In some ways this is a fairly simple tale. But it reflects an occupational hazard for crossword setters. I found myself, for reasons I can’t now recall, looking at a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram on a Wikipedia page, and seeing it instead as a squared grid with a diagonal. And, yes, MAIN SEQUENCE had twelve letters! And then I saw how TEMPERATURE and LUMINOSITY could fit – and a large part of the grid structure was in place. I decided that the giants and supergiants would have to share accommodation, while the close juxtaposition of WHITE DWARF pointed me at the need for a few jumbled entries.
All astronomers know the H-R diagram (where H is plotted against R). And Hertzsprung is one of those glorious words where you pause partway through to consider that, yes, you are still typing consonants (did he ever visit Knightsbridge, I wonder?), so a shoo-in for a potentially implausible hidden message. And there we were, back at the point where you just have to knuckle down and write the clues.
Star Quality suggested itself as a title early on – but wait! Did I not already have a puzzle with such a title in my oeuvre? It was an ‘Inquisitor‘ from a period when it wasn’t called that. So perhaps this puzzle should be an Enigmatic Variation? And, much as I’d like to claim I have a definite mental picture of which puzzle goes to IQ and which to EV, sometimes it just comes down to a fact like that!
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