Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 961 – Whither Goest Thou? by Charybdis

Posted by mc_rapper67 on April 16th, 2011


That title, a grid with a big ‘X’ in the middle, and a preamble indicating that there were eight clashing cells, extra letters in word play would lead to instructions, and a ‘route’ to be highlighted – it all points to a treasure hunt, surely…’X’ marks the spot?

As always, with potentially clashing letters, one can never be sure that a checking letter can be trusted, so I resorted to my tried&tested approach of writing across answers in small letters in the top right corners of cells, downs in the bottom left, and circling the clashes as they became apparent. (As a Telegraph website subscriber, I then just print off an extra copy to fill neatly for submission – in the ‘olden days’ I would usually take an enlarged photocopy of the grid, at work, to use as the rough copy…)

Good and firm-but-fair clueing, with a few obscure words needing some eChambers checking, but most of the extra letters showed themselves without too much of a fight, and the grid filled up steadily – with not too many misleads from the clashes.

Extra letters in word-play led to the instruction: ‘DOWN FROM FIRST CELL, THEN TURN NINETY AT EACH CLASH’. Thus followed a lot of pencil line drawing and rubbing out, trying to find my way to the ‘X’ – which turned out not to be possible with only 90-degree turns.

In the end – with a laugh-out-loud ‘Ulrika!’ moment – the penny dropped, and I realised we were being sent on a fool’s errand, more specifically an April Fool’s errand. The route just loops back to the first clash, and the clashing letters – using the first/last twice, combine to give two lots of ‘APRIL FOOL’, which I took to be the phrase to write under the grid.

Solving time maybe 1 to 1.5 hours, spread over a few days/train trips to work, and then a few more sessions working on the ‘route’, to get to that final realisation…Grrr!…

Clue No Extra Letters Entry – clashes in () Clue /
Logic – extra letters in BOLD/UL
1A D ADJUDICATIONS Extras to include Passion Sunday for one – more than singular diligence required (13) /
ADDiTIONS (extras) replacing ‘i’ (one) with JUDICA (Passion Sunday – from the opening words of the introit, `Judica me, Deus’ (43rd Psalm))
10A O PRO(P)HET Support’s enthusiastic around Spain for Mohammed say? (7) /
PROP (support) + HOT (enthusiastic) around E (Spain, or España)
12A W ENT(I)A Independent individuals travelled on road out of London in reverse (5) /
WENT (travelled) on IA (reverse of A1, route out of London)
14A N BEARDS Facial hair and necklaces perhaps worn by sailors (6) /
BEADS (necklaces) around RN (Royal Navy, sailors)
15A F ARTERY Vessel’s worried, catching last of lobster – there’s little fish around (6) /
ATE (worried) around R (last of lobsteR) + FRY (little fish)
16A R OLID Rank of soldiers provided with cover (4) /
OR (Other Ranks, or soldiers) + LID (cover)
17A O (O)UTER We Scots truck and barter at end of the Fringe (5) /
OO (Scots for ‘we’) + UTE (truck) + R (end of barteR)
19A M ETERN(A)L Endless lament playing absorbs the queen (7) /
anag (i.e. playing) of LAMENT, including ER (queen)
21A F ELAPSED Coral snake given food glided away (7) /
ELAPS (coral snake) + FED (given food)
23A I ORNERY Mean for the States Oregon and Nebraska to meet fairy, but not Florida (6) /
OR (Oregon) + NE (Nebraska) + IRY (fairy, without Fa – Florida)
25A R RUEING Changing one’s mind, plant in a circle (6) /
RING (circle) around RUE (shrubby plant)
27A S ORBITAL Artificial sweetener has nothing for adult in a regular course (7) /
ORBITAL = SORBITOL (sugar substitute) with second O (nothing) changed to A (adult)
31A T (L)IGHTE(R) Boat for loading left relatively close (7) /
L (left) + TIGHTER (relatively close)
33A C IGLOO A little smoke by toilet in freezing accommodation (5) /
CIG (abbrev. of cigarette, or smoke) + LOO (toilet)
34A E AREA A yard for Scots livestock and a piece of ground (4) /
A + REE (Scottish livestock yard) + A
35A L WEDELN Skiing manoeuvres and novel reverses seen around small valley (6) /
WEN (new, or novel, reversing) around DELL (small valley)
37A L INLIER Old rocky outcrop line including third of a mile to East at bottom of tor (6) /
LINE including LI (Chinese, or Eastern, unit of distance, approx. 1/3 of a mile) + R (last letter of toR)
38A T NAA(F)I Stewed fat in a canteen (5) /
anag (i.e. stewed) of FAT IN A
39A H (L)EARNER Try stopping obsolete rail company’s inexperienced driver (7) /
LNER (obsolete rail company) around HEAR (try, as in legal term)
40A E THALASSOCRACY Does it order sea coral and yachts about? (13) /
&lit & anag (i.e. order about) of SEA CORAL YACHTS
Clue No Extra Letters Entry – clashes in () Clue /
Logic – extra letters in BOLD/UL
1D N APPA(L)OOS(A) Sort of horse to cause alarm before long rearing over adult (9) /
APPAL (cause alarm) + NOOS (SOON, rearing) + A (adult)
2D T DRY RUN Drury and National Theatre in play rehearsal (6, 2 words) /
anag (i.e. in play) of DRURY + NT (National Theatre)
3D U U(R)GE Egg on your guesthouse sandwiches (4) /
hidden word ‘sandwiched’ in ‘yoUR GUEsthouse’
4D R DHURRA Millet’s ‘Heads of Drovers Resting’ – an expression of joy (6) /
DR (heads, or first letters of Drovers Resting) + HURRA (expression of joy)
5D N CTENES Organs in slow movement caught fanfare up (6) /
C (caught) + TENNES (SENNET = fanfare, up)
6D N TERSE Brief runs into the past perhaps? (5) /
TENSE (as in past tense) including R (runs)
7D I INDORSE Fancy derision being back in the advertising world (7) /
anag (i.e. fancy) of DERISION – INDORSE being a variation on the more usual ENDORSE
8D N N(O)TI(F)Y Give information to Number Ten initially provided by city? (6) /
NO (number) + T (ten, initially) + IF (provided that) + NY (city, New York)
9D E SAND Sensible director shows grit (4) /
SANE (sensible) + D (director)
11D T BACTERIA Nothing removed from abattoir, E Coli’s beginning to spread, for instance? (8) /
&lit & anag (i.e. to spread) of ABATToIR (less O, nothing, plus E, plus C – Coli’s beginning)
13D Y ATTEND Listen when news might be on at both ends of day (6) /
AT TEN (when ‘News at 10′ might be on!) + DY (both ends of DaY)
18D A APYRETIC Suspect apiary etc is not unduly hot (8) /
anag (i.e. suspect) of APIARY ETC – apyretic being the opposite of feverish/hot
20D T LEGIONARY I lent a gory novel to member of the BL (9) /
anag (i.e. novel) of I LENT A GORY. N.B. BL = British Legion
22D E KILLER Harmful vapour rising around – neutralizing agent’s required (6) /
KEER (reek, or vapour, rising) around ILL (harmful) – KILLER = neutralising agent
24D A ETHAN(O)L Solitary passes round a hat getting up for alcohol (7) /
LONE, or solitary, passing round A HAT – then all going upwards
26D C SIRRAH Right, his car crashed outside old address [that wasn’t nice] (6) /
anag (i.e. crashed) of R (right) + HIS CAR
28D H B(I)CE(P)S Brake horsepower’s held in reserve? On the contrary, there’s muscle (6) /
BHPS (Brake Horsepower’s) holding ICE (coolness, or reserve)
29D C TIETAC A clip of bookies’ signals spread round YouTube at last (6) /
TICTAC (bookies’ sign language) around E (last letter of YouTubE)
30D L TOLTEC Ancient Mexican form of taxation etc reformed (6) /
TOLL (form of taxation) + TEC (anag, i.e. reformed, of ETC)
32A A TILIA Limes and sesame added to fajitas oddly ignored (5) /
TIL (sesame) + even letters (oddly ignored) of fAjItAs
34A S AUNT Relation of Scottish holy man (4) /
double defn SAUNT= Scottish form of saint, or holy man, AUNT = relation
36A H DORR I’ll leave horrid blundering may bug (4) /
anag (i.e. blundering) of HORRiD (i.e. ‘I’ leaving)

2 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 961 – Whither Goest Thou? by Charybdis”

  1. Tony says:

    Thanks, mc. I can take a joke but I felt let down by this. Perhaps it’s because it made me feel that all crosswords are ultimately futile pursuits.

  2. mc_rapper67 says:

    Hi Tony – I guess this was a bit frustrating and maybe, if I hadn’t been keen to finish it for the blog, I might have given up earlier…perhaps it could have been held until next April 1 – which is actually a Sunday?!

    As for futility of ALL crosswords? There is the argument for exercising the brain…and the lure of a dictionary/pen/book token/bottle of champagne plus the kudos of having your name in the paper/magazine in the case of prize puzzles…

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