Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 925 – Gwent’s Tall Yew by Kruger

Posted by mc_rapper67 on August 7th, 2010


The full 225 letters this week (unusual for an EV recently?), so value for money from Kruger, and more to blog for your’s truly…but, to paraphrase from John Cleese’s ‘great actor’ in the Monty P sketch:
‘I don’t want you to get the impression it’s just a question of the number of letters… um… I mean, getting them in the right order is just as important’…

Bit of a rushed post this evening, after a quiet week in deepest Devon, with virtually no mobile signal or access to t’internet, so apologies for any slip-ups/typos. I have the puzzle and theme solved, and most (I hope) of the clues parsed correctly, but I am still trying to work out the relevance of the title…any assistance apreciated. (Update: Please see comments below from Dave H & Gaufrid)

A familiar enough style and preamble – extra letters in the wordplay of over half of the clues leading to part of a quotation and the author. The remaining part to indicate how eight answers are to be treated. The ‘over half’ was vague enough to introduce some uncertainty – at least the ‘eight’ was more precise!

After an enjoyable hour or so with some pleasantly challenging clues I had eventually deduced a couple of treated answers, which had ‘partner’ and ‘spouse’ inserted, then ‘consort’ and ‘mate’ – but it was only when I twigged the author (Charles Dibdin) and then found the quote (in my electronic copy of ‘The Oxford Compendium’, on my laptop – Google, Google, wherefore art though Google?!), that I realised it was specifically ‘er indoors’ that I was looking for:

‘In every mess I finds a friend,
In every port a wife’
Charles Dibdin – Jack in his Element

Hence, eight words for ‘wife’ were inserted into eight ‘ports':


(Aha – maybe this EV is a belated nod to the recent Henderson/Teather nuptials, much documented elsewhere on the site? My belated congrats, too…)

I had to reach for Chambers to confirm some of the more obscure (to me) answers, like URIM, OCTAPLOIDS, RHABDOIDS, MOKO. Slight quibble that 6, 7, 8 and 9 down were all anagrams – four in a row(!?) – and I feel Kruger could maybe have had more fun in 36D with the composer RUB-BRA…

Clue No Length Extra letter Entry Clue /
2A (14) PORT/WIFE BOROU(CONSORT)GH Local government division’s blog oddly crude /
BO (odd letters from BlOg) plus ROUGH (crude)
13A (4) - EARL Peer is almost awake in good time /
Contraction of EARLy (awake in good time)
16A (7) PORT/WIFE W(RIB)INE Lewis’s dry European drink /
WIN (Scottish usage, to dry by exposure to wind) plus E (European)
17A (5) I TASER Stunner’s tastier posing with no top! /
anag of (i.e. posing) tASTIER (without ‘top’ letter)
18A (5) N ORLES Borders in French city are forgotten /
ORLEaNS (French city) without A (are – metric measure, 100 sq. m)
19A (6) E MODENA Exercise made one crimson /
anag of (i.e. exercise) MADE ONE
20A (4) - MEGA Great conclusion with nothing left out /
oMEGA (Greek last letter/conclusion) without O (zero, nothing)
22A (5) V SPIRE To shoot up, man suspected of criminal dealing finishes off another syringe /
SPIV (suspected criminal) plus last letters (finishes off) anotheR and syringE
24A (4) E DONA Spanish noble’s hairstyle includes one /
DA (hairstyle, duck’s @rse) with ONE included
25A (4) R ARYL Radical arrived carrying 150 Lira /
ARR (abbrev for arrived) plus Y (Roman numeral for 150) and L (Lira)
27A (9) Y ASEPALOUS Not having a complete calyx, a soya and pulse are deformed /
anag of (i.e. deformed) A SOYA and PULSE
28A (6) M NUMDAH New mother had turned over rug /
N (new) plus MUM (mother) plus DAH (had, turned over)
29A (4) E MOKO Sanction in Maine on ordinary tattoo /
OK (sanction) in ME (Maine) plus (‘on’) O (ordinary)
31A (4) - ISNT Contraction split tins /
anag (i.e. split) of TINS, contraction of IS NOT
32A (4) S MENU Letter from abroad restricts senator’s list of options /
MU (Greek letter) restricting SEN (senator)
33A (4) S POSE Puzzle old lawmen /
double defn of POSE (puzzle) and POSSE (lawmen)
34A (6) I GIDEON Provider of religious book i.e. God in novel /
anag of (i.e. novel) I.E. GOD IN
35A (9) PORT/WIFE GAT(BRIDE)E Defile street in some areas /
double defn of GATE – ‘street’ in Northern/Scottish dialect, narrow opening or defile
37A (4) F SNEE Non-smoker reversed wages cut /
NS (abbrev for non-smoker) reversed, plus FEE (wages)
38A (4) I AESC Ligature’s extremely abrasive thus /
AE (extremes of AbrasiveE) plus SIC (thus)
39A (5) N TYRES Sentry played with metal hoops /
anag of (i.e. played with) SENTRY
40A (4) D LEER Chief needs a lecherous expression /
LEaDER without (needs) A
42A (6, hyphenated) S I-BEAMS Imbases suspect girders /
anag of (i.e. suspect) IMBASES
45A (5) - SQUAB Fat American native’s black, not a hint of white /
SQUAW (American native) with B (black) for W (trace of white)
47A (5) A ORIEL Window is not new in renovated aileron /
anag of (i.e. renovated) AILEROn (without N, new)
48A (7) PORT/WIFE BA(MATE)G Slovenly woman in Indian garden without husband /
BAGH (Indian garden) without H (husband)
49A (4) F LIEU Substitute career at university /
LIFE (career) plus (at) U (university)
50A (14) R RESTRAINEDNESS Indication of anger follows reservation and discipline (self-control) /
REDNESS (sign of anger) after RES (reservation) plus TRAIN (discipline)
Clue No Length Extra letter Entry Clue /
1D (14) PORT/WIFE DE(WOMAN)MEANOUR Earl’s despicable in obstinate behaviour /
E (earl) plus MEAN (despicable) in DOUR (obstinate)
2D (5) I BARRÉ Horizontal rail in unfinished fence /
BARRIEr (fence) unfinished
3D (4) E ORAL Odd samples of our beer taken by mouth /
odd letters (samples) from OuR plus ALE (beer)
4D (4) - OARS Rows and bellows, but not initially /
rOARS (bellows) without the initial letter
5D (4) - URIM Augur impressively makes use of half of oracle /
hidden word in augUR IMpressively (URIM and THUMMIM, biblical reference to an oracle…)
6D (4) N OLID Foul-smelling oil’s dispersed in North Dakota /
anag (i.e. dispersed) of OIL in ND (North Dakota)
7D (6) D SIENNA Dianne’s crazy for reddish – brown pigment /
anag (i.e. crazy) of DIANNE’S
8D (10) C OCTAPLOIDS Clot said ‘Cop wrecked cells’! /
anag (i.e. wrecked) of CLOT SAID COP
9D (9) - RHABDOIDS Boards hid strange rodlike bodies /
anag (i.e. strange) of BOARDS HID
10D (10) PORT/WIFE TU(SPOUSE)NE Note introduces a Gallic melody /
TE (note) introduces UN (French for ‘a’)
11D (6) H GLEANS Government Home Secretary admits the French article assembles facts gradually /
G (government) plus HS (Home Secretary) admitting LE (French for ‘the’) and AN (article)
12D (14) PORT/WIFE HAR(PARTNER)BOUR Bar’s renovated in time to entertain /
anag (i.e. renovated) of BAR in HOUR (time)
14D (7) - OBOISTS Outside broadcast (orchestra’s first) in street: soprano and musicians /
OB (outside broadcast) plus O (orchestra’s first letter) plus I (in?) plus ST (street) plus S (soprano)
15D (4) A KNEE Valium initially exchanged for ecstasy in old rogue’s joint /
KNAVE with V (initial of Valium) exchanged for E (ecstasy)
21D (10) R GYMNASTICS We hear Jim trains recklessly – cycles every second and exercises on the floor! /
GYM (homonym – i.e. ‘we hear’ – of Jim) plus anag (i.e. recklessly) of TRAINS plus CS (cycles per second)
22D (10, 2 words) L SOAP-BOILER Maker of cleaning aid is very good – additional premium’s nothing in account to the queen /
SO (very good) plus AP (additional premium) plus O (nothing) in BILL (account) plus ER (queen)
23D (6) E REMEDY Cure engineers with woad, for example /
REME (Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers) plus DYE (woad)
26D (9) PORT/WIFE L(DUTCH)EFT Abandoned the socialist tendency /
double defn of LEFT – abandoned, and (capitalised) implying socialist ‘tendencies’
30D (7) - OVERMAN Supervisor’s quite shortly entering Middle Eastern state /
VER (very, or ‘quite’, cut short) in OMAN (Middle Eastern state)
35D (6) S GEORGE Orbiter finally goes crashing to Earth in autopilot /
anag (i.e. crashing) of GOES and R (last letter of orbiteR) with GE (Earth) – at either end(?)
36D (6) D RUBBRA Polish bard misrepresented composer /
RUB (polish) plus anag of (i.e. misrepresented) BARD
39D (4) I TEAM A time to change side /
anag of (i.e. to change) A TIME
41D (5) B EAVES They project rodents – that’s not right! /
BEAVErS (rodents) without R (right)
43D (4) D AMEN Conclude reform /
double defn of AMEND (reform) and AMEN (in conclusion)
44D (4) I STUD Collection of cars in street with universal identification /
ST (street) plus U (universal) plus ID (identification)
45D (4) - SEAN Irishman’s fishing net /
double defn of SEAN – Irish name, and fishing net (variation of ‘seine’)
46D (4) N UZIS Guns are unknown in educational establishments /
Z (unknown) in UNIS (universities)

7 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 925 – Gwent’s Tall Yew by Kruger”

  1. Dave Hennings says:

    This puzzle had a similar theme (ie port) to EV 871 Needs by Charybdis only a year ago, but was nonetheless enjoyable. As for the title, I can see ALLY in STEW, but W (wife) in GENT (a Belgian town only 10 miles from the sea) seems a bit more dubious.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Dave
    There’s no problem with Ghent (Gent) being a port, see:

  3. mc_rapper67 says:

    Thanks for the assistance, Dave H & Gaufrid – now you mention them, they seem quite obvious, given the theme…!

  4. Mike Laws says:

    I emailed Kruger, and Dave H is right.

    “The title is intended to be a cryptic representation of the verse .. “In every mess I finds a friend in every port a wife” i.e. W in GENT (sometimes spelt as GHENT) and ALLY in STEW. Sorry if that is too painful!!”

    Nothing to do with the recent nuptials, though, just a coincidence.

    Looking forward to comments on Kruger’s latest IQ – yet another coincidence of timing!

  5. mc_rapper67 says:

    Nice work Mike – cut out the middleman, and go straight to the horse’s mouth! Nice to see Dave H’s logic confirmed. And, after a recent comment about the title of EV 922 (Works) being ‘dull and uninspired’, I guess this was the other end of the spectrum…

    Coincidentally, the first crossword I picked up, after an entire week of cold turkey on holiday, was…Inquisitor 1137, Cryptogram, by Kruger! Only 169 letters this time, and generally less strenuous than Gwent’s Tall Yew, but very enjoyable, nonetheless.

  6. Simon Harris says:

    For the sake of (rather pedantic, and entirely unimportant) exactness, the grid was 15 * 14 = 210 letters.

    Apologies for that, and thanks for the blog, which greatly helped in clearing up the few in the lower half that I didn’t quite manage.

  7. mc_rapper67 says:

    Doh! Thanks Simon – not too pedantic at all – I did say it was a bit rushed…

    And glad to have been of help with your lower half!

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