Inquisitor 1696 Title Sequence by Gila

May 4, 2021

Gila this week who unbeknown managed to surprise me on several counts. Firstly, by producing a puzzle that on first glance I had decided I was not going to enjoy (jigsaws being absolutely not my thing), only to find that I did, and by producing a gimmick that not only is I believe quite original, but also wasn’t one I decided I was going to dislike either.

Yes, you were expecting clashes to add to the general enjoyment of filling in a jigsaw too, weren’t you? And no, it wasn’t simply too much sun and draught beer that led you to have five answers too many at the close. Sun and draught beer both being things we’ve become unaccustomed to over the course of what has been a decidedly long couple of months.

The unexpected came courtesy too of what turned out not to be a hard slog cold-solving the clues which were in a handy alphabetical order, to be fair. Though it did take until I’d begun a steady and scarily fruitful run through them until I reached the first seven letter before I realised that we had some handily long answers that might aid with the grid fill. Because not only were there seven letter ones, but eleven and twelve too around the perimeter of a grid that fell in absolutely no time at all, after which this pretty much felt like a normal crossword.

It only took me a jiffy to guess that Peanuts was a STRIP CARTOON too. On fine form this week, Jon, on fine form.

Your grid-fill disagrees with mine? That wouldn’t surprise me either, my parsing of the clues with superfluous letters leading to the I-like-to-think-only moderately useless FO?K HERO APPEA?YEROMAIL ON OLD NORSE WARS?IP. Slightly coherent at the start and end. But the middle, let’s not talk about the middle.

None of which is going to lead to a name.

Thankfully, I did manage to cold solve four of the five answers which don’t have a place in the grid, being PAGE, PAWN, VALVE and NEEDLE. Figuring there must be a reason rather than randomness for them too, I looked in the BRB to see what they had in common, to find that they can all be leaves. A nifty Google of Five Leaves and (only moderately inspired there being few possible remaining letters in FO?K) Folk later…

Five Leaves Left, which I’ve not heard of, by NICK DRAKE, who I was sort of aware of. Vaguely. DRAKE too being part of a Viking ship, apparently, so at least I can claim to have solved part of the garbled cryptic clue presented above.

His remaining albums BRYTER LAYTER and PINK MOON comprising handily the 20 letters we had to highlight duly highlighted an appropriate shade of pink, and Nick’s name noted below the grid, I believe that’s job done. So thanks Gila for a thoroughly, and unexpectedly enjoyable solve.

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