Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 934: Origin by Samuel

Posted by Dave Hennings on October 9th, 2010

Dave Hennings.

I normally leave the occasional rant to my other blogging duties at Listen With Others, but I’m feeling a bit mischievous as I write this. What I want to know is why do crossword editors not consider the trouble that a grid without clue numbers causes us bloggers?! There’s no excuse for it, and I’m forced to draw my own replacement grid (thanks to Sympathy)! There, that’s better, but don’t even get me started on a carte blanche … it’ll be just my luck to get saddled with one next month. OK, rant over.

Clues are presented in alphabetical order of their answers, and seven of them contain a superfluous word that is the definition of an unclued entry. Some thematic highlighting will be required at the end, and a letter added to the central column.
EV 934 with Numbers

The clues turn out to be on the easy side, so thanks for that, Samuel. It’s always a relief when starting to enter answers in an alphabetical jigsaw that there aren’t that many options available. Once about two-thirds of the clues have been solved, things go fairly smoothly. That presupposes, of course, that you aren’t faced with fitting 40 four-letter words into the grid! In this case, the 7- and 8-letter words provide the basic structure.

The seven extra words in the clues are talk, stairs, friend, hair, time, wife and feet. For me I see the light with 28dn B.RNET, ovbiously BARNET, which is cockney rhyming slang for hair. In full, the thematic entries are:

  • talk → rabbit and pork (!?), entered as RABBIT at 16dn; I never realised this came from Cockney
  • stairs → apples and pears, entered as APPLES at 45ac
  • friend → china plate, entered as CHINA at 10dn; I’m surprised that the extra word in the clue wasn’t mate
  • hair → Barnet fair, entered as BARNET at 28dn
  • time → bird-lime, entered as BIRD at 5ac
  • wife → Duchess of Fife, entered as DUTCH at 37ac, although I believe the more common is trouble and strife
  • feet → plates of meat, entered as PLATES at 1ac

Finally the highlighting. The central row contains .O.K.E. and I have pencilled in PORKIES (pork pies … lies)! Of course it’s COCKNEY, defined by Chambers as someone born within the hearing of Bow Bells. So COCKNEY is surrounded by HEARING above it in row 6, O and F before and after it in columns 3 and 11, and BOW BELLS below in row 8, with the second B added to the sixth letter of 14dn STARKENED, as required by the preamble.

Solving time: about 2 hours, and another entertaining puzzle from Samuel bites the dust!

ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
in abCDef = hidden

Seq Answer Grid
1 AGMA 2dn phonetic symbol: (G)AGMA(N) (comic, uncovered); I’m assuming ‘uncovered’ is justified in the sense of removing the binding of a book?
2 ANASARCA 35ac dropsy: ANA (in equal quantities) + SAR (fish) + CA(T)
3 BILBO 27ac sword: BILBAO (Spanish city) – A (accepted)
4 BOLDENED 22dn made daring, once: BLONDE* + ED (educated)
5 CARL 38dn miser, Scottish: CARE (mind) with L (pound) for E (earl)
6 CUD 43ac it’s chewed by cows: CRUD (waste) – R (farmeR ultimately)
7 DORIC 34dn Greek dialect: D (dead) + (Y)ORIC(K) (jester uncovered); a lot of uncovering going on today!
8 DURING 8dn in the course of: DU (Dutch) + RING (call); extra word talk
9 EBB 21ac sink: B (finally plumB) in (D)EB (topless debutante)
10 EIGHTIES 11ac between 27 and 32¼C, ie 80′s Fahrenheit: EIG (sEeInG regularly) + H (hot) + TIES (matches); a clue that mathematicians, meteorologists, statisticians and just plain pedants would probably take issue with ;-)!!
11 ELS 25dn golfer: E (eccentricity, as in conic section) + LS (leads to Lyle Scaring); for the non-golfer, this is South African Ernie Els
12 FEW 33ac hardly any: F (write-ofF ultimately) + E (base) + W (with); extra word stairs
13 GEO 19dn creek, northern: in larGE Ocean
14 IDEE 41ac thought, French: DEE (damn, substitute) after I (international)
15 ISTHMI 6dn necks: (SMITH I)*
16 KWACHAS 26dn African rhino (as in money): KW (KnoW gutless) + A (American) + CHAS(E) (hunting cut short); extra word friend
17 LADOGA 31dn Russian river: LA (behold) DOG (man) A (before, as in ante)
18 NGOMA 23ac African drum: MANGO*
19 NO-GO AREA 42ac don’t go there: GOA (gazelle) in NOR (Norwegian) EA (river)
20 ODOGRAPH 40ac pedometer: OD (force) O (old) G (German) RAP (knock) H (henry)
21 OVERAGE 36ac surplus: COVERAGE (amount included) – C ($100)
22 OZAENA 29dn discharge: A (American) in (A ZONE)*
23 PARAGRAM 15ac wordplay: PAR (standard) + A (initially Agrees) + MARG< (margin, abbr)
24 PERSPEX 1dn resin: PER (for a) + SP (special) + EX (export)
25 RARER 16ac increasingly thin: RA (starts to Reveal Age) + RE (concerning) + R (rector)
26 RAT RUN 7dn alternative route: R (take) + [TRUAN(T)]*
27 REMOTEST 13ac most distant: METEORS* + T (Those at first)
28 RENNE 39ac run for Ed (as in Spenser): in childREN NExt; extra word time
29 SAC 9ac bag: S (is) + AC (AsymmetriC when emptied)
30 SATRAP 32dn governor: SAT (pressed) + RAP (talk)
31 SIERRA 4dn range: [REPAIR - P (pressure) + S (second)]*
32 SMEECH 20dn smoke, SW Eng (perhaps Plymouth?): SMEE (duck) + CH (central heating)
33 STARKENED 14dn stiffened, obsolete: RATS< (strike-breakers) + KEN (know) ED (editor)
34 STAVE OFF 9dn delay: STAFF (employees) taking (VIDEO – I’D)
35 TASK 44ac job: TAPS (knocks) – P (ie powerless) + K (king)
36 THORAH 3dn law book: THOR (god) A (advanced) H (hard)
37 THRIVEN 17ac developed: [(E)VERYTHIN(G) - Y (unknown)]*; extra word feet
38 TRAGI 15ac prominences: TRAGI(C) (disastrous, nearly)
39 UTAH 12ac state: UT (as) AH (expression of surprise)
40 WAGONS 30dn travels by lorry: WAG (fellow, old) ON (close to) S (70, old Roman numeral)

5 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations 934: Origin by Samuel”

  1. kenmac says:

    Hear, hear Dave. I was faced with a similar problem in my forthcoming blog for Inquisitor 1146 (appearing on your computer screens next Wednesday.)

  2. Jake says:

    Hi Dave, thanks for blog. I myself didn’t find the need to have numbers. I got lucky (may-be) by placing the only 9 lettered word where it fitted – the centre column, then the 9th row ‘anasarca’ and all fell into place very quickly. A very enjoyable puzzle, especially the end, ‘cockney’ and the rhyming slang ?

    Nice one Samuel. Good work.

    Thanks Dave for the info.

  3. Samuel says:

    Thanks for the write-up. It may be of interest to know that there were initially eight thematic elements, with BORIC, slang for “skint”, in place of DORIC. The editor thought this too obscure, though, so we had to make do with only seven pieces of rhyming slang.

    A couple of people have mentioned to me privately that there’s just about an anagram of EASTENDERS in the central column. This is a hangover from an early version of the puzzle that was also going to have other Albert Square references.

  4. Mike Laws says:

    Dave and Ken – I think it’s fair to say that the solver’s experience is the primary consideration for editors, not the blogger’s.

    Anyway, there was no obligation to recreate the grid – the clues could simply have been blogged in the alphabetical order they appeared.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle. You could get a handle on the jigsaw element without having to solve most of the clues cold. Not all setters make the solver’s experience a priority in this way!

    BORIC wouldn’t done for me, either – it’s BORACIC lint.

  5. Dave Hennings says:


    Thanks for the comment, and I agree with everything you say. The dig at the editors and the redrawing of the grid was just to make entertaining reading, the jigsaw was a good, straightforward solve, and although BORIC is given as meaning skint, BORACIC lint is the rhyming slang given by Chambers (and what I learnt when I was young).


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