Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 965 – I Cut A Rose by Nutmeg

Posted by mc_rapper67 on May 14th, 2011


With the preamble to this EV referring to an assertion by an unclued ‘somebody’ in ‘something’, also unclued, and recommending use of a dictionary of quotations, I don’t think it is giving too much away to say that there was a literary theme this week, and a bit of literary education for your blogger, who wasn’t familiar with the work in question. 

The assertion was that ‘…in sinking to our proper level we have but one thing to lose…’, which was to be borne out by the clued entries. The first few solves seemed to be one or two letters too long to fit in their allotted spaces, so there was obviously something to be removed – and a good candidate seemed to be the letter H

As for the work – T(H)E ROAD TO WIGAN PIER, by GEORGE ORWELL…this contains the phrase ‘…we have nothing to lose but our aitches…’, and OUR AITCHES can be formed from that spare H plus ‘I CUT A ROSE’.

This was a wonderfully constructed puzzle – with every clued answer having at least one superfluous H. I especially enjoyed LUGHOLE, HUBBUB and HUSH-HUSH. CHILLADA, HEATH-POULT and UNBURTHEN were new to me, but the wordplay was good enough to have an educated guess – before referring to Chambers for confirmation!

Clue No Answer Entry Clue /
1A THE ROAD TO T_E ROAD TO Thematic – linked to 37A (18 combined, 5 words) /
Thematic – with H removed, as per theme
7A CHUG CUG Short dull sound as corps beheaded cut-throat (3) /
C (corps) + HUG (thug, beheaded)
8A ASHPAN ASPAN Turkish officer shifting piano – organ ultimately remains here (5) /
ASHPA (pasha, or Turkish officer, with P – piano – shifted) + N (last letter of organ)
11A HOTHOUSE OTOUSE Fiery set of pupils a feature of most nurseries (6) /
HOT (fiery) + HOUSE (set of pupils, as in a section of a school)
12A WRATH WRAT Turncoat donning Auden’s highland cape (4) /
WH (as in W.H. Auden) around RAT (turncoat, traitor)
14A TITHE-PIG TITE-PIG Sadly I get hit embracing priest as tribute to church (7, hyphenated) /
anag (i.e. sadly) of I GET HIT, around P (priest)
15A WASHER WASER One responsible for cleaning metal ring (5) /
double def’n, WASHER = cleaner, or metal ring
17A HUBBUB UBBUB Upper-class bishops in nave uproar (5) /
HUB (nave, as in central part of a wheel) around U (upper-class) + BB (bishop, twice)
18A HUSH-HUSH US-US Secret thoughts oddly rejected, repeatedly revised (4, hyphenated) /
anag (i.e. revised) of even letters, i.e. odd letters rejected, of tHoUgHtS – repeatedly
20A BESEECH BESEEC Beg to provide for ancient church (6) /
BESEE (obsolete, to treat, or provide for) + CH (church)
22A HASTE ASTE Bowler possibly absorbing sun’s energy to speed up (4) /
HAT (bowler hat) around S (sun), followed by E (energy)
23A HOIST OIST One breaking holy bread, an uplifting act (4) /
HOST (as in Communion wafer, or holy bread) around I (one)
25A SIBSHIP SIBSIP Brothers share this intestinal problem on board (6) /
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) ‘aboard’ SHIP
27A HAMAL AMAL Travelling west, Eastern priest meets hospital porter (4) /
H (hospital) + AMAL (Lama, as in Dalai Lama, reversed, or travelling West)
29A HULLOS ULLOS Greetings from seaman east of port (5) /
HULL (port) + OS (Ordinary Seaman)
30A WRENCH WRENC Runs into old girl, causing sprain (5) /
WENCH (archaic, or facetious, for girl) containing R (runs)
32A SIDEPATH SIDEPAT Pets had run wild over one footway (7) /
anag (i.e. wild) of PETS HAD, containing I (one)
33A THALI TALI Grace shortened for Indian meal (4) /
THALIa – one of the three Graces – shortened
34A LUGHOLE LUGOLE It helps you hear where bathwater goes, though not initially (6) /
double defn/&lit? pLUGHOLE without initial letter
35A HECATE ECATE King escaping hell, worried Will’s witch (5) /
HECk (interjection, ‘Hell!’, without K – king) + ATE (worried)
36A LATH LAT One typically thin prince returns – about time! (3) /
LAH (Hal, or Prince Harry, retuned) abround T (time)
Clue No Answer Entry Clue /
1D THAW OUT TAW OUT God, they say, not allowed to recover from cold (6, 2 words) /
THAW (homonym of Thor, god) + OUT (not in, not allowed)
2D EPHAHS EPAS Husband in fashion backing biblical measures (4) /
EPAHS (shape, or fashion, backing) containing H (husband)
3D ON THE BEAM ON TE BEAM He intercepts boatmen moving at right angles to ship’s course (8, 3 words) /
anag (i.e. moving) of BOATMEN, containing HE
4D HABITUES ABITUES To some extent wearing colours, they frequently turn up (7) /
HUES (colours) around A BIT (to some extent)
5D DHOTIS DOTIS Minimal clothing stolen in underworld (5) /
DIS (underworld) containing HOT (stolen)
6D HOOP-ASH OOP-AS Climbing bear has broken wood for casks (6, hyphenated) /
HOOP (Pooh, as in Bear of Little Brain, climbing) plus anag (i.e. broken) of HAS
7D CUISHES CUISES Copper plates not primarily pieces of armour (6) /
CU (copper) + ISHES (plates, or dishes, without first letter)
8D GEORGE GEORGE Thematic – linked to 23D (12 combined, 2 words) /
10D SHRUBBIER SRUBBIER Quiet one engaged in sport series, more like Daphne? (8) /
SH (quiet) + RUBBER (series of games) containing I (one)
13D THRUST TRUST Stab bird, having missed last time … (5) /
THRUS (thrush, or bird, without last letter) + T (time)
16D HEATH-POULT EAT-POULT … greyhen’s fluttering up that hole (8, hyphenated) /
anag (i.e. fluttering) of UP THAT HOLE
19D UNBURTHEN UNBURTEN Hitch greek character up after that historic discharge (8) /
RUB (hitch+ + NU (Greek letter) – all turned upwards – plus THEN (after that)
21D CHILLADA CILLADA Cool girl’s spicy cake (7) /
CHILL (cool) + ADA (girl)
22D HASLET ASLET Cheap solvent regularly used for cooked meat (5) /
even letters (i.e. regularly used) of cHeAp SoLvEnT
23D ORWELL ORWELL Thematic – linked to 8D (12 combined, 2 words) /
24D SLEIGHT SLEIGT Cunning son’s left rowing boat (6) /
S (son) + L (left) + EIGHT (rowing boat, or crew)
26D HUSKIER USKIER Short Barbarian sportsman’s more sturdy (6) /
HU (Hun, or barbarian, short of a letter) + SKIER (sportsman)
27D AND HOW AND OW A Norse sailing ship, certainly (5, 2 words) /
A + N (Norse) + DHOW (sailing ship)
28D HATPEG ATPEG The gap planned for storage of lids (5) /
anag (i.e. planned) of THE GAP
31A BAHAI BAAI Believer, king and knight leaving island kingdom (4) /
BAHAI = Bahrain, island kingdom, without R – king – or N – knight

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6 + = eight