Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No 939 An Impassable Door by Shark

Posted by twencelas on November 13th, 2010


So an impassable door this week, 23 misprints to spell out a quotation then find the quotation’s author and highlight AN IMPASSABLE DOOR. Chambers is defined as the only reference, so, logically, the quotation must be in there. So out with my pen, but could this be a bit, dare I say it, a wee bit “hellas”. Will the doorway to the solution be impassable or just require finding the key? 

Definitely, on the harder side of the EV spectrum, maybe should have used the superlative there. Shark’s previous festive fare – EV 894 was also at this end of the EV complexity spectrum.

Some tricky clues, with many subsidiary indications and misprinted definitions leading to words that elude both my everyday and occassional vocabulary – and that’s before considering some of the answers – Pogge was one example of a word certainly new to me, though precisely defined, it took Chambers to convince me of its credentials.

So Chambers took a fair battering on this one, especially with regards to identifying the misprinted definitions. A fairly long slog yielded a completed grid (probably close to 2 hours, in my case).

The misprinted letters in the definition, seemed nonsensical as they built up to POLLONONOMATONMIAMORPHE – before it dawned on me that it was not an english quotation. A correct parsing of this being POLLON ONOMATON MIA MORPHE which Chambers holds in the Appendix and translates from the GREEK as “One shape of many names”. The quote is from Aeschylus, the ancient Greek tragedian, whose name is quite prominently displayed in the first column.  So just the final hurdle to go.

That, however, still leaves 16 letters to highlight – which un-coincidentally also is the number of letters in AN IMPASSABLE DOOR.

So working from the quote, “One shape of many names” and the letters of AN IMPASSABLE DOOR – you have to take it quite literally. In a figure one shape there are many names – DEB, DORA, SAL, PAM and SIMON with the D and M doing double duty. This final part took a bit of finding, even though the “1” is prominently centred as the vast majority of the grid is formed from the letters in AN IMPASSABLE DOOR.

And below is the completed grid with highlighting. Definitely a hard work out this week, but all fair and clearly sign-posted in the preamble. Now off to revise the language of Caecilius, Metella, Quintus et al (*) in time for EV 943, in light of my previous blog with a french quotation - not forgetting Grumio and Melissa. Efharistó to Shark for a puzzle that certainly got the grey matter flowing.

* – A “contemporary” latin course from the Cambridge University Press, which was my introduction to the language.

Rev – Reversed
Dd – Double definition
* (Anagram)
Underline (Definition)

  1 Earlier active leader belonging to period (11, three words)
  A (Active) + head (leader) + of time (belonging to period) = A HEAD OF TIME
P 10 Heated half a sausage consumed after all (8)
  Heaped half a sausage consumed after all (8)
  a + cerv (half cervelat) + ate (consumed) = ACERVATE
O 12 Discovered it for pastor kept in a place that is grass (5)
  Discovered it for pastor kept in a place that is gross (5)
  Spied replace p (pastor) with a t (it) = STIED
L 13 Scary flakes from Mac’s furnace cinders (6)
  Scaly flakes from Mac’s furnace cinders (6)
L 15 Post Office bomb sent back for armed bulkhead (5)
  Post Office bomb sent back for armed bullhead (5)
  Po + Rev(egg) = POGGE
  17 Shop’s spur on bank (7)
  Heel (spur) + bar(bank) = HEELBAR
  19 Unknown vehicle reversed on Kirkpatrick’s railway line (6, hyphenated)
  Y + (Rev(cart) + k (Kirkpatrick) = Y TRACK
O 21 Drug agents returned Ford (5)
  Drug agents returned Food (5)
  Rev(Narcs) = SCRAN
  22 Unwilling to launch roofless hospital (5)
  Float(launch) – f + h (hospital) = LOATH
N 25 Saint pointed to dust (6)
  Saint pointed to dunt (6)
  St (saint) + urdy (pointed) = STURDY
  28 Brave removing fellow without organs (7)
  Fearless – f (fellow) = EARLESS
  30 Sons have accidents in riding gear (5)
  S (sons) + haps (accdents) = SHAPS
  31 Singer (not posh) conducted and composed (6)
  Lulu – u (posh) + led = LULLED
  33 Explain space for mollusc (6)
  Tell (explain) + en (space) = TELLEN
O 34 Sift phosphorus (atomic number 1 previously) (5)
  Soft phosphorus (atomic number 1 previously) (5)
  P (phosphorous) + A(atomic) + No (number) after I (one) = PIANO
  35 Commander in reprisal daringly (8)
  36 A permission carelessly gives avoidances of excess (11)         
  (apermission)* = PARSIMONIES
N 1 Turn the tide on catholic rule (4)
  Turn the tide on catholic rune (4)
  Rev(sea) + c (catholic) = AESC
O 2 Small part to suit male (5)
  Small port to suit male (5)
  Hit (suit) + he (male) = HITHE
  3 Land measure of not long past is divided into small parts (8)
  Are (land measure) + o (of) + late (not long past) = AREOLATE
M 4 Old fan gave as a gift around the start of April (3)
  Old man gave as a gift around the start of April (3)
  Dd (gave as a gift – abbrev.) around a = DAD
A 5 Hot food supplied to mouths (6)
  Hat food supplied to mouths (6)
  Fed + ora (mouths) = FEDORA
T 6 Frail copper in Perth hides drug (6)
  Trail copper in Perth hides drug
  Traps around e (drug – ecstasy) = TRAPES
O 7 Awl made from Shakespearean wood needs coatings of grease (5)
  Owl made from Shakespearean wood needs coatings of grease (5)
  M + ad + ge (coatings of grease) = MADGE
N 8 Engineering society has to stop fine rail (6)
  Engineering society has to stop fine rain
  Se + rein (stop) = SEREIN
  9 River runs drier (5)
  Aire (river) + r = AIRER
  11 US tribesman on the radio produces a groan (5)
  Homonym = CREAK
  16 Incite organ — not heart (4)
  Gonad (organ) – n = GOAD
M 18 Old school beast is a lean person (8)
  Old school beast is a mean person (8)
  Scul (school) + lion (beast) = SCULLION
I 20 Scot’s tram near South Hungary (4)
  Scot’s trim near South Hungary (4)
  To (near) + S + H = TOSH
A 22 Glum result fixed (6)
  Glam result fixed (6)
  (result)* = LUSTRE
  23 Parts of golf club are holes arranged at start of sixteenth (6)
  (holes + s)* = HOSELS
  24 Muslim leader embracing new art from India (6)
  Mehdi around n (new) = MEHNDI
M 25 Organise swimming laps erratically on top of Atlantic (5)
  Organism swimming laps erratically on top of Atlantic (5)
  (laps)* + a = SALPA
O 26 Louse removes tail from red salmon (5)
  Loose removes tail from red salmon (5)
  Re (red – tail) + lax = RELAX
R 27 Daft as a brush initially,reversing over learner (5)
  Raft as a brush initially,reversing over learner (5)
  Rev(As a b) around l = BALSA
P 29 Slaves return for grass (5)
  Slaves return for grasp (5)
  Rev(esnes) = SENSE
H 32 Provide guineas and pounds (4)
  Provide guineas and hounds (4)
  Do (provide) = gs (guineas) = DOGS
E 34 Export unfinished short radio presentation (3)
  Expert unfinished short radio presentation (3)
  Prog (- g) = PRO

6 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No 939 An Impassable Door by Shark”

  1. Dave Hennings says:

    A very enjoyable puzzle which I think took me about two hours as well. However, I didn’t see the significance of the title until after I’d spotted the figure 1! I also found that I was distracted by TIM, DAN, ROMEO and ELLEN in rows 1, 3, 4 and 10, which I assume were deliberate red herrings.


  2. nmsindy says:

    Cracking puzzle, this. I had the idea of AN IMPASSABLE DOOR being a anagram from the start. Filling the grid was tough, the hardest part being the NE corner. This took me about 3 hrs. The letters meant nothing, then I read the preamble again and said “Ah! the quote may be in Chambers”. Found it, and it confirmed a couple of letters I was not too sure about. Found AESCHYLUS then (wondering why I had not noticed it). Had spotted ROMEO early on but the names around it did not fit the anagram. Then worked up from Simon and got it, the final clinching point being that there were just two Bs in the grid. It was a great penny-dropping moment and the puzzle had everything you could ask from a themed puzzle. I’d say the last stages took me about another two hours after filling the grid. Manual highlighting gives the figure 1 a little more clearly that the grid above which obviously has to be based on the cells.

    Thanks for the blog, twencelas, and thanks, Shark, for the puzzle.

  3. Tony says:

    Sorry I’m being slow here but I still don’t see the significance of the title and how it has to be taken literally. And what is the significance of the fact there are only two Bs? How is that a penny-dropping moment?

  4. twencelas says:

    Tony I think the reference to the 2 B’s in the grid means that the names need to pass through one of these to enable all the letters of IMPASSABLE DOOR to be consumed.

  5. nmsindy says:

    That is correct. Sorry, Tony, if I did not explain that clearly enough in my comment at #2.

    The significance of the title is that it is an anagram of the (16) letters that have to be highlighted.

  6. Tony says:

    Thank you, nmsindy and twencelas. I was being slow!

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