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Enigmatic Variations 846 Three Fours by Jophu

Posted by Colin Blackburn on January 30th, 2009

Colin Blackburn.

Jophu is another new setter to me so I didn’t know what to expect with this one. The clues were normal and, as it turned out, fairly straightforward. There were some very easy clues here with parts of the word play appearing en claire in the clue. This helped with getting quite a few entries into the grid and noticing that the checking letters didn’t help with some of the more stubborn clues. Luckily the easy, but very good, anagram at 48 and most of its checking letters suggested deleting the letters HAMLET. The unclued 28 then leapt out and baring the odd sticking point everything fell into place quite quickly. The error in the grid at 16 fooled me for a bit as I saw an unnumbered entry and missed the actual clue for a while. examining the rows above and below the central row the message turned out to be: REMOVE SHAKESPEARE CHARACTER(S) (though UNNEST could work in place of REMOVE but it wasn’t as cleverly hidden). I was greatly helped in this puzzle by an excellent book, Exit, Pursued by a Bear by Louise McConnell. This concise encyclopaedic guide to all of Shakespeare’s work lists all the characters down to non-speaking cameos. For future reference it has synopses of all the plays and lots of other information for the less literate crossword solver such as me. Oh, and it is also available at a remaindered price from the right outlet.

I am left wondering about the title. I assumed there was a character hidden in there but I couldn’t find it. I was also left wondering about the soundness of a couple of clues though I may be misreading them. Overall though an enjoyable if easy romp.

In thematic answers red letters make up the removed name, blue the grid entry.

(XYZ)* anagram
X[Y]Z insertion
X[y]Z deletion
X[y&gtB]Z substitution
ZYX< reversal
X.Y.Z. initials
X…Z extremes
“xyz” homophone
vwXYZab hidden word

1 SANCTIMONY (CITY MAN SON)* Antony is a pretty major eponymous character, Timon was in here too irrelevantly. nice easy anagram once you realise that the answer isn’t 4 letters long.
6 SPIRITUALISM (I MISS P RITUAL)* Priam is the King or Troy and a minor character in Troilus and Cressida. Another straightforward anagram once you know what is going on. The P comes from Protestant.
11 ELCHI ebEL CHIef domain is used nicely here.
12 ECCO “echo” I’m sure this has been done before.
13 CYST C.Y.S.T. good surface.
15 RIPOSTE (SPORT IE)* IE = that is.
17 EUCAIN EU+CAIN an anaesthetic drug. Cain is the first son of the woman at 31.
18 PASTORS PAS[TO R]S R = take on prescriptions.
20 MENG [g]MEN[G] G moving from the front to the back. G-men are FBI officers, ie “government men”.
21 PUKU (UK UP)< this might not work for foreign subscribers! A puku is probably an antelope but I’ve not checked.
22 OUNCE dd ounce usually suggests the snow leopard but it applies to some other big cats too including the jaguar. Apparently it stems from the original French for lynx, lonce, mutating into l’once.
25 ERE “heir”
26 UNNEST UN [N] EST ‘one is’ in French, though as two individual words.
28 SHAKESPEARE unclued
30 CHA-CHA DIB-DIB with each letter shifted one back in the alphabet. A wonderful thing to notice.
35 FRESH [re]FRESH[er] a follow-up course is a refresher (course). The symmetry of the outer letters is pleasing too.
37 AVES dd
42 WEAVER WE AVER Weaver birds build intricate nests.
45 MATRIMONY MA[TRIM ON]Y a new definition of matrimony to me, that of the king and queen together in various card games.
46 SEEN “scene” the definition in the clue is understand rather than understood. Maybe I’m missing a subtle definition of seen but it seems wrong to me.
47 PIERT PIER T PIERT is an obsolete spelling of peart which is itself a dialect word for lively.
48 SHAMMY LEATHER (MY MARE’S HEALTH)* excellent clue. SHAMMY LEATHER is another spelling of chamois leather.
49 KNEE K NEE apparently the joint on a bird’s leg that corresponds to our ankle is called a knee.
1 SERAPE S[c>E]RAPE lovely swap of letters using ‘caught out’.
2 CLIP dd ref. Bulldog Clip.
3 MHO M HO a mho used to be a unit of conductance, the inverse of resistance and hence the word was the inverse of ohm. The unit is now called a siemens.
5 FORETOOTH (OTHER FOOT)* rodents are pretty much defined by their characteristic foreteeth.
6 SCERNE SCREEN* cf discern.
7 ICES I[CE]S US slang.
10 ASTRINGENTLY STRAIN* GENTLY not sure about this one. Is the definition also serving as an anagram indicator? Or is the clue meant to be an &lit?
16 PAKEHAS PAK E HAS Pak. is an abbreviation for Pakistan. Pakeha is a Maori word for a white-man.
19 SUMACHS US< CHASM* Chambers doesn’t tell us whether the sumach is a furry tree.
23 UVEA UV EA the bit of the iris containing the pigments.
24 SERENES SERENE S two new definitions for me, serene (and serein) is a fine rainwhile it also means to clear. Interestingly serene is also a unwholesome night dew (whatever that is).
26 UPAS UP AS the UPAS is a Javanese poisonous tree, there’s a mythical one and a real one.
27 SCRAWMS SC[RAW]MS SCM = State Certified Midwife.
31 HEVEA H [EVE] A the mother of Cain.
32 READER R [l]EADER reader is usually the university role above senior lecturer.
34 SEMILITERATE SEMI[LIT ERA]TE a Semite is figuratively a grandchild of Noah being a descendant of Noah’s son Shem..
35 FLESH [ri]FLESH[ot] riot (great success) removed.
39 PREE P[u]REE sampling by kissing may well be a Scottish thing!
40 VENT dd
41 SERE dd
42 OIK O[I]K another I’m either not 100% clear about or not 100% happy with. I think this is OK about I but them surely in “I’m fine about” the am doesn’t work.

2 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations 846 Three Fours by Jophu”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Only guessing, but three fours = twelve, which is the number of thematic entries (including SHAKESPEARE).

  2. Colin Blackburn says:

    I considered that but thought it a bit weak as it was 11 + 1 rather than a clear 12.

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