Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 899 – Transported by Charybdis

Posted by Gaufrid on February 6th, 2010


It’s been the pantomime season and so here was a topical puzzle from Charybdis, with a neat little twist at the end. Some of the clues were rather tricky, even by EV standards, due to some obscure word meanings but there were sufficient starter clues to enable steady progress to be made.

I was very lucky in that, after the first pass through the clues, I had ??????O?O?HE? for 1ac and C?N?????L? for 14dn. My immediate thought was that 1ac ended with MOTHER and it wasn’t long before the full answer became apparent. 14dn was then obvious. With these two answers in place, the rest of the puzzle became much easier, though I was unable to get 10dn until I had all the checked letters. It was clearly an anagram of 14dn, as indicated in the preamble, but I failed initially to identify the ‘half word’ as ‘LL.

When the grid was initially completed, the clashes (starting at 30) gave:

                           M/U O U/M S E
                           M/U O U/M S E

which could have been resolved as:


However, this did not take into account the ‘deduction’ and ‘(adding 26 to values where appropriate)’ given in the preamble. Assigning 1 – 26 to A – Z and subtracting the value of the clashing letter in the across clue from that in the down clue (adding 26 to the latter where necessary to ensure a positive integer result) produced:


This resolution of the clashes was to be entered in the grid and highlighted.

A most enjoyable challenge with a neat twist at the end. It must have taken quite some time to determine the clashes that would give both GOURD/MOUSE and COACH/HORSE, whilst retaining proper words as the initial entries, so thanks Charybdis.

*(XXX) – anagram
[x] – letter(s) unused
{x} – clashing letter

12 OCULAR  [j]OCULAR (funny that’s a non-starter) – ‘water pump’ is a humorous term for ‘eye’ and ‘ocular’ is a facetious one 
13 TORC  TO[u]R (series of gigs excluding university) C (clubs)
15 LINGUIST LING (heather) *(SUIT)
17 MAS  MA[qui]S – ‘qui’ = ‘who’ in French and ‘gite’ = ‘mas’ = French farmhouse
18 STOT  S (succeeded) TOT (toddler)
19 OFTEN  OF TEN (in a decade)
20 NOISES  SES[s]ION reversed (period of music-making over, first of singles released)
23 ADD  dd – Attention Deficit Disorder
24 EFTEST  [j]EF[f] (letter concealed by Jeff) TEST (exam)
26 AGAHORS  AGA{m}O{u}S  A GAM (school) OU (where, in French) S[tudent]
29 FULCOAC  FUL{g}O{u}{r}  U (university) L (lecturer) GO in FUR (e.g. ermine)
31 HETOUR  {d}ETOUR  D[iversion] *(ROUTE) &lit
32 DAG  dd – ‘caution’ = amusing person and ‘past sell-by date’ = obsolete
34 SHORSE  S{m}O{u}SE  M[erlin] in SOUSE (pickle) – ‘camelot’ = a pedlar and ‘in The Cape’ indicates South African
36 CLOUD  CLOU (main point of interest) D (departs)
38 TALC  hidden in ‘neaT ALCohol’
40 BOA  BOA[sting] (bragging of having no sting)
42 REBS  REB[el]S (insurgents taking wing)
43 IN ESSE  [f]INESSE (expertise – force not required)

2 A BIT OFF  A BI (an AC/DC) TOFF (Hooray Henry)
4 YOUSE  YO (call for attention) USE (the custom)
5 OUST  [j]OUST (Jack not used in tournament competition)
6 MARTIAH  MARTIA{l}  paRTIAL (favouring) with ‘pa’ changed to ‘MA’
7 ORMOLH  ORMOL{u}  OR (gold) MO LU (two other metals) – molybdenum and lutetium
8 HOSTA  A HOST (poet’s description of daffodils) with the words reversed (preposterous)
9 ERSE  hidden in ‘ovERSEas’
11 IN SITU  SIT (to pose) in [p]IN-U[p]
14 CINDERELLA  unclued
16 TONGCE  TONG{u}E  T (tense) ON (playing) GUE (viol)
21 CAAEAT  CA{v}EAT  CAVE (hollow) AT (administrative trainee)
22 MOTORIUM  MO[ra]TORIUM (Royal Artillery abandons suspension of activity)
25 TONTINE  TON (fashion) TINE (point)
27 RORENT  {m}O{m}ENT  MEN (more than one worker) in MOT (test on car)
28 SUSTAIN  US reversed STAIN (mark)
30 CUDAIC  {j}UDAIC  JUD (Judges) A[pocrypha] I C (see)
33 GOBBI  B (large group of vitamins) in GOBI (Indian cauliflower) – hunchbacks (Italian)
35 HMBER  {u}MBER  dd
37 LEER  dd
39 LUSH  dd

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