Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No.944 – Standard by Samuel

Posted by Mister Sting on December 18th, 2010

Mister Sting.

A tricky one this week, or could it just be that I’m out of practice?

(You should take this with a grain of salt. You might find it cheesy. But then again, you might get a taste for it.)

Hungry for puzzles, I bought the Telegraph and, full of beans, I located the ‘Life’ section. Cool as a cucumber, I turned to the EV. Crosswords are my bread and butter, I thought. They’re just my cup of tea. It’ll be a piece of cake.

But scanning (scranning?) the clues, I was left with a hollow feeling in my stomach. I felt that this one was likely to cause me some pain (le mot juste). Had I bitten off more than I could chew? I was in a pickle. If I can’t do it, I pondered, I’ll be in the soup. That’d be a fine kettle of fish.

I sat stewing for a while, but then reflected that perhaps such is the EV’s raisin d’être. After chewing this over, I was sure I could bring home the bacon. If not, I’ll have egg on my face, I thought. Maybe I’m not the cream of the crop, but I’m worth my salt. Otherwise, I’ll have to eat humble pie. It may be a hard nut to crack, but I’m one smark cookie. Not the big cheese, but I can use my noodle. I’m not the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I can cut the mustard.

So with this carrot and stick approach, I egged myself on…

After some time I uncovered (I forget in what order) enough of the unclued lights to suggest that three of the answers might be KOFFMAN, RHODES and RAMSAY. Gary and Gordon I was familiar with and, a little Googling later, I came to know Pierre.

Now, there’s really only one ‘standard’ that I’m aware of in cheffery – the Michelin star. Helpfully, Samuel had lighted on this very thing. We’re like two peas in a pod, you see. So the gravy train was in motion and had borne fruit (sorry – I’m as nutty as a fruitcake). I should have known that the problem didn’t amount to a hill of beans.

In a nutshell, the revealed chefs were:


The missing letters, once connected with four lines, formed a star. The cherry on the top was that, reading clockwise, they spelled out M-I-C-H-E-L-I-N. The final unclued light in the bottom right was, therefore, GUIDE, giving…


…also known as the Michelin Red Guide (thanks to Tony for pointing out that omission), where all these chaps and their overpriced (if very tasty) treats may be found. Strictly, I think it’s correct to say that the chefs’ establishments have the stars, rather than the chefs, but this may be wrong.

The moral of the story? Couch potatoes shouldn’t upset the apple cart. There’s food for thought.

Now for the leftovers.

I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me (and this may be a case of sour grapes), but it seemed to me that there were a few bad apples.

(a) In 30ac, the extra letter is an H, but it’s the wrong H (cHarkha, rather than charkHa).

(b) 2dn In Chambers, ‘noon’ is defined as “the ninth hour of the day in Roman and eccelesiastical reckoning, three o’clock p.m.: afterwards (when the church service called Nones was shifted to midday) midday…”
I think that ‘afterwards’ (which comes at the end of a line in Chambers) may have been taken as a definition. I don’t have a huge amout of sympathy if that is the case, as it strikes me as an unnecessarily difficult way of cluing ‘noon’.

(c) 6dn If I’ve parsed this correctly, I object to ‘up’ as an anagram indicator.

Finally, I’m a bit cheesed off, but there are a few clues that have got the better of me. Still, half a loaf is better than none. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. I had a lot on my plate/bigger fish to fry/etc.

In 35ac, I’ve guessed that V=’see’ but, if so, I don’t know why.
8dn I’m afraid I haven’t the faintest about this one.
I can’t find the link between ‘catty’ and WK.

Thanks to kenmac and Gaufrid.

{xxx} = (anagram/homophone/container/etc.) indicator
< = reversal
xxx = unused letter(s)
Go = removed letters
MELLOWS = letters missing from subsidiary indication

10 LAHORE Go teaching once around a hot city (6) city: ins. {around} of A H (hot) in LORE (teaching once)
RD 11 UTS Introduction of drum tops hollow notes (3) notes: Um Tops {introduction} + NoteS {hollow}
13 MELLOWS Matures snake won for prince (7) matures: replacement of P (prince) for W (won) in ELLOPS (snake)
All together unchanged over empty site (7, 2 words) all together: <SAME (unchanged) {over} + SitE {empty}
15 IRID Remove plant (4) plant: remove
ON 17 EERIE Weirdo, nearly English, annoys endlessly (5) weird: E (early) + E (English) + tRIEs (annoys) {endlessly}
GA 18 SUCKENER Draw Inga to admit heartless Scottish tenant (8) Scottish tenant: SUCK (draw in) + ENtER (to admit) {heartless}

Upset neat ancient Greek (5) Greek: NEAT* {upset}
23 RECAP Go over again to cut down (5) go over again: to cut down
Partition empty shack a yard with last of masonry (6) partition: ShacK (shack) {empty} + REE (yard) + masoN {last of}
28 ACHINESS A lace rim ultimately causes us pain (8) pain: A (ace) + CHINE (rim) + causeS uS {ultimately}
29 LEAL The French advance old faithful (4) old faithful: LE (the French) + A (advance)

30 CHARKHA Australian break down chap stripped spinning wheel (7) spinning wheel: CARK (Australian ‘break down’) + cHAp
Harass mostly about dead mass of eggs (7, 2 words) mass of eggs: ins. {about} of D (dead) in HARROw (harass) {mostly}
BE 34 NAE Faculty president backs missing debate for Scottish denial (3) Scottish denial: <DEAn (faculty president) {backs, missing date}
Officer in Charge volunteers seer to book (6) book: OC (officer in charge) + TA (volunteers) + V (see) + O
Local one to run off sprain backwards (6) spin backwards: UNT (local ‘one’) + T (to) + RUN* {off}
37 PARADOX Talk around my trouble with unknown contradiction (7) contradiction: <RAP (talk) {around} + ADO (trouble) + X (unknown)
ON 1 LATHERED Thrashed part of Kenton once embarrassed? (8) thrashed: LATHE (part of Kent) + RED (embarrassed)

2 NOON Cut tip for Walter afterwards (4) afterwards (!): NOOp (tip) {cut, for Walter = Scots}
Caped mice start to attack peninsula! (6) peninsula: C (cape) + RIME (ice) + Attack {start}
Retreating, some ate Arkansas salmon (4) salmon: <ATEKansas {retreating, some}
5 OHMS Resistance units turned over store, nearly (4) resistance units: <SHOp {turned over, nearly}
CO 6 FRESCADES SAS freed leader of Chilean coup for walks (9) walks: [SAS FREED + Chilean {leader}]* {up}
7 MOLIÈRE French playwright’s spot on (7) French playwright: MOLE (spot) + RE (on)
8 ADORNS Sets I pout about take in antipodean experts (6) sets out: A (about) + ins. of R (take) in DONS (antipodean experts)
(Thanks, Gaufrid.)
ER 9 ASS God primarily saves duller person (3) dull person: AS (god) + Saves {primarily}
12 SERAI Khan has an important date (5) khan: S (has) + ERA (important date)
16 DROP SERENE Endorse peer treated with recipe for John’s blindness (10, 2 words) John’s blindness: [ENDORSEPE + R (recipe)]* {treated}
HE 18 SMOKEHOOD Raised hems on changing hooked protective clothing (9) protective clothing: <MS {raised} + HOOKED* {changing}
ST 19 USERS Stone love-god evicting ordinary addicts (5) addicts: US (one) + ERoS (love-god) {evicting O (ordinary)}
ON 20 EASTWARD Noah’s top steward moved towards the rising sun (8) towards the rising sun: [Ah {top} STEWARD]* {moved}
Manager in the middle of Arabia… (7) manager: AMID (in the middle of) + AR (Arabia)

…cut off gaping Greek island-dweller (5)
Greek island-dweller: HIANt (gaping) {cut off}
PI 25 CHARTA Champion trick: I pare grant (6) grant: CH (champion) + ART (trick) + A (are)
ER 27 EWKING Localised itching’s beginning to endanger cattery in Grenada (6) localised itching: Endanger {beginning} + ins. of KIN (catty) in WG (Grenada)
(Thanks again, Gaufrid.)
31 AERO Uncovered song about planes (4) about planes: cAROl (song) {uncovered}
32 HUTU African settlement for Maoris (4) African: UTU (Maori ‘settlement’)
RE 33 HOW Scots haunt fellow leaving lower hill locally (3) low hill locally: HOWf (Scots ‘haunt’)

4 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No.944 – Standard by Samuel”

  1. kenmac says:

    Hi Mister Sting,

    Thanks for pudding in the effort. I didn’t do this puzzle as it looked a trifle difficult.

    The only help I can offer is that (in 35a) V=VIDE=SEE (that old chestnut!)

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Mister Sting
    In 30ac I took the definition to be simply ‘wheel’ with ‘spinning’ being an anagram indicator for *(CARK [c]HA[p]) so that the correct ‘H’ was missing.

    I agree with your observation about 2dn.

    8dn is A (about) R (take) in DONS (antipodean experts {def. 5 in Chambers}).

    27dn is E[ndanger] KIN (catty) in WG (Grenada). See def. 2 in Chambers for ‘kin’ and you will find “a Japanese and Chinese weight, the catty”. WG is the IVR for “(Windward Islands) Grenada”.

  3. Tony says:

    Thanks for this, Mr Sting.

    I too got the wrong H in charkha, which led me astray for a while. Once I realized that it was to do with chefs who had got the Michelin star I lost interest as it’s not a subject I care for much and I couldn’t find the all the names even with Googling.

    What is the appropriate colour for highlighting the unclued GUIDE?

  4. Mister Sting says:

    Mea gulpa, er, culpa. It is the Michelin Red Guide.

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