Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 832 – Central Character by Oxymoron

Posted by Gaufrid on October 23rd, 2008


Well, here it is, the first EV blog to appear on Fifteensquared!

We were told in the preamble that half the clues lacked a common definition and that the answers had to be ‘worried’ by the ‘central character’. These thematic answers were all names of, or terms relating to, sheep and had to jumbled before entry. The central character that was to be highlighted was ‘The Beast of Bodmin Moor’ which could be found in a 5×4 block in the middle of the grid.

There was a sheep themed Listener not all that long ago but to get 22 different thematic entries with a common definition into one crossword is quite a feat and one for which Oxymoron should be congratulated. Brewer’s was recommended in the preamble but it wasn’t really required (mine stayed on the shelf) but it helped to have a reasonably good ovine vocabulary.

*(XXX) – anagram
[x] – removed
{XXX} – grid entry


1 LOAGHTAN {HAOLATNG}  O (nothing) in LAG (convict) H (Henry) TAN (brown) – a breed of four-horned sheep with a soft brown fleece, native to the Isle of Man

8 TEGG {GTGE}  T (time) EGG (bomb) – a sheep in its second year

12 RIGVEDA  *([b]RID[e] GAVE) – the first of the four Vedas, the ancient holy books of the Hindus

13 CIVET  C (caught) I (one) VET (old soldier) – a small cat-like carnivore of the genus Viverra

14 TWINTER {WTERTNI}  T (it) in TWINER (bindweed, any of various weeds that trail along the ground and twine themselves around other plants, trees, etc) – a two-year-old sheep (Scottish)

15 ZONATE  hidden in ‘feZ ON A TEacher’

16 TAWA  TAW (flog) A – a griddle used in Indian cookery

18 NAHAL  LA (see) HAN (Chinese people) reversed – an organisation of young soldiers in Israel

20 THEBES  HE (ambassador) BE (to live) in T[hi]S – take your pick between the ancient city in Greece and the ancient city in Egypt

21 RUPIAS  *(A PURIS[t]) – skin ulcers covered by crusts of dried secretion and dead tissue

22 TOFFEES  TOFF (a good sort) SEE (to enquire about) reversed – a hard-baked chewy sweet made from sugar and butter

24 ICHABOD  I CH (one child) A BOD (a man) – as well as being one of Eli’s grandsons, ‘ichabod’ also means ‘the glory is departed’

28 MISSAL  MISS (girl) A L (Latin) – a book containing the complete service for mass throughout the year

32 UNMOOR  UN (a, in French) ROOM (opportunity) reversed – to cast off moorings

35 JACOB {AOBJC}  A C (cold) in JOB (patient person) – a kind of sheep, piebald in colour, with 2 or 4 horns, originally imported into Britain from Spain

36 LAMB {AMLB}  LA (West Coast city) MB (doctor) – a young sheep

37 MUFLON {MULFON}  FL (fluorine) in MUON (particle) – an alternative spelling of moufflon, a wild sheep of the mountains of Corsica

38 CARACUL {AUCLACR}  A CU (copper) in CARL (Scottish miser) – an alternative spelling of karakul, an Asiatic breed of sheep

39 URIAL {IRULA}  URIAH (Bathsheba’s husband) with H (Hungary) changed to L (left) – a Himalayan wild sheep

40 DINMONT {IDMNTON}  *(DOMIN[a]NT) – a Border name for a male sheep between its first and second shearing

41 ESRO  E (Spain) S (Sweden) RO (Romania – the European Space Research Organization, which became part of ESA (European Space Agency) in 1975

42 RASPINGS  R (Queen) *(PASSING) – fine breadcrumbs used as a coating for food before frying, etc


1 WETHER {HEWTER}  W (weak) ETHER (anaesthetic) – a castrated ram

2 YOWIE {OIEWY}  *(WI[d]E-[b]OY) – a little ewe (Scottish)

3 ARGALI {LGRAAI}  GAL (local girl) in *(AIR) – the great wild sheep of Asia

4 TENTHS  NET (catch) reversed T (Thailand)  HS (hoc sensu, in this sense) – more than one tenth must make at least a fifth

5 BIDENT {NDIBET}  ID (identity) in BENT (determined) – a two-year-old sheep

6 GAZEBO  GAZE (look steadily for a long time) B (breadth) O (of) – a summerhouse or other small structure giving a commanding view of the landscape (or the fence in most normal sized gardens! :-)

7 CRONE {RCONE}  R (Rector) ON (getting drunk) in CE (church) – an old ewe

9 THEAVE {TVAHEE}  T[anker] HEAVE (to move into a certain position) – a young ewe, especially in its first year

10 GET AHEAD  G (good) ETA (menial worker) HEAD (leader) – an ‘eta’ was a member of the lowest Japanese class, which did work considered menial or degrading

11 TEXEL {ETELX}  EXE (West Country river) in LT (subaltern, lieutenant) reversed – a breed of sheep, originating in Holland and first imported in quantity to Britain for breeding purposes in 1974

17 STAB  BATS (pieces of brick) reversed – ‘pink’ is to stab or pierce, especially with a sword or rapier

19 SUCCOURS  UC (upper-case, capital) in SCOUR (flush) S (society) – ‘succour’ is defined as ‘relief’ so really there is no need for the plural other than to fit the grid

23 FIRM  dd

25 BURHEL {HEBLUR}  RUB (clean) reversed H (hospital) EL (wing) – an alternative spelling of bharal, the blue sheep of the Himalayas

26 MERINO {OMENIR}  ER  (Queen) in MINO (raincoat, made of hemp) – a sheep of a fine-woolled Spanish breed

27 AOUDAD {DOUADA}  O (zero) U (uranium) in A DAD (a lump) – a North African wild sheep

28 MUSMON {MONUMS}  *(SUMO) in MN (Minnesota) – an alternative spelling of musimon, the moufflon

29 SMALTI  AM (morning) S (sun) reversed *(LIT) – cubes of coloured glass or enamel for mosaic work

30 LABRYS  RY (railway) in LABS (Labour’s) – the double-headed axe, a religious symbol of ancient Crete, etc

31 RAMIE  I MAR (I damage) reversed E (earth) – a plant of the nettle family, long cultivated in China

33 ANCON {NCOAN}  A N (new) CON (trick) – a breed of sheep with very short legs

34 AMMON {MMAON}  [m]AMMON (god of riches) – the Asian wild sheep, the argali (from its gigantic horns)

2 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 832 – Central Character by Oxymoron”

  1. Colin Blackburn says:

    Thanks for the first EV blog. I’m amazed at the number of words for sheep, not breeds but things like a male between its first and second shearing!

    YOW for a ewe is also used by the farmers round here in County Durham. I don’t know if YOWIE is used for a young ewe, I must ask next time I see the farmer of the yows outside our window.

    There is a great derivation of WETHER, GREY-WETHER which is a weathered stone that looks like a sheep.

  2. John says:

    Yes, thanks for starting the EV reviews. I do an EV about once a month as I don’t have the patience for the Listener. I haven’t got on with Oxymoron/Schadenfreude in the past, finding him a bit wilfully difficult, but this was a very solvable puzzle and nicely constructed. I found all the sheep in Bradford’s 6 except for TWINTER.

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