Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 911 MMO by Glow-worm

Posted by twencelas on May 1st, 2010


A murder mystery this week – sounds a good one. The preamble promises a hunt for not only the murder victim, but also the location of the victim and the investigator of the case. Once these have been determined it’s on to isolate the perpetrator from 5 (to be identified) suspects, with their murderous means and motive.  Is the puzzle number significant – This could be very interesting?

So, on to the rules for the puzzle’s clues, some clues are missing a letter in the cryptic indication, some clues, corresponding to the suspects, have no definition (other than being the suspects of course) and possess superfluous letters (‘d’,’n’,’a’) in their cryptic indication, whilst the remaining clues are normal.

Some relatively straight-forward clues to get one’s teeth into this week, indeed not too many that needed confirmation from Chambers – the majority of the clues proved to be quite normal. As a result, the grid-fill was quite rapid and it quickly became obvious that the five suspects were all 6 letters long and were at 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 down.  So it was VERNON, WALTER, XAVIER, YVETTE or ZINNIA with only ZINNIA having the superfluous letters removed, definitively, in the order DNA – A clue perhaps, confirmation by DNA?

Now for the unclued entries – 10dn, is the investigator, this became quite obvious with the last 5 checked letters being MOR_E, so inspector MORSE – not quite – a quick rack of the memory banks for his first name and ENDEAVOUR MORSE was the entry. 47ac was the next to fall into place, the location C_S_LE – CASTLE and finally BERKELEY for 46ac. Berkeley castle is in Gloucestershire. So much about my hunch that the puzzle number was going to play a role – not a tower or two to be seen!

Then to link the missing letters diagonally so that every third letter was R, I, R, E and E (in Berkeley itself). This proved my hypothesis that it was ZINNIA and the method was the poison ATROPINE and the reason REVENGE from the A in ZINNIA to the second E in BERKELEY.

All in all, I enjoyed this and perhaps it is too soon for a 9/11 theme, but such a theme could open up a lot of interesting enigmatic variations.

A couple of minor misprints in the clues, I believe (40ac and 17 down, see below), but all in all very enjoyable – my gratitude to Glow-worm.

Key; dd = double definition, Rev = reversed, * anagram, underline = definition


No. Clue
Grid entry
  1 Inspector has six given ‘jug’ (6)
vi(six) + ewer (jug) = VIEWER
  6 Make conventional enclosure with earth to protect little girl (7)
sty (enclosure) + liz + e (Earth) = STYLIZE
  11 Deck of a riverboat originally found in the country (9)
a + r in england = ENGARLAND
  12 Snare rook in trap (4)
r in gin (trap) = GRIN
  14 Forget to bring authorisation — difficult situation gathering, what? (11, 2 words)
leave (authorisation) + bind (difficult situation) around eh (what) = LEAVE BEHIND
  15 Cave sprite? (3)
dd [austrian cave + sprite] = NIX
  16 Meddle in most of relatives’ business — about time! (6)
ki (most of kin) + biz about t = KIBITZ
  18 Ambassador entertains a German lyric poet (5)
he (ambassador) around ein (german A) = HEINE
  19 Intricate operation removing nearly all 27 sutures (6)
27ac = OONT remove oon from operation gives (perati)* = PTERIA
  20 Record of memories has our German faltering (9)
(ourgerman)* = NEUROGRAM
  23 Helmsman gaining lead in race after one time around (8)
(r+onetime)* = TIMONEER
  26 Gushing last of sweet nothings repeatedly (6, hyphenated)
t + oo repeated = TOO-TOO
R 28 Wandering? Not it — fixed (8)
Itinerant – it = INERRANT
I 34 An aged mechanical man ingests nitrogen — it needs no oxygen (11)
An + ae (aged) + robot (mechanical man) around n (nitrogen) = ANEAROBIONT
  35 Prince Charles’s speaking voice? (3)
Sounds like heir = AIR
  36 Watch every pet (4)
Triple definition = TOUT
  38 Joining a party in restored Minster (7)
(minster)* = ENTRISM
E 40 Encroach upon a 37 (6, 2 words)
a + TOUT (clue should say 36 I think) = EATOUT
  41 ‘Bottoms up’ — marginally lacking as a maxim? (5)
(Bottoms) Rev. – margins = MOTTO
  42 Spinning of the moon a problem for the tongue? (6)
(lunar) Rev + a = RANULA
  43 To smile stupidly about a bit of lunacy is sillier (7)
simper (smile stupidly) about l = SIMPLER
  44 Fevered suffering not new (6)
anguish (suffering) – n = AGUSIH
  45 Beast of burden has month left bearing last of booty(6)
mo (month) + y (last of booty) + l (left)= MOYL


No. Clue
Grid entry
AND 1 Some silver and no nickel (6)
Hidden (verandnon) = VERNON
  2 Under control, like 1 and 6 across? (6, 2 words)
ADN 3 Tread lawn carelessly (6)
(treadlawn)* = WALTER
  4 Before drink grips one’s head, one’s sky-high! (7, hyphenated)
ere (before) + gin gripping o = E-REGION
AND 5 Ten on rickety veranda I put in (6)
(x+veranda+i)* = XAVIER
  6 Early rebuffs for boy climbing aboard (5)
ben (boy) within SS (ship) = SNEBS
NDA 7 Unsettling vendetta against Yard (6)
Y + (vendetta) = YVETTE
  8 Flag raised by Sir Ivor (4)
Hidden and Rev (siri) = IRIS
DNA 9 ‘The Prince of Wales’ perhaps featured in last letter by Diana (6)
inn (pub) within z + diana = ZINNIA
  13 Bring up stink in river (6)
hum (stink) in exe (river) = EXHUME
R 17 Booze barrel dropped unfortunately ; nothing lost? Nothing (3) Should be (4)
(booze- b – o)* = ZERO
  21 Knack of topping pastry dish (3)
tart – top (t) = ART
  22 Once closely and cunningly made, without distinguishing feature (8)
sly (cunningly) without trait (distinguishing feature) = STRAITLY
  24 Time in old Vienna wasted to make changes? (8)
(t+o+vienna)* = INNOVATE
  25 Been travelling round part of Scotland — in a Number 4, perhaps? (8, 2 words)
(Been)* around ROSS (part of scotland) = ENBROSSE (short cut hair – as per a barber’s request – A number 4 on top, please)
  27 Beast of burden among Cameroon tribes (4)
Hidden OONT (a camel)
  29 Retain rot (3)
dd RET (to rot and abbreviation for retain)
  30 Favourite regularly beginning to account for blood-line? (5)
A+o+r+t (within fAvOuRiTe) + a = AORTA
  31 Retiring Lord Mayor abandoned complaint about conveyance (7)
(copaint)* = PONTIAC
  32 Fate accepted over beaten troops (7)
A+ (troops)* = ATROPOS
  33 Wrongly narrate fog havoc when hospital’s out of action (7)
Mist (fog) + hell (havoc) – h = MISTELL
  34 Beating from boy after throwing hat (6)
(hat)* + rob = ATHROB
E 37 Esteem you French lost in Pacific island (5)
Tuvalu (island) – tu (you in french)= VALUE
  39 Scowl when called up (4)
[rang]Rev = GNAR
  43 Reluctant fling (3)
dd SHY

3 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 911 MMO by Glow-worm”

  1. Jake says:

    Thank you for the blog, I agree this was a fantastic puzzle. I didn’t manage to highlight MMO in the completed grid though.

    I started back to front in upwards diagonal moves so the first word was ‘revenge’ starting from the berk’E’ley, then I got stuck and couldn’t figure if the next link was ‘heroines’ leading up to one of the proper names at the top of the grid.

    Any who. Apart from my misfortune on not completing the entire puzzle, this was a brilliant game to play. Highly recommended to anyone!!!

  2. twencelas says:

    Jake – It is to my mind what these puzzles are all about. Interestingly today’s Inquisitor has a note on it’s origin “aimed at amusement rather than bafflement”, regarding the Independent magazine crossword, which was the one that got me interested in this type of puzzle in the first place. This is a great exponent of the art of amusement, with some, not inconsiderable, intellectual challenge. Too often, in my view, the Listener can end up with a nonsensical grid once all is complete – and where is the enjoyment in that.

  3. Jake says:


    I really struggle with the Inquisitor puzzle! I find it the most difficult of the three: Listener, EV and Inquisitor….

    That may sound odd, EV is normal, Listener – tough – but follows the same daily cryptic formula no matter how abnormal.

    Maybe it’s my mind but I really find them different than the others.

    My mind might be set at that level.

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