Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 913 – Couples by Salamanca

Posted by mc_rapper67 on May 15th, 2010


A wonderfully crafted puzzle, which had me gaping in awe at the artistry of the themed-puzzle setter – although I found the clues generally easier than usual to solve, and it suffered a little from the unfortunate coincidence of the recent similarly-themed Inquisitor 1122, by Loda. The solver was to identify a ‘couple going out together’ in each across answer – with hindsight, maybe an eerily prescient reference to the new couple occupying 10 Downing Street (I’m talking Dave and Nick here, not Dave and Sam…you put your Right Clegg in, your Left Clegg out; in, out, in, out, shake it all about…).

Anyway, when the preamble begins ‘All downs are normal’, that is the place to start – and I soon had enough crossing letters from down entries to get me to the theme – leaving out double letters (the ‘couples’) in defined across answers, to get the cryptically clued entry (not always a real word). Where this puzzle differs from that Inquisitor, and made me realise, yet again, that we ‘solving drones’ are merely standing on the shoulders of the setting giants, is that the couples were also clued in alphabetical order. (How do they do that? Can I have some of whatever you are on, Salamanca?!)

As mentioned earlier, I thought most of the clues were relatively ‘gentle’, although maybe I was just on a roll, and there is nothing wrong with some easier clues, ‘pour encourager…’ etc. I managed to get 80-90% of the grid completed in a single sitting (train journey to Waterloo) – only having to turn to my (electronic) copy of Chambers for the more obscure words like KRIMMER and LOGION, and the acronym ‘ADL’. Two not completely sures: ENS with N for Nut, and DYKE/DIKE with the Y or I not checked – couldn’t quite put my finger on that one, but DYKE is the main entry in Chambers…and the unused couples were QQ and XX.

(And I have only just twigged that the ‘one abbreviation clued as a grid entry’ is BST…took my time on that one…ADL is probably more of an acronym?)

Solving time – that initial 1 hour-or-so sitting, plus a bit of tidying up and transcribing to a neater copy to send in.

Clue No Length Defined answer Entry Clue /
1A (7, hyphenated) UP-HELLY-AA UPHELLY Not starting properly to get in help ordered for festival /
DULY (properly) less D (not starting) with anag of HELP inside – UP-HELLY-AA is a Celtic mid-winter festival
7A (5) GOBBLER GOLER Turkey’s turnkey’s not adult /
GAOLER (turnkey) less A (adult) – GOBBLER = turkey
11A (5) SIROCCO SIROO Gentleman loves this drying-machine /
SIR (gentleman) plus OO (loves) – SIROCCO = a drying machine, as well as a desert wind
12A (6) ADDENDUM AENDUM Supplemental material is oddly mundane with only one name /
Anag of MUNDANE, less one N (name) – ADDENDUM = supplemental material
13A (6) HEELINGS HLINGS Old pieces of shoes – style English not European /
Anag (style) of ENGLISH, less E (European) – HEELINGS archaic word for a heel-piece
14A (6) AFFEERED AEERED Once assessed one always gets education /
A (one) plus EER (always) plus ED (education) – AFFEERED archaic word for assessed
15A (6) EGG-FRUIT EFRUIT Aubergine? True if cultivated /
Anag of (i.e. cultivated) TRUE IF – EGG-FRUIT = aubergine
17A (5, hyphenated) HIGH-HAT HIGAT Surprise success round fringes of gala for drummer’s equipment /
HIT (surprise success) around GA (fringes of GalA) – HIGH-HAT = drummer’s equipment
19A (4) GOBIID GOBD American sailor gets depth of small fish /
GOB (US slang for sailor) plus D (depth) – GOBIID = adjective form of Goby, a small fish
21A (4) HAJJIS HAIS Disturb Shia pilgrims /
Anag of SHIA – HAJJIS = pilgrims
22A (6) TREKKING TREING Footslogging requires energy in Chiltern town /
E (energy) in TRING (Chiltern town) – TREKKING = footslogging
23A (5) SILLOCK SIOCK Small fish in Scotland is poorly in need of oxygen intake /
SICK (poorly) with O (oxygen) ‘intaken’ – SILLOCK is a Scottish term for a young coalfish
25A (5) SHAMMER SHAER Pretender hears criminal /
Anag of (i.e. criminal) HEARS – SHAMMER = someone who pretends
27A (7) INN-KEEPER IKEEPER Landlord, perhaps, Independent one who looks after a museum /
I (Independent) plus KEEPER (museum curator) – INN-KEEPER = landlord
31A (3) BOOST BST Promote crustacean’s heart /
Heart of loBSTer (crustacean) – BOOST = promote
33A (7) PEPPERONI PEERONI Look on island for a type of pizza /
PEER (look) plus ON plus I (island) – PEPPERONI = type of pizza
35A (6) REFERRED REFEED Alluded to engineer’s stooge /
RE (abbrev of Royay Engineer) plus FEED (stooge) – REFERRED = alluded to
37A (5) GRASSES GRAES Wild rages reveal informers /
Anag of (i.e. wild) RAGES – GRASSES = informers
38A (6) INPUTTER INPUER Computer operator French one ripe for training /
Anag of (i.e. training) RIPE and UN (French one) – INPUTTER = computer operator
39A (4) VACUUM VACM Description of cleaner taking short holiday on Malta /
VAC (short vacation) plus M (Malta) – VACUUM = cleaner
42A (3) SAVVY SAY Know-how for example? /
Double defn – SAY (for example) – SAVVY = know-how
43A (5, hyphenated) COW-WEED COEED Student swallowing English wild chervil /
CO-ED (Student) ‘swallowing’ E (English) – COW-WEED = wild chervil
44A (4) SAYYID SAID Spoken Muslim title /
Double defn – SAID (spoken) – SAYYID = honorary Muslim title
45A (6) GRIZZLER GRILER One who whimpers and complains – good one to anger /
G (good) plus RILER (one who angers/riles) = GRIZZLER = one who whimpers/complains
Clue No Length N/a Entry Clue /
1D (5) USHER Doorkeeper’s not soft on drug dealer /
PUSHER (drug dealer) less P (soft)
2D (6) PILFER Priest has wasted life inside nick /
PR (abbrev for priest) with anag of (i.e. wasted) LIFE ‘inside’
3D (3) EON Long stretch of time in Pentonville once /
Concealed word in PentonvillE Once
4D (6) LOGION Computer code involves one saying /
LOG ON (computer password, or code) with I (one) ‘involved’
5D (4) LAST Endure extreme sort of supper /
Double defn – LAST = endure, and reference to the Last (extreme) Supper
6D (4) YEAH I agree, you have a heart /
YE (you) plus A plus H (heart)
7D (6) GNEISS Report of delightful rock /
Homonym (i.e. report of) – GNEISS (rock) and NICE (delightful)
8D (3) ODE Cipher, not cryptic at first, produces lines that may rhyme /
CODE less C (first of cryptic)
9D (6) EMETIC Quote note sent up for medicine /
CITE (quote) and ME (note) ‘sent up’
10D (5) RIDES Fish in research trips /
ID (fish) in RES (abbrev for reservation)
16D (4) RHEA Flightless bird partially overheard /
Concealed word in oveRHEArd
18D (3) GHI Ghana’s starting to import Indian ingredient /
GH (Ghana) and I (start of import) – GHI = variation of the more familiar GHEE
19D (4) GIES Aberdonian permits heartless jeers /
GIBES (jeers) less B (heartless) – GIE = Scottish form of GIVE, or permit
20D (4) ?DYKE or DIKE? Ditch girl from Lesbos? /
Double defn (and/or homo-nym?) – DYKE = ditch and (not very politically correctly) a Lesbian (girl, or in fact any person, from the Greek island of Lesbos)
22D (7) TSARIST Supporter of Nicholas in dire straits /
Anag of (i.e. dire) STRAITS – Nicolas I, tsar of Russia 1825 – 1855
24D (7) KRIMMER Lamb’s fur, on kaftan’s top edge, mercer cut half off /
K (top of kaftan) plus RIM (edge) plus half of MERcer
26D (6) HYENAS They might be fatal for any she in distress /
Anag of (i.e. in distress) ANY SHE
28D (6) EERIER Lake in the middle of Alderney is more sinister /
ERIE (lake) in ER (middle letters of AldERney)
29D (3) POE Writer of exercises about love /
PE (exercises) around O (love)
30D (3) ENS Being nuts /
Homonym – ENS = being, EN is phonetic representation of N (nut)?
32D (5) TEEND No longer arouse fire in young adult duke /
TEEN (young adult) plus D (duke) – TEEND = archaic word for kindle, or arouse fire
34D (4) RAVE Coward holds wild party /
Concealed word within definition – RAVE (wild party) is held in cRAVEn (coward-ly)
36D (4) EUOI Bacchanalian cry from mouths of each unruly orgiast imbibing /
EUOI (first letters of, or ‘mouths’ of, last 4 words in clue)
37D (4) GROG Rating Roger holds his drink /
Concealed word in RatinG ROGer
40D (3) ADL Measure of incapacity broadly confined /
Concealed word in broADLy – ADL = insurance term for ‘Activities of Daily Living’
41D (3) CUE Rod’s letter /
Double defn/homonym – CUE = rod, and is phonetic representation of the letter Q

2 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 913 – Couples by Salamanca”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi mc_rapper67
    Regarding 30dn, in printing an ‘en’ is a unit of measurement equal to half an ’em’ and one of the definitions in Chambers for ‘nut’ is “an en (printing)”.

  2. jake says:

    20dn amused me. I’m surprised the Telegraph editors allowed it! I think it must be the most insulting name for a lesbian.

    Anyway, I enjoyed this a lot, not too tough, in fact just the level my head was at that week.

    Cheers mc_rapper67.

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