Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 985: Choice by Raich

Posted by mc_rapper67 on October 1st, 2011


The preamble refers to a quotation which links the three unclued entries – indicating one as being a choice between the other two. The speaker is hidden in the grid, and extra letters in down clues give further hints.

It may have just been me hitting a lucky streak, but within 10 minutes I had the top five rows – including THE LABOUR PARTY as one of the unclued entries – and a promising looking ‘Haro..’ starting the top-left to bottom-right diagonal.

A couple of recent Raich thematic/barred puzzles have been of a politico/historical nature – EV 937, which I had the pleasure of blogging, on the Rise of Capitalism and Fall of Communism, and Inquisitor 1164, incorporating a Churchill speech on the Iron Curtain. So I took a leap of faith and looked up HAROLD WILSON in ODQ and soon found his speech to the Labour Party Conference in October 1962: ‘…This party is a moral crusade or it is nothing…’ (how he must have been spinning in his grave at the eventual antics of Tony Bliar and New Labour, but don’t get me started…)

So A MORAL CRUSADE and NOTHING filled the other two unclued entries, and I ploughed on to get virtually all the grid complete – bar a couple of quick look-ups/confirmations – in another 15 minutes or so.

The extra letters spelled out THE WORK DO, AN ETHICAL EXPEDITION and LOVE, as further hints to the unclued entries.

If one was to quibble – and I’m not sure I should really, as I haven’t got beyond setting little 5-by-5 grids for my kids – I felt there was a preponderance of 3, 4 and 5 letter entries – 53 clues, plus 3 unclued, is a lot of work for a blogger – as well as for the setter! Maybe that was a side effect of having to go for a 14×14 grid to fit ‘The Labour Party’ across the top?

Some little gems in there – 15A creating a slightly disturbing image(!); nice use of double definitions in the down clues – where they were actually defining slightly different things, due to the extra letters; more topicality (for rugby followers) with HAKA at 11D; and a few new (to me) words in ROOSE, AYMARA and STARETS.

So, an interesting and educational theme, thank-you Raich – nicely topical, to coincide with the 2011 Labour conference – and, for me at least, a relatively quick solve after some fairly time-consuming recent EVs.

Clue No Extra Letter Entry Clue with definition highlighted, unless double def’n /
1A n/a THE LABOUR PARTY Unclued (14, 3 words) /
Unclued – thematic deduction
10A n/a OHMAGE Total resistance at last to hot publication (English) (6) /
O (last letter of ‘to’) + H (hot) + MAG (publication) + E (English)
12A n/a OCREAE Firm brought back a lot of genuine European sheaths (6) /
OC (Firm, or Company, backwards) + REA (a lot of REAL, or genuine) + E (European)
14A n/a DAVID Beloved guy’s father taking six on board (5) /
DAD (father) taking in VI (six)
15A n/a ORGASM Excitement as arms go astray (6) /
anag (i.e. astray) of ARMS GO
16A n/a SKIRRET Runner’s recipe – soak vegetable? (7) /
SKI (runner) + R (recipe) + RET (soak) – SKIRRET being a water parsnip
17A n/a ESTHETE To some extent he’s the tetchiest art-lover in New York? (7) /
hidden word (i.e. to some extent) in hES THE Tetchiest, US spelling of ‘aesthete’
19A n/a MALCOLM Man from Malaysia with depression at end of boom (7) /
MAL (Malaysia) + COL (geography – depression, pass) + M (last of boom)
22A n/a EARNER Bread winner – composer, embraced by Queen (6) /
ER (Elizabeth Regina, queen) around ARNE (Thomas, composer)
24A n/a A MORAL CRUSADE Unclued (13, 3 words) /
Unclued – thematic deduction
29A n/a DOE Animal’s drone at intervals (3) /
Odd letters (i.e. at intervals) of DrOnE
31A n/a ATONE Used truncheon without limitation to make up for deficiencies (5) /
bATONEd (used truncheon, without outside letters)
33A n/a STEER Ox set in motion in Aberdeen (5) /
double defn – STEER being Scots form of ‘stir’, as well as an ox
34A n/a RAW Artist with Edmund’s out of condition (3) /
RA (artist) + W (with) – RAW being Spenserian (i.e. Edmund’s) for ‘out of condition’)
36A n/a INDUSTRIALIST Person under test on river, he’s powerful (13) /
INDUS (river) + TRIALIST (person under test)
37A n/a IN ESSE No opening for tactic in bridge game possibly? Quite the opposite! (6, two words) /
fINESSE (tactic in bridge, with no opening letter) – IN ESSE (in existence) being the opposite of IN POSSE (in potentiality, or ‘possibly’)
40A n/a VOLUSPA Book has universal spring poem (7) /
VOL (bool, or volume) + U (universal) + SPA (spring) – ‘Völuspa’ being a Norse poem
43A n/a NOTHING Unclued (7) /
Unclued – thematic deduction
46A n/a CLUSTER Mass in Latin, cruets taken around (7) /
anag (i.e. taken around) of CRUETS + L (Latin)
48A n/a AYMARA Yes, mother’s going to Argentina to see South American (6) /
AY (yes) + MA (mother) + RA (Republic of Argentina – International Vehicle Registration)
49A n/a ERASE Put an end to acting in Gaelic language (5) /
ERSE (Gaelic language) including A (acting)
50A n/a LARIAT Learner takes song to tenor, it’s ropy (6) /
L (learner) + ARIA (song) + T (tenor)
51A n/a TENANT Temporary shelter welcomes new American occupant (6) /
TENT (temporary shelter) around N (new) + A (American)
52A n/a BULL-HEADEDNESS Showing obstinate quality surprisingly, debs end hall use (14, hyphenated) /
anag (i.e. surprisingly) of DEBS END HALL USE
Clue No Extra Letter Entry Clue with definition highlighted, unless double def’n /
1D T TOPSMAN Looking up identify male, brown, head drover in Highlands (7) /
TOPS (spot, or identify, looking up) + M (male) + (T)AN (brown)
2D H E-MAIL Setter turns up greeting, computer message (5, hyphenated) /
EM (me, setter, turned up) + (H)AIL (greeting)
3D E AGAR Seaweed to mature north of autonomous region (4) /
AG(E) (to mature) + AR (Autonomous Region, or republic)
4D W BEVELLER One using tool skilfully in Belgium always (8) /
B (Belgium) + EVER (always), around (W)ELL (skilfully)
5D O OMIT I’m too versatile to leave out (4) /
anag (i.e. versatile) of IM TO(O)
6D R UNDE Wavy below (4) /
double defn, of sorts – UNDE meaning ‘wavy’, UNDE(R) meaning ‘below’
7D K ROOSE Flower receives approval in Glasgow, praise (5) /
ROSE (flower) around O(K) (approval) – ROOSE being Scottish for ‘praise’
8D D ARGH Cruelly hard to harbour grudge at first – I don’t like that! (4) /
anag (i.e. cruelly) of HAR(D), around, or habouring, G (first of grudge)
9D O TASTE Converted sot with tea? An experience! (5) /
anag (i.e. converted) of S(O)T + TEA
11D A HAKA Pre-match ritual by another name after grass is cut (4) /
HA (hay, or grass, cut) + (A)KA (known by another name)
13D N EMERGE Space to cover novel green issue (6) /
EM (space) + anag (i.e. novel) of GREE(N)
18D E ENDOW Present need for change that hurts (5) /
anag (i.e. change) of NE(E)D, plus OW (interjection, expressive of pain – that hurts!)
20D T CREE Indian island (4) /
double defn, of sorts – CRE(T)E (island), CREE (North American Indian)
21D H GROW Ghana’s quarrel to develop (4) /
G(H) (Ghana) + ROW (quarrel)
23D I ASANA Yoga position from the East accepted (5) /
AS(I)AN (from the East) + A (accepted)
25D C MUTI Mostly silent over Channel Islands traditional medicine (4) /
MUT (most of ‘mute’) + (C)I (Channel Islands)
26D A ABRUS Type of beans a supporter imposed on us (5) /
A + B(A)R (supporter) + US
27D L ENDS For a time gives use of Scottish cottage rooms (4) /
double defn, of sorts – (L)ENDS (gives use for a time) and ENDS – Scottish cottage rooms
28D E TENET Belief – golfer’s requirement should feature on the Web? (5) /
TE(E) (golfer’s requirement) + NET (the Web)
29D X DATE Engagement unfortunately axed when there’s time inside (4) /
DAE – anag (i.e. unfortunately) of A(X)ED – around T (time)
30D P ETIOLATE Shimmering étoile apt to become pale (8) /
anag (i.e. shimmering) of ETOILE A(P)T
32D E TOLU Balsam, item for sale, taken up by European Union (4) /
TOL (LOT – item for sale – up) + (E)U (European Union)
33D D SPINAL Backbone’s slant upset boy (6) /
SPIN (slant) + (D)AL (lad, or boy, up-set)
35D I STARETS Glare, it’s a holy man! (7) /
STARE (glare) + (I)TS – ‘starets’ being a Russian holy man
38D T NOYAU Heading off, buoyant, ordered liqueur (5) /
anag (i.e. ordered) of UOYAN(T) – buoyant without B
39D I ENATE A German anther regularly growing out (5) /
E(I)N (‘a’ in German) + ATE (regular letters of AnThEr)
41D O STOAE Special note uncovered, old, on aged porticos (5) /
S (special) + (O)T (nOTe, uncovered) + O (old) + AE (aged, Latin abbrev. of ‘aetatis’ – of his/her age, of so many years)
42D N PEEN End of hammer head provided initially by a pair of nurses (4) /
P (first letter of provided) + E(N) + EN (pair of nurses, Enrolled Nurse)
44D L HAIL Hearts, excellent, will score in Edinburgh! (4) /
H (hearts) + AI (excellent, A1) + L(L) (contraction of ‘will’) – HAIL having a Scottish meaning of goal/score, as opposed to the use as ‘greeting’ in 2D
45D O GENA Italian city cheek? (4) /
double defn. of sorts – GEN(O)A – Italian city, GENA – anatomical term for the cheek
46D V CRUD Recording featuring revue repeatedly ignoring Earl, contemptible person (4) /
CD (recording) around RU – Re(V)Ue – ignoring E (earl)
47D E USED Second-hand suede treated (4) /
anag (i.e. treated) of SUED(E)

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four + = 5