Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 862: Secret Tribute by Hypnos

Posted by Dave Hennings on May 22nd, 2009

Dave Hennings.

Quite a bit going on in this puzzle: a ‘secret’ figure to be discovered from unclued entries, three works to be deduced, two determining how two sets of clues are to be entered, and a third represented in the finished grid and requiring highlighting.

I must say that progress was relatively slow after the initial burst of about a dozen clues. It helped a bit that the lengths of four of the answers requiring treatment were given, being longer than their entry lengths. Even so, getting OESTRUM and SECURE UNIT failed to elicit any obvious link. Finally, I got all the extra letters in nine of the down clues as ODD MAN OUT, and words meaning ‘odd person’ had to be dropped before entry. Apart from being a very old (1947) film starring James Mason, this meant nothing.

So who could the mystery figure be? The two pairs of unclued entries which hinted at his name I had as ?A?P, ?AVID, HENR? and ?IXON. Now, was this a deliberate and extremely devious trap? All I could think of was CAMP DAVID, Richard NIXON and HENRY Kissinger!! DAVID NIXON even crossed my mind at one point (a great TV entertainer in my youth). It was only when the entry of the double clues revealed themselves as words for ‘journey’ inside words for ‘earth’ that JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH materialised. So it was JAMES MASON after all … ‘secret’ referring to the ‘masonic’ aspect of his name.

Now, don’t ask me why it took so long to identify the final work that was represented in the grid, but it did. Despite visiting NORTH BY NORTHWEST several times, and thinking NBYNW might appear somewhere, it took at least half an hour to spot NORTH appearing in a north-westerly direction along the main diagonal.

All in all, a fun puzzle, with good clues.

Solving time: about two hours plus at least 30 minutes trying to identify the third work. I could have saved myself a fair amount of time if I’d really used my brain. The Solving Strategies were almost as esoteric as some of the steps that they were describing, and I suspect that the beginners for whom they were written probably did not get what was hinted at by ‘not even lateral thinking will help’ … namely, diagonal thinking required!

ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden
red for extra letters in down clue subsidiary indications

1 SOTREKIL spot: SO (very good) + IL (article, the, in Rome, ie Italian)
drag: TRE (trio) + K (hint of knowledge)
8 WASP Unclued: reference to the mason wasp
12 HOOVEN describing sickly animal: HOOVER (ex-president) – R (right off) + N (name)
13 INNER one firing arrows might hit this: SINNER (person at fault) – S (son)
14 UPTAKES instances of understanding: PTA (educational body) in UK (this country) + E(xhibit) S(ome)
15 EX VOTO dedicated offering: XV (rugby side) in ETO(N) (school, removing last)
16 NEAR miserly: NER(O) (emperor, doesn’t stop) hoarding A (piece of art)
18 ORION hunter: (M)ORION (piece of helmet, without first letter)
20 OILING lubrication: in dipsO I LINGered
21 TAVERN inn: TAVER (Scottish word for ramble) + N (new)
22 E CONTRA on the other hand: ECO (Italian novelist, Umberto Eco, and still living) + RA (artist) touring NT (part of Australia)
24 PERUKES wigs: PERUS(E) (read, mostly) about (K [king] + E [earl])
28 MERITS earns: R (rupees) in TIMES*
32 THROES risky venture: homophone for THROES (pangs)
35 AREDE interpret: A + RED (wine) + E (close to champagne)
36 TACO Mexican food: TA (volunteers, as in Territorial Army) + CO (firm)
37 RELENT become less severe: RE (about) L (line) + ENT (hospital department, Ear Nose and Throat)
38 GLAIVED carrying a sword: G (german) + DEVIL< (wicked fellow) about A (adult)
39 TILER I like to slate: TIL(L)ER (sucker, half-hearted, ie only one L not two)
40 EOZOIC like an old fossil: E (eastern) + BOZO (dimwit) – B (British) + IC(E) (formality, a lot of)
41 HAET not a lot (Scottish): THEA*(TRES)
42 CLWENDAY leave: W END (London’s centre in short, ie West End)
pigeon: C (heading of column) LAY (of the people)
1 SECURE UNIT institution for offenders: (USE IN TRUCE)*
2 TOTAL destroy completely (US): TOT (drink) + AL (gangster Capone)
3 O ROARIE noisy (Scottish): OAR (row) in ORIE(L) (large part of college)
4 D KEEP IN conceal something: DEEP (incomprehensible) in KIN (family)
5 INSOLE feature of Oxford? (shoe): IN (popular) + SOLE (exclusive); Chambers specifically says that this use is without a capital letter, is that why there’s a question mark at the end? The phrase ‘Oxford shoe’ does have a capital, however!
6 D LUETIC pestilential: LIC(E) (parasites mostly) around (DUET (performing couple)
7 DIXON Unclued: reference to the Mason-Dixon line
9 M ANOINT mark as successor: MAN (fellow + (P)OINT (distinctive characteristic, not initially)
10 SETOURTT period of service: TO (near) UR (heart of suburban)
mining area in Cornwall: SET T(O) (curtailed argument)
11 A PRONE lying: PAR (reasonable score) + ONE (joke, as in the one about)
17 CASEWORK study of individuals: A + SEW (drain) in CORK (Irish city)
19 GAEYREIA Jane, perhaps: EYE (regard) about R (right)
one admired in Greece: G (good) + AIA (nurse)
23 OESTRUM heat: ROUTE’S* + M (start of Mediterranean)
25 N RUELLE reception in the morning: RUN (travel) + ELLE (magazine)
26 EROTIC amorous: ER (queen) + CITO< (quickly)
27 O SOLGEL regarding alteration in states: SO (provided) + LOG (record) + EL (the in Spanish)
28 MELLOW mature: MEL (honey) + LOW (of no great value)
29 NUTRITION cheer: NU (Greek character) + I (one) in TRITON (sea god)
30 U STODGY very dull: GUY (chap) supporting (ie under) S (second) TOD (sly fellow, Scottish)
31 T GARTH yard: in bragGART THankfully
33 HENRY Unclued: reference to Henry James
34 DAVID Unclued: reference to David James (a footballer, I think!)

8 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations 862: Secret Tribute by Hypnos”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Excellent puzzle. I’d noticed the ‘nominally’ from the start so I did guess James Mason once I found the film. Like you, the last step took me quite a while till I spotted it – the ONSET in the middle was tempting esp as one of his many films was ‘One Way Street’ but it did not quite fit.

    I think the tribute may have been to the centenary of James Mason’s birth which was on 15 05 1909 i.e. the Friday after the puzzle appeared.

    And David James is indeed a footballer, the current England goalkeeper, faute de mieux perhaps…

  2. deejay says:

    I had to look up faute de mieux in Chambers as I hadn’t heard it before. Made me LOL (I think!). When it comes to football I am a bit of a heathen, although I have of course heard of David James … I am a bit surprised he’s the current incumbent as he seems to have been around for decades!
    And, yes, Hypnos confirms that it was the centenary of JM’s birth that prompted the puzzle. I was surprised at how few (relatively) well-known films he starred in … or should that be how few films he is well-known for starring in? But what a voice!

  3. Hypnos says:

    Thanks for the excellent blog and comments.

  4. shark says:

    i see no-one sent in a correct entry for your crossword hypnos. Given this site and theanswerbank are tips of the iceberg, it just shows how many people do the EV but never send them in!

  5. Dave Hennings says:

    Shark, I suspect it’s an administrative error. I think that EV gets a reasonable postbag, and not everyone would have forgotten to highlight NORTH (going north-west), which it is quite possible that I did! Watch out for a correction next week.

  6. Shark says:

    You are most probably right, Dave. I cannot believe there were really no correct entries. We shall see

  7. nmsindy says:

    This is very surprising. I usually cannot solve the harder Listener puzzles, but I solved this – the last step did take a little while to find but not spectacularly long. I did not send in an entry.

  8. mark says:

    I too definitely sent in a correct entry & with time to spare!

    Its bad enough that the telegraph cannot plan out their “puzzle pullout” without clashes on reverse pages, but this “no correct entries”…..

    Quality paper, what!!!

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