Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 850: Bells by Gioconda

Posted by Dave Hennings on February 27th, 2009

Dave Hennings.

Subsidiary indications in 32 clues lead to extra letters which spell out a novel and its author. The remaining ten clues lack definitions and, either alone or paired, are thematic. 22A is a character from the novel. It all sounded very straightforward, and indeed it was. The unclued entries didn’t mean much to me until (Lord) PETER WIMSEY began to materialise at 22A. I then saw that the extra letters that I had gave enough of a clue to THE NINE TAILORS DOROTHY LEIGH SAYERS, a book I hadn’t read (but am in the process of reading now). I knew it was about bell-ringing (so the title of the puzzle wasn’t very cryptic) and I guessed the thematic entries must be bells featured in the story. An Internet search enabled me to confirm this.

In order to read the book, I first checked online with my local library … no joy, so a visit to the main bookshop in Maidenhead was required. Strangely, the copy I picked up opened quite naturally at page 34 where all the bells are given one after the other. Had someone been there before me?


Solving time: about 1½ hours. As with previous weeks, not much need for extended commentary below. Straightforward clues, although I found quite a few of the surface readings a bit uninspiring, but my commiserations for having to clue ISOSPORY!

ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden
red for extra letters

1 JERICHO thematic: J (judge) + ERIC (boy) + (S)HO(P) (contents of shop)
6 T CAPRID goat-like: CAT (feline) + PRID(E) (most of lion pack)
11 H UNAFRAID brave: UNA (girl) + HAIR* after F (female) + D (departs)
14 BATTY thematic: TT (dry, as in teetotal) in BAY (laurel)
15 E SCREAM shriek: SEC (dry) + REAM (quantity of paper)
16 N ISOSPORY condition of having only one spore: (ROSIE’S PONY – E (energy))*
17 I ANI bird: IAN (Scotsman) + I (single)
19 GAUDE thematic: GAU (Nazi political district) + DE (of in French)
20 N ENNAGE measurement: (GENE ANN)*
21 E GRISTLY tough: GRIST (corn) + LEY (field)
22 PETER WIMSEY unclued: detective sleuth in The Nine Tailors
26 T TRAIKIT worn-out (in Fife, Scotland): TRAIT (characteristic) + KIT (fish container)
28 A SEETHE be angry: HATE< (dislike, about=reversed) in SEE (bishopric)
30 I OPEPE wood: OP (work) + IE (that is) + PE (exercise)
34 L ITA palm tree: LIT (settled) + A
35 O CODEBOOK help in solving cryptic message: COD (fish) + EO (game) + BOOK (reserve)
36 R LOUTED treated with contempt (Shakespeare): LOUR (scowl) + TED (boy)
37 S LATHI stick: LAST (final) + HI (greeting)
38 D PARAGONS best examples: PA (father) + DRAGONS (mythical creatures)
39 O REDYED stained again: RED (bloody) + YE (the, old form) + OD (force)
40 SABAOTH thematic: S (southern) + AB (sailor) + OATH*

1 JUBILEE thematic: (P)ILE (headless javelin) in JUBE (loft)
2 R RATOON shoot: RAT (renegade) + ROON (list, Scottish)
3 O CRYPT underground chamber: RYP(E) (tailless ptarmigan) in COT (bad)
4 T HANOVER house: HOVER (linger) outside TAN (brown)
5 H OIL RIG platform: HOI (=hoy, incite) + GIRL*
7 Y ACCLAIM declare: I’M after A + C (coloured) + CLAY (earth)
9 E INANELY foolishly: ANNIE* + ELY (cathedral city)
10 DIMITY thematic: I’M in DIT(T)Y (song without T, ie timeless — although not entirely timeless as one T remains)
12 I NASH architect: SHANI*; John Nash, architect involved in Trafalgar Square
13 G DEAD finished: DEG (degree) + D (initial letter of dulcimer)
18 H PATIENTLY in a resigned manner: (THEN PLAY IT)*
22 S PROTORE metallic material: PRO (for) + STORE (shop)
23 A EKPWELE African bread (ie money): P (positive) + WEAL (welfare) in EKE (supplement); who said the letters KPW couldn’t appear consecutively in a word?
24 Y ISADORA Lady Duncan: IS A + DO (party) RAY (fish); made memorable (if you’re old enough) by Ken Russell’s BBC film starring Vivian Pickles and by a later film starring Vanessa Redgrave
25 E PECKISH hungry: PECK (kiss) + I (one) SHE (female)
26 TAILOR thematic: LOR(Y) (tailless parrot) after TAI (fish)
27 THOMAS thematic: (MATHS O)*; I’m asuming that grade is the anagram indicator, but I can’t see how that works
29 R TOO-TOO exquisite: TOOT (hill) + ROO (animal)
31 PAUL thematic: LAP< around U (university)
32 S JELAB (=djellaba) loose garment: ELS (golfer) inside JAB (stab)
33 JOHN JO (sweetheart) + H(E)N (hen drawn, as in the sense of eviscerated — what a nice way to finish!)

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