Inquisitor 1756 Spreadsheet by Ifor

June 28, 2022

Do you know how many pieces of verse have been written about butterflies? I must admit to having been previously unaware, but have now read a great deal on the subject. We were looking for a male author, which ruled out many of the thousands on offer, and Wordsworth thanks to the hint in the preamble ruling out a further two, but that still left Pavel Friedman, Robert Frost, Thomas Higginson, William Lisle Bowles, and even Lewis Carroll amongst others, the latter thanks to a scan of the ODQ and a likely looking ditty regarding butterflies and mutton-pie.

I would add that a good twenty-four hours were spent agonising about which particular bit of verse we should be applying. Because while the butterfly was evidently the common factor in the extra words in the across clues, how to cryptically represent it was a different matter. My serious consideration for a long time was synonyms for butter and flies. Ifor, the wag, had anticipated this with SHEA, two RAMs, a GOAT, and TSETSES dotted about the grid, together with others no doubt I thankfully haven’t found.

So it would be, rather battered and bruised, accompanied by feelings of general despair and self-loathing, that I would chance on a poem by Alexander Pope that mentioned a butterfly, being from the Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot – “Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?”

The word WHO in the grid indeed breaking up BUTTERFLY.

I’m presuming we need to turn the wheel, creating new words, which I’ve done, perhaps correctly, perhaps not, and it feels even more of a stretch than that required to find the correct verse and apply it.

Which is to say that this weekend’s puzzle falls foul of my bête noire – the reasonably straightforward grid fill (which was most enjoyable), followed by substantially more effort required to unpick an end-game that seemed to involve a lot of guess-work. Perhaps the Abbot Ale consumed the night before won’t have helped. Or the illness sweeping through the household. You’ll probably tell me you sailed through this. But never mind, there’s always next week, and I will admit that the anagram of the author’s name in the right hand column is pretty neat. It’s just a pity I didn’t spot it until after completion. Perhaps it was the beer…

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