Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 930: Kindred by Syd Lexis

Posted by Dave Hennings on September 11th, 2010

Dave Hennings.

Hurrah! There are no extra letters or clashes to contend with in this puzzle, so thanks to Syd for that. It makes writing the blog so much easier. Instead there are three ‘Cluster’ clues containing the subsidiary indications to eight unclued entries which should enable 5dn to be revealed.

The first thing I noticed was that 5dn only had two checked letters, from 12ac (3) and 48ac (3), and this effectively cut the grid in half and made two (almost) separate parts of the puzzle. It turned out not to be too much of a problem as both halves got solved pretty quickly.

The two unclued entries which gave the game away for me were 28ac EXALTATION and 31ac UNKINDNESS, and 5dn was thus COLLECTIVE NOUN. The cluster clues gave animals (or types of animal) which were ‘collected’ by the unclued entries. Chambers Crossword Dictionary has a good list of collective nouns, as does Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (listed under ‘nouns of assemblage’). However, Chambers seems to have been the primary reference here (almost!).

I had a quibble with the letter lengths in brackets for the cluster clues: two were given as (5, 6, 9; 2 wds) and (5, 6, 8; 2 wds). 5dn was given as (14, 2 wds). I couldn’t help but think that the word count in the cluster clues somehow covered all the letters since the semicolon divorced it from the individual letter count. The cluster clues, in my humble opinion, should have been noted as, for example, (5; 6; 9, 2 wds). This may seem trivial, but it irked me!

Solving time: another easy one … about 90 minutes.

ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden

I-a BIRDS BIRD (sentence, as in prison) + S (has)
I-b CHICKS CHIC (style) + K (a thousand) + S (singular)
II-a GEESE GEES (goes, US) + E (eastern)
III-a LARKS 2nd meaning (frolics)
III-b RAVENS RAVE (extravagantly enthusiastic) + NS (partners at table, ie bridge); yes, well … I’ve mentioned the commas and semicolons in the cluster clues, so I might as well gripe about the fact that ‘extravagantly’ and ‘enthusiastic’ were separated by a semicolon here! [Frolics extravagantly; enthusiastic partners ...]
III-c WILD FOWL WILDE (as in Oscar) – E (energy) + WOLF*
1 SORTES serendipitous divination: SORES (young hawks) have (hold) T (time)
5 CHARM collection of GOLDFINCHES (or just finches)
11 PORT 2 meanings: carry & bag (Australian)
12 ION particle: I + ON (agreed upon)
14 OAKS trees: CROAKS (kills, US) – CR (crown)
15 ARSON old saddlebow: PARSON (rector) – P (priest)
16 FLOCK collection of BIRDS (or sheep)
17 REP cloth: PER< (for a)
18 REEN watercourse (in Somerset): NE’ER< (surely not, contracted); another bit of interfering punctuation (question mark)
20 WIBBLE speak foolishly: WILE (beguile) hiding BB (books)
22 COVEY collection of GAME BIRDS (or just partridges)
24 LAR god: LARBOARD (left, nautical) – BOARD (table)
25 BELFRY tower: BEL (measure, of sound) + FRY (young salmon)
27 BREEDS generates: RE (ray) in BEDS (river channels)
28 EXALTATION collection of LARKS
31 UNKINDNESS collection of RAVENS
33 CUCKOO silly: CU (copper) + COO (expression of surprise) around K (king)
34 RIYALS money in Qatar (eg Dubai): [S (son) + LAIR (flashily dressed man in Oz)]< having Y (yen)
36 AIR look: AI (Japanese fish) + R (starting to Rise)
38 WEDGE collection of WILD FOWL
40 PRESTO quickly: PREST (lend, old) + O (nothing)
43 AWNY bristly: (Y)AWNY (showing signs of boredom, failing to start)
44 EKE 2 meanings: in addition, once & supplement (Scottish)
45 BROOD collection of CHICKS (or chickens or hens); however, this is not specifically mentioned in Chambers
46 PRIDE beauty displayed: PR (prince) + IDE (fish)
47 REDO further attempt: CREDO (belief) – C (Catholic)
48 LUD judge: LU (metallic element, lutetium) + D (electric flux)
49 INGS riverside meadows: (L)INGS (heather, with first cut)
50 SKEIN collection of GEESE
51 SASSES behaves impertinently: ASS (fool) in SE (southeast) S (Sweden)
1 SCARAB dung beetle: SCRAB (scratch, in some places) around A (area)
2 ROSELLA Australian bird: ROSE (paragon) + ALL< (ie from the south)
3 TRONC tips (ie gratuities) share-out system: TRON (Scottish market place) + C (conservative)
4 SIFT sprinkle: IF (though) covered in ST (stone)
unclued thematic entry
6 ASCI cells: (F)ASCI(A) (tissue ensheathing muscle)
7 ROK legendary bird: R (take) + O (old) + K (king)
8 MARBLES game: MAR (spoil) + BLES(S) (almost thrash)
9 AKELA adult pack leader: A (adult) + (PACK LEADER – REDCAP)* [Thanks to Newboy's comment below]; this is meant to be an &lit, but the definition really can only be the first bit
10 ASPERSES bespatters: (SAS SPREE)*
11 PRETEXT excuse (noun): P (priest) + RE (religious education + TEXT (bible, Shakespeare)
13 NOWY has a convex curvature: NOW (at present) + Y (unknown)
19 PORTNOY complainant: PORT (left) NOY (hurt, Spenser); as in Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
21 BLENNY slimy fish: BENNY (as in Goodman) holding L (fifty); Benny Goodman, American jazz musician
23 PRODIGY monster: P (power) R (electrical resistance) OD (force) I (one) GY (grey)
26 FLUKES 2 meanings: flounders & achieves accidental success
28 ESCAPERS runners: E (European) SS (boat) holding CAPER (frolic)
29 ISLANDS cut off areas: [SAND SIL(T)]*; cut off should be hyphenated, no?
30 SCREEDS borders: SCREE (sloping mass of loose rock) + DS (outskirts of DaleS)
32 EARWIGS eavesdrops: EAR (till, as in plough) + WI (women’s organisation, ie Women’s Institute) + GS (starts to Get Suspicious)
35 SAYERS author (ie Dorothy L): STAYERS (those with stamina) – T (time)
37 IRKED annoyed: SHIRKED (acted evasively) – SH (shorthand)
38 WOOL fibrous material: WOO (seek to gain) + L (line)
39 EARNS merits: EARS (organs) having N (new)
41 TRUE genuine: T (to) RUE (regret)
42 ODDS scraps: O (old) + DD (theologian) + S (sabbath)
45 BOK antelope: BOK(O) (nose)

3 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations 930: Kindred by Syd Lexis”

  1. Jake says:

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the blog.
    Although I completed this puzzle, I was not overly happy. There was a lot of wordplay/and odds here I didn’t understand. I managed to solve – in a quick crossword kind of way – pretty much by all the definition part’s for entry but the cryptic/rest I was blank minded on – so thanks for a very informative walkthrough.

    Who is Syd Lexis?

    Though not tough, I found a very odd crossword. Still nice though, with OED Thesaurus kindly providing the theme.

  2. Newboy says:

    Thanks for the blog, Dave.

    Although I got the answer to 9D I did not fully understand the wordplay.

    I think that you probably have to bring in another A (for adult) into the anagram.

    Best wishes

  3. Dave Hennings says:

    You’re quite right, Newboy. I think that’s how I did it when I solved the puzzle, but obviously not when I wrote the blog. Thanks.


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