Inquisitor 1750 Game Changer by Pointer

May 17, 2022

A satisfyingly round figure this week, and a game changer. Possibly of the embarrassing ilk, I noted, on first glancing at the preamble and grid, because having penned a how to guide on solving the Inquisitor, this week’s appeared to be one I might struggle with.

Spoiler alert: I’m still kind of convinced that my finished grid is incorrect, having not properly got to grips with the rules of the card game referenced in Great Expectations. Beggar (not bugger) My Neighbour, handily also known as Strip Jack Naked, the latter being the requisite 14 characters to fit across the grid. OK, I’ll go further than that. My finished grid is more-or-less dependent on the checking letters from the more normal clues, with caution thrown to the wind elsewhere.

Thankfully there aren’t any prizes on offer to not win anymore.

Following my own advice, I proceeded to solve by ignoring the bits I didn’t understand, that being primarily what to do with the even numbered columns. Thankfully, the across clues were more forgiving of my solving abilities, from the hidden OBIA and an easy anagram of SNAKE EEL onward, because that was where I started. To be fair, I bet not many of you knew that RIP is a synonym of “Nag” either, the nag in question being the sort of horse it is wise to keep your money well away from.

From that point on the non-thematic downs would fall naturally into place, and the thematic too, with a number of checking letters in situ, the latter too being quite forgiving of my solving abilities, although I did reel through a number of crime writers before reaching the obvious. The hazards of having read too widely in the genre in question.

From that point on things got a little less structured. The local town having put on a food festival, we went naturally on a cheese, cake and beer hunt. Little Goat as it transpires being the best of the micro-breweries represented.

So it would be later than night, sampling some of the above, that I would struggle with the thematic players and venue. STELLA looked likely, as did HOUSE, but it would take a bit of creative googling to uncover the rest. My excuse is that I have an abiding hatred of Dickens, which is ironic given that the later solve was conducted with an adaption of David Copperfield on in the background. As if the gods hated me. Perhaps it is misguided education ministers forcing the “classics” on a generation of children doomed to despise reading, but, yes, what was originally a mild dislike / apathy regarding the great man’s works has turned into a raging fury regarding all such things, though I will grudgingly admit to enjoying the Muppet’s Christmas Carol.

But everything fell into place. Sort of. Though I’m still not convinced everything is as it should be in the finished grid. STRIP JACK NAKED is indeed stripped across the third row, and there are down columns split, where I’ve sort of checked closely, in what could be the correct manner. Something to do with skipping cards (and therefore cells in the grid) if an Ace or court card (their abbreviations in our case, obviously) appear. But, well, I’ve now written over the pencil in pen so it will have to do.

Now, that was all extremely clever – a very imaginative device for the thematic entries that is more than a cut above the average, and that fits together nicely with the theme. A serious contender for the end of year prize, I suspect, so thanks to all involved.


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