Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No.988 – Pairs by Oxymoron

Posted by Mister Sting on October 22nd, 2011

Mister Sting.

I found this an enjoyable little number.

A certain amount of cold solving required for the thematic clues, but it was helpful that they were listed in alphabetical order. No word lengths given, which might have resulted in a few incongruous pairings, but they were easy enough to sort out once the penny dropped.

Having solved the two relevant thematic clues, spotting what looked like it might be MMALCOLMIDDLE on the bottom line broke it wide open.

The thematic material is a series of paired words which, with the addition of ‘in the’ or ‘in a’, form into well-known phrases. Appropriately, one word is to be written ‘in’ the other.

I thought the cluing was fair – not excessively challenging, though there was some nicely tricky wordplay. 23dn, for example, was harderto parse than to solve, but the additional airforce reference was a lovely touch.

I think that I’ve understood 34dn correctly but, if so, I’m rather surprised (though not upset) that the clue made it through. If I’ve slipped up, then blame my mens rea. Thanks, Phi!

The pairings are as follows:

SHOT in the ARM
SLAP in the FACE
HOLE in the WALL
MAN in the MOON
PAIN in the NECK

I’m afraid that I couldn’t parse MOON. ‘Moon Over Broadway’ and the verb ‘to moon’ were all I could think of. Aid gratefully received. Thanks, D Reynolds!


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

Please post a comment if the explanations are not clear.

ARM Strengthen component of a carver perhaps double definition: strengthen/component of a carver [= a dining chair with arms] perhaps
BLUE MOON German leaves Boulogne worried about money – a rare sight (2 words) a rare sight: ins. {about} of M (money) in removal of G (German) from BOULOGNE* {worried}
BOTTLE Street entertainer’s collection – a bundle double definition: street entertainer’s collection/a bundle
DOG The same government failure failure: DO (the same) + G (government)
DROP Sweet drink container inscribed by Rex sweet: ins. {inscribed} of R (rex) in DOP (drink container)
FACE Female with excellent look look: F (female) + ACE (excellent)
HOLE Part of golf course left covered by weed part of golf course: ins. {covered by} of L (left) in HOE (weed)
JUNGLE Woman keeping extremely graceful where there’s fierce competition where there’s fierce competition: ins. {keeping} of GL (extremely GracefuL) in JUNE (woman)
MALCOLM Army officer in sickness married a Scottish monarch a Scottish monarch: ins. {in} of COL (army officer) in MAL (sickness) + M (married)
MAN Governor has millions for British ship ship: BAN (governor), with M (millions) replacing B (British)
MANGER Someone able to cope without a crib crib: removal {without} of A from MANAGER (someone able to cope)
MESSAGE Text generation by Old Master text: MESS (old master) + AGE (generation)
MIDDLE Male violinist not following the central part the central part: M (male) + removal of F (following from FIDDLE (violinist)
MOON On Broadway show can tick over on Broadway show can [= the buttocks]: MO (tick) + ON (over)
NECK Pass third of fish taken from front of catch at Oban pass: removal of S (third of fiSh) from SNECK (catch at Oban)
OCEAN Once a staggeringly vast quantity vast quantity: ONCEA* {staggeringly}
ONCE Drink keeping cold at any time at any time: ins. {keeping} of C (cold) in ONE (drink)
PAIN Maori settlement by way of penalty penalty: PA (Maori settlement) + IN (by way of)
RUMBLE Discover the truth about gang fight in Brooklyn double definition: discover the truth about/gang fight in Brooklyn
SHOT Exhausted pig double definition
SLAP Straight pass double definition
WALL Liberal rule about defence defence: <{about}[L (liberal) + LAW (rule)]
10 LORIKEET Old rook taken by equal alien flyer (8) flyer: ins. {taken by} of O (old) R (rook) in LIKE (equal) ET (alien)
14 ESPIALS Letter containing sanctimonious Latin observations (7) observations: ins. {containing} of PIA (sanctimonious) + L (Latin) in ESS (letter)
16 PSOAS Muscle thus restricted by action (5) muscle: ins. {restricted by} of SO (thus) in PAS (action)
17 OMIT Drop of medium fortified wine (4) drop: O (of) + M (medium) + IT (fortified wine – Italian vermouth)
25 CANUTE Church sheltering a tough king (6) king: ins. {sheltering} of A NUT (tough) in CE (church)
27 AMATOL Returned pot containing live explosive (6) explosive: <{returned}[ins. {containing} of in AM (live) in LOTA (pot)]
33 OGPU Defunct police doctor captured by South African chap (4) defunct police: ins. {captured by} of GP (doctor) in OU (South African chap)
34 SOOTY Blackish pair of ducks found in pen (5) blackish: ins. {found in} of OO (pair of ducks) in STY (pen)
36 ATABRIN Yellow powder in a reduced saline solution (7) yellow powder: AT (in) + A + BRINe (saline solution){reduced}
2 TROPIC Subject covering Republican turning point (6) turning point: ins. {covering} of R (republican) in TOPIC (subject)
3 MIDI Music system communication protocol (4) double definition: music system/communication protocol
4 EKMAN 250 kilometres advanced by navy oceanographer (5) oceanographer: E (250) + KM (kilometres) + A (advanced) + N (navy)
5 SEN Italian without change in Osaka (3) double definition: Italian without/change in Osaka
6 GRESHAM English financier Greek has demolished in letter (7) English financier: GR (Greek) + ins. {in} of HAS* {demolished} in EM (letter)
7 EDDO Sullivan perhaps to cook an edible rootstock (4) edible rootstock: ED (Sullivan perhaps) + DO (to cook)
8 TROATS Bells are carried by William’s old women (6) bells: ins. {carried} of A (are) in TROTS (William[ Shakespeare]’s old women)
9 LUGS Poles in the country carry spades (4) poles: LUG (in the country carry) + S (spades)
12 ASMEAR Antique daubed over, like my old plough (6) antique daubed over: AS (like) + M’ (my old) + EAR (old plough)
15 SANTANA Tennis player, amateur, kicked out of Californian city (7) tennis player: removal {kicked out} of A (amateur) from SANTA ANA (Californian city)
18 LIEF Old dear to remain north of France (4) old dear: LIE (to remain) on {north of) F (France)
20 OVAL Descendant of John erected Hobart’s cricket ground (4) Hobart’s [Aust] cricket ground: O’ (descendant of) <{erected} LAV (john)
22 PUMA Premium area accomodating posh cat (4) cat: ins. {accomodating} of U (posh) in PM (premium) + A (area)
23 KACK Erk avoiding anti-aircraft fire? Rubbish (4) rubbish: removal {avoiding} of AC (erk – aircraftman) from ACK-ACK (anti-aircriaft fire)
24 COPPIN Top policeman, soft at home (6) top: COP (policeman) + P (soft) + IN (at home)
26 TANTRIC Soldier interrupting translator in charge of Hindu and Buddhist scriptures (7) of Hindu and Buddhist scriptures: ins. {interrupting} of ANT (soldier) in TR (translator) + IC (in charge)
28 AMOEBA A live old mother raised a tiny creature (6) a tiny creature: <{raised}[A + BE (live) + O (old) + MA (mother)]
30 AGREED Harmonized silver wind instrument (6) harmonized: AG (silver) + REED (wind instrument)
32 HANOI Drive on across a northern capital city (5) capital city: ins. {across} of A + N (northern) in HOI (drive on)
34 SCUM Problem restricting Catholic mother (4) mother [meaning ‘scum’ as in ‘dregs’ – nothing rude!!]: ins. {restricting} of C (catholic) in SUM (problem)
35 ODAL Shetlander’s estate exhaust lifted by a learner (4) Shetlander’s estate: <{lifted} DO (exhaust) + A + L (learner)
37 BOLD British experienced forward (4) forward: B (British) + OLD (experienced)
39 PAL Drink up mate! (3) mate: <{up} LAP (drink)

7 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No.988 – Pairs by Oxymoron”

  1. Phi says:

    Try the second meaning of ‘mother’ in Chambers for a politer interpretation!

  2. Mister Sting says:

    Oh dear. I was about to blame the mobile Chambers app for its incompleteness, but apparently I liked the unlikely possibility that the Telegraph would use offensive language so much that it affected my ability to look up words. *Entry redacted*!

  3. Cap'n P'ng'n says:

    Tick == Mo
    over == on
    and Moon over Broadway
    was my reading of the clue for Moon, but I’ll be happy to be corrected.

  4. Mister Sting says:

    Thanks, Cap’n. I see how MO (tick) + ON (over) works, but how does ‘On Broadway show can’ mean ‘moon’? Hmm.

  5. D Reynolds says:

    this is the rude one – ‘moon’ as in, to expose one’s backside through a car window on a public thoroughfare in america = ‘on Broadway show'[or were you bluffing with that hmm?].

  6. D Reynolds says:

    ….and of course ‘can’ is u.s. slang for buttocks.

  7. Mister Sting says:

    Ah-ha! Mystery solved! Thanks kindly, D Reynolds. No bluffing – I’d been thinking of the shoegazing type of mooning.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

6 × = eighteen