Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 953 – Anniversary by Oxymoron

Posted by mc_rapper67 on February 19th, 2011


Several of the classic components of an EV on display here – extra letters/words in clues building a thematic sentence (minus one key word), some entries (approximately half) reversed in the grid, and lines to be drawn joining 33 thematic letters, highlighting the ‘anniversary’ of the title…maybe enough to put off the faint-hearted and, if it wasn’t my turn to blog, who knows…

As it turned out, a little application to the clueing, and a little enlargement of a working copy of the grid, allowed for some head-down solving and cross-checking of forward/reverse permutations, and soon had the grid filling up…finding the thematic letters and anniversary took a little longer – maybe it was easier for those who bought the paper copy, rather than just downloading the EV from the Telegraph Crossword site.

The extra words/letters eventually revealed that ‘the Sunday Telegraph was first published (missing word) years ago yesterday’ – 5th Feb 1961 – the missing word being ‘fifty’ – Roman numeral ‘L’. The 33 Ls in the grid can then be joined to make a 45 degree left-skewed ‘FIFTY’, as in the diagram somewhere in this blog (first time I’ve tried embedding an image…)

EV953 solution

The reversed entries – 9 of 19 across, and 12 of 23 down, with one palindrome in 2D ‘ALULA’ – became relatively easy to determine after the first few slotted in. I twigged the thematic sentence after filling about 2/3rds of the entries, and the preponderance of Ls in e.g. PALALIA, PALILALIA and LILONGWE (a personal favourite, as I spent several years living there as a child), and their diagonal contiguity, eventually jumped out at me from the grid.

All in all, not as scary as it first looked in my first 15 minutes of blankly scanning the preamble and trying to spot missing letters. Very enjoyable, and a nice treatment of a significant anniversary of the EV’s host paper.

One clue (15D) where I’m not completely sure of the parsing – any comments welcomed.

Clue No Extra letters/
(* = reversed)
Clue /
1A THE MALONATE Salt Lake City’s third on a ground in (the) West perhaps (8) /
MAE (as in Mae West) around anag (i.e. ground) of L (lake) + T (third letter of city) + ON A
6A S BULBS Torch components business blocked by (S)lough baron (5) /
BUS (abbrev for business) around L (lough, or lake) + B (baron)
11A U STATELILY* Girl pursuing quiet fe(u)d with dignity (9) /
ST (interjection, calling for hush/silence) + ATE (fed) + LILY (girl)
13A N ELUL* Eastern Libra(n) abandons quiet month abroad (4) /
E (Eastern) + LUL(L) (lull, or quieten, without L – Libra)
14A D PALILIA Friend of Troy missing note(d) Roman goddess’s festival (7) /
PAL (friend) + ILIA(N) (of Troy, or Ilium, less N – note)
15A A EVASIVE* (A) devious woman holding endorsement back (7) /
EVE (woman) holding ASIV (visa, or endorsement, backwards)
16A Y DALETH The lad(y) translated a foreign letter (6) /
anag (i.e. translated) of THE LAD
17A T MONAL Colourful bird, forward, wearing pain(t) (5) /
MAL (pain) around ON (forward)
19A E LILONGWE Well gon(e) I squandered capital in Africa (8) /
anag (i.e. squandered) of WELL GON I
21A L PAYS DE LA LOIRE* Five departments reorganising early sold a pi(l)e (13, 4 words) /
anag (i.e reorganising) of EARLY SOLD A PIE
25A E CERVELAT Clever vagrant at(e) a sausage (8) /
anag (i.e. vagrant) of CLEVER followed by AT
29A G SEELY* Happy (g)old fish in the Seychelles (5) /
SY (abbrev for Seychelles) around EEL (fish)
30A R CALORY* A look inside keen hea(r)t unit (6) /
CRY (keen, or mourn) around A + LO (interjection – look, behold) – alternative spelling of the more usual ‘calorie’
32A A TOILFUL Fellow in ne(a)t uniform joining league involving hard work (7) /
TOIL (net) + U (uniform) + L (league), around F (fellow)
34A P APPLIER* Approved by lodger, he (p)lays on (7) /
APP (abbrev for approved) + LIER (lie having archaic meaning to lodge, pass the night)
35A H GALL* Gallons on every s(h)ore (4) /
G (gallons) + ALL (every) – gall here meaning a chafing/swelling sore, rather than the more familiar bile
36A WAS LOVE-APPLE (Was) red fruit poisoning vole next to wood (9, hyphenated) /
anag (.e. poisining) of LOVE followed by APPLE (the wood of an apple tree)
37A FIRST GRASS* (First) Greek idiot to do casual work (5) /
GR (Greek) + ASS (idiot) – to grass being archaic for doing temporary work in a printing office
38A PUB PARIETAL Pirate scrawled on a length of a (pub) wall (8) /
anag (i.e. scrawled) of PIRATE, followed by A + L (length)
Clue No Extra letters/
(* = reversed)
Clue /
1D L MY LADY Coo(l) young man close to fancy woman’s address (6, 2 words) /
MY (coo) + LAD (young man) + Y (last letter of fancy)
2D I ALULA(*?!) (I) see under luminance in gold feathers (5) /
AU (gold) around L (luminance), followed by LA (interjection – look, behold)
3D S O-LEVEL Examination of Bulgarian money (s)wing (6, 2 words) /
O + LEV Bulgarian currency) + EL (wing, of a building)
4D H SETA* Rough as t(h)e bristle (4) /
anag (i.e. rough) of AS TE
5D E ELEVATE* Raise fe(e)t (not foot) and l(e)ave ground (7) /
anag (i.e. ground) of EET (feet, without F – foot) + LAVE – or maybe ET + LEAVE…
7D D ULICONS One tucking into awful col(d) sun fish (7) /
I (one) inside anag (i.e. awful) of COL SUN
8D Y LALANG Grass(y) lane, long in Fife (6) /
LA (abbrev for lane) + LANG (Scottish for long)
9D E BOIL AWAY Swelling f(e)ar to evaporate (8, 2 words) /
BOIL (swelling) + AWAY (far)
10D A ELIANS* Devotees of essayist are captured by wicked (a)liens (6) /
A (are, metric land measure of 100 sq. m.) in anag (i.e. wicked) of LIENS
12D R ELATIVE* A case having reference to missing rule(r) (7) /
(R)ELATIVE (having reference to – less R – rule)
14D S PALILALIA Partner I note trouble(s) to reverse speech defect (9) /
PAL (partner) + I + LA (note) + LIA (ail, or trouble, backwards)
15D A ISLE* Is earl chasing Liberal se(a)t in Bute? (4) /
IS + L (Liberal) + E (earl) – Bute being an island, not sure where ‘set’ comes in?
18D G STEALERS* Old files (g)rate less when oiled (8) /
anag (i.e. oiled) of RATE LESS (a file being an archaic term for a pick-pocket, or stealer)
20D O ALFREDO* Beer party accommodating Franc(o) Di Stefano perhaps (7) /
ALE (beer) + DO (party) around FR (Franc) – Alfredo di Stefano, Spanish football player of the 50s/60s)
22D Y RELIEVO* Embossed work of art(y) relative that is very ordinary (7) /
REL (relative) + IE (that is) + V (very) + O (ordinary)
23D E ALCOPOP D(e)ad after fizzy cola drink (7) /
anag (i.e. fizzy) of COLA, followed by POP (Dad)
24D S YELL You will scream in (S)pain (4) /
YE (you) + LL (contraction of ‘will’)
25D T CYPRUS Extremely crazy Pe(t)e retired on French island (6) /
CY (extreme letters of CrazY) + P (pee, phonetically) + RUS (sur, French for ‘on’, retired, or backwards)
26D E AGILER* Priest turning up in unorthodox g(e)ar is more flexible (6) /
anag (i.e. unorthodox) or GAR, around ILE (Eli, priest, turned up)
27D R POULPE Cephalopod (p(r)awn) eaten by chicken (6) /
POULE (chicken) around P (pawn)
28D D LEGACY* What’s left cage(d) up in Will’s back yard? (6) /
L (last letter of Will) + Y (yard) around EGAC (cage, up)
31D A ALAPA* A rag(a) with advanced introductory section (5) /
A + LAP (rag) + A (advanced)
33D Y REAL* Quite tin(y) in Brazil (4) /
double defn – REAL = quite, as a colloquial adverb in US; and money (tin) in Brazil

3 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 953 – Anniversary by Oxymoron”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, McRapper_67, I think 15D refers to the definition ‘set in an isle’ in Chambers.

  2. Mouldy says:

    15D – (e)arl is chasing (ie – after) IS with (liberal) set in – I think set refers to putting the l in ise to give isle

  3. mc_rapper67 says:

    Thanks to Mouldy and nmsindy for the suggestions on 15D. ‘Isle’ leave readers to choose between them.

    Just noticed my embedded diagram had PALALIA and ULACONS for 14A and 7D – hope my submitted entry had that A as an I…

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