Inquisitor 1706 Defence by Chalicea

July 13, 2021

My prediction that Ladies’ Month would kick off with Chalicea then was correct, even if I couldn’t work out when July began. As expected it’s an entry-level puzzle with much that wouldn’t be out of place in a daily cryptic. The right hand side of the grid offered up a little more resistance, but the rest fairly flew by, from the write-in that was ODD through to ERYNGO at the close. To be fair there were loads I failed to parse along the way, including SAGELY if it’s correct and USER, but as such crossword basics as parsing frequently defeat me, this should come as no surprise.

Oh, I should have mentioned that the unclued entries at 1 and 17ac, generous as they were, may have provided something of a boost regarding the above reported alacrity.

What was less obvious was the beast referenced at 41ac, but handily the preamble featured a none-too cunningly hidden anagram of the answer, even if it’s one that needed a trip to Google to confirm.

Highlighting. Apparently copper bottoming was one of many questionable remedies to prevent ship’s hulls getting eaten away by the thing. I had to check what colour copper should look like, such is my state of mind today, and can still only offer an approximation reliant as I am on the variety of highlighters and crayons stuffed in various drawers.

Job done. Enjoyable, as expected, and straightforward too, albeit with an endgame that needed a little teasing out. Ladies’ Month is the order of the day in the EV too, so if you haven’t already I’d recommend having a look.

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