Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 877: Adjustments by Rustic

Posted by Dave Hennings on September 5th, 2009

Dave Hennings.

A quick comment that I’m glad I didn’t have last weeks blog, What You’ve Got to Do by Syd Lexis; it looks like I made a complete Horlicks of the final step! Luckily, this week’s puzzle seemed pretty straightforward with two types of adjustments being required to ten answers before entry and then a little bit of highlighting at the end; it turned out to be a really little bit!

I decided not to scan all the clues in order, mainly because I only had one answer after attacking the first dozen or so clues. So I adopted a more focussed approach, and gradually saw some progress. Not being a cricket fan, Neville Cardus didn’t jump out at me, but pretty soon, TESTEE and ASSESS being too long for their entry indicated that double letters at the end had to be entered as singles. RIPER, MATER and BARED, being too short for their entries were probably to be entered with doubled-up letters to give RIPPER, MATTER and BARRED.

I wish I could say that I immediately thought of a Listener in 2006 with the same theme, but it took all the extra/missing letters, EURTRSCSPO, to give me PROCRUSTES before I twigged. In fact there have been at least two Listeners and an Independent with a Procrustean theme. I did however remember that he used a BED to stretch or shorten his victims, and there it was, three squares running up the NE diagonal from the centre of the grid.

Solving time: a little longer than it should probably have been, about 90 minutes.

Unfinished business: 16ac and 14dn

ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden
X or Y = extra or missing letters for the ten letters of PROCRUSTES

1 TESTEE one sitting exam: EST (is in French) in TEE (support)
6 CARDUUS his reports from Old Trafford: in scoreCARD USually; Sir John Frederick Neville Cardus CBE (1888-1975), music and cricket writer
12 OLEIN glycerine ester: [NIELLO (method of ornamenting metal) - one L (bit of liquid)]<
13 ORION stars: (M)ORION (helmet without peak, ie without first letter)
14 BERETS caps: BETS (predictions) involving RE (second pair in gREen); personally I would have said the second pair in ‘green’ was EE, the first pair being GR
15 SPOORS tracks: POOR (not good) in SS (centre of maSSif)
16 DOOB grass: DO (note) + OB (order??); this second part seems to be trying to be OBE
19 OMELETTE dish: (R)OTTE(R) (unbounded cad, ie without ends) eating MEL (honey) E (English)
21 BARRED naked: BA (graduate) + RED (raw, qv in Chambers)
22 BREATH life: BREADTH (width) – D (depth)
23 AETHER upper air: HEATER*
27 MATTER mother: MASTER (employer) – S (son)
30 LORRAINE girl: (LORINER + A)*
32 STARR 2 meanings: rush & bond in Israel
36 POSSES control: SS (ship) ES (letter) after PO (river)
37 SICCAN chap from Syracuse (Sicily): SIAN (Jane, Welsh) outside C (cold)
38 MENSE ornament (Scottish): MEN (fellows) + SE (starts to Salvage Early)
39 CATTY spiteful: CA (about) + TOTTY (small child) – TO (most of TOy)
40 OOCYTES fertile egg cells: (YES COOT)*
41 ASSESS 2 meanings: judge & Jenny (female ass, humorous); hence double ?
2 ELEA Greek colony: E (bit of Excellent) + LEA (pasture)
3 SERVER one who starts play (tennis): VERSER (poet) with halves switched
4 TIED restricted: sounds like TIDE (flow)
5 ENTREE course: in betweEN TREEs; unfolded here means (I think) not enclosed, ie no outside; I don’t think I like it
6 COSET subgroup: COST (what is outlaid, ie spent) outside E (European)
7 ARSY lucky (Australian): AY (always) has RS (rupees)
8 RIPPER more than ready: RIPE (grope, Scots) + R (danceR’s bottom)
9 DOODLE 2 meanings: meaningless scribble & as in DOODLEBUG
10 UNROTTEN in good nick: [TURNSTONE - S (top of Shoreline)]*
11 SIS 2 meanings: American relative (sister) & expression of disgust (South Africa)
14 BAOBABS tropical trees: ABBAS* hiding OBA (17dn); except I have one A too many!
17 OBA West African chief: OB (old boy) + A
18 BAHREIN Gulf state: BAHAI (Persian religion) – A (active) – I (independence) + REIN (govern); a less common spelling (at least in this country) of Bahrain
20 MAESTOSO dignified: TEAMS* + O (round) + SO
24 TEA tree: TEA(K) (cut down hardwood)
25 HORSEY equine: HORS (outside, French) + EY(E) (observe, cropped)
26 ELUENT liquid used for purification: [TOLUENE - O (oxygen)]*
28 ARNICA treatment for this (ie bruises): CRANIA*
29 TINCTS dyes: C (hundred) T (tons) in TINS (cans)
31 RUSES tricks: USE(D) (mostly employed) in RS (middle of peRSia)
33 ESSE existence: ESSENE (ascetic) – NE (Tyneside)
34 OCAS wood sorrels: initials of Openly Cultivate American Sourwoods
35 LATE out of office: L (liberal) + ATE (worried)
36 PROO call (Scots): PROOF (evidence that convinces) – F (fellows)

4 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations 877: Adjustments by Rustic”

  1. Colin Blackburn says:

    I didn’t do this EV but just looking at the two problem clues it’s almost as if they are part of a slightly different theme. They both seem sound if they are allowed to provide an extra letter. I can’t find any way of making them work.

  2. dr b says:

    To give the benefit of the doubt on 16a, OB could be either Order of Burma or order of battle, which are abbreviated in Wikipedia and/or the OED as OB. However, those are both pretty obscure.

  3. dr b says:

    Also, according to most of the info on the web, Procrustes used an IRON BED, and I did find the word IRON hidden in the grid. Was I overthinking things to highlight “iron” as well?

  4. Dave Hennings says:

    Colin, I suspect you’re right about extra letters. It’s as though the grid underwent some sort of surgery and the two clues weren’t adjusted. And, dr b, since your IRON is reversed in the second row, I think it’s just an accident. I’m afraid I have no insight into how much leeway the EV prize draw elves are allowed when checking solutions against their copy.

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