Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 895: Gagless by Hypnos

Posted by Dave Hennings on January 9th, 2010

Dave Hennings.

Lots going on in this preamble: a person appearing as an abbreviation (eh?), clues without definitions, unclued entries, and wordplay leading to an extra letter not entered. Plus something that appears in ODQ, and something else that doesn’t … looks like Google might have to come to the rescue.

I solved the top right corner fairly quickly, but instead of the rest of the puzzle proceeding at the same speed, it seemed to slow down to a crawl (the all fours type, not swimming). I didn’t really get stuck at any point, but the solve felt much longer than it actually was.

I started thinking that the acrosses might spell a quotation from the 21st century version of the Bible: “Yo! I am come among you”. Finally seeing “unmuz” led me to the entry in ODQ “I am come among you ‘unmuzzled’”, from a speech by William Gladstone. This is cryptically given by the extra letters as YO – I AM COME – U UNMUZZLED. They continue GOD’S ONLY MISTAKE BD, referring to Benjamin Disraeli’s bitchy interpretation of GOM, which stood for Grand Old Man to Gladstone’s supporters (news to me). WILLIAM GLADSTONE is an anagram of the undefined entries plus the abbreviation: WAIL INSTALLED GOM, and the unclued entries are INTOXICANT, DICTATOR, FIVE HUNDRED and BEGIN, which lead to BENJ (a drug) AMIN D ISRAELI (Menachem Begin). Finally GOM is to be highlighted in the centre of the grid.

Solving time: just short of two hours.

ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden
X = extra letters in wordplay

10 Y ABSTERGE purge: STY in A BERGEN (Norwegian city) – N (end of infectioN)
12 O ELVEN tricky: [E (English) + NOVEL]*
13 WAIL undefined: sounds like WHALE
15 I east point: in recipE AS ITemised
16 A ASEPSES exclusions of tiny organisms: [SEASCAPES - C (hundred)]*
17 M IGLOO residence in chilly setting: I (one) + GLOOM (darkness)
19 C SITULA old bucket: (LUCAS)* with IT inside
21 O SNACK light meal: A CO(O)K (chef half-heartedly, ie only one O) after SN (tin)
22 M NUCLEI central masses: CLEM (starve) amid [RUIN - R(right)]*
23 E SWINGOMETER psephological device: (I GREET NEWS)* about OM (award); I got a bit confused here, thinking psephology was the study of brain bumps (phrenology)!!
25 U CTENES swimming aids: CUTE (quaintly pleasing) + NES(S) (loch, mostly)
27 U DRAMA tense situation: DURHAM (county) – H (hotel) + A
30 N SMOKER sort of concert: S (special) MONIKER (nickname) – I
31 M ALDER tree: ALDERMAN (civic dignitary) – A N (new)
32 U ARIDEST most dry: DUE (tribute) in ARISTO (duke) – O
34 Z BLAG theft: LAG (prisoner) in BZ (Belize)
35 Z UNAU sloth: NAZE (head) – E (European) in UU (two universities)
37 L LEWIS Scottish island: LEW (lukewarm) + I + SqualL
38 DICTATOR Unclued
39 E ONE-STEPPING dancing: NEST (home) in O (old) E (English) EPPING (forest)
1 D FAN supporter: FAND (try, once)
2 G IBIS wading bird: GIB (rock, ie Gibraltar) + IS
3 O ETYPIC not conforming: EPIC (long poem) about TOY (sport)
4 D URAEUS snake symbol: DURA (grass) + SUE< (woman)
5 S DELTA letter abroad: SLED< (wintry transport) + TA (starts to Take Austrian)
6 O RETINUE train: (ROUTINE)* about E (Spain)
7 N ELEGY mournful song: LEG (on, à la cricket) in NEY (old marshal)
8 L MESODERMS layers of cells: SOLDER (join) in MEMOS (notes) – O (nothing)
11 Y SEESAWED went up and down: SYE (strain) + SD (Swaziland) laden with AWE (fear)
14 M ISLE OF MAN British territory: (FILM NAMES)* acquiring O (Oscar)
16 I ASSOCIABLE describing linked ideas thus: SOC (society) in ASIA (the East) + BILE (humour)
18 INSTALLED undefined: IN (popular) STALL (trick) + ED (journalist)
20 S CLEAREST extremely obvious: LEAR (king) beset by (SECTS)*
24 T NECROSE effect end of vivid material: (CENSOR)* + TE (note)
26 A HORACE poet: HOAR (white) ACE (expert)
28 K REDCAP military policeman: (PARKED)* about C (college)
29 BEGIN Unclued
30 E STUDS bosses: SET (arranged) + PUDS (hands) – P (pressure)
33 B SOON early: BOON (blessing) after S (start of Service)
36 D ERG measure of work: in hERD Gauged

2 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations 895: Gagless by Hypnos”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Enjoyable puzzle, not particularly difficult, I got the idea fairly early on from BD and the reference to ‘rival’ in the preamble.

  2. Gareth Rees says:

    Another puzzle on the occasion of the bicentenary of the birth of William Gladstone (29 December 1809)? (There was also Guardian 24,893 by Pasquale.)

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