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Enigmatic Variations No. 891 — Change in Circumstance by Samuel

Posted by Colin Blackburn on December 12th, 2009

Colin Blackburn.

I usually enjoy Samuel puzzles and this one was no exception. His puzzles are usually science-based or themed on old-chestnut jokes. This one was neither of these. Instead it was based on a clever play of words by the comic dramatist Plautus which almost translates in English.

The clues were fair with a smattering of easy ones and a couple of difficult ones. I had to work out the wordplay for RIFT and TIKI once I had the answers. The first I should have got as I have made and used a drift when on a blacksmithing course.

The quotation, though, left me with several qualms. As given in ODQ6, it is IMMO EDEPOL UNA LITTERA PLUS SUM QUAM MEDICUS. As revealed by the extra letters in the clues, it is IMMO EDEPOL UNA LITTERA PLUS (S)UM MEDICUS. So, the word QUAM doesn’t appear, maybe it isn’t in all the versions of the quotation? And the S of PLUS seems to do double-duty as the S of SUM. So unless I am missing something there are thus only 33 extra letters. I certainly can’t find a spare S in 11d, the only possible position. Also, despite the preamble, this line of the quotation does not appear in my copy of ODQ2.

The quotation roughly translates as, “One letter more than a medical man, that’s what I am”. The reply to this is, Tum tu Mendicus es? which translates as, “Then you’re a mendicant”. A mendicant is a beggar.

Applying the theme to seven answers they each have a letter removed to leave a medical person: LEECH, NURSE, SEN, RESIDENT, INTERNE, DOC and GP. The letters omitted spell out the dramatist’s name PLAUTUS. Finall, adding an N to the E of INSETS, ie placing two letters in that cell, gave MENDICANT from MEDICANT down the main diagonal. It’s a shame a medicant isn’t a medical person, otherwise the joke would work perfectly in translation, though it does seem to be a US medical term not in Chambers.

(XY Z)* anagram
X[Y]Z insertion
X[y]Z deletion
ZYX< reversal
>[x]YZ[X] shifted letter
uvwXY Zabc hidden answer
X.Y.Z. initial letter or letters
.X.Y.Z final letter or letters
X..Z extreme letters
The omitted letters from answers and clue words are shown in grey.

1 I EAR EA R ruins
3 TROUSSEAU T ROU[S]SE A U s = society is placed right in the middle.
9 M MATINS MA[r]TINS rumble R = Ruble
12 M RIME R I ME mice ME = Maine.
13 SLEECH SLEE[p..s] CH Ch = surgeon replaces PS which is from ‘blank prescriptions’.
14 O INSETS [g]IN[g] SETS going
15 E NURSLE NURS L..E rube
16 D GODSPEEDS GOD ‘S PEED S danger stale = urinate = pee.
20 E TRAVOIS [a]VIATORS* team’s
22 P SEAN S E[l]AN spun SEN is, I think, one of the medics in the grid.
23 O ELTS EL T..S owing wing = el.
25 L SCIENCE [pre]SCIENCE slight
28 N NICETY NI[C]ET .Y non niet is Russian for no.
35 L STAG STAG[e] tiler stag = informer = grass.
37 CRONET (TENOR C)< c = coloured, an apartheid-era SA abbreviation.
38 I PRESIDENT (ISN’T DEEP R)* fiord ref. Gerald Ford.
39 T DIP DI P. stink
1 T ERR covER Riot covert
2 RAMSGATE RAMS GATE a defile is a narrow opening or gate.
4 E RIFT [d]RIFT[s] pines a drift is a tool for punching holes used in forging metal.
6 A SULU ‘S [z]ULU laid a zulu is a Scottish boat.
7 P EYES E YES plights
8 L ARC [m]ARC blend
9 U MINOR MIN. [t]OR[s] tours
10 S XERES boXER EScort boxer’s an old word for sherry.
11 THE ENEMY [v]ehement[l]y*
14 U INTERNET [pa]INTER NE T’ suites I guess the Internet has lots of sites!
17 M DOUC DO UC muse uc = uppercase.
18 M ELIA (A LIE)* lime
19 DENETTED DE[NE TT]ED ref. Net Book Agreement.
21 E SCEPTRE C in (PET [ho]RSE) rode C = Cape in place names.
24 D SWEEP >[S]WEEP[s] drains
26 I CARAT C. A RAT riot rat = rot as a verb in imprecations.
30 C TIKI TI[c]K I pact a tiki is a statue. Though tiki is also now a type of content management system of which the first was TikiWiki which in turn was based on WikiWiki(Web). Tick is an old woprd for pat. C is the symbol compliance in physics, the linear displacement in a vibrating system.
32 U AGON AGO N. unit
34 S LUR [s]LUR strumpet the classic crossword trumpet, the lur.

2 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 891 — Change in Circumstance by Samuel”

  1. Dave Hennings says:

    I assumed the missing S of SUM was due to a late editorial mistake in 11dn. I was also puzzled as to why QUAM was omitted … it’s in my ODQ3 and ODQ5. Which is more than I can say for IMMO EDEPOL which is not in my ODQ3! It was still a nice puzzle despite these queries.

  2. Samuel says:

    I’m afraid I can’t satisfactorily explain the missing ‘S’, for which apologies. There were some clue rewrites, including the clue in question, so it was probably my fault. Apologies for any confusion that this caused.

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