Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 945 – Cold Comfort by Loda

Posted by mc_rapper67 on December 31st, 2010


Cold comfort, indeed – a wonderfully themed EV for the weather at the time! The preamble seemed fairly complex – twenty answers entered ‘in a certain way’, most clues containing a misprint – leading to a quotation – and the remaining clues’ initials leading to the ‘setting’ – and THEN three names to find in the grid…

All rather daunting so, after a while mulling all this over, I resorted to the pragmatic approach of blitzing as many clues as I could, to try and find a pattern to lead back to the preamble. It soon became clear that some of the answers were one letter too long to fit in their grid positions, so we were likely to be looking for some clashes/duplications/omissions. However it all got a bit messy looking at the permutations with that many extra letters.

Eventually the penny dropped, and I realised I should have been ‘thinking outside the box’ – all the words I had with extra letters seemed to touch the perimeter of the grid, and it tidied things up a lot to just ‘overflow’ the extra letter out of the grid.

Combined with the gradually appearing quotation – ‘just’, ‘outside’,’may be’ and ‘sometime’ – these 20 outside letters (5 along each edge) turned out to be ‘Captain Lawrence Oates’, and the famous quotation: ‘I am just going outside, and may be some time’, reflecting his heroic sacrifice, and confirming his position on the outside of the grid.

This left the grid, or tent, as it had now become, located ‘in Antarctic’, and the three remaining members of the ill-fated team were Messrs. Wilson, Scott and Bowers, lined up across in rows 4, 6 and 8, respectively.

I can’t see that the timing of this theme is particularly significant (i.e. in terms of anniversaries?), but it was very fitting for the current cold snap – either impressive meteorological prescience by Loda, or the editor having an icy-themed puzzle up his/her sleeve, waiting for the right occasion?!

Clue No Solution (outside letter in brackets) Misprint/Initial Clue (misprinted letter bold and underlined) /
1A THELMA I Well woman article starts to look mighty appealing (6) /
THE (definite article) + LMA (first letters of Look, Mighty and Appealing) – the name ‘Thelma’ possibly coming from the Greek ‘thelema’ (wish, act of will)
6A GLAMOR I    In M.I.T. magnetism and gravity takes precedence over moral jockeying (6) /
G (gravity) + anag (i.e. jockeying) of MORAL (US spelling of GLAMOUR, indicated by MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
10A (S)HELL A Type of bolt is hard, variable length (4) /
S (contraction of ‘is’) + H (hard) + ELL (varying measure of length)
11A VERDIN M Stall American bird after exciting drive north (6) /
anag (i.e. exciting) of DRIVE + N (North)
12A BONIE J American guy’s name that is folly poetically speaking (5) /
BO (US familiar term for ‘man’) + N (name) + IE (that is)
14A ENNU(I) N    Not gripped by this brazen nuisance? Yes and no (4) /
hidden word in ‘brazEN NUIsance’, and whole clue as definition
15A (E)NDEW U Formerly, pat on butt we returned (4) /
END (butt) + EW (we, returned), ENDEW being Spenserian version of ENDUE, to put on – as in clothes
17A SONG S Furs that will do no good (4) /
SO (that will do) + NG (no + good)
19A THAI A    A match, we hear, for Bangkok national (4) /
homophone of match (TIE) and Bangkok national (THAI)
20A POP-GU(N) T Dad initially got one local lube for pellet ejection (5) /
POP (Dad) + G (first letter of ‘got’) + UN (dialect for ‘one’)
21A (T)ERAS G The Times bin monstrosity (4) /
T (contraction of ‘the’) + ERAS (times) – TERAS being a biological/pathology term for a ‘monstrosity’ – although monstrous-ness does not necessarily imply size…?)
23A COTTIERS O Stewing rice so, without teetotaller, they lived in cut (8) /
TT (teetotaller) in anag (I.e. stewing) of RICE SO – ‘cot’ being an archaic term for a feudal dwelling, or cottage
26A SATURNIC N    Not well (elementary poisoning) become giddy in ketch (8) /
TURN (become giddy) in SAIC (boat, or ketch) – SATURNIC meaning suffering from lead-poisoning
29A DWEL(L) I Switch lustful lecturer’s abode (4) /
DWEL (lewd, switched) + L (lecturer)
31A TIMBO N Plait section of filament I’m bobbing (5) /
hidden word in ‘filamenT I’M BObbing’
34A ERSE T    Tongue of Irish origin is brusque, lacking tense (4) /
TERSE (brusque) without T (tense)
35A STIR G Scratches returned where one gets banded up (4) /
double defn/reversal – RITS being scratches, STIR (jail) where one is ‘banged up’
36A ORGI(A) O Secret rites e.g. in warship from republic, exporting germanium (4) /
GEORGIA (republic) less GE (germanium)
38A (A)VISO A    Ancient notification from car rental company, Ohio (4) /
AVIS (rental company) + O (Ohio) – AVISO being an obsolete word for a notification
39A ACCOY U Still Edmond’s choke’s left out (5) /
ACCLOY (Spenserian for choke, or encumber) minus L (left, out)
40A GUNITE T Concrete shop in position’s first for grocer’s combine (6) /
G (first letter of grocer) + UNITE (combine) – GUNITE being concrete shot in a fine spray
41A RENE(W) S Get out again with Frenchman leading (4) /
RENE (French man) leading W (with)
42A (O)TOLITH R    Reading excerpt, go to Lithuania for bone (6) /
hidden word (i.e. excerpt) in ‘gO TO LITHuania’
43A SAICES I In India they drove one case out before second (6) /
anag (i.e. out) of I (one) and CASE, before S (second) – a SAICE, or syce, being a chauffeur in India
Clue No Solution (outside letter in brackets) Misprint/Initial Clue (misprinted letter bold and underlined) /
1D THIN D Rarefies matter ignoring Gauss (4) /
THING (matter) without G (Gauss)
2D (C)HEDDAR E Where you’ll find raving lunatic Eddy (and Archy – both short of a full set!) (6) /
anag (i.e. lunatic) of EDDy and ARCHy (both one letter short)
3D (A)LLOW A Grunt from everyone with a cry of pain (4) /
ALL (everyone) + OW (cry of pain)
4D MANIAC N Mutter ‘Wild animal’s not left, see’ (6) /
anag (i.e. wild) of ANIMAL without L (left) followed by C (see)
5D (P)AVILION D Grant tent soft site secondly in Oval ground (7) /
P (soft) + anag (i.e. ground) of IN OVAL and I (second letter of site)
6D GEESE M Dig people and get on well with losers essentially (5) /
GEE (US to get on well with) + SE (middle letters, or essence, of LOSERS)
7D ADENOID C    Crack done inside to help nasal tissue (7) /
anag (i.e. crack) of DONE in AID (to help)
8D (T)ONNAG A It covers loss in Scotland from fasionable people’s horse (5) /
TON (fashionable people) + NAG (horse) – TONNAG being a Gaelic word for ‘shawl’
9D (A)RDUOUSLY Y Steeple difficult to climb, as your lud’s set out (8) /
anag (i.e. set out) of AS YOUR LUD
13D COPT T    Talked about arrested Egyptian Christian (4) /
homophone of COPPED (arrested) and COPT (Egyptian Christian)
16D ETAT B Jody of political organisation and Basque separatists supported by Thailand (4) /
ETA (Basque separatists) + T (Thaland)
18D AESTIVAT(E) E State, ‘I’ve a novel’ and pass the summer rusting! (8) /
anag (i.e. novel) of STATE I’VE A
22D SUBTONI(C) I    In scale, leading note’s slower than sound using tenor for soprano (7) /
SUBSONIC (slower than sound) with middle S (soprano) changed to T (tenor)
24D TIERCES S One in arcane uprising carks (7) /
I (one) in SECRET (arcane) rising
25D EWER O Uninitiated drain large pit required to hold water (4) /
SEWER (drain) without first letter, i.e. uninitiated
27D ROIL M Take bribe and rove in a disturbed manner (4) /
R (abbreviation of Latin ‘recipe’ – take) & OIL (bribe)
28D CRUCIA(N) C    Carp’s very good, disregarding length, note (6) /
CRUCIAL (very good) disregarding L (length) for N (note)
30D ENGINE(R) E Will’s designer of sowers e.g. in green plastic (6) /
anag (i.e. plastic) of IN GREEN
32D INIGO T Bop architect Jones and steal diamonds from plant (5) /
INDIGO (plant) without D (diamonds) – leaving Inigo Jones – ‘top’ architect
33D WRATH I Ore with hot bituminous substance’s dug up (5) /
W (with) + RAT (bituminous substance, tar, up) + H (hot)
36D OORI(E) M Ring gold that’s gloopy in Perth (4) /
O (ring) + OR (gold) + IE (that is)
37D INES E Winch from Spain – ropes missing at the top (4) /
LINES (ropes) missing the first letter (top)

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