters. On the other hand, we have wordplay generating extra letters to fill bits of them, and letters garnered from the clues themselves to generate a quote which would later prove useful when back-engineering parsing to work out the missing entries.

Which isn’t how we’re supposed to do this, I presume. I like to think that the real pros had a neatly written collection of letters making up a complete quote, which they swiftly pinpointed, and another collection they used to fill in the gaps in the unclued entries. My solving methods being a little more chaotic, I resorted to the above.

In my defence I will say that I got HENRY VIII ACT II, HEAVEN (who didn’t!), and MY SOUL. And then jotted in YOUR PRAYERS ONE thanks to the results of a nifty Google search (“Make of your prayers one sweet sacrifice, And lift my soul to heaven…”), and pounced on the remainder of “as the long divorce of steel falls on me” as being handy for the parsing of several clues as per the above.

This sort of thing is right up Cornick’s street, of course, but I thanked the gods of the internet for an online open source copy of Bill’s works, and filled in much of the far right hand side of the grid based on it.

If the quote telling us to move MY SOUL northwards, and replace YOUR PRAYERS ONE with SWEET SACRIFICE wasn’t explicit enough, the that-obscure-it’s-not-in-Chambers BLUET to the SE corner should have been enough to inform the canny solver that there was jiggery-pokery afoot in that corner of the grid.

The equally obscure TREVIS and CEL being equally useful for Serpent’s purposes to the south, empty cells were left appropriately blank and the grid complete. So done, and enjoyed. But why do I that suspect Serpent will be more than a little disappointed at the way I hacked and slashed through the goodness on offer?

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