Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 856: Area of Doubt by Jaques

Posted by Dave Hennings on April 10th, 2009

Dave Hennings.

In this one, clues were of two types: Position clues, where the clues were numbered but required entry cyclically (ie starting anywhere in the entry space), and Momentum clues which were unnumbered but given in the alphabetical order of their answers … oh, and no answer lengths for the Momentums either. Now I don’t normally believe those clever clogs who, by random leaps of their imagination stumble on the theme after reading the title and six words of the preamble, but this week, that’s pretty much what happened to me. I suppose it helped having spent some time testing the loading of a new puzzle publication into the Crossword Database which had the same theme, but this positively shouted out Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.

And look at that, three words (31 letters) had to be highlighted in the finished grid. I refrained from counting the number of letters, but 31 seemed about right.

I have to say that none of this helped with anything other than the final highlighting, since the method of entry of answers was there in the preamble. So after about 30 minutes, all I had were about half a dozen numbered clues in the diagram. Then, about ten minutes later, PRANDIAL, the only unnumbered 8-letter word got slotted in. Do not ask why this took so long to come; I knew it ended in DIAL, but probably kept thinking there must be a PRE or POST prefix floating around. After this, SPAIN, INOPERABLE and HEIST got positioned, and the rest of the puzzle was completed fairly quickly.

My only gripe was that the spaces occupied by the unnumbered clues were unnumbered! Normally this wouldn’t bother me too much (although from an aesthetic point of view I prefer all entry spaces to be numbered), but it has given me a bit of a problem when laying out this blog. So, I’ll just slot the unnumbered Momentum clues in the space they would have occupied for a normal grid. Their sequence in the alphabetical list is given in column 2.

It wasn’t difficult to find HEISENBERG’S UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE nicely centred in rows 5, 7 and 9.

Solving time: just over 1½hours.

ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden

1 OVERBOLD too mature: O (old) + VERB (Latin word) + OLD; I’m not at all sure about Latin word being verb, according to Chambers it’s verbum, but I can’t see what else is being meant here
1 AEGIS protection: EG (for example) adopted by (ie in) AIS (sloths)
8 REMINISCENTLY in an evocative manner: (MINI (little) + PERFUME (scent)) in RELY (depend upon)
13 INVAR alloy of iron, nickel and carbon: IN (indium) + V (vanadium) + AR (argon); according to Chambers (2008), recommended by the preamble, Invar® is an alloy only of iron and nickel, Chambers (2003) included the carbon; I don’t know about Chambers (2006)
9 SOPPIER more sentimental: PIER (support) after SOP (soprano)
20 SAROS immense Babylonian cycle: (SORA (rail, ie the bird) + S (is)<; the cycle of solar and lunar eclipses is a bit over 18 years, but the saros to the Babylonians was a period of 3600 years
18 PRIM prudishly disapproving: PRIM(E) (almost (apart from the last letter) in the first place)
11 HEIST spectacular hold-up: (IS THE)*; smash (vi) is the anagram indicator
12 BERGSON philosophical thinker: ON (directed towards) with BERGS (mountains) first
13 SPAIN 2 meanings: wean (Scottish) & country
14 ROUNCE press’s controller (part of a printing press): TROUNCE (censure) – T (time)
15 DAINTY fastidious: INT (interest) in DAY (lifetime)
7 EMMET maybe a man going to St Ives (a tourist in Cornwall?): ME< + MET (encountered)
17 PRINCED played Hamlet perhaps: N (action’s finale, ie last letter) in PRICED (valued, Shakespeare)
16 PLEAS Scottish lawsuits: LE (the, French) in PAS (their (ie French) action)
14 LEER lascivious look: LE(CH)ER (lewd man, heartless)
5 DOSED gave medicine to: OS (bone) in DED (Doctor of Education)
19 CAROTIN source of vitamin: ROTI (bread lacking yeast) in CAN (container)
15 LENTO slowly in time to music: LEAN-TO (shed) – A (article)
9 GLADIATORSHIP Spartacus’s state (maybe): GLAD (happy) + (I (in) + ROTA (turn of duty))< + SHIP (galley, perhaps)
20 BENIS plants: I (one) plant amongst BENS (horseradish trees); I would have preferred ‘planted amongst’ instead of ‘plant amongst’
21 VELOCITY speed, loosely: (TOY VEHICLE – HE<)*
1 CORELIGIONIST one of faithful agreement: (I GO IN CLOISTER)*
2 HAULING changing direction: AU (gold) in H (henry) + LING (heather)
3 CASINO lost shirt here maybe: (IN (wearing) + O (nothing)) after CAS(E) (case with no bottom)
4 PREEN clean the feathers: P(IGEO)N (pigeon’s extremities) around REE (bird)
5 CONTORTIONATE twisting: (ONCE T (tense))* about ROTATION*
6 BRAMBLES shrubs that bear fruit: AMBLES (strolls) after BR (British)
2 AYRIES where eagles fly from: AY (yes) + RISE* (anagram indicator: up)
7 PRUNERS those taking away excess: PuRsUaNcE aRoSe (regularly)
8 GEORGETTES fine fabrics: GEORGE (jewelled figure of St George) + SETT< (cloth’s texture)
12 IMPISH devilish: IMPIS (groups of soldiers) + H (beginning of harass)
21 SIGMOIDOSCOPE machine for examining the colon: (MISCOPIES GOOD)*
19 RASSE cat (a small civet): (W)RASSE (head off fish)
10 INOPERABLE not workable: IN OPERA (at La Scala, maybe) + BLE(W) (almost cursed)
17 PRANDIAL concerned with dinner: P (priest) + RAN (spread) + LAID<
4 CORRODE rust: RODE (floated) after COR (ten baths, as in the Hebrew measure)
11 IMPEL force: IMPERIL (endanger) – RI (Indonesia)
16 TANTIVY headlong rush: V(elocit)Y (velocity’s wings) after TANTI (worthwhile)
10 IDEALS highest conceptions: I (current) + DEALS (business transactions)
3 BIOTIN vitamin: BIO (in combination, life, ie bio- as a prefix) + TIN (can)
6 ELDEST most long-standing: in airfiELD ESTablished
18 CISCO fish: CASCO (barge) – A + I (one swapped for another one)

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