Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 916 / MynoT

Posted by Gaufrid on June 5th, 2010


I don’t know what has happened to the scheduled blogger so here is my belated analysis of this puzzle. The note on my copy indicates that I found it hard and the degree of difficulty was not helped by the EV gremlins appearing again, one clue with no enumeration, two clues with the wrong enumeration and two clues not in the alphabetical order of their answers.

As I completed this on the day it was published, my recollection of the solving process is sketchy. I do remember the need for a lot of cold solving and being fortunate to put the two thirteen letter answers in the right place at the first attempt. After that it was the usual jigsaw approach until most of the non-thematic answers were in place.

At this stage it became clear that some of the thematically treated entries could only be certain words, for example UNICORN, and when these were compared with the actual answers derived from the wordplay in the thematic clues the light gradually dawned as to the theme (with a little help from Google). Brewer’s then confirmed the remaining thematic entries which enabled the few unsolved non-thematic answers to be determined.

The theme was the King’s (or Queen’s) Beasts, a range of heraldic animals that have featured in the armorial bearings of the British monarch’s forebears. We were told that the current description of the thematic set must be entered under the grid so this would be THE QUEEN’S BEASTS. At the Coronation of the current Queen in 1953 models of ten beasts stood guard outside Westminster Abbey and there are now stone replicas of these in Kew Gardens. These ten beasts, shown in red on the grid and in the analysis below, are listed in Brewer’s and form the thematic set.

Though tough, I found this an enjoyable puzzle and learnt something new along the way so it was not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


ACHAEAN  A[r]CHAEAN (of very ancient time having no end of war)
AKEES  A (active) SEEK (search) reversed
ASH  dd
BEAUFORT  BE[e] (short meeting) AU (at the French) FORT (castle) – YALE
BRAN  BRAN[k] (buckwheat having no potassium)
CATALO  CATALO[gue] (systematic list without fiddle)
CIEL  dd
CLARENCE  CLARE (girl) [o]NCE (formerly left out nothing) – BLACK BULL
COIL  dd
DADA  DAD (thump) A
DECANI  DEC (deceased) ANI (cuckoo)
ELAN  ELAN[d] (antelope mostly)
ENGLAND  EN (space) G (good) LAND (light) – LION
  [r]EPRISE (doesn’t start repeat)
ERHU  ER (queen) H[andle] U[seful] – no enumeration
ESKARS  ESK (river) A (one) R (another {river}) S (is)
ETA  ATE (goddess) reversed
EYALET  ALE (beer) in TYE (trough) reversed
FRANCHISEMENT  FRANCHISE (candour) MEN (soldiers) [doub]T
HAMITE  HA (in this year) MITE (small coin) – not alphabetical
HAEM  E[mploy] in HAM (actor) – not alphabetical
HANOVER  HAN[d] OVER (no date to transfer) – WHITE HORSE
ISSUE  I’S (one’s) SUE (take action)
JEOPARD  lEOPARD (wild animal) with l (left) changed to J (justice)
KAE  KA[t]E (girl with Time Out)
LANKEST  *(ANKLETS) – wrong enumeration
LEAS  [f]LEAS (headless insects)
MORTIMER  MOR[a] (without a delay) TIMER (watch) – WHITE LION
  NA[x]OS (island not unknown)
NEEM  NEE (female born) M (male)
PALLAHS  PA (father) SHALL (must) reversed
PLANTAGENETS  PLAN (design) TAG (German’s day) E (English) NETS – FALCON
  HUP (encourage horse to go faster) reversed
RAVENNA  RAVE (party) ANN (girl) reversed – wrong enumeration
RESINER  RESI[g]NER (he gives up job – no good)
RICHMOND  RICH (wealthy) MON (Scots male) D (died) – GREYHOUND
RIEL  RI (Rhode Island) EL (the Spanish)
SCOTLAND  *(COLT) in SAND (part of seashore) – UNICORN
  hidden in ‘cloSED ANtichamber’
SUMAC  CAMUS (author) reversed
TENNOS  SONNET (poem) reversed
THEY  THE[arch]Y (rule by gods, not mischievous)
UTAH  [d]U[s]T [b]A[t]H
WALES  WALE (Scots pick) S (special) – RED DRAGON
WYVERNS  YV (Venezuela) in *(WRENS)
YUAN  YU (nephrite) A N (new)

6 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations 916 / MynoT”

  1. twencelas says:

    Gaufrid – I too found this quite taxing for an EV – requiring two sittings, but very satisfying. From memory I’d solved all bar about 10 of the clues before troubling the grid. The theme itself was new to me – google/wikipedia quite readily yielded the connection between the regal and country answers, as what I had in the grid at the time pointed to a series of pub names (a symptom of my well-spent youth, perhaps). All in all a neat puzzle only slightly marred by the editorial oversights.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi twencelas
    “… as what I had in the grid at the time pointed to a series of pub names (a symptom of my well-spent youth, perhaps).”

    Thanks for mentioning this as it reminded me that my first thought regarding the theme was also pub names, though in my case it wasn’t so much a well-spent youth as nearly a whole lifetime.

  3. Tony says:

    I don’t see how the title came into this – “What You’ve Got To Do”.

  4. mc_rapper67 says:

    Gaufrid – nice work at short notice. I have to admit to offering up a silent prayer to the gods of random chance that I didn’t have to blog this one – after a couple of days dipping in and out of this I had only about 40% of the clues solved, and not an inkling of the theme. I was trying to work out how to get 50 answers into 53 slots in the grid…no obvious maths there, and not enough momentum to point me towards pub names or heraldic beasties.

    As for Tony’s comment – in my case ‘What you’ve got to do’ is go and lie down in a darkened room and wait until the next EV!

  5. Mike Laws says:

    Unfortunately my most recent Brewer’s (not Brewers, as in the preamble) is the Millennium Edition (1999), which doesn’t contain the relevant entry, even though the selection of beasts dates back to 1953. EV has a habit of specifying editions of ODQ in great detail, so why not Brewer’s?

    And why the “jigsaw” element? There is no thematic justification for it – it just seems a cheap way of adding difficulty for difficulty’s sake, and it gave me an LTS (life’s too short) moment before I forced myself to stick to my Sunday routine.

    Eventually I did enjoy it, but a bit too eventually for a comfortable solve.

    BTW, the coincidence of another MynoT puzzle’s appearance as IQ 1127 the day before was just that.

  6. Jake says:

    All I can say is that I much prefered the AZED ‘jigsaw’.

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