Inquisitor 1715 For Her Eyes Only by Artix

September 14, 2021

Enter Artix, seeking to outdo last week’s Phi on the preamble front. Thankfully, for the solving bit all we had to worry about was one clash and initial letters from extra words in 11 clues. I say “only”, but today’s grid was the closest I’ve come to being nowhere near to completion since Harribob’s magnum opus at Christmas where I finished with a quite spectacularly blank grid and none solved. This wasn’t quite that, but for a long time all I had was about six or seven entered.

I will admit to realising, some time in, that I’d misread the preamble. Yes, you too spent a long time assuming that you were looking for extra letters from clues and not words. All of a sudden those I had solved, such as SELAH, that had left me floundering in the parsing department (what’s new I hear you say) made a lot more sense.

Completion was still pretty much a brute force approach, based on checking letters, bits of wordplay, and a lot of time scouring the BRB for likely looking candidates, because loads went in with little understanding of what was going on.

Which did leave me concerned regarding the clash, but thankfully COMPORT and DEFECTIVE were two I was pretty confident about.

What I was less confident about were the letters from extra words I had, but thankfully NO 1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY was as clear as day, and McCall Smith looked like a pretty fair bet for the rest.

I’ve read a couple of the books, and seen bits of the TV series, so the rest was less of a mystery. Extra letters (assuming I’ve got the symmetry bit right) added to give MMA RAMOTSWE and JLB MATEKONI.

All that stuff then about blacking out a line, highlighting, and erasing non-thematic letters was always likely to lead to the Botswana flag. Thankfully I have a wide range of highlighters to hand.

Most difficult one in a long time? Either that or the rigours of Friday night have got the better of me again. Most likely a heady mix of the two. But it all fell together rather neatly, so no complaints here, and compliments to all concerned.

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