Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 841 – Open Chambers by Kea

Posted by Gaufrid on December 20th, 2008


On my initial run through the clues I had a feeling that this might be the first EV that I’d failed to solve, particularly as I was still struggling with the final stage in Kea’s recent Listener. However, by the end of my first session I had all the answers bar four of the thematically related ones (2d, 4d, 6d, and 20d).

After a good night’s sleep, the remaining four answers were determined fairly quickly, along with the theme. Each of the 12 thematic answers contained a word meaning gap or space or empty etc and so I concluded that the cells where these words would normally be located should be left empty.

I don’t think the title/preamble was indicating that it was necessary to physically open the dictionary (though it might have been needed to confirm the definition of certain words), more that it was alluding to ‘empty space’. It is quite an achievement to find intersecting words that have a ‘hole’ or whatever at the appropriate place and Kea is to be congratulated for this feat. Overall verdict – inly enjoyable.

I assume that solvers have a copy of Chambers in which they can look up unfamiliar words and so in most instances I have only given the wordplay.

Seasonal felicitations to all EV solvers and blog readers, Gaufrid.

*(XXX) anagram
[x] letter removed
{xxx} replaced in grid by a blank cell

1 TCHICK  C (colt) in THICK (crowded)
5 ODD-MAN  DD (designated driver) in OMAN (sultanate)
10 WORRISOME  ORRIS (old silk) in WOME[n] (girlfriends mostly)
12 INLY  I[ro]N L[ad]Y – a poetic word for ‘thoroughly’
13 ME{gap}ODE  PAGE (servant) reversed in MODE (fashion)
14 SPLENDENT  LEND (grant) in SPENT (used up)
16 HESY{chasm}  SY (Seychelles, IVR) CH(church) in *(SHAME)
17 GLYN  alternate letters in ‘GuLlYiNg’ – Welsh boy’s name
18 ARMORY  MO (molybdenum) in ‘ARRY (jolly old East-ender)
19 PA{chink}O  ACH ( Scots tut) in PINKO (mildly bolshie person)
21 C{ruelle}ST  L (lecturer) in *(LECTURES)
23 APPUIS  A (american) P (plan) UP reversed IS (internal security)
27 KOAN  KO[r]AN (right out of scriptures
28 {blank}ETED  LANK (drooping) [she]ET[ing] in BED (mattress)
29 KNEE-STOPS  SPOT (awkward situation) SEEN (experienced) K (knight) reversed
30 FRE{sherd}OM  ES (El Salvador, IVR) HERD (rabble) in FROM
32 WHOA  WHO (which people) A (accepted)
33 NONPAREIL  PAR (target score) in *(ONLINE)
34 GRANYA  GRA[i]NY (visibly indistinct) A (area) – Irish girl’s name
35 ACANTH  hidden reversal in ‘brigHT NACArat’

1 TAIAHA  TAI (Asian) AHA (how surprising)
2 CONFER{void}  CON (prisoner) [p]O[t] in FERVID (burning desire)
3 HYLISM  hidden reversal in ‘cluMSILY Handles’
4 COMP{rima}RIOS  CO (company) M (member) PRIM (stiff) ARI[a] (short vocal solo) OS (outsize)
6 DI{space}  SPA (bath) in DICE (cube) – ‘scour’ as in ‘range about’
7 MODENA  DEN (study) in MOA (old bird from NZ)
8 AMENT  AMEN (so let it be) T (time)
9 NEXT TO  T (the Northern) T (tare) in OXEN (cattle) reversed
11 REELMAN  ELM (tree) in REAN (Somerset ditch)
17 GYRATOR  ROTARY (like a wheel) [turning]G reversed
20 {well}IE-BOOT  *(TO LIE BELOW) – an unusual anagram indicator, ‘slacks’ as in ‘becomes loose’
21COKING  CO (combined operations) KING (ruler) – ‘processing’ doing double duty as part of the definition and the wordplay
22 STERNA  hidden in ‘paSTERNAks’ – an apposite inclusion indicator
24 UTAHAN  UT (as) A HAN (native of China) – not listed in Chambers (1998 or 2008) but confirmed by COED and Collins
25 ‘SDEATH  *(HAD SET) – another unusual anagram indicator, ‘witch’ as in ‘to change (by means of witchcraft)’
26 IN FOR  INFO (low-down) R (rector)
31 {hollow}AY  LOW (dejected) A (adult) in HOLY (dedicated)

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