Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 932 / Myth on Pariah by Charybdis

Posted by Gaufrid on September 25th, 2010


Unless I have missed something, always a possibility, I think there is a (minor) flaw in one of the thematic groups (see below).

The initial (clued) grid fill was relatively quick and straightforward thanks to a significant number of easy ‘entry’ clues. It was then time to move on to the unclued lights. Nothing stood out for the across group so I started with the unclued downs. Three (Poppy, Rose and Heather) appeared to be the names of both plants and girls so I tentatively entered Ivy for 31dn.

Returning to the across group, the options adder and elaps indicated snakes and this was confirmed by krait at 15ac, a snake known to me from previous puzzles. But this caused a problem, there is no plant or girl’s name that is K?MSIN so 15 had to be a clashing cell and I now had five clashes rather than four as indicated in the preamble. Time for a rethink, but fortunately not for long. It soon became clear that the non-clashing cell had to be 31 and my initial thought regarding plant/girl’s names was wrong, the group was simply girl’s names, with the final two being Tamsin and Eve.

Now for the last two in the across group. 44 had to be naga or naja and all I could find for 1 was serpents. I wasn’t too happy with the latter but decided to carry on anyway. The five crossing cells for each group gave SKAEN and PTOER, the first of which could be rearranged into ‘snake’ thus defining the across group. This led me to look again at 1ac because serpents is plural and the other four members of the group are all names of a type of snake, which serpents is not. However there was no alternative and so I consider this to be a (minor) flaw in the thematic material.

Rearranging the second set of letters in the same order as the first led to ‘prote’ and it was time to resort to Chambers to find a 14 letter word beginning with this string, a task which was made much easier by having a wildcard search facility in the electronic version of the 11th Ed. that I have on my pc. This brought up nine hits, the last of which was ‘Protevangelium’ with the definition “God’s warning to the serpent (Bible, Genesis 3.15) that there would be enmity between its offspring and Eve’s, and that her offspring would crush the serpent’s head, seen as the earliest announcement of the gospel”.

So now the clashes could be resolved, the initial letters of the girl’s names needed to be entered thus ‘crushing the heads of the snakes’. With the clashes resolved, the across lights still contained real words. The lack of clashing letters at 31 can be explained by the fact that the Chambers’ definition, and Genesis 3.15, only refers to Eve’s offspring crushing the serpent’s head, not Eve herself.

We were instructed by the preamble to highlight an anagram of Protevangelium (three words with one letter doing double duty) in contiguous cells starting with 31dn. The 14 cells that were to be highlighted went vertically from 31 to the bottom of the grid and then horizontally up to halfway through 46ac. The result read (allowing for the double duty letter): EVE OUT TRAMPLING.

Finally we come to the title ‘Myth on Pariah’. Swap the two capitals and you get python and Mariah, an example from each of the groups. However, you can also anagram the title to get ‘I harm a python’ which could fit in with the crushing of a snake’s head.

1 PERPENTS / SERPENTS  – unclued
6 DACHA  DA (father) CHA (tea)
11 OVER  ROVE (ramble) with R moved to the end – over = ‘now you talk’ in radio communications.
13 WAVERER  V (see) ERE (before) in WAR (conflict)
14 PENONCEL  PE (exercises) NONCE (time being) L (left)
15 TRAIT / KRAIT  – unclued
16 PARAS  PARAS[ol] (shade bar a couple)
20 ODDER / ADDER  – unclued
21 AMBLER  [g]AMBLER (better taking the lead)
23 BESMEARS  ESME (loved girl) in BARS (pubs)
25 SHARE  S (sun) HARE (puss)
27 APE  [p]APE[r] (wrapping perhaps throwing wrapping away)
28 AIRDRIE  AIR DRIE[d] (mostly like washing hung out on a fine day)
30 SRI  SR (senior) I (one)
31 ELAPS  – unclued
32 URINATOR  URINAT[e] (make water cut off) OR (soldiers)
33 VALUER  *(U[ndesirable] V[illains] REAL)
35 TESTA  homophone of ‘tester’ (one examining)
39 THROE  *(THEOR[y])
40 ORIEL  OR (an alternative) IE (that is) L[ucy]
41 CLARETED  LA (the French) in *(RED ETC)
43 UAKARIS  [q]UAK[e] A RIS[k] (never-ending danger)
44 RAGA or RAJA / NAGA or NAJA  – unclued
45 TRAMP  TR (Turkey) A MP (member)
46 LINGERED  L (left) ING (meadow) E (earth) RED (rubbish)

1 POPPY  – unclued
2 REN  [child]REN (child’s left a group of them)
3 EONS  E (energy) ON (subject to) S (sun)
4 NUCLEAR  UNCLEAR (hard to understand) with UN reversed (given initial confusion)
5 SALPAS  S[e]A [s]L[i]P[w]A[y]S
7 AERO  A [s]ERO[n] (a seron with no poles)
8 CRAWL  CRAW (stomach) L[and]
9 HEIR  HE (chap) IR (taxman) &lit – the Inland Revenue no longer exists but the abbreviation is still in Chambers and Collins.
10 ART  ART[hur] (the beginnings of Merlin’s master)
12 ROAD MAP  *(PR[i]MA DO[nn]A)
13 WEIR  WIRE with the last letter moved forward (metallic thread with its end lifted)
15 TAMSIN  – unclued
17 ROSE  – unclued
18 ORE  dd
19 REPLA  REPLA[nt] (put in ground again when National Trust’s away)
22 ERROR  O (nothing) in ER (queen) RR (two rooks)
24 EISELL  homophone of ‘I’ SELL (I’m marketing)
26 HEATHER  – unclued
29 RIEMANN  hidden reversal in ‘germaN NAME I Roughly’
30 STAR  S (is) TAR (sailor)
31 EVE  – unclued
32 URACIL  an anagram of URACIL + C (carbon) is ‘crucial’
34 LAIKA  homophone of ‘liker’ (fancier)
35 TELS  TELS[tar] (early satellite after clearing the pitch)
36 BEDAD  BE (Board of Education) DAD (father)
37 ARAR  [b]AR[k][b]AR[k] (bark stripped twice)
38 REAM  triple def.
39 TRIG  dd
40 OUT  when put after b[oxing] you get bout (match)
42 TAR  TA (terriers) R (resistance) – sick = tar in the sense of “to set on” or “to incite to fight”.

3 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations 932 / Myth on Pariah by Charybdis”

  1. Jake says:

    Thanks for the blog Gaufrid. A good crossword which kept me busy for a while. I agree what you said Gaufrid. Not Biblically accurate. Eve didn’t crush or ‘trampling’ any snakes, her siblings were advised to. Anyway enjoyable enough.

    Nice one Charybdlis.

  2. Jake says:

    Gaufrid, RE the flaw. I, once completed, scanned over the puzzle and just took ‘serpents’ to just be the collective of snakes as a ‘whole or group’ placed in the crossword. I’m not sure if there’s a flaw, or may-be I didn’t examine it throughly. Then again I didn’t have to blog it so I wouldn’t analyze it as much.

  3. Chris Poole (charybdis) says:

    Thanks for the above.
    Just to clarify, Jake, Eve manages to coexist with Elaps in the grid so does manage to fit with the biblical version (though personally I go with Darwin’s version!)

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