Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No.968 – Four Ways by Owzat

Posted by Mister Sting on June 4th, 2011

Mister Sting.

This was my favourite EV for some time. It was also one of the easiest, which – I insist – is entirely coincidental.

Who would have thought that any language needed a word for inferior asparagus (36 across)?

Appropriately, given the theme, it was all very rollicksome and fun. 4 down’s ‘dirty relative’ was particularly amusing. Admittedly, it was (as I’ve said) not a strenuous mental workout but this, too, was thematically apt.

The Four Ways simplified things further, in that any one (except the subject) would have most likely aided the discovery of the others. Personally, I found the title first, but the characters were already partially discovered by that stage.

In brief:

1. The author is Edmund CLERIHEW Bentley, originator (as the cleverer of you might have gathered) of the Clerihew.

2. The title of his work is BIOGRAPHY FOR BEGINNERS

3. He explains the subject of biography thusly:

The art of Biography
Is different from Geography.
Geography is about maps,
But Biography is about chaps.

4. The four characters are


What I like about Clive
Is that he is no longer alive.
There is a great deal to be said
For being dead.

HUMPHR(E)Y DAVY (this site seems to indicate that the misspelling of ‘Humphry’ is in the original, the first Bentley wrote, while he was still at school)

Sir Humphrey Davy
Abominated gravy.
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.


Sir Christopher Wren
Said, “I am going to dine with some men.
If anyone calls
Say I am designing St. Paul’s


John Stuart Mill,
By a mighty effort of will,
Overcame his natural bonhomie
And wrote ‘Principles of Economy.’

I’m afraid I can’t parse 33ac. It’s got something to do with TAT, though.

(xxx) = definition
{xxx} = (anagram/homophone/container/etc.) indicator
XXX* = anagram
< = reversal
xxx = unused letter(s)
biography= titular/redundant word

Please post a comment if the explanations are not clear.

9 LANOLINE Sort of all-in-one fatty substance (8) fatty substance: ALLINONE* {sort of}
10 UPEND Affect writer in university department (5) affect: ins. of PEN (writer) in U (university) + D (department)
11 LADLE Boy’s attached to the French spoon (5) spoon: LAD (boy) + LE (the French)
13 ALBATA German silver backs an Indian instrument (6) German silver: <A TABLA (an Indian instrument)
Leaving heads fell out about thin material (5) thin material: fELLoUT* {leaving heads… about}
17 MARRAM Sheep back to back in grass by the coast (6) grass by the coast: <RAM + RAM (sheep) {back to back}
Cunning King ending in penury (5) cunning: LEAR (King) + Y (ending in penurY)
19 TRAP Send back member for gin (4) gin: <PART (member) {send back}
22 RACEMIC A cold crime somehow associated with acid (7) associated with acid: [A + C (cold) + CRIME]* {somehow}
Rent that’s added to national insurance for extra players (7) extra players: RIP (rent) + IE (that’s) + NI (national insurance)
25 MATH Americans learn this game without clubs (4) Americans learn this: MATcH (game) {without Clubs}
26 AGENT One with information on foremost in travel (5) &lit.: A (one) + GEN (information) + T (foremost in Travel)
29 REPAIR Fix agent display (6) fix: REP (agent) + AIR (display)
For this downfall there’s shelter in centre of Boston (5) downfall: ins. of LEE (shelter) in ST (centre of boSTon)
33 TATTOO Mostly poor quality pair in military display (6) military display:
35 ETHOS So the biography rehabilitated character (5) character: SOTHE* {rehabilitated}
36 SPREW Sub-standard asparagus present in south east and west (5) sub-standard asparagus: ins. of PR (present) in SE (south east) and W (west)
37 BEETROOT Vegetable that works better with duck and slice of orange (8) vegetable: [BETTER + O (duck) + O (slice of Orange)]* {works}
1 INDY Failing to start, nervous in motor race (4) motor race: wINDY (nervous) {failing to start}
2 VOLAR Concerned with sole volunteer on a run (5) concerned with sole: VOL (volunteer) + A + R (run)
3 HILUM Buzz around one left depression (5) depression: ins. of I (one) + L (left) in HUM (buzz)
A number move away from dirty relative (5) relative: UNCLEan (dirty) {A Number move away}
5 MEALMAN Call Mark up about Alan, a dealer in grain (7) a dealer in grain: ins. of AL (Alan) in <[NAME (call) + M (mark)]
6 PUL United line taken after conclusion of top brass in Kandahar (3) brass in Kandahar (Afghan money): P (conclusion of toP) + U (united) + L (line)
7 REATA A seaman maintaining energy hoisted rope (5) rope: ins. of E (energy) in <A TAR (a seaman)
8 ENTERITIS Beginners admit it’s a complaint (9) a complaint: ENTER (admit) + IT IS (it’s)
Eastern head turned up for a day’s march (5) a day’s march: <[E (eastern) + PATE (head)]
14 BREEM Spenser’s keen, always showing up in British Museum (5) keen (Spenser): ins. of <EER (always) in BM (British museum)
15 MARIGRAPH Graham involved with rip tide recorder (9) tide recorder: GRAHAMRIP* {involved with}
Wine circle tucked into beer! (5) wine: ins. of O (circle) in PINT (beer)
Cover with something round leg bone for treatment (7) cover with something round: LEGBONE* {for treatment}
Design one missed in mountainous island (5) mountainous island: CREaTE (design) {one missed}
Some interest for Roman enthusiasm (5) enthusiasm: interESTROman {some}
Where at sea to find a cutter (5) cutter: WHERE* {at sea}
Frenchman won start again (5) start again: RENE (Frenchman) + W (Won start)
Sounds like safe ingredient of explosive (5) ingredient of explosive: homonym {sounds like} of Peter (safe)
Moderation in pub produces expression of contempt (4) expression of contempt: ins. of HO (moderation) in PH (pub)
34 OWN
Have broadcast needing no introduction (3) have: sOWN (broadcast) {needing no introduction}

One Response to “Enigmatic Variations No.968 – Four Ways by Owzat”

  1. Phi says:

    36 – try tatt(y) + 00 (a ‘pair’ in cricket)

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