Posted by Hihoba on March 9th, 2011
I found this offering by Loda pretty tricky. Due to my lack of knowledge of statistics and statistical modelling, the clue in the title utterly passed me by, and I had completed the whole puzzle diagram, perimeter and all, before the theme appeared. This was not aided by my (incorrect) assumption that the initial letters of the extra words, not the words themselves, embodied the theme!
So we had three types of clue.
1) Clues to the perimeter, each of which defined two words differing by one letter. Only one of these was to be entered (chosen according to the theme) and the wordplay defined the letters common to both.
2) Across clues containing an extra word. These extra words defined the theme.
3) Normal Down clues.
I started on the down clues, but as usual drew a blank until the bottom right corner! After quite a struggle I was able to solve all the across and down clues bar three, and started on the perimeter.
A letter count revealed that there were 44 letters in the perimeter, 8 clues yielded 52 letters , so the logical thing was that the last letter of each word was the first letter of the next.
My first solution was the penultimate one DREAR/DREAM. This seemed to fit at the top of the left hand column and the following one must be R/M?T?N? and a dictionary search threw up RATINE as the cloth and RATING for tar. From there it became relatively routine, though I certainly would not have solved it without the use of computer aids!
I finally spotted MARKOV(‘S) CHAIN as the theme (Russian Links) and found the theme explained by the extra words as:
Series of events, the probability of each of which depends on the probability of that immediately preceding it.
I am not quite sure how that definition relates to my perimeter chain, but I’m sure some expert on statistics will enlighten me. In my chain the previous entry seems determined by the next which is the reverse of what I was expecting from the definition.
In the perimeter, the grid entry is shown in red.
|1||First answer||Second answer||Wordplay|
|1||GRAND – chief||GRANT – concede||[RANG]* (Harry = anagram)|
|2||THICKET – trees close together||THICKEN – obscure||[KITCHE(n)]* (more jerky = anagram)|
|3||TENSOR – muscle||TENSON – competition between poets||[NOTES]* (rustle = anagram)|
|4||REGIMENS – prevailing systems||REGIMENT – a large number||EG (say) in RI (Indonesia) + MEN (followers)|
|5||STRAWWORM – fly larva||STRAW WORK – made with corn||RAW in [WORST]*|
|6||MUMMED – silenced||MUMMER – actor||MUMM (Champagne) + E|
|7||DREAR – dull and tedious||DREAM – literary ideal||[READ]*|
|8||RATING – tar (sailor)||RATINE – rough open fabric||[TAR IN]*|
|Clue||Answer||Extra word||Definition: wordplay|
|7||ATHROB||Series||In the process of soundly beating: [HAT]* (high = anagram) + R(un) + O(ut) + B(ishop)|
|10||ANOXIC||of||With insufficient oxygen in tissues: AN (symbol for actinon – latest Chambers only) + OX + I + C (see)|
|11||REVUE||events||Loosely arranged show: sounds like REVIEW|
|13||RIND||the||Crust: hidden in toasteR INDian’s|
|15||LACE||probability||Thrash: AL(l) reversed + (re)CE(nt)|
|16||MADE||of||Promoted: MAD + E|
|17||ODONTOMA||each||Dental disease: [DO NOT]* + (w)OMA(n)|
|20||ERUCT||of||Belch: [CURE(d)]* (divers = anagram) + (hear)T(burn)|
|22||SURE||which||Safe: (i)S (g)U(a)R(d)E(d) – not odd|
|23||MARK||depends||double meaning: take note of & old foreign currency|
|27||CHAIN||on||Restrain: CH(ild) + AI (top drawer) + N(eckband)|
|28||STICKERS||the||Piercing weapons: [STRIKE C(utlas)S]*|
|30||UDOS||probability||Nippon plants: U (everyone can see) + DOS (hoaxes)|
|32||TOAD||of||Warty beast: T(hailand) + O(ccasionally) + A(fter) + D(awn)|
|34||SILO||that||Storage tower: LO after S(outh) I(sland)|
|36||MANTA||immediately||Sea-vampire: MAN (o’ war) + TA (thanks)|
|37||RETREE||preceding||This paper’s not right: RE + TREE|
|1||THEN||Immediately: THE + N(ote)|
|2||NOUL||Top of the head: [LOU N(ame)]*|
|3||RANCOR||Bitterness in LA: R(oyal) A(ustralian) N(avy) + COR (= Hebrew measure, the homer)|
|4||ANAEMIC||Sickly, spiritless: ANA (equal quantities) + [MICE]*|
|5||NORM||Chap: N + OR + M|
|6||HINDER||Keep back: HIND + (de)ER|
|8||TRIO||Tom, Dick and Harry, e.g.: T(roy) + RIO (Ferdinand – footballer)|
|9||BEATS||Strikes: BEAST with T “up”|
|12||JAGUAR||Ferocious feline: JAG (fit) + (g)UAR(d)|
|14||DOCKS||Bobs: DOC (“Doc Martin” – ITV series) + KS (Kansas)|
|18||DURION||Smelly fruit: I(nsect) in [ROUND]*|
|19||ASHES||Remains: hidden in ThomAS HE Sifted|
|21||TOTTIER||Even smaller (dialect): [TETROIT]* = Detroit with + T(ime) for D(ead)|
|25||VIOLET||Colour: [I LOVE]* + T(omato)|
|26||SCAMP||Jack Sheppard e.g. (highwayman): (i)S + CAMP (gay)|
|29||SLAV||Polish e.g.: S(ales) + LAV (office!)|
|31||SERA||Watery liquids: (pipe)S + [ARE]*|
|33||DARN||Sew up hole: (threa)D + [RAN]*|
|35||ITEM||Romantic pairing: IT (personal magnetism) + EM (space)|
And the grid: