Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No 943 Upstarts by Nudd

Posted by twencelas on December 11th, 2010


So not a misprint in sight this week – just seven undefined, but clued, answers to be determined, then find a cryptic observation hidden in the grid and then write the author under the grid. Simple as pie? – but what sort of pie. 

Bizarrely, or perhaps because it was the top of a column, one of the first clues I cracked was 45ac and this had no definition – it also gave me the theme straight away – confirmed by the title being one of the meanings of mushroom. I think that 6 of the seven “unclued” answers comprised the first 10 clues, I entered, though to be honest I did go looking for them.

Certainly not a simple grid fill, ths week, there are several clues where the answer may seem obvious, but it took some time to make full sense of the  wordplay. 9 down was a particular good example of this – the obvious answer was “Iota” for ‘Greek I’, but its source from the wordplay was “the heart of money-changing” – which, if I’ve read the clue correctly, is the middle of AGIOTAGE, certainly in my list of obscure words or perhaps there’s a more obvious reading. Clues of a similar ilk include 35ac, 40ac, 20dn, 27dn, 36dn, 38dn.

So with the grid finally complete, time to look for the cryptic observation.   The middle row looked suspicious with its high density of bars. It spelled out “ENOLIFEISTOKI” – continuing the mushroom theme “Enoki” is a japaness mushroom with “Life is to” inside it. Which cryptically interprets as “Life is too short to stuff a mushroom” – a quotation by Shirley Conran of superwoman fame. A delightful end-game, in my opinion – a new setter, for me anyway, with some hard but accurate clueing.

My conclusion – a tricky-ish and satisfying mushroom pie, with a pleasing after taste. Not one for the novice, though, probably medium to hard would be my rating – though much of the time I spent on this was in justifying the answer (Roughly 2 hours).

* – Anagram; DD Double definition, Italic = Definition

1 Cooker blunder dropping rotten meat in Muck (6)
Aga (cooker) + ricket (blunder) – ket (carrion) = AGARIC

6 Second rate tepid vermouths (7)
B + lew (tepid) + ITs (vermouths) = BLEWITS
11 What troglodyte does about birds (5)
c(about) + aves (birds) = CAVES
12 Non-professional put iodine in source of dye (4)
i in lac (non professional) = LAIC
14 Feral dog bishop confined in menagerie (5)
rr (bishop) in zoo (menagerie) = ZORRO (a feral dog as well as a flashing blade)
15 Nothing subtle involved (7)
(osubtle)* = BOLETUS

16 Dance date for church cottage (5)
cha-cha (dance) with d for ch = DACHA
18 Argue about fake coins (4)
19 Relaxed, clutching recipe torn off with jagged edges (6)
eased(relaxed) around r (recipe) = ERASED (definition confirmed by Chanbers)
21 In fantastic surroundings athletic club’s to run faster (7)
outre(fantastic) around ac (athletics club) = OUTRACE
22 Note girl abandoning bourgeoisie (7, 2 words)
middle-class – lass(girl) = MIDDLE-C
25 Somehow weasels left out children’s plaything (6)
(weasels-l)* = SEESAW
30 Old rustic bushman in a huff (6)
san (african bushman) in pet (huff) = PESANT (alternative spelling)
31 Falcon against opening of Pirelli calendar (7)
p + lanner (falcon) = PLANNER
32 Trustee large enough to insult (7)
tr (trustee) + ample = TRAMPLE
35 Spot little Glaswegian bearing cup (6)
sma (scottish small) around tig (cup) = STIGMA
37 Adult mollusc at the peak (4)
a + top (marine gastropod) = ATOP
40 Clog lace frill with a piece of stuffing for joint (5)
jabot (lace fill) replacing s (piece of stuffing) for j (joint) = SABOT
41 Make progress dressed in judo kit (7)
gie (judo kit) around roll = GIROLLE

42 Afrikaner man nibbled caterpillar (5)
ou (man) + bit (nibbled) = OUBIT
43 King and Emperor struggle for mastery (4)
k + emp = KEMP
44 Most of cathedral city’s after local lass (5)
ely – y after mor (east anglian) = MOREL
45 Advanced craze consumes time (7)
a + mani around t = AMANITA
46 Novelist imbibing litre — not quite (6)
Hardy (as in Thomas) around l = HARDLY

1 A barrel added to Nudd’s scholarly life (7)
a + cade (barrel) + me (Nudd) = ACADEME
2 Marketplace good for British fabric (5)
bazar (marketplace) changing b (british) to g (good) = GAZAR
3 Money troubles overwhelming college colours (8)
avo (monaey) + ados (troubles) around c(college) = AVOCADOS
4 Solitaire could be confusing to this citizen (7)
(Solitaire – to)* = ISRAELI
5 Almost hit centre of attention (4)
clout (hit) – t = CLOU
6 Uncouth person sacks new clerk (5)
baboon – n = BABOO
7 Executive committee toilet’s ostentatious splendour (5)
ec + lat (toilet) = ECLAT
8 Blow one-time lord in the rain (7)
wet (rain) around herr (old lord) = WHERRET
9 Greek I found at heart of money-changing activity (4)
10 Investigate South American steamer (4)
sa + ss (steamer) = SASS
13 Two coppers once hurt oddball from the States (7)
cu + pc + ake (old hurt) = CUPCAKE
17 Under-secretary blocks junior heraldic figures (6)
fils (junior in heraldic sense) around us = FUSILS
20 Cleverly resist holding toxic element (6)
defy (resist) around Tl (Thallium – poisonous) = DEFTLY
23 Pox, combined with this disinclination to move, might result in expiration (7)
(expiration – pox)* = INERTIA
24 Oddly creepy (3)
c + e + p = CEP

26 Native with good time for a chat possibly (8)
son (native) + g + bird (prison stretch) = SONGBIRD
27 Ridicule idiot pinching Athletic swaggie’s oncer maybe (7)
loon around a (athletic) + mp (old swaggie( = LAMPOON
28 Fallen angel almost swallowing whole orange (7)
satan – n around sum (whole) = SATSUMA
29 Downing first of microdots, Tim Leary explodes with rage (7)
(tim – m +leary)* = IRATELY
33 China starts to keep Icelandic litter (5)
pal (china as in mate) + k + i = PALKI
34 Fluid used in gene mapping (5)
Hidden = ENEMA
36 Clump of trees on railway driver’s accommodation facility (5)
mot (clump of trees) + el (railway) = MOTEL
37 Chief officer horror-stricken losing stone (4)
aghast – st (stone) = AGHA
38 Guessing game losing money’s worthless for a Scot (4)
morra (guessing game) – m (money) = ORRA
39 Student’s junk shop (4)
(shop)* = SOPH

2 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No 943 Upstarts by Nudd”

  1. Nudd says:

    Thank you for the blog and helpful comments twencelas. Yes, I’m a new setter – or rather this is my first effort in a national paper (I have had a couple in Magpie) – so feedback is most welcome.
    Good solve, except 18’s wordplay is SPAR reversed (not a DD), and 10 was SUSS from S + USS.
    I was quite pleased with ‘Upstarts’ in that it did not have to rely on any hidden letters in clues – I think it worked ok. Hopefully it will not be my last effort to surface.
    Wishing all an enjoyable festive season.

  2. twencelas says:

    Nudd – Thanks for the corrections. It proves one of my mottos “There’s always at least one mistake in everything I do”. It also tells me to spend longer on the shorter answers, they often are the trickiest ones that get left till last.
    As to your opportunities for future newspaper publication, I would think they are quite high – Certainly, to me, it was a well themed crossword, which delivered the contented chuckle at the end.

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