Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No.984 – Practically Worthless by Lato

Posted by Mister Sting on September 24th, 2011

Mister Sting.

On a first reading, the preamble doesn’t give one a lot to go on:

“Though they’re far from alone, seven unclued answers according to two others (taken as a pair) 9, which might alternatively be considered something PRACTICALLY WORTHLESS.” What?

Still, it seems the clues are normal, so a start is made (for me, 19 down was the first to fall). The clues are to my liking (which might simply mean that they’re on the easy side), and the grid begins to fill. Still, though, no guesses as to the thematic material, at least until I have _EES, at which point I consider LEES (given that they’re ‘the worst part or parts’ and, therefore, worthless).

Thankfully, I am shortly afterwards saved by BIRDS falling into place, suggesting that the first word is much more likely to be BEES. A re-reading of the preamble and, possibly, some lucky guesswork, and I see that running down the middle we have EDUCATED FLEAS, one of the party who, we are told (by COLE PORTER) DO IT. The others are:


I’m impressed that Lato managed to make the letters mentioned in the preamble the wonderfully (if, for me, retrospectively) thematic LDI – HEAR IT’S BLISS FOR COUPLE. (As Tramp points out, the LDI is, of course, ‘Let’s Do It’)

Sometimes the letters to be highlighted can take a while to find. In this case we are spared the hair-pulling, as CHARDROPITY appears with ease – a cryptic rendering of ‘doing it': DROP (fall) in CHARITY (love).

And why ‘Practically Worthless’? Well, that’s a description of a DOIT. (Thanks to Tony for pointing out my neglect of this aspect)

A very, very lovely puzzle.

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

Please post a comment if the explanations are not clear.

1 BLASPHEMOUS Humble soaps attacked for using bad language (11) using bad language: humblesoaps* {attacked}
8 IODOUS Like one element of party after independence – unserviceable! (6) like one element: I (independence) + O (of) + DO (party) US (unserviceable)
10 COY Wolf’s not half evasive (3) evasive: COYote (wolf){not half}
12 DRIVEL Force lecturer to talk like an idiot (6) to talk like an idiot: DRIVE (force) + L (lecturer)
15 LAST Hold out after all the others (4) double definition
16 SOBER Has a month out of court – nothing like a judge (5) like a judge: S (has) + removal {out of} of [CT (court) + O (nothing)] from OCTOBER (a month)
18 OAST With no recipe, cook in oven (4) oven: removal of R (recipe) from ROAST (cook)
23 TATTIER Flog range of poorer quality (7) of poorer quality: TAT (flog) + TIER (range)
25 ODETTE Make over essentially improved girl (6) girl: <DO (make){over} bETTEr (improved){essentially}
26 ACORNS A big bird over navy ship’s original mast (6) mast: A + <ROC (big bird){over} + N (navy) + S (Ship’s original)
27 POCHARD Get back troublesome duck (7) duck: <COP (get){back} + HARD (troublesome)
29 PITY Black champion lost – that’s a matter for regret (4) a matter for regret: removal {lost} of CH (champion) from PITCHY (black)
31 LIFE Story about Faraday’s career (4) career: ins. of F (Faraday) in LIE (story)
34 AMBO President gutted about reading-desk (4) reading-desk: <OBaMA (president){about; gutted}
37 DEPART Caught in revolution, one prince is going to die (6) to die: <TRAPpED (caught){in revolution; one prince is going}
39 TETRAHEDRON Hard to enter complex figure (11) figure: hardtoenter* {complex}
41 ELL Length of old railroad (3) double definition
42 GAIA Earth mother makes good nursemaid (4) earth mother: G (good) + AIA (nursemaid)
2 LOUR Glare from fellow leaving meal (4) glare: removal {leaving} of F (fellow) from FLOUR (meal)
3 AD-LIB Freely supporting a Democrat’s book (5, hyphenated) freely supporting: A + D (Democrat) + LIB (book)
4 PUT Drive completely round Thailand (3) drive: <UP (completely){round} + T (Thailand)
5 MOAN Servant eats old beef (4) beef: ins. {eats} of O (old) in MAN (servant)
6 UTILE Ineffectual fellow missed being useful (5) useful: removal {missed} of F (fellow) from FUTILE (ineffectual)
7 TONS Polled over 70 – that’s lots! () lots: <NOT (polled){over} + S (70)
11 NETT Lowest score announced (4) lowest: homophone of NET (score)
13 ERST England ‘at-trick ‘ero speaking previously (4) previously: homophone of (Geoff H)URST (England ‘at-trick ‘ero)
14 LOSE Leader ignored near miss (4) miss: cLOSE (near){leader ignored}
17 ESTH Baltic national is in the ground (4) baltic national: ins. {in} of S (is) in THE* {ground}
19 MIRI Seen in Antrim – Irish farming communes (4) farming communes: antriMIRIsh {seen in}
20 LENT Generally supplied attractive young women (getting no thanks!) (4) generally supplied: removal {getting no} of TA (thanks) from TALENT (attractive young women)
21 EDOM Mounting fashion in old kingdom (4) old kingdom: <MODE (fashion){mounting}
22 EECH Former increase in Eastern European children (4) former increase: E (Eastern) + E (European) + CH (children)
24 TOPE Shark kill on edge of shore (4) shark: TOP (kill) + E (edge of shorE)
25 OPIATES Love taking exercise (Lambert’s renounced drugs) (7) drugs: O (love) + removal {renounced} of L (Lambert) from PILATES (exercise)
26 ARED Previously explained about revolutionary (4) previously explained: A (about) + RED (revolutionary)
28 ALMA Soul girl (4) double definition
30 FORGO Do without supporting bout (5) do without: FOR (supporting) + GO (bout)
32 TANTI With tenor against, no longer worthwhile (5) no longer worthwhile: T (tenor) + ANTI (against)
33 STORM Bad weather most peculiar round end of September (5) bad weather: ins. of R (end of SeptembeR) in MOST* {peculiar}
35 MELT Honey, time to disappear (4) to disappear: MEL (honey) + T (time)
36 CHIK Blind girl skips second chapter (4) blind: removal (skips) of C (chapter) from CHICK (girl)
39 RHEA It won’t fly? Try lifting tail (4) it won’t fly?: HEAR (try), R {tail} ‘lifted’
40 RON Little boy runs about (3) little boy: R (runs) + ON (about)

4 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No.984 – Practically Worthless by Lato”

  1. Tony says:

    Thank you , Mr S. And a doit is something of little value.

  2. Tramp says:

    I’ll second that; a lovely, lovely puzzle. Superb theme, faultless clueing and making the misprints spell out “LDI – HEAR IT’S BLISS FOR COUPLE” (with LDI being Let’s Do It) is pure genius.

  3. Lato says:

    Many thanks for the comments and to Mr Sting for his excellent blog.

  4. Mister Sting says:

    Post (rather tardily amended). Thanks to all – it’s always especially exciting when the setter comments.

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