Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No 955 Plot Development by Charybdis

Posted by twencelas on March 5th, 2011


So a complicated preamble – the character referred to as X is to be found in the completed grid, his sweetheart is revealed from 9 asterisked cells, 4 unclued entries comprising 25 letters, which also form a 5 x 5 grid in the completed puzzle and these cells can then be used to form a conclusion. So how will the plot develop?

I found this a lovely puzzle, I first met the literary subject matter in my youth and loved the dark humour of it all. Though that’s enough on the end game, I have n’t mentioned the clues yet. This, in my humble opinion, had some of the best (humorous) clues I’ve seen in an EV for a long while 11 across; 21 across; 29 across; 43 across; 6 down; 20down; 22 down; 32 down were all very interesting – various degrees of complexity, but all very satisfying.

So once the normal clues were complete, the unclued entries had to be deduced following the clue in the preamble:

“Long after she rejects (i.e. 1As) him, as a Plot Development X concludes that things akin to the 42 30 should be 12.”

This given, the cross checking letters, gave  1across as JILT, 42 as AFRICAN, 30 as VIOLET and 12 as NURTURED.

So a gardening theme – and not a murder mystery as I first thought. The asterisked clue yielded CUNEGONDE – a character from Voltaire’s masterpiece “Candide”. Candide being the character visible in the 4th row.

As for the 5 x 5 area – that lies just below and spells out (in a spiral) “Il faut cultiver notre jardin” – A good recipe for life and gardening. As to the novel itself, if you have n’t read it, it’s well worth the effort  to convince yourself that “We live in the best of all possible worlds” – or that’s what “they” would like us to believe! Though with puzzles of this quality, maybe we do.


* Anagram, Rev. Reversed, DD Double definition, definition

4 Primates sat around southern ends of choirs (5)
Apes (primates) around s (southern) = APSES
8 King stops appointed nobleman (4)
Due (appointed) around k (king) = DUKE
11 Jokes about elephants — not content? (4)
On (about) + es (elephants – contents) = ONES
14 Makes public and harshly reviews places to stop en route in the Cape (8)
Outs (makes public) + pans (harshly reviews) = OUTSPANS (A stopping place – origin Dutch)
16 Coat and gown but no jacket in Cambridge, say ? (3)
Tunic – jacket (i.e. t/c) = UNI
17 Examine skimpy lingerie when discarding ties (4)
Scanties (ladies underwear) – ties = SCAN
18 French writer made to waste in prison around end of regime? (7)
Did (made) + rot (waste in prison) around e (end of regime) = DIDEROT
19 A handle woven from istle (5)
(istle)* = STEIL
21 Obese American touring the States — was he a lost soul? (7)
Fat (obese) us (american) around us (states) = FAUSTUS (as in doctor)
23 A well-spotted remedy? I stir it and no one is sick (12)
(I stir it + no one)* = ISOTRETINOIN (Acne treatment)
26 Hair dye mostly’s inside hat (6)
Henna – a (hair dye mostly) + in = HENNIN
28 Existentialist nearly travelled to America (5)
Came – e (nearly travelled) + us (america) = CAMUS (as in Albert)
29 Air currents above the fire — they’re in the red zone we hear (12)
Homophone – overdrafts = OVERDRAUGHTS
35 Welsh girl is heartless and small-minded (4)
Megan – heart = MEAN
36 Filled with love for Earth, an end of bellyaching (8)
Terminal replacing e (earth) with o (love) = TORMINAL
39 He composed large works (5)
(large)* = ELGAR (as in Edward)
40 Knots are pretty chicanery (7)
Kn (knots) + a (are) + very (pretty) = KNAVERY
41 Don’t start boiling of water for egg (4)
Surge – s (boiling) = URGE
43 What will keep furnaces alight and blows right towards the back? (7)
Strokes (blows) moving r = STOKERS
44 Fox broke fence around noon (6)
(fence)* around n (noon) = FENNEC

1 Duck or sweetheart’s fine (4)
Jo (sweetheart) + ok (fine) = JOOK (to duck)
2 One night in Marseilles for a northerner (5)
I (one) + nuit (French night) = INUIT
3 Suffers from imperfect services (4)
4 Monopolies cause outrage before it’s over (7)
Appal (cause outrage) + Rev (it) = APPALTI
5 Sounds like a time for ice cream treat (6)
Homophone Sunday = SUNDAE
6 A wild plant appearing in poetry (3)
vERSe (poetry) = ERS
7 Bolts from stables (5)
8 Cover beginning of vignette in two-hander (5)
Duet (two-hander) around v (beginning of vignette) = DUVET
9 Returning one’s parting kiss shakily — this renunciation’s divine (7)
(kiss)* around Rev (one) = KENOSIS
10 Girl can come inside for example doing revision (7)
Di (girl) + tin (can) in e.g. = EDITING
13 All Blacks’ game repeated for Kiwi bird (4)
Ru + ru (rugby union) = RURU (Mopoke – Antipodean owl)
15 Detached piece of plant, all removed from a spring onion (5)
Scallion (spring onion) – all = SCION
20 Ancient people into bondage? That’s a bit of a mare’s nest (5)
Hidden ESNES (slaves)
22 Helps make crumble — is leftover fed to chickens? (8)
S (is) + hens (chickens) abort ort (leftover) = SHORTENS (cooking term)
24 Bad Shakespearean acting in current run (4)
I (current) + go (run) around a (acting) = IAGO
25 Peripheral network device with no lead attached (5)
Router – r (network device) = OUTER
27 Stories of birth of Punjabi people, also known as Scythians originally, (7)
Jat (People of NW India and Pakistan) + aka (also known as) + s (scythians originally) = JATAKAS
28 Gather rowing boat’s prow is detached (4)
Scull (rowing boat) – s = CULL
31 Scripture’s gospel — a new assessment (6)
Re (scripture) + Mark (gospel) = REMARK
32 Wife abandons mangle — an excellent thing (6)
Wringer (mangle) – w = RINGER
33 Where to do washing and rinsing say at same time? (6, 2 words)
Homophone – in synch (at the same time) = IN SINK
34 Republic of Guinea invested in contest to find old office staff (5)
Rg (republic of guinea) in vie (contest) = VIRGE
35 Almost demented wine expert (5)
Mad – d (almost demented) + vin (wine) = MAVIN
37 Frighten elderly fish in river (4)
DD DARE (alternative spelling of dace and obsolete word for frighten)
38 Baron to plough up some Scottish countryside (4)
B (baron) + Rev(ear – plough) = BRAE (hill)


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seven + = 13