Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 958: Seven by Dysart

Posted by Dave Hennings on March 26th, 2011

Dave Hennings.

I thought that this was a tough puzzle from Dysart. The preamble seemed to have so much going on that I needed a bit of a lie down after reading it. That, together with the fairly tough clues, made it a longer than average solve for me.

14 clashing answers had too few squares to accommodate them, and the seven squares where they clashed needed thematic treatment. This probably meant a few letters in these squares which needed anagramming to give a thematic item. One other entry lacked a definition, and there were ten misprints with the correct letters spelling out the author of a thematic work. There was also a square which contained two letters showing how the clashing squares were to be filled.

As I said, a fairly tough puzzle, and it was some way down the line that I had DUB and HE in one of the squares. Having a small interest in astronomy, I knew that it was a star, but couldn’t remember the constellation. That turned out to be Ursa Major, the Plough, and indeed the letters that ended up in each square were the two halves of each star and in the correct order.


27dn was an excellent clue that led to two similar answers ASTERISM and ASTERISK. The former is a group of stars, the latter a single star which needed to replace the 5 or 6 letters in each of the clashing squares.

This puzzle is similar to Listener 4103, Annual Turnover by Ragtag. That required stars to be placed in the grid in the shape of the Plough, but also had grid answers entered boustrophedon-style, forwards and then backwards.

Finally, the correct letters in the misprint clues gave Sean O’Casey, one of whose plays is The Plough and the Stars, which was to be entered beneath the grid.

Solving time: about 3½ hours.

ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden
Definition in clue

ABC = letters in a single square
X = misprints/misprinted letters

4 HIPPARCH Cavalry commander knowing power is doubled with cunning (8)
HIPP (knowing, with its P doubled) + ARCH (cunning)
12 NALA Antelopes many finally leaving stream (4)
NYALA (antelopes) – Y (manY finally)
13 RUB-A-DUB-DUB Two American brothers returning after series of games reported the sound of a drum (8, hyphenated)
RUB-A (sounds like RUBBER, a series of games in bridge) + BUD-BUD< (two American brothers)
14 SALUTE A couple from Luigi’s entering to satisfy honour (6)
LU (a couple from LUigi) in SATE (satisfy)
15 S REDEEMS Golden duck turns, making waves (7)
RED (golden) + SMEE< (duck)
16 ABOMASA Reads a book on African people I left out (7)
A B (book) O (on) MASAI (African people) – I; read is the fourth stomach of a ruminant
18 AIRBRAKE Means of slowing a lorry essentially protecting one at the beginning of bumpy incline (6)
A R (loRry, essentially) around I (one) + B (beginning of Bumpy) + RAKE (incline)
19 NAVAL Old nautical grandparent’s following Nelson’s lead (5)
AVAL (grandparent’s) after N (Nelson’s lead)
21 ADORN Trouble near west-facing deck (5)
ADO (trouble) + NR< (near, west-facing)
24 JUAREZ Judge initially uneasy on entering a zone in Mexican city (4)
J (judge) + U (initially Uneasy) + [RE (on) in A Z (zone)]
26 NUBIA Woolly headgear worn by women in ancient African region (5)
two meanings
28 SIRI End of stipule’s hint of indigo in elder leaf (4)
SIRE (elder) with I (hint of Indigo) for E (end of stipulE)
29 MOTH-EAT Barbaric person with no trace of gentility needs flesh around to prey upon (5, hyphenated)
GOTH (barbaric person) – G (hint of Gentility) with MEAT (flesh) around
30 PHEONS Prince hones damaged arrowheads (4)
P (prince) + HONES*
32 TREMIE Transfer last of concrete, moving tons to the front in contraption that lays it (5)
REMIT (transfer) + E (last of concretE) with T (tons) at front
33 DITZ Say Ogden Nash’s eccentric old poems aloud (4)
sounds like DITS (old poems)
35 MERIT Thirty-two ultimately lost, wandering in desert (5)
TREMI(E)* (32ac)
37 E DEERE Edmund’s grievous injury pierced by Carl (5)
DERE (injury) pierced by E (earl)
39 OWL-CAR Night transport in New York not present, and patrol vehicle not present (6, hyphenated)
PROWL-CAR (patrol vehicle) – PR (present)
41 INSURER Nurse travelling in Iran gets company to offer protection (7)
NURSE* in IR (Iran)
43 PAIDEUTIC Put in charge processing muddled idea in educational theory (7)
PUT IC (in charge) holding IDEA*
44 SESELI Umbelliferous plant that is less cultivated (6)
[IE (that is) LESS]*
45 PENTENES Compounds containing many key hydrocarbons (8)
PENS (compounds) containing TEN (many) E (key)
46 A BAAS Airport regulators in UK finally pass muster (4)
BAA (airport regulators in UK) + S (finally pasS)
47 N ASSESSED Fool being disobedient at the start is fired (8)
ASS (fool) + ESSE (being) + D (Disobedient at the start)
1 O INSANEST Mist disturbed star oddly in fashionable resort (8)
SA (StAr oddly) in IN (fashionable) NEST (resort)
2 C KAABA Egyptian statue standing on Syrian cloth in a tube shaped holy building (5)
KA (Egyptian statue) + ABA (Syrian cloth)
3 ALL-OVER A lad in Harris clasps piece of linen covering the whole body (7, hyphenated)
A LOVER (lad in Scotland) holding L (piece of Linen); see under lad in Chambers
5 IOTA A very little ancient vase with its lid missing (4)
(D)IOTA (ancient vase)
6 PURANA After reflection, United Press published a sacred text in Sanskrit (6)
UP< (United Press) + RAN (published) + A
7 ABEAM Sailor turning West at 90° to the ship’s length (5)
AB (sailor) + MAE< (West)
8 A RADIANT Glowing red in a mountain’s core (7)
RAD I (in) A NT (mouNTain’s core)
9 CHEER Rector follows man into church for food (4)
[R (rector) after HE (man) in CE (church)]
10 SUMMERING Spending June to August roughing it no hint of luxury round the heart of Iberia (8)
SLUMMING (roughing it) – L (hint of Luxury) around ER (heart of ibERia)
11 IBSEN Classic children’s author briefly looking up playwright (5)
NESBI(T)< (children’s author)
17 SQUALID Unkempt group of soldiers stopped by Light Infantry (5)
SQUAD (group of soldiers) around LI (Light Infantry)
20 ALIZARI A tailless reptile perched on top of insectivorous plant (5)
A LIZAR(D) (reptile) + I (top of Insectivorous)
22 DUCDAME Italian leader entertains mother — bit of nonsense it seems (5)
DUCE (Italian leader, ie Mussolini) holding DAM (mother)
23 FIREWALKER Warlike leader of Fiji upset Queen. Does he risk a roasting? (8)
[WARLIKE + F (leader of Fiji)]* + ER (queen)
25 MEGATON Explosive power from gun old soldiers must hold (5)
MEN (soldiers) holding [GAT (gun) O (old)]
27 ASTERISK/M A thousand resist in rebellion (8)
either [A K (thousand) RESIST]* or [A M (thousand) RESIST]*
29 S METATES Criminal meets a priest finally and atones (7)
[MEETS A T (priesT finally)]*
31 OVEREAT Running water in unconcealed gorge (7)
EA (running water) in OVERT (unconcealed)
34 IBICES Girl from the south wasting time kills mountain creatures (6)
BIT (girl from the south, ie upwards) – T (time) + ICES (kills)
35 MOPPY Old drunk‘s listless without a drop of port (5)
MOPY (listless around P (drop of Port)
36 E URINE Pet bear’s out of the sun … (5)
URSINE (bear’s) – S (sun)
38 RELAX … see cat circling loose (5)
LA (see) with REX (cat) circling
40 Y CUTS Crosses almost staked up (4)
STUC(K)< (stayed)
42 SERE Dry and calm except for NE (4)
SERENE (calm) – NE

One Response to “Enigmatic Variations 958: Seven by Dysart”

  1. mc_rapper67 says:

    This was a toughie – much longer than your 3.5 hours, for me! Excellent blog, thanks, Dave H.

    I twigged the stars theme once I had stopped trying to use G as the thousand (i.e. grand?) in 27D, and twigged it was asterisk – then *ism.

    The first clash I found was also DUB-HE, but it required a bit of googlie-wiki-ing to confirm and reveal the rest of the theme. Great construction and tough clueing – a classic amongst EVs, I thought…

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