Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 904 – French Polish by Samson

Posted by twencelas on March 13th, 2010


Quite a complex preamble this week – additional letters in the wordplay of the across clues, additional words in the down clues and ten unclued entries, seven of which required modification. So what about the complexity? must admit, the title sounded strangely familiar. An easy first blog or a baptism of fire?

The title and individual referenced did indeed match that referred to in Inquisitor 1108, though in quite a different manner.

The precision of the clue writing meant that progress was rapid. This is an excellent introduction to this type of crossword, and has enabled me to gain familiarity with the blogger’s toolset rather than fret over the clues.

I started with the downs as they promised to yield the subject. The first few solved quickly (FH,RI,ES) showed that the first and last letters of the down clues needed to be read as 2 columns and not sequentially eventually giving FREDERIC CHOPIN HIS BICENTENARY. A quick look at Wikipedia yielded a birth date of 1st March 1810 – so accurate to the date of publication too. He was half French and half Polish, hence the title. It also yielded the following somewhat interesting misinformation “[Chopin] was a Jamaican composer and mediocre pianist. He was one of the great masters of Reggae music.” – Not an issue a reference book would have.

Then a similar exercise to resolve the across clues, additional letters in the wordplay yielded ALL WORKS INCLUDE A PIANO 

 So what of the unclued entries – the preamble hinted that these described the bulk of his work, so a musical theme became apparent:  PRELUDES,  POLONAISES, IMPROMPTUS were relatively easy to spot, a quick check of Chopin’s famous works yielded the others. All had a cross checked P (for piano) inserted CONCEPRTO, ETUDPES, MAZURPKAS, SONATAPS, NOCTURPNES, BALLADPES, WALTZPES.

That begs the question, Was it too easy? Possibly for the old hands, but its construction, to my eyes anyway, is flawless, and lacking in any ambiguity. Also, it utilises  four of the commonly used variants in this type of crossword – missing letters, extra words, unclued thematic entries and solution modification.

Bold – definition element of clue Underline – Extra word (Downs only)
* = Anagram
dd = double definition
Rev. = reversed

ExtraLetter No. Clue/ Solution
  7 Harsh end to former gold company in Australia (7)
A   r (end to former) + au (gold) + co (company) in aus (Australia) = RAUCOUS
  8 Hospital doctor learns mostly about one medical condition (6)
L   h (hospital)+ (learni)* = HERNIA
  9 Native American’s drug the Spanish caught (5)
L   azt(drug) + el (the Spanish) + c (Caught) = AZTEC
  11 Knight in a whirl after a tweak of the nose (6)
W   [n (Kinght) + (awhirl)]* = RHINAL
  12 Second ‘in, out, shake it all about’ producing sweat (5)
O   [s(second) + (inout)]* = SUINT
  13 Shakespeare’s king? Some yarn! (3)
R   dd – King Lear and lea is yarn = LEA
  14 Could be Scot’s foul tackle taking one out (4)
K   (tckle)* = CELT
  15 Lot’s son in Sodom so Abraham found (4)
S   MOAB (hidden as msoab)
  17 tinerant perishes in fields (7)
I   (perishes)* = SPHERES
  19 Queen’s leaving companion over gin (4)
N   [partner (companion) –  er (queen)] Rev. = TRAP
  21 Some bishopric ordaining senior monk (5)
C   PRIOR (hidden as pricor)
  22 Old lover backs celebrity (4)
L   leman (old lover) Rev. = NAME – though of FLAME and FAME first, but then I read the whole clue
  23 Soul felt confused — more than one place to rest (7)
U   (soulfelt)* = FLOTELS -floating hotels
  24 Variety of dates satisfy fully (4)
D   (dates)* = SATE
  25 Answer to climate changing with temperature loss to do with tiny particles (8)
E   a(answer) + (toclimae (minus temperature))*  = ATOMICAL
  28 Old monarch’s Indian silk (4)
A   dd – tasar (Indian silk) and tsar = TSAR
  30 Grand resort before decline (3)
P   spa(resort) + g = SAG
  32 Gallery’s trouble after disreputable person returns (5)
I   rip (disreputable person) Rev. + ado(trouble) = PRADO
  33 Wait restlessly before tax returns intervening (6)
A   (wait)* +  tax(Rev.) = ATWIXT
  34 National Theatre adapting poem in time (5)
N   (NT + poem)* = TEMPO
  35 Vegetable needing three pinches of mustard to make tomato soup (6)
O   (tomatosoup – mus)* = POTATO
1st/last No. Clue/ Solution
    1 1 Catch fish — fresh gar species (5)
F H   Gra(*) + sp (species) = GRASP
    2 Smart girl Count Rossi dines regularly (5)
    3 Slave seen in endless confusion (4)
E S   (seen)* = ESNE
    4 Demob horseplay — go crazy, a way to express oneself (11)
D B   (horseplaygo)* = PHRASEOLOGY
    5 The Royal Institution brought in Eli Scott weaving fabrics (7)
E I   ri (Royal Institute) in (Scott)* = TRICOTS hand-knitted woollen fabric
    6 Upper crust? Rustic is spinning a line (4)
R C   (Is) Rev. + A + L(line) = SIAL – Upper part of earth’s continental crust
    10 Atomic weapons centre’s isotope damaged an old master (11)
I E   (anolmaster)* = ALDERMASTON
    16 Composition about the Navy by English composer (4)
C N   a (about) + rn (Navy) + e (English) = ARNE Thomas wrote Rule Britannia amongst other works
    18 Smell a civet? This creature’s restless (4)
C T   hum (smell) + a = HUMA
    20 Two wives killed, homicide law-writer ordered a second hearing (7)
H E   (lawwriter – 2 w’s (wives))* = RETRIAL
    26 Conservative politicians entertain American opposition parties (5)
O N   c(Conservative) + mps(politicians) around a (american) = CAMPS
    27 Unrestrained letters from Oslo sent to Palma, Spain (5)
P A   (oslo + e(spain))* = LOOSE
    29 Work under interior stone block (4)
I R   st (Stone) + op (work) = STOP
    31 Nearby region — a province without Lord Mayor (4)
N Y   a realm – lm (lord mayor)= AREA

4 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 904 – French Polish by Samson”

  1. Jake says:

    good morning twencelas – thanks for the information, I’m new to EV and your detailed blog will help me get acclimated with these types of puzzle.

    My first look at the title ‘french polish’ lead me to instantly think of a composer/musician (and to find a list of famous french polish musicians to unravel whom the un-clued entries was about). However, listening to my girlfriend, telling me that our front room dining table is ‘french polished’ lead me off track somewhat, thinking about ‘mirror finish’s’ etc etc…

    Any who, being on the wrong path, I managed to get a few down clues, thinking this puzzle looks fun, and the preamble – taken in bit by bit – not too tough.
    Still thinking about types of polishing, I was well off track and got bored, put this puzzle down, and picked up Inquisitor 1115.

    So, now that I know what is puzzle “IS” about, I’ll have a shot at it.

    There is two moral’s to this story (a) go with your instincts (b) I’ll let you figure that out (incase my girlfriend reads it).

  2. Jake says:

    By midday, I ‘d managed to complete the grid. Every clue, (once down clues) were solved it all fell into place. wikipedia helped a lot, I jotted down the pianist types involved – and the grid answers opened up.

    I rather liked the across clues, pretty much a good deal were anagrams – minus – the ‘letter’ involved before being entered in the grid ‘P’ needed adding somewhere. It all fell into place.

    I did find this puzzle somewhat easier than Inquisitor puzzles (I’m new still).

    A great crossword. For anyone adapting to thematic barred grids, I would recommend this as a starting point.

    Thanks twencelas.

  3. Matthew Ling says:

    It must be a fairly easy puzzle as I look at EV every week and this is the first time I have managed to finish it (pat on back!).

    Jake, I would be interested to know why when you read “French Polish” it lead you to instantly think of a composer/musician?



  4. Jake says:

    Matthew Ling –

    Subconsciously, from doing crosswords for about two years, ones mind gets bent into lateral thinking – it just had to be – a musician.

    A crossword set about ‘French polishing’ seems somewhat boring and unlikely. Also due to my ignorance, apart from what I’ve read in ‘Classic FM’ and ‘Gramophone’ magazines – A ‘French Polish’ musician seemed to fit. Such great artists as Frenchman ‘Poulnec’ a pianist concerto, and other composers Bach, Mozart etc, even though not French are all great musicians.

    Also the preamble after I read the title helped a little too.

    I hope that helped?

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