Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 833 – Off Course by Glow-worm

Posted by Gaufrid on October 24th, 2008


We are told that eight seven-letter terms radiate outwards from the central square which contains the initial of one whose outlook was 34 and whose name is spelled out in the shaded squares. We are also told that the definitions for these eight words are contained in eight clues in place of the correct definitions to which the wordplay (subsidiary indication in EV speak) leads. In a further eight clues the wordplay leads to the answer minus one or two letters which appropriately relate to the radiating words mentioned initially.

I wasn’t sure about the need for last sentence in the preamble, “All of which aims at sending the solver (temporarily) OFF COURSE.”, apart from it enabling the title to be included in the preamble as is customary in the EV. I didn’t find there to be any misdirection since the ‘incorrect’ definitions were easy to spot and, unless I have missed something, there was no going ‘off course’ during the solving process.

# denotes thematic definition
$ denotes letter(s) missing from the wordplay


1 NONCOGNIZABLE  *(CLEANING BONZO) – # ‘when it’s still dark’

8 SARDINE TIN  DIET (food) in SARIN (poison) – $ N

9 E-LA  hidden in ‘bELAying’ – ‘the highest note in old church music’ and ‘the highest pitch of anything’

10 OVERSTRESS  TR (translator) in O VERSE (old poetry) S[uffering]

13 SEND  S (society) END (terminate)

16 DEBT  BED (divan) reversed T[rouble] – # ‘pillows’

17 UNEVEN  EVE (first lady) in UN (a in French) N (number)

18 DYED  DrYaD – $ E

20 ARABLE  ARAB (horse) LE[g]

24 MILADI  IM reversed LAD (boy) I[sabella]

25 SAPS  dd

28 UNWILL  U (Unionist) ILL (wrongfully) – $ NW

29 RIEL  IE (for instance) in RL (reference library) – # ‘living matter unit’

33 PANE  PA (Dad) – $ NE

34 GEOCENTRIC  unclued – the shaded squares can be rearranged to give PTOLEMY, a Roman mathematician, geographer, astronomer and astrologer who lived in Egypt and was probably of Greek descent. He published several scientific treatises including one, Almagest, on astronomy in which the earth was considered to be the centre of the universe.

35 OIL  [s]OIL (earth)

36 WATTMETERS  T (temperature) MET (encountered) in WATERS (waves)

38 SELF-ASSURANCE  *(RASCAL SEE FUN) – # ‘dissident’


1 NEESED  NEED (necessity) – $ SE

2 OWLERY  *(ROWLEY) – # ‘rules for low income support’

3/37 CARA  CA (bookkeeper) RA (artist) – the name Cara means ‘dear one’

4 ORVIETO  OR (Oregon) VIE (compete) TO (turnover) – a wine producing district in the Regions of Umbria and Lazio in Italy

5 ZETA  cd – # ‘chat’ – a ‘zeta is a small room or closet of some kind, as perhaps the sexton’s room over a church porch

6 BIEN  [win]E in BIN (rack, as in a stand in a cellar for storing wine bottles) – an alternative spelling of ‘bein’ meaning comfortable or well-off in Scotland

7 ESSENE  hidden reversal in ‘serENE SEtting’ – $ S

8 SAND  S[pit] AND

11 EMBROILS  EM (little Emily) BR (brother) OILS (pictures)

12 SWELL  ELL (measure) – $ SW

14 QUARRIER  QU (question) ARRIER[e] (out-of-date or old-fashioned)

15 GEATS  *(STAGE) – a hole in a mould through which the metal is poured in casting

19 DRAIL  D[ecameron) RAIL (banter) – # ‘put before’

21 AINEE  A (Academician) IN EE (Early English)

23 ATELIER  *(I RELATE) – a workshop, particularly an artist’s studio

24 MUNGOS  *(GUN) in MOS (moments)

26 PANISC  PAN (drum) IS C[lamour] – a ‘pan’ is a a hollow metal drum as played in a steel band

27 SVELTE  SeVrEs LiTtEr – in art, ‘svelte’ means free, easy, light and bold

30 NAOS  NA (sodium) OS (bone) – # ‘mineral’ – a ‘naos’ is a temple or the inner cell of a temple

31 GOAL  GOA (place in India) L[ist]

32 WETA  [p]ETA[l] – $ W – a ‘weta’ is a large horned wingless grasshopper of New Zealand, its bite reported by some to be venomous

The missing letters (marked $) are eight points of the compass, i.e. the directions of the radiating answers. These answers are given below along with the definitions (marked # above). Note, all of the answers end with the appropriate direction when viewed in the grid.

N PATARIN  – ‘dissident’ – a ‘patarin’ was originally an adherent of a popular party in Milan opposed to the marriage of priests but later became a nickname for Manichaeans, Cathari and other heretics

NE PANGENE  – ‘living matter unit’

E PRATTLE  – ‘chat’

SE PREPOSE  – ‘put before’

S PYRITES  – ‘mineral’

SW PILLOWS  – ‘cushions’

W POOR LAW  – ‘rules for low-income support’

NW PREDAWN  – ‘when it’s still dark’

7 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 833 – Off Course by Glow-worm”

  1. Ken MacKenzie says:

    I agree with your solution 100%. I too was puzzled by the “all of which aims at …” sentence.

    What about the the EGOCENTRIC in the 8 shaded squares which didn’t seem necessary to complete the puzzle? I have them as (reading L-R, T-B):


  2. Gaufrid says:


    Sorry but I don’t understand your second paragraph. There were only seven shaded squares in the grid and where does ‘egocentric’ come in?

  3. Ken MacKenzie says:

    Oops, finger trouble!

    I meant GEOCENTRIC (from 34) – my excuse for that is that I was convinced for ages during solving that I was looking for egocentric.

    Letters should be:


  4. Ken MacKenzie says:

    Ah, just did some more digging.

    The GEOCENTRIC is .

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks for the clarification. I was beginning to think I had missed something relevant.

    I can only assume that the shaded squares and the unclued 34a were just a final embellishment to what was otherwise a fairly straightforward puzzle.

  6. Ken MacKenzie says:


    Having trouble with HTML :-(

  7. Gaufrid says:

    Re your comment #4. This was explained in my blog (see 34a).

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