Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 851 – Man of Mystery by Loda

Posted by Gaufrid on March 6th, 2009


What a delightful way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon, letters latent for the across clues and extra words in the down ones, just my cup of tea. There were many excellent and often misleading clues, in fact too many to list here, but I particularly liked ‘miscreant detailed error’ to give ‘roer’ in 11a.

I was able to determine the ‘information’ contained in the letters removed from the across answers before grid entry with about half the grid completed (mainly the NE half). This (‘ex postmaster general’), coupled with the title of the puzzle, made me immediately think of John Stonehouse who faked his own suicide in 1974 before being arrested a month later in Australia. This was later confirmed by the answer to the unclued 36a and the ‘further clues’ provided by the letters obtained from the extra words in the down clues. Determining this ‘information’ made solving the rest of the across clues significantly easier and I completed the second half of the grid far more quickly than the first.

The second and fourth letters of the extra words in the down clues gave ‘Markham’, ‘Mildoon’, ‘lover Buckley’ and ‘he turned up in Oz’. Joseph Markham and Donald Clive Mildoon were two aliases of John Stonehouse and his lover, with whom he was intending to start a new life, was Sheila Buckley.

*(XXX) – anagram
[x] – letter(s) removed or unused
{x} – Across – letter(s) removed from answer before grid entry
{xxx} – Down – extra word in clue

2 SI{e}SMOGRAPH  G (gravity) in *(A M[o]RPHOSIS)
9 E{x}PLAIN  EP (record) *(NAIL)
11 RO{p}E-RI{p} *(ERRO[r]) IE
12 L{o}RGN{o}N  LR (lawrencium) [goin]G [o]N [protectio]N
13 FEZE{s}  F[re]EZE
16 ENGAGEMEN{t}  EN (nut) GAGE (fruit) MEN (pieces)
17 GE{m}INI  hidden in ‘paGE IN Ink’
18 H{a}TER  *(THE) R (queen)
19 EARNE{s} A in ERNE (bird) [crus]T
21 S{t}EN{t}OR  hidden reversal in ‘baR ONE Swaying’
22 SLAD{e}S  LAD (boy) in SS (on board)
24 I{r}IDISE  I *(I[n]SIDE)
26 {g}ARA{g}E  [l]A[u]R[e]A[t]E
27 L{e}SSOR  SS (ship) in LO (look) R (run)
29 REI{n}FORCI{n}G  *(FIRE) OR (fighters) CIG (cigarette)
32 INS{e}T  hidden in ‘yasmINS Tee-shirt’
33 CAVE{r}N  CAVE (beware) N (new)
34 TRU{a}NTS  T[olerate] RUNTS (pigeons)
35 S{l}OPING  PI (character) in SONG (carol)
1 DELUGE  LUG (poet’s bit of land) in DEE (river) – {impaved}
2 SPREE  PR (present) in SEE (witness) – {broker}
3 SANE  AS (like) reversed N[ic]E – {cheap}
4 MINNIES  homophone of ‘minis’ (cars) – {imam’s}
6 RONG  hidden reversal in ‘iGNORe’ – {idiots}
7 PREMONISH  *(MEN OR SHIP) – {young}
8 KEENER  *(EKE) REN (old roll) reversed – {alcoholic}
10 NIGHTMARISH  *(THING) I (one) in MARSH (bog) – {ivied}
13 FERE  *(FREE) – {tribal}
14 ZEROS  Z (izzard) SORE (wounded) reversed – {punch}
15 TIRAMISUS  T (the) IRA (Levin author) MISUS (wife half-heartedly) – {skilful}
20 ALIEN  A (accepted) LIEN (right) – {deny}
21 SILICON  I C (I see) in *(LIONS) – {threatening}
22 SPRITZ  SPR (sapper) IT Z (zone) – {structured}
23 DAFT  DA (laywer) FT (newspaper) – {French}
25 ERINGO  E[dwin] RINGO (Starr) – {tended}
28 OPENS  PEN (nib) in OS (very large) – {sump}
30 OTTO  OTT (excessive) [visc]O[sity] – {signifying}
31 GAPO  A (all, in Scottish) P (pee) in GO (turn) – {boozers}

3 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 851 – Man of Mystery by Loda”

  1. deejay says:

    I have just checked my solution and found that I got the bottom line wrong. It should be upside down and reversed like this: z?sno??uo?so (sorry can’t do caps) to reflect “He turned up in Oz”. I just had it reversed … I didn’t think about it enough. What did you do?

  2. deejay says:

    I knew the upside down wouldn’t come out correctly, but I think you can see what I mean.

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Deejay
    Yes, I had the same error, again due to the lack of sufficient thought. I couldn’t quite see the justification for simply entering the name backwards and should have realised that the grid needed to be turned upside-down before it was written in.

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