Sinners (Solution)

by Aaron Sofaer

The solver is presented with a set of short clue phrases, a piece of flavortext cluing Dante's Inferno (the Divine Comedy), and a set of Roman numerals, whose number equals the number of clue phrases. Each of the clue phrases indicates a specific person who belongs in a specific Circle of Hell; indexing into that person's name by the circle of Hell they belong in provides the solver with a letter for the clue phrase. The numerals serve to help disambiguate which circle someone should fall into. The clue phrase "By those faint feet made" is a reference to a poem, whose next word is SACROSANCT, which is the answer to the puzzle.

The answers to the clues are given below:

T Margaret Hone 8.4 - Fraud/Astrology The circumstances of her birth in October, 1892 surely foretold her long life and influential career-- it was, in the end, a textbook case.
H Baruch Spinoza 6 - Heresy To disagree with him is, and any student should know, to be not a philosopher at all; but he brooked no high honors and worked as a lens grinder until his death.
O Don Juan 2 - Lust This Castillian libertine's fate ranged, in the various tales, from being doomed to hell to being permitted into Heaven; in some variants, he even walks into Hell himself.
S Nicholas III 8.3 - Fraud/Simony Quelling the strife between the Franciscans and other orders and greatly strengthening the Papacy was not enough for this Roman clergyman to escape an author's ire, his over-concern for his family's fates an easy target to lampoon.
E Procrustes 9.3 - Treachery/Guests It was Theseus who, in bold Heraclian style, sent this smith on his own final journey.
F Fauja Singh 1 - Virtuous Pagan This distinguished city Sikh could barely walk as a child, but went on to break eight world records in a single day.
A Midas 4 - Greed The satyr he treated with the utmost of hospitality, but the blessing he received in turn became his curse, and for his later honesty he was given the ears of an ass.
I Marcus Licinius Crassus 8 - Fraud He made quite the fortune, most remarkably - along the usual slaves and silver trade, and whatnot - by buying up burning houses and the houses near them on the spot, and using his clients to fight the fire afterwards.
N Ebenezer Scrooge 4 - Greed A mean man, or was he a meal man? This Malthusian’s name might mean squeezing or pressing, but by dint of spiritual intervention he came to keep Christmas well if any man alive possessed the knowledge.
T Vincent Van Gogh 7.2 - Violence/Suicide They never found the gun that killed him, but nearly all agree that the bullet which missed the heart was fired out of his own weapon. Only long after his death was his art recognized as widely as he and his brother knew it should be.
F Botulf Botfulsson 6 - Heresy The only known execution for his sin in his land, this peasant was certain that if the bread were truly the body of Christ, "you would have eaten it all yourself a long time ago".
E Freddie Mercury 7.3 - Violence/Homosexuality Ranked among the greatest of Britons, the Zanzibari celebrations in his posthumous honor were cancelled due to complaints from the religious.
E Tartuffe 8.6 - Fraud/Hypocrisy This houseguest so exemplified a sin, and with such skill, that it became synonymous with him and brought threats of excommunication upon the actors and audience.
T Vitellius 3 - Gluttony He could not be surfeited by the Empire, but hardly had the time to try, for in a mere eight months he lost his head and the throne.
M Mahatma Gandhi 1 - Virtuous Pagan Gujarati-born, this vegetarian was often derided for his preferred half-naked state.
A Benedict Arnold 9.2 - Treason/Community His valor and bravery were renowned, but his record at West Point could never be lived down.
D Richard Dawkins 7.3 - Violence/Blasphemy This biologist did extensive research into the breadth of phenotypical effects of genes alongside his peace activism, but it was his authored works that attracted the fulminating attention of the faithful.
E Yevno Azef 8.9 - Fraud/Sower of Discord Journalist, traveling salesman, electrical engineer, and organizer of assassins, this man fled from his Court of Honor in Paris to Germany.