Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 847: Fields of Action by Dysart

Posted by Dave Hennings on February 6th, 2009

Dave Hennings.

The grid represents some “fields of action”, and so long as they’re not football or rugby fields I should be OK. The subsidiary indication in each down clue has an extra letter; these spell out some key words which identify a quotation whose author is unclued at 16D. Part of the quotation is represented in the grid and must be highlighted, as must something else thematic lurking at the end of a thematic barrier. Sounds fun, and hopefully won’t be too difficult.

I got OSCAR WILDE at 16D about half way into the puzzle. The extra letters, on the other hand, built up gradually, but no words jumped off the page until fairly near the end. Not surprising really, since there were only two words: UNSPEAKABLE and UNEATABLE. I needed the ODQ to get the full quotation: “The English country gentleman galloping after a fox — the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable” from A Woman of No Importance.

On completion of the grid, it only took a few minutes to find LOWRIE ESQUIRE** going up in the main SE-NW diagonal. Lowrie is a Scottish nickname for the fox (new to me), so the country gent is chasing the fox. Lastly I spotted HEDGE in the main SW-NE diagonal, with the first E crossing the first letter of Esquire, and this pointed to REYNARD, sort of L-shaped in the top right corner. So I was right, it was good fun (although not for the fox!). [**Thanks to Big Dave’s comment for pointing out the error in my ways … the two protagonists are LOWRIE and SQUIRE with the HEDGE being “uninvolved in the main action”.]

Solving time: about 2 hours. Not much need for extended commentary below since all the clues were fair and pretty straightforward.

ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden
red for Extra Letters in down clues

1 EIFFEL TOWER landmark: FIE< + LEFT* + (WE in OR)
10 ARMADAS warships: MADRAS (Indian city) with the R going west (moving to the left) after A (first of Alexander)
12 NINETY number: NIFTY, but F (fellow) is NE (old word for not); I think that is the interpretation of “fellow’s not outdated”, if so that’s a bit of a toughie
13 QUEEN royal: QUEUE (line) – U (universal) + N (affection ultimately, ie last letter)
15 DYED stained: D (front of door) + YE’D (old form of you’d)
16 OSSUARY depositary for skeletal remains: SS (vessel) in OUR + Y masking (ie hiding) A
17 DENAR ready (as in money): AR (arab) after NED< (hooligan)
19 PIQUET special patrol: PIQUE (provoke) + T (head of Taleban)
21 CARRY transport: RR (bishop) in CAY (key, the island type)
22 DUNOON Scottish town: DUN (dingy) + OO (we in Argyll, Scotland) + N (note)
23 NORTHERNERS they could be Geordies: THE RUNNERS (athletes) – UN (a in French) preceded by NOR (one of the logic circuits)
25 RAUNCH bawdiness: RANCH (spread) around U (university); see under spread for definition ranch
27 GENIE spirit: GENE (Wilder, say, as in the actor) embodying (=incorporating) I (independent)
30 DENIED rejected: (DEIGNED (stooped) – G (German))<
31 ISSEI Japanese immigrant: IS + SEI(K) (Scots form of sick)
33 ENGROSS prepare a legal document: (CONGRESS – C (conservative))*
35 LIND tree: in gobLIN Damages; fences = guards (vi)
36 CURIO an odd thing: (UNICORN – N – N (two knights))*
38 DAYAKS tribesmen: AY (for ever) in (packing) DAKS (parcels in India)
39 EUGENOL acid: (L (left) + ON (beside) + E (European) + GUE (stringed instrument))<
40 INSESSORIAL adapted for perching: (SON IS + E (first letter of export) + RAILS)*

1 U EAR attention: (RUE (pity) about A (American))<
2 N IRIS girl: IN + RIS(K) (danger with last letter leaving)
3 S FAQUIR wonder-worker: (QU (question) IS FAR)*
4 P LAURUS shrubs: LAP (surround) URUS (wild ox)
5 E ONER porky (as in lie): ONE (joke, “heard the one about”) + RE (about)
6 A WINDGUN weapon: DUNG* in WAIN (old farm vehicle)
7 K ENDED destroyed: KEN (disreputable house) + DEED (act) – one of the Es (half-heartedly)
8 A STEATOSIS accumulation of fat: (AS TOAST IS + E (last of pate))*
9 B HYDRANGEAS flowers: BANGE(R) (firework that explodes without last letter, ie briefly) in HYDRA (stars: constellation) + S (sulphur)
11 L MISPROUD excessively arrogant: M (male) + IS + LOUD (noisy) with PR (priest) admitted
14 E EYELETEER this tool makes holes: regular parts of vErY wElL sEt ThE lEvEr + R (right)
16 OSCAR WILDE unclued
18 U BANAUSIAN vulgar: URBAN + ASIAN (native of Dehli perhaps) – R (runs away) pinching (=restricting) U
20 N TORN-DOWN unruly: NORN (Fate) + D (intimation, first letter, of death) in TOWN
24 E TCHICKS sounds to get horses going: T(HRE)E (three disheartened) + CHICKS (young women)
26 A ENNIUS Roman poet: (ANNUS IE (that is))*
28 T EERIER stranger: TREE< (old-fashioned cross) + (L)IER (someone lying down topless, without first letter)
29 A SEDAN covered chair: SEA (marine) + AND*
32 B FUSE melt: FE (iron) covering BUS (public vehicle)
34 L STOA ambulatory: LOTS< + A (entrance to, first letter of, Athenian)
37 E ILL unfortunately: (W)EILL (composer)

6 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations 847: Fields of Action by Dysart”

  1. Big Dave says:

    This was the first of these puzzles that I ever tackled seriously, and was hugely satisfied to complete. I feel that I must take issue with you on one point. I took the two words as LOWRIE and SQUIRE, each six letters and either side of the HEDGE, with the “E” that you used for ESQUIRE being part of the barrier. I would be interested to know your thoughts on this.

  2. deejay says:

    Absolutely right, Big Dave. I suspected I was missing something since I hadn’t satisfied myself about the phrase “uninvolved in the main action”. I’m glad you enjoyed the puzzle and hope you give more Evs a go as they can be real gems.

  3. Big Dave says:

    I think if I could complete them in two hours rather than two days, I might try them more often!!

    One other small point, Dysart was very precise about the length of “something else thematic”. Could this be because there were two other Scottish foxes (tods) lurking in the right hand field?

  4. deejay says:

    Very astute of him (and you) if that’s why, although I’d have probably just changed ENDED to ENDEW to avoid this. BTW, no point in completing it in 2 hours if it’s wrong!

  5. Big Dave says:


    I would be interested to know what you think of the solution, now that it has been published – you would have been right, but for the wrong reason.

    “Extra letters gave UNSPEAKABLE and UNEATABLE, taken from a quotation in A Woman of No Importance by OSCAR WILDE,16D. The full sentence is, “The English country gentleman galloping after a fox—the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.” The SE-NW diagonal revealed LOWRIE (a fox) followed by E(nglish) SQUIRE and was to be highlighted. Another fox, REYNARD, located at the NE end of HEDGE was also to be highlighted. Highlighting of HEDGE was not required”

    With reasoning like that, it’s no wonder I have no chance!!

  6. deejay says:

    Big Dave

    Thanks for the follow-up. I too was a bit surprised to see the solution given our previous comments, and was wondering how to update the blog (again). Anyway, I decided to go straight to the horse’s mouth (forgive the continuing hunting theme), and emailed Dysart. Although he feels that it would probably have been better to specify the total number of cells to be highlighted, he points out that, with the “lurking” phrase within commas, it should be read as something else thematic (REYNARD) that is uninvolved in the main action. I hope you agree.

    Anyway, please don’t let this minor niggle stop you from doing EVs regularly; they are normally great fun. And given the number mistakes I’ve made over the years, I’m sure you’ve got every chance, just like “Edgar” this week!

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