Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 838 – Definition or by Xanthipe

Posted by Gaufrid on November 28th, 2008


Overall, a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours on wet Sunday afternoon. I thought some of the normal clues were a little on the easy side but this was compensated for by the thematic ones, as reflected in my split of time spent on the two types (normal 35%, thematic 65%).

Once the ‘normal’ answers had been entered into the grid, some of the ‘thematic’ answers became obvious since there was only one word that would fit in various lights. Armed with these words, an attack on the thematic clues (starting with siderophile and pharmacists) quickly revealed the homophonic relationship between the definition and the subsidiary indications.

It was then mainly a case of determining the wordplay that gave these subsidiary indications, which was greatly helped by the enumeration and by the fact that all parts of an answer were real words. Six of the thematic entries in the grid were definitions and four were subsidiary indications. 

*(XXX) – anagram
[x] – removed

1 IBSEN  I (international) B (bishop) SEN (nurse) – Henrik Johan Ibsen, 19th-century Norwegian playwright
5 SATRAP  [f]A[t] in STRAP (belt)
8 SOCCER  C (clubs) in *(SCORE)
9 UAE  EAU (drainage channel) reversed – United Arab Emirates, a dry (no alcohol allowed) country
10 RUTH  RUTH[less] (severe)
11 SUIT *([a bl]U[e] S[h]I[r]T) – ‘herbal’ removed from ‘a blue shirt’ then jumbled
12 HEAL  [rescu]E in HAL (Henry)
13 GAGS  G (good) in GAS (empty talk)
14 DISTURB  DIS (coppers, Detective Inspectors) BRUT[e] (thug) reversed
15 CRAM  R (runs) in CAM (river)
16 ORATORIES  ORA (mouths) O (old) in *(RITES)
18 RURP  alternate letters in ‘gRoUp RoPe’ – a very small hook-like piton used in mountaineering
20 MARC  RAM (butter) reversed C[ake] – brandy made from grapeskins and other refuse from wine-making
23 PNYX  P[o]NY (short horse) X (cross) – the meeting-place of the ancient Athenian assembly
25 DAHLIAS  H (hearts) in DALI (surrealist) AS – Salvador Dali, surrealist painter
27 HOSIER  OS[s]IE (Australian) in HR (Croatia, IVR)
28 SHORT  [mixe]R in SHOT (dram)
30 PANS  PANS[y] (violet) – slates as in criticises
31 LAME  dd
32 EDISON  NO (without) SIDE (arrogance) reversed – Thomas Alva Edison, prolific American inventor of, amongst many other things, the electric light bulb and the phonograph
33 SEEDY  homophone of CD (music media)

3 NEHRU  H[yacinths] E[ntangle] in URN (vase) reversed – Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of the Republic of India
4 AREA  A RE A (three ‘about’s)
6 TRANCE TRAN[ny] (cross-dresser) CE (church)
7 AT SEA  dd
13 GEMINI  EG (say) reversed MINI[m] (note for staff)
17 ARISES  S (second) in ARIES (sign)
19 START IN  STAR (top performer) TIN (can)
21 AGITATE  A GIT (fool) AT [queu]E
22 AXISES  SIX (boundary) in SEA (tide) reversed
24 NOMAD  NO (certainly not) MAD[e] (manufactured)
26 HOKIS  H (hotel) *(KOIS) – a food fish found in the waters of the southern hemisphere, eg around the Falkland Islands and New Zealand
28 SERF  homophone of ‘surf’ – a person in modified slavery, especially one bound to work on the land
29 HAFT  H (hard) AFT (at the back)

Thematic (grid entries in bold, location Row# or Column#)
* C12
ORDAINED  (assigned)
ORE  OR (other ranks) E (base)
DEIGNED  N (northern) GI (American private) reversed in DEED (heroic exploit)
* R4
STRAY  R (rule) in STAY (guy)
TENNER  RE (about) N (new) NET (catch) reversed
* C13
PHARMACISTS  (drug suppliers)
FARM  F (loud) ARM (provide weapons)
ASSISTS  I (one) ST (way) in ASS[e]S (fools)
* R12
SIR  SIR (gentleman)
FITTED  I (institute) TT (non-drinker) in FED (ate)
SURFEITED  (over indulged)
* C8
SALLE  L (lecturer) in SALE (town near Manchester)
TYRE  hidden in ‘universiTY REgularly’
SALTIRE  (cross)
* C1
CIDER  RED (colour) I C (see) reversed
WOE  W (with) O (oxygen) E (energy)
SIDEROPHILE  (element with affinity to iron)
* R11
MISS  MISS[is] (wife)
TEAK  TEA (hot drink) K[eeping]
MYSTIQUE  (enigmatic aura)
* R8
WAITERING  (providing service at table)
WEIGHT  W (with) EIGHT (crew)
ERRING  [h]ERRING (fish)
* C2
BOUTIQUE  (small shop)
BOOT  B (black) O[wner] O (on) T (time)
EEK  hidden in ‘coffEE Kenyan’
* C7
KEYBOARD  (type text) – I never knew that ‘keyboard’ could be a verb (but I do now!)
QUAY  UA (Ukraine, IVR) in QY (query)
BORED  RE (note) in BOD (person)

2 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 838 – Definition or by Xanthipe”

  1. nmsindy says:

    This was an entertaining and quite novel puzzle for me. Like you I spent longer at the thematic ones, taking quite a while to get the idea. Then it got easier esp when I noticed they were real words lying side by side and studied the enumerations. Was held up by tentatively writing SALFORD in 5 dn, tempted by ford = cross so SALTIRE was my last entry. Thanks for explaining AREA.

  2. Xanthippe says:

    Thanks for your comments. The idea for this puzzle came from The Independent quick crossword which has the first two (or three) entries making a homophone. My wife and I do this quick puzzle sometimes as she’s not into cryptics.

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