Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 986: Mix-up by Ploy

Posted by Dave Hennings on October 8th, 2011

Dave Hennings.

In this week’s puzzle, 16 clues needed to have a word in the definition unmixed after the removal of one letter, these removed letters giving a range of ingredients. I can’t believe this device hasn’t been used before, but I don’t remember it. It turned out to be quite entertaining, although many of the words to be treated were fairly obvious, especially ampul in 27ac, nazirs in 33ac and dioptase at 1dn. Not that it was particularly easy to be sure of the unmixed word and extra letter.

In the end, it turned out to be straightforward, and the ingredients were, as I half expected, chemical elements. These could be mixed in various ways to give alloys which were to be entered around the perimeter of the grid. The final alloy, which would perhaps be pertinent to its discovery, was given by six symmetrically placed unchecked letters in the perimeter. I needed Mrs Bradford to discover EUREKA which I had heard of, but forgotten.

An entertaining puzzle from Ploy, with one or two quite tricky little clues!

Solving time: about 2 hours

The six alloys required for the perimeter, from top left corner clockwise, were:

Alloy “Ingredients”
PEWTER lead (Pb) & tin (Sn)
PINCHBECK copper (Cu) & zinc (Zn)
CHROMEL chromium (Cr) & nickel (Ni)
SHIBUICHI copper (Cu) & Silver (Ag)
BRONZE copper (Cu) & tin (Sn)
SHAKUDO copper (Cu) & gold (Au)


Definition in clue
X = letter removed before unmixing
ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden

No Removed
Answer Clue and Explanation
8 EAGERS Bores enraged at first — no head on beers! (6)
E (Enraged at first) + (L)AGERS (no head on beers)
9 AHULL Everyone to go round half of dismantled ship with sails furled etc (5)
ALL (everyone) around HU(LK) (half of dismantled ship)
10 C PREST I must leave minister to stencil enlist as of old (5)
PRIEST (minister) – I
12 DARDIC 50% of school class in charge of particular language group (6)
(STAN)DARD (50% of school class) + IC (in charge)
13 R SEA AIR Refreshing feature of actors coast is area for change (6, two words)
14 TACH Clasp shelled nuts (4)
(PIS)TACH(IOS) (shelled nuts, ie without casing)
16 N DALT Offspring raised by hornets others departs on a high note (4)
D (departs) + ALT (high note)
18 I EARL Real suspect is nominable nobleman (4)
19 URALI Rural idyll harbours poison-yielding plant (5)
in rURAL Idyll
20 LET INTO Admit to the knowledge of title on novel (7, two, words)
23 C KEY GRIP Manic Main stagehand turning grey in bed (7, two words)
GREY* in KIP (bed)
25 STUMM Quiet street, a couple of miles beyond university (5)
ST (street) + MM (a couple of miles) beyond U (university)
27 U ACAI Reversal in cardiac arrest? What a S. American ampul palm can produce (4)
back in cardIAC Arrest
30 PLIE Dance movement used vigorously for the most part (4)
PLIE(D) (used vigorously, mostly)
31 HERS That woman’s healers withdrawing alcoholic drink (4)
HEALERS – ALE (alcoholic drink)
33 Z OUTGAS Remove nazirs sarin, possibly, from crashed government autos (6)
[G (government) AUTOS]*
34 STELAR Excellent, pulling length of stone slab (6)
STELLAR (excellent) – L (length)
35 AGARS Jellies are served, primarily, after fish (5)
A (are) + S (Served, primarily) after GAR (fish)
36 N INURE I go over end of fanfare to make less dinful fluid (5)
I + RUN< (go) + E (end of fanfarE)
37 PURDAH Bean plant in settlement forms a secluding screen (6)
URD (bean plant) in PAH (settlement)
No Removed
Answer Clue and Explanation
1 A TARTAR Two salts and dioptase deposit affecting teeth (6)
TAR (salt, as in sailor) twice
2 RESET Put on a course once more, with Egypt supporting research (5)
ET (Egypt) supporting RES (research)
3 ISRAELI Haifa resident, perhaps, is a priest penning recipe (7)
IS A ELI (priest) holding R (recipe)
4 G NADIA Assuring Russian girl and fiery young man turned up (5)
AIDAN< (man’s name meaning fire)
5 CHARR Fish of burn and river (5)
CHAR (burn) + R (river)
6 HURT Time and time again withdrawing over injury (4)
HOUR (time) + T (time) – O (over)
7 ELICIT Bring out elegance of wording, avoiding extremes (6)
(F)ELICIT(Y) (elegance of wording without first and last)
11 S TAPIR Odd-toed basset beast that, on and off, initially populated Iran (5)
T(H)A(T) (that, on and off) + P (Populated initially) + IR (Iran)
15 N ANNUL Abnegator Abrogate taking away both ends of a narrow tube (5)
(C)ANNUL(A) (narrow tube, without ends)
17 A LAYER Surprisingly early producer of gages eggs (5)
21 EPITAPH Happiest drunk has cut inscription on stone (7)
HAPPIEST* – S (has)
22 U TSUGA A sudden wind knocked back tree ungues genus (5)
[A GUST (sudden wind)]<
24 EMETIN Drug encountered in sick-making alkaloid? (6)
E (drug) + MET (encountered) + IN
26 MIHRAB Aged couple must leave Birmingham, developing niche (6)
[BIRMINGHAM – MING (couple, old word)]*
28 COARB Head of family as a rule inside traditional building (5)
A R (rule) in COB (traditional building)
29 P AUREI Earlier Roman eponym money that is coming back after January, periodically (5)
IE< (that is, backwards) after (J)A(N)U(A)R(Y) (January periodically)
30 B PAGRI George, King and Emperor, got onto publicity agent for protection from snub sun (5)
GRI (George, King and Emperor) after PA (publicity agent)
32 SLUR Slight hints of social lapses upset royalist (4)
initials of Social Lapses Upset Royalist; slight, vt


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