Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 914: Opus by Hypnos

Posted by Dave Hennings on May 22nd, 2010

Dave Hennings.

This is the sixth Enigmatic Variations puzzle by Hypnos since the EV blog started at fifteensquared about 18 months ago, and I’ve done four of them! They are usually good fun, so I tackle this with relish.

I must say that I found it quite tricky. I wasn’t helped by 1ac: Fame? Quest that’s troubled models (9). The answer is MAQUETTES, but I just could not get it to work; I couldn’t see any justification for that’s being T which would make it OK (anagram of (f)AME QUEST T). Unless … the preamble says the quotation and author are produced by ‘extra letters’, not ‘single extra letters’. Oh dear, that might make it tricky.

It turns out, I think, that the clue is wrong since every other provides just one letter towards the quotation/author, namely: FISH ENTREES JOINTS APPLES AS DESSERT S T WARNER. Sylvia (Nora) Townsend Warner (1893 – 1978) was an English novelist and poet, although I had not heard of her. The full extract from her diary reads:

I discovered that dinners follow the order of creation — fish first, then entrées, then joints, lastly the apple as dessert. The soup is chaos.

The chaotic soup provides our title, OPUS, and is represented in the diagram by the unclued entries which are anagrams of LENTIL, MINESTRONE, BROTH, CHOWDER, RAMEN and LEEK.

I’m afraid I’ve been a bit picky below with a few clues, but all in all this was an enjoyable puzzle with a nicely implemented theme.

Solving time: quite long for an EV at about 3½ hours.

Outstanding queries: 1ac & 19ac

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

1 F MAQUETTES Fame? Quest that’s troubled models (9)
models: (FAME QUEST T)*; but see above
7 I SAFE fine: IF (poem) in SAE (envelope); this had be flummoxed for ages, thinking that it was F for fine and the definition was envelope! Sneaky!
10 S CANTHI inclination between lids: CANT (inclination) in SHI(P) (docked vessel); I never new there was a word for the angle between upper and lower eyelid … must try and weave it into a conversation!
11 LINTEL unclued: anagram of LENTIL, one of the examples of SOUP
12 H NASSER former leader: NAR(C) (agent largely) holding HESS<; luckily I’m old enough to remember the man in charge of Egypt at the time of the Suez crisis.
13 E ISATIN compound: SATIE (composer) in IN (old word for hotel/inn)
14 N TRAMROADS set of tracks: (A DORM’S)* in [TRAIN (exercise) – I]
19 T CIAO Greeting I one accepted by censor
greeting: I accepted by CATO (censor); a superfluous ‘one’ (or ‘I’) in this clue, although either way it reads a bit strange.
20 R OXER fence: OX (neat) RR (roller) hiding E (start of Electric); I see Chambers doesn’t specify a capital, but I think Roller deserves it!
21 E FREIGHTS transport charges: FRIGHTS (grotesque figures) around EE (middle of wEEk); I spent ages trying to force a jumble of FIGURES into the solution!
23 E NEST home: EN (space) + EST (estimated)
24 S TERNE alloy: TERES (one of two muscles) holding N (new)
26 J CITE name: CIE (company, French, abbreviation for Compagnie) captivating TJ (Tajikstan)
27 O APPOINTS settles: [PO (pole) in PINOT (wine)] in A S (second)
30 I OVER at an end: O (old) + VERDI (composer) – D (dimension)
31 N RHEA flightless one (ie bird): RA (artist) capturing HEN (bird)
37 S MEAGRE insubstantial: in toME’S AGREable
38 A TAENIA set of headbands: [(A TIE AND A) – D (end of corD)]*; sorry to have a pop here, but I didn’t like the extra letter just being one of the As (although I suppose it could be the A in AND).
39 P SEDENT seated: DEN (haunt) in SEPT (clan)
40 P EAGRES bores: E + R (king) in PAGES (attendants)
41 L PLOD busy (slang for detective): LL (couple of lecturers) in POD (school); am I being fussy to think that plod (a policeman, as in PC Plod) isn’t necessarily a detective (a busy)?
42 E EXTRADITE hand over for trial: EXE (banker) taking in TR (trustee) A DIET (conference); I know Bradford’s says banker may indicate a river, and I suspect it’s just me that feels uncomfortable with it, sorry.
1 MENTIONERS unclued: anagram of MINESTRONE, one of the types of SOUP
2 A ACARI tiny creatures: A CAR AI (excellent, as A1)
3 S UNSMART that’s not clever: RAMS< (sheep) in UNST (Shetland island)
4 THROB unclued: anagram of BROTH, one of the types of SOUP
5 D TIRADE harangue: TD (Irish parliamentarian, ie Teachta Dala) IRADE (decree)
6 E SISSY weak figure: IS + S (beginning to Suffer) in SYE (strain)
7 S SNATCH short spell: NATCH (of course, ie naturally) in SS (ie on board)
8 S ATTUITIVE regarding mental operation: [IVI (unlimited cIVIc) STATUTE]*
9 E FEIS festival: FEE (payment) + IS (island)
15 R RIFT split: RIF(E) (current largely) in RT (outsiders in RackeT)
16 T LOVERS’ LANE romantic resort: [(SON TRAVELLED) – D (daughter)]*
17 S DESPERADO outlaw: DES (of the, French) S (stokes, as in kinematic viscosity!) PER (a) ADO (fuss); I found this a really tricky clue, partly because I kept reading stokes as strokes!
18 T HINT here’s a suggestion: THIN (slight) T (temperature)
22 W REIK traditional prank: [I WRECK – C (canine)]*
25 A ESNE one bound previously: N (name) in EASE (wealth)
26 COWHERD unclued: anagram of CHOWDER, a type of SOUP
28 R PARGED plastered: PARR (as in Catherine, wife of Henry VIII) + GED (first letters of Get Extra Drinks)
29 N NON-NET without a fixed price: NN (notes) in NONET (composition); in 41ac it was a couple of lecturers, I’d have preferred two notes here
32 MARNE unclued: anagram of RAMEN, a type of SOUP, specifically a Japanese clear broth containing vegetables, noodles, and often meat
33 E SITAR instrument: SIR (gentleman) imbibing TEA (drink)
34 R B-LIST of minor note: BLISTER (irritating person) – E (energy)
35 KEEL unclued: anagram of LEEK, an example of SOUP

7 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations 914: Opus by Hypnos”

  1. Mike Laws says:

    The sixth what puzzle? :-)

  2. Dave Hennings says:

    Thanks Mike, although I accidentally published the blog before final corrections and edits … honest. (For those of you not up at 4am, I originally had this as Hypnos’s sixth Listener puzzle at fifteensquared!)

  3. nmsindy says:

    Excellent puzzle, which like the blogger I found hard, taking about 4 hrs with the theme becoming apparent only very near the end.

  4. Jake says:

    I picked up the quote straight away, OPUS looked like an anag for SOUP which meant the penny dropped too soon and spoiled the puzzle for me, which I didn’t complete.

    An odd quote I must say, but for the clues I did do they were great but rather hard I agree.

  5. Mike Laws says:

    I suggest that the problems at 1 and 19 across are simply the results of mistranscription from the setter’s original text, which would also explain previous fiddling anomalies which have been bedevilling EV. But it’s beyond me why a setter’s text needs to be retyped, rather than copied and pasted.

    1A A word such as “first” or “primarily” seems to have been omitted after “that’s” in the clue.

    19A The clue does read a bit oddly, yes. Perhaps the editor was trying to decide whether “I” or “one” looked better, then failed to delete one of them.

  6. Mike Laws says:


  7. Gaufrid says:

    Just for clarity, Mike’s comment #6 related to an item of spam that has now been removed.

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