Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 973 – Shade by Samuel

Posted by mc_rapper67 on July 9th, 2011


A double dose of Samuel this week, with the (rather more light-hearted?) Inquisitor 1183 in the Indy on Saturday as well. The preamble here indicated a quotation from extra letters in wordplay, a thematic derivation from the rest of the quotation, and two methods of altering 10 answers before entry. All in all, some familiar EV devices, and your correspondent got off to a reasonable start – before taking a couple of wrong turns…

I trawled through most of the acrosses before getting the first solve – STANHOPES at 40A (one of my favourite crossword words, as STANHOPE anagrams to PHAETONS, another type of carriage…), but I digress. I soon found that there were clashes in that bottom left corner, and twigged that maybe the HOPE of ‘stanhopes’ might be jumbled up. My first diversion – assuming this might refer to Dante’s inscription at the entrance to Hell in the Divina Comedia/Inferno: ‘Abandon all hope, you who enter!’

Back then to some fairly hard slog solving a wealth of – for me – quite tough, but fair, clues. I managed to find 5 occurrences of ‘hope’ to be jumbled, not helped by hurriedly entering ‘ALL-HEAL’, instead of ‘HEAL-ALL’ at 8D, but it took a while to track down the others. Eventually I cracked that 30D was SENTIMENT, and the only way to fit it in was to use T as an abbreviation for TIME – and ‘abbreviation’ was appearing from the extra letters by now. This lead me back to ODQ, and Edward Gibbon’s line from ‘Memoirs of My Life’ (1796):

‘The abbreviation of time, and the failure of hope, will always tinge with a browner shade the evening of life’.

So – TIME was abbreviated to T in five places, HOPE was jumbled (failed) in another five, and ‘EVENING OF LIFE’ fitted across the unclued middle row – to be shaded in brown. After my casual treatment of a W S Gilbert theme last time round in EV 969, I have searched for some sort of link/anniversary but, if there is one, it has escaped me. I have learned a bit about the life of Gibbon and his magnum opus on the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in the process, so thank-you Samuel for that!

A sombre and reflective theme. Although I would like to think of my stage of life as more ‘sitting down for afternoon tea’ than ‘heading upstairs with cocoa in hand’, it is a necessary reminder that we can’t do much about the march of time…and maybe a prompt to think about that pessimistic expectation of the ‘failure of hope’ – which surely we can do something about?…

By coincidence, there had been a recent article in the Guardian about alcohol problems in ‘older age’, which prompted a spirited response in the letters page last week from one Jim Lynch of Milton Keynes:

“Apparently we OAPs drink because of “bereavement, loneliness, chronic … illness, difficulty in sleeping and depression” (Dr Luisa Dillner’s guide to… drink and drugs in old age, G2, 28 June). God forbid some of us might enjoy the stuff.”

I’ll drink to that…maybe a brown ale…?!

Clue No Entry Derived Answer Clue (definition underlined) /
1A GRIP (A)GRIP Ditch Silver, an inferior horse (4) /
AG (silver, Argentum) + RIP (inferior horse); GRIP also meaning a small ditch or gutter
4A BISOPHESS BISHOPESS Clergywoman’s twice incompetent, having no heart (9) /
BIS (twice) + HOPESS (hopeless, or incompetent, without its middle letters, or heart)
11A SANCOPHEDRO SANCHO PEDRO Nomads abolish education from endless game (11, hyphenated) /
SAN (Nomadic tribespeople) + CHOP (abolish) + ED (education) + RO (fROm, endless); Sancho Pedro being a card game
12A AMIR (B)AMIR Hoax Irish prince (4) /
BAM (hoax) + IR (Irish)
13A AIDER A(B)IDER Meet king’s helper (5) /
ABIDE (meet) + R (king, or Rex)
15A WANPOEH WANHOPE Despair once weapon exploded over Hungary (7) /
anag (i.e. exploded) or WEAPON, around H (Hungary); wanhope being obsolete for ‘despair’
17A PLAYT PLAYTIME Pressure non-professional master in bind when pupils relax (5) /
P (pressure) + LAY (non-professional) + TIE (bind) around M (master)
19A AERATED (R)AERATED Perturbed Rear Admiral chided missing bomber (7) /
RA (Rear Admiral) + ERATED (berated, or chided, without B – bomber)
21A DONNAT DON(E)NAT Idler in Richmond finished native (6) /
DONE (finished) + NAT (native); Northern term for ’lazy, good-for-nothing fellow’ – do + naught
22A RELENT REL(V)ENT Soften resistance lost at first during incident (6) /
R (resistance) + EVENT (incident) around L (first letter of Lost)
Unclued EVENING OF LIFE (to be deduced) Thematic – to be ‘shaded’ (13) /
thematic deduction – shaded in BROWN
26A BRAISE (I)BRAISE In the same place, breed fish (6) /
IB (ibidem, or in the same place) + RAISE (breed)
29A SEGARS SE(A)GARS Start to savour river pikes – these are smoked (6) /
S (first letter of savour) + EA (running water, river) + GARS (pikes, as in fish); SEGAR being a variant of CIGAR
31A BAPTISE BAPTI(T)SE Give name to black birds eaten by monkey (7) /
B (black) + APE (monkey) around TITS (birds)
33A AGORA AG(I)ORA Money-changing rule advanced assembly (5) /
AGIO (money changing) + R (rule) + A (advanced)
35A NUROFEN NUR(O)OFEN Healthworker gets old Yiddish money for special new painkiller (7) /
NUROOFE (NURSE, with OOF, Yiddish money, replacing S, special) + N (new)
36A MARIT MARITIME Buffoon overcomes a score near the sea (5) /
MIME (buffoon) around A + RIT (score, or cut)
38A HUNT H(N)UNT High tension surrounds pigeon pursuit (4) /
HT (high tension) around NUN (pigeon)
39A CREATRESSES CREATRESSES Inventive women rarely care about hair (11) /
anag (i.e. about) of CARE plus TRESSES (hair)
40A STANOPEHS STANHOPES Carriages totalled neat shops (9) /
anag (i.e totalled) of NEAT SHOPS
41A PAST PASTIME Panda gutted Scottish peer for amusement (4) /
PA (PandA, gutted) + STIME (Scots for peer, or glimpse)
Clue No Entry Derived Answer Clue (definition underlined) /
1D GNAWED (O)GNAWED Persistently distressed, and we go out (6) /
anag (I.e out) of AND WE GO
2D ROMANOV (F)ROMANOV Russian dynasty away before November? (7) /
FROM (away) + A (before) + NOV (Novembr)
3D PARPS PAR(T)PS Blasts break power supply initially (5) /
PART (break) + PS (first letters of Power Supply)
5D ICIEST ICIES(I)T French company brood under one most cold (6) /
I (one) + CIE (French ‘compagnie’, equivalent of Ltd, or PLC?) + SIT (brood)
6D SOD S(M)OD Southern festival ground (3) /
S (southern) + MOD (Highland Gaelic festival)
7D OPENER OPEN(E)ER Boycott, perhaps, operation with topless Afrikaaner (6) /
OP (operation) + ENEER (meneer, Afrikaans, Mr, or Sir, without top, first letter); Boycott, as in Sir Geoffrey
8D HEAL-ALL (A)HEAL-ALL Fresh halal ale, yesterday’s panacea (7, hyphenated) /
anag (i.e. fresh) of HALAL ALE
9D EDNA EDNA(N) Woman of pleasure educated grandmother… (4) /
ED (educated) + NAN (grandmother); name derivation – Edna = ‘pleasure’, Hebrew?
10D SOOT SO(D)OT …accordingly, spot smut! (4) /
SO (accordingly) + DOT (spot, of dirt)
13D AO DAI (F)AO DAI Vietnamese dress for the attention of Welshman (5, 2 words) /
FAO (for the attention of) + DAI (Welsh man); AO DAI being a Vietnamese item of clothing
14D SYEN S(A)YEN Will’s descendant for example enrolled nurse (4) /
SAY (for example) + EN (Enrolled Nurse)
16D HANGMEN HA(I)NGMEN Executioners north of the border spare FBI agents (7) /
HAIN (Scottish, to preserve, or spare) + G-MEN (US Federal agents)
18D SNEAP SN(L)EAP Put down the French in break (5) /
SNAP (break) including LE (‘the’ in French)
20D TEIAN (U)TEIAN In Australia, pick-up Scotsman for ancient Greek (5) /
UTE (Australian, utility truck, pick-up) + IAN (Scotsman)
23D NITRIAN NITR(R)IAN Fool ran across King and Emperor from western Egypt (7) /
NIT (fool) + RAN around RI (Rex et Imperator, royal title, King and Emperor)
24D FEART FE(E)ART Wages trick – Aberdonian’s afraid! (5) /
FEE (wages) + ART (trick)
25D FRIENDS FR(O)IENDS Amis devotees run out inside (7) /
FIENDS (devotees, addicts) around RO (Run Out) – Amis being the plural of ‘ami’, friend, rather than authors Kingsley or Martin)
27D RAGT RAGTIME Jazz band overwhelms agent with energy (4) /
RIM (encircling band, or border) around AGT (agent), plus E (energy)
28D ESCARP (F)ESCARP Slope ruined scrap iron first (6) /
FE (iron) + anag (i.e. ruined) of SCRAP
29D SQUISH SQU(H)ISH Society question man’s hot crush (6) /
S (society) + QU (question) + HIS (man’s) + H (hot)
30D SENTNT SENTIMENT Maiden in conscious judgement (6) /
SENTIENT (conscious) around M (maiden)
32D SOHEP SHOPE Ed’s formed old prison base (5) /
SHOP (obsolete for jail, prison) + E (base, mathematics) – SHOPE being obsolete Spenserian (Ed’s) for SHAPED)
33D ARCS (O)ARCS Rows round about curves (4) /
OARS (rows) around C (circa, about)
34D ODEA (P)ODEA School head stripped theatres (4) /
POD (school) + EA (hEAd, stripped of outer letters)
37D REE REE(E) Engineers in Perth eye enclosure (3) /
RE (Royal Engineers) + EE (Scottish, eyes)

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