Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 946: Message by Rustic

Posted by Dave Hennings on January 7th, 2011

Dave Hennings.

A basic 13×13 grid here with a couple of nicks in the outer edge. Clues are given in symmetrical pairs, and every clue has one of its letters moved to the perimeter. A message is spelt out by top/middle/bottom rows follwed by left/central/right columns. No doubt this says Merry Christmas or Happy New Year or both.

In fact it was both, the message being: TO ALL OUR SOLVERS A HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND SUCCESSFUL SOLVING IN THE NEW YEAR. I think my main comment on the puzzle would be that it proves how difficult it is to give double clues a halfway decent surface reading. A couple did make me chuckle, especially 8/20dn, Swept out after tense dance to expose the French naked; it doesn’t really make sense but it conjured up an interesting vision!

A couple of errors this week, both in the same clue, 18/23ac. 18ac, CABLE TV, should be designated two words as 20dn is; the last bit of the preamble (Chambers … only gives the full version of one partially abbreviated word) is a reference to this answer. I wouldn’t normally mention this, but it held me up for some time, trying to find a one-word answer. 23ac, LINACRE, should read footballer kicks éclair (not Žclair, who I assumed was some Eastern European import for Man U or Chelsea)!

I’m not too sure about my solving time as there was a lot of dipping in and out of this puzzle in the run up to Christmas. I didn’t find it a particularly quick solve, so probably well in excess of 2 hours.

Legend:
ABC* = anagram
ABC† = last letter first
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden
X = letters moved to the perimeter

ACROSS
1,
36
ANTIGUA
ILL-BRED
island: [N (new) TIG (game)] in AU (gold)
coarse: BILLED*
5,
35
ABSENT
FESCUE
dreamy: AB (sailor) + SET (embed)
grass: ES CUE (two letters, S and Q)
9,
34
RANGE
OTTAR
rove freely: RAGE (storm)
oil: OTTER (carnivore) – E (English)
10,
33
LYTIC
USING
causing breakdown: CI(ce)LY*
employing: (GUN I)*
11,
32
ABOUNDS
NOMINEE
is plentiful: AS (because) including BOUN (dress)
he acts for another: NO (drama) + MINE (rich source)
12,
31
BAHTS
ACAIS
what’s used in Orient to purchase: BATS (crazy)
purple fruits: AI (excellent, ie A1) including CA (calcium)
14,
28
TOST
MIRY
threw, rare: TOT (child)
covered in mud: MIR (middle eastern prince)
15,
26
EMMET
BALED
grockle (tourist): MAMMET (puppet) – MA (mother)
confined, Shakespeare: BALD (obvious); this definition of bale is given in Chambers under bail5
16,
25
TOUPEE
EARWIG
wig: TOPE (shark) + E (starting to Eye)
insect: EAR (till, once) + I (current) + G (good)
18,
23
LINACRE
CABLE TV
footballer: ECLAIR*; reference to a not-Lineker-but-Linacre footballer (John or Harry, who knows)
broadcasting system: [BLEAK + V (start for Viewer's)]*; I think broadcasting is doing double duty here as part of the definition and as the anagram indicatorABLET (bleak) + V (start for Viewer’s) [Thanks to comment from twencelas below for this.]
DOWN
1,
30
ARTAL
SHERD
variable weight: ARAL (sea)
scrap: HERD (beasts in group)
2,
22
NABOKOV
PICANTE
author: NABK (prickly shrub) + O (round) + V (middle of iVy)
spicy: INCEPT*
3,
29
ILEUS
SMOLT
obstruction: IE (that is) + US (American)
young salmon: LOBWORMS< – [ROW + B (first of Boats)]
4,
21
GENTLES
AEROSOL
maggots: GENTS (toffs) eating E (English)
spray: [LEONORA - N (new)]*
5,
28
AYONT
MAINE
beyond, Scottish: AY (yes) + NT (part of Bible)
state: MANE [sounds like main (chief)]
6,
27
SCRAM
LAUCH
shut down reactor: SCAM (swindle)
law, Scottish: CLAU* (first four parts of CLAUse)
7,
24
EASTER
BACCOS
festival: EATER (tasty apple)
smokes: BACONS (rustic, Shakespeare) – N (navy)
8,
20
TWO-STEP
LAY BARE
dance: T (tense) + SWEPT*
expose: LA (the, French) + BARE (naked)
13,
19
LAPEL
CAROM
part of jacket: PELL† (skin); is this an indirect anagram I see before me? No, preposterous means putting the last first! Nice one!
ricochet, in 28dn (Maine): O (round) after CAR (vehicle)
15,
17
MAHUA
ERRED
tree with edible flowers: MA (mother) + HA(S)
made a mistake: ERE (before) + D (duke)

5 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations 946: Message by Rustic”

  1. twencelas says:

    Dave

    Interestingly the online version of the clue for 18,23 had the correct spelling i.e. eclair. My parsing of the other part of that clue was a definition of bleak (ablet) followed by v to get CABLE TV. That leads to the question could this be hyphenated to make it a single word?

    In my humble opinion, it felt a hard slog, this crossword, especially with Christmas and its many distractions looming. Personally, something a little easier and more humourous would have been appreciated. As you say the double clues made good surface readings difficult and this, certainly for me, reduced the “fun factor”.

  2. Dave Hennings says:

    You are quite right about the wordplay for CABLE TV, thanks. I believe it only appears in Chambers as cable television, unhyphenated. Without being too hard on Rustic, who has set some good puzzles in the EV series, I agree with your take on this.

    Dave.

  3. Tony says:

    Thanks, Dave. This explains why 18/23 across were the only answers I couldn’t get. This is by no means the first time there have been errors in an EV crossword and they really should get a better proof reader. I don’t know of any other crossword that is so prone to typos. Next time I can’t solve a clue, I shall start to expect such an error.

  4. Bob Sage says:

    Agree Tony, as exemplified yet again in EV 950 this week where some unclued ‘resident joker’ failed to get the grid quite right and held me up a little while until I realised there should have been a bar line after the 5th letter of 10d. I’d been looking for answers that had an extra letter added before I realised…

  5. stephen says:

    i think “linacre” at 18 across refers to gary and is another mistake. i could also make no sense of the construction of 29 down – it turns out not surprisingly as the clue in the telegraph puzzle site version has “lugworms” instead of “lobworms”.

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