Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No.929 – Deficiencies by Glow-worm

Posted by Mister Sting on September 4th, 2010

Mister Sting.

Another relatively easy week. I fear that I am being lulled, as Bertie Wooster might have put it, into an f. s. of s.

Although there were no messages to be constructed from surplus letters or to be found hidden in the grid (my favourite weapons in the EV arsenal), the puzzle was held together by a cleverly simple and well-constructed central narrative. Perhaps it wasn’t wholly necessary to identify which four clues were lacking a definition. Either way, doing so certainly speeded the solving process.

30ac provided an easy route in and, coupled with the preamble and an early appearance of a misspelled ‘broccoli’ (if I remember my personal order of battle correctly) gave a broad hint of what was going on.

Hailing from Scotland, nutrition is not my field of expertise (many of us do sport very fashionable chips on our shoulders, but that is another matter).  However, the situation was this: Roderick (30ac) had been deficient in a ‘C’ and one had been taken from broccoli (13ac). A brief web search indicated that broccoli is rich in… vitamin C. My hunch was confirmed by the appearance shortly after of ‘scurvy’ at 20ac, which even I know is caused by a vitamin C deficiency. A quick scan of the clues yielded other likely health foods (‘greens’ were now accompanied by ‘fruit’, ‘fish’ and ‘vegetable’) and the many-splendoured interwebs spewed forth data on likely conditions.

So, we were looking for four vitamin deficient individuals (and their afflictions) who had satisfied their nutritional requirements by the extraction of vitamins from appropriate foods. The quartet are tabulated below:

Vitamin Affliction Victim Food 
A xerophthalmia Nicola spinach
B pellagra Toby bananas
C scurvy Roderick broccoli
D rickets Brenda sardines


There were several transparent anagrams (10ac being a case in p.) and otherwise simple clues (e.g. 22ac) which filled out the grid nicely. The few obscurities (such as E for 250) also tended to be packaged in accessable language and thus lost their frustrating potential to trip the solver. Perhaps this was at the cost of the rarified enjoyment that more tricksy clues can provide. However, solving was by no means without its pleasures. 18ac’s ‘governess’ as a definition for ‘Jane Eyre’ certainly raised a smile.

So, thank you to Glow-worm. I hope other solvers had a similarly enjoyable time of it.

I’m away until the 18th of September and may be unable to correct the errors and ellisions that will most certainly have crept in (or have failed to creep in) until my return.

XXX* = anagram
(xxx) = definition
{xxx} = (anagram/homophone/container/etc.) indicator
< = reversal
xxx = unused letter(s)
NICOLA = excised/additional thematic letter

10 LINEOLATE Tail on eel unusual and finely marked with lines (9) finely marked with lines: TAILONEEL* {unusual}
12 NICOLA Firm in love? (6) No def: ins. of CO (firm) in NIL (love) + [vitamin] A
13 BROCCOLI Greens giving sibling constant indigestion mostly (7) greens: BRO (sibiling) + C (constant) + COLIc (indigestion mostly)
14 OIKS Chaps backing runner after first in Okehampton (4) chaps: O (first in Okehampton) + <SKI
17 TAD Not much in heart of fortress (3) not much: ciTADel {heart of} (fortress)
18 JANE EYRE In France I reported strain enveloping one governess (8, 2 words) governess: ins. {enveloping} of AN (one) in JE (in France I = French ‘I’) EYRE (homonym {reported} of air (strain))
19 UPTIGHT Conventional news agency admits ‘Tenor having grand time round hotel!’ (7) conventional: ins. of T (tenor) in UPI (news agency) + ins. {round} of H (hotel) in G (grand) T (time)
20 SCURVY Unclued  
22 SO-SO Following appeal for help Oscar’s indifferent (4, hyphenated) indifferent: SOS (appeal for help) + O (Oscar)
23 DIT Perhaps Morse’s time short – in Morse short – in Morse: DI (Perhaps (Detective Inspector) Morse) + T (time)
24 AS IS Continent’s finally changing to south – but the same? (4, 2 words) the same: ASIaS (continent) {finally changing to S (south)}
27 SUBWAY Deviation by vehicle backing in underground passage (6) underground passage: <{backing}[YAW (deviation) + BUS (vehicle)]
29 AT LEAST No more than 250 captured by Titan near Troy (7, 2 words) no more than: ins. {captured} of E (250 – medieval Roman numeral) in ATLAS (Titan) + T (Troy)
30 RODERICK Injured rider OK (8) No def: [RIDEROK+[vitamin]C]*
32 IDE Fish drops temperature in current (3) fish: tIDE (current) {T (temperature) dropped}
35 TIDY Within limits of taxability, Glow-worm would clean up (4) clean up: ins. [within] of I’D (Glow-worm (the setter) would) in TY (limits of TaxabilitY)
36 NANETTE Newman – or de Valois after a change (7) Newman: N(iA)NETTE (de Valois) {a change}
37 BANANAS Fruit from Belgium and one from Martinique, maybe? (6) fruit: B (Belgium) + ANANAS (one (fruit) from Martinique, perhaps = French ‘pineapple’)
38 RHEOMETER Earth tremor he misread in measuring instrument (9) measuring instrument: [E(Earth)TREMORHE]* {misread}
39 HEATH-ROBINSON Moorland bird’s offspring is peculiarly complex (13, hyphenated) peculiarly complex (a reference to W. Heath Robinson’s drawings of complex and implausible contraptions): HEATH (moorland) + ROBIN (bird) + SON (offspring)
1 XENOPUS Type of frog climbing to eat one last bit of toadflax (7) type of frog: <{climbing}[SUP (to eat) + ONE + X (last bit of toadflaX)]
2 RICKETS Unclued  
3 PELLAGRA Unclued  
4 HOAX Practical joke with Hertford’s front, heavy doors reported (4) practical joke: H (Hertford’s front) + OAX (homonym {reported} of OAKS (heavy doors))
5 HARVEST Gathering of vets worked on heart of voracious fish (7) gathering: sHARk {heart of} (voracious fish) + VETS* {worked}
6 LECH One who haunts female chambers? (4) &lit: femaLECHambers
7 MOOTER More questionable note found in Othello (6) more questionable: ins. of TE (note) in MOOR (Othello)
8 ILL-ADVISED David Ellis silly and imprudent (10, hyphenated) imprudent: DAVISELLIS* {silly}
9 AVIDLY Casually following the book, yet passionately (6) passionately: AV (the book – Authorised Version of the Bible) + IDLY (casually)
11 TOBY Fiddle (4) No def: ins. of [vitamin] B in TOY (fiddle)
15 IMPOUNDAGE Seizure when troublemaker’s discovered topless on Silver Point (10) seizure: IMP (troublemaker) fOUND (discovered) {topless} + AG (silver) + E (point)
16 RETIARY Make a second attempt to grab Ira’s ends of nets (7) of nets: ins. {to grab} of IA (IrA’s ends) in RETRY (make a second attempt)
21 CALCANEI Bones revealed by rod in California institute (8) bones: ins. of CANE (rod) in CAL (California) I (institute)
23 DYESTER Stainer’s composition of yesterday cut alas (7) stainer: YESTERDay* {composition} (cut AY (alas))
25 SARDINES Uncrowned emperor eats fish (7) fish: tSAR {uncrowned} (emperor) + DINES (eats)
26 STAYS ON Remains late to support boy (7, 2 words) remains: STAY (late) + SON (boy)
27 SPINACH Dry a Chinese vegetable (6) vegetable: SPIN (dry) + A + CH (chinese)
28 BRENDA Nurse in support (6) No def: ins. of EN (nurse) + [vitamin] D in BRA (support)
31 DOTH Does scatter with opening of hunt (4) does: DOT (scatter) + H {opening of} (Hunt)
33 PERT Jaunty pierrots making regular appearances (4) jaunty: PiErRoTs {making regular appearances}
34 JAMB Preserve black post (4) post: JAM (preserve) + B (black)

One Response to “Enigmatic Variations No.929 – Deficiencies by Glow-worm”

  1. Jake says:

    Thanks for the blog. One thing |I will say is thanks Glow-worm or the editor at EV for publishing this puzzle. It was a welcoming relief from that weeks Listener that’s for sure!

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