Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No.992 – Udergroud by Loda

Posted by Mister Sting on November 19th, 2011

Mister Sting.

Hey, boys and girls! Do you like shameless cross-promotion? You do? Well, that’s just great, because I was about to tell you that you should listen to Mighty Mighty Mix Tape on at 10pm on Mondays (during term time only – and, yes, Oxford’s terms are ludicrously short).

Right, on with the (other) show!

Either I get lucky, or I’m just biased towards the EVs that I cover, but I enjoyed this one. (I do enjoy most of them, but perhaps not equally.) It didn’t hurt that I pretty much worked out the theme from the title – the first time I’ve done that.

‘Udergroud’ obviously suggested the word ‘Underground’. ‘N’ is (or can be) a note, so we have a pretty easy reference to ‘Notes from Underground’ by Dostoyevsky.There are only so many famous Dostoyevsky works, so one only needed to get a few of the 2nd/4th letter pairs to figure them out. That gave:


(Thanks to Deep Threat for clearing up a silly mistake I made with spelling of his middle name.)

We’ve not mentioned his best-known work yet and, unsurprisingly, the unclued entries ‘exemplify’ Crime(s) and Punishment(s).

The first letters of the normal clues spell out (Prince) MYSHKIN, who is the main character from THE IDIOT, which can be found in the centre of the grid.


*One gripe: it appears that there’s a mistake in 3dn. The required extra letters are DO, but the clue appears to give PO. Thanks to Querulous (in the comments below).

(xxx) = definition
{xxx} = (anagram/homophone/container/etc.) indicator
XXX* = anagram
< = reversal
xxx = unused letter(s)
that=extra word
TH=2nd/4th letters (in ‘message’ order)
M=initial letter of normal clue 

Please post a comment if the explanations are not clear.

1  TH STYLISE Conventionalise that hit list? Yes (7) conventionalise: LISTYES* [hit]
6  M DUCKS Moves head lower for mandarins perhaps (5) double definition: moves head lower/mandarins perhaps
10 TREASON Unclued
12  EB TART Troy’s drawing, bedbugs biting (4) biting: T (troy) + ART (drawing)
13  RO TROUNCERS These four harassed once jumping counter by customer services’ centre (9) these harassed once: COUNTER* [jumping] + customeRServices [centre]
14  TH LONG Itching down to the ankles see – no good (4) down to the ankles: LO (see) + NG (no good)
15  ER ASPIC Game might be covered by this archaic snake creed (5) double definition: game might be covered by this/archaic snake
16  SK ROED Skis course, reportedly carrying eggs (4) carrying eggs: homophone [reportedly] of RODE (course)
17  Y FINI Yankee bill’s overinked, essentially ruined (4) ruined: FIN (Yankee bill – specifically a $5-bill) + overInked [essentially]
19  AR RATHE Married early, verteran is heart broken (5) early veteran: HEART* (broken)
21  AM DIOTAS Two-handled vases said to warm liquid (6) two-handled vases: SAIDTO* [liquid]
22  AZ SPRINT Dazzling dash to make an impression on judges finally (6) dash: judgeS [finally] + PRINT (to make an impression)
24 ARSON Unclued
26  S BABE Stunner’s incomplete folly (4) stunner: BABEl (folly) [incomplete]
28  OV SOUL A tiny amount of money’s left for convector element (4) element: SOU (a tiny amount of money) + L (left)
30  TH GRIST Ground corn’s a saviour – church departs for first of Gabonese ghettos (5) ground corn: CHRIST (a saviour), replacing CH (church) with G [first of Gabonese]
32  ED FUST Ian abandons heady egg-based wine drink – taste of wine cask (4) taste of wine cask: FUSTian (egg-based wine drink) [ian abandons]
34  EV CLEARCOLE Distinct cabbage leaves, whitish primary covering (9) whitish primary covering: CLEAR (distinct) + COLE (cabbage)
35  IL SILL Plain bottom of plough is switched by lines (4) bottom of plough: IS* [switched] + LL (lines)
36  SF CHOANAE Nostrils ache, somehow blocked by offset entry to olfactory organ (60% unused) (7) nostrils: ins. [blocked by] O [entry to Olfactory] + orgAN [60% unused] in ACHE* [somehow]
37 THEFT Unclued
38 HANGING Unclued
1  H STALER Handle in parts’ beginning to rust, more tainted (6) more tainted: STALE (handle in parts, i.e. dialect) + R [beginning to Rust]
2  YO TRIO Copy group and oddly turn it on (4) group: TuRnItOn [oddly]
3  DO* LARGE Elgar when excited composed* [see comment above] ostentatiously (5) ostentatiously: ELGAR* [excited]
4  RM ISOLDE Fair girl?! One tramp tricked me, pinching money (6) fair girl: I (one) + SOLD (tricked) + mE [pinching Money]
5  IK ENNUI Boredom’s set into teen, bickering nuisance (5) boredom: teENNUIsance [set into]
6  HA DECANI Wash caned ironwork (originally caned) denoting dean’s place in church (6) dean’s place in church: [CANED + I (Ironwork originally)]*[caned]
7  K UTES Knocking off British spotlights for Native Americans (4) Native Americans: brUTES (spotlights)[knocking off British]
8  IL CARPETS Will reprimands one indulged, transported by taxis e.g. (7) reprimands: ins. [transported by] of PET (one indulged) in CARS (taxis e.g.)
9 STOCKS Unclued
11  OV OUTFIT Not in appropriate convent clothes (6) clothes: OUT (not in) + FIT (appropriate)
16 RAPE Unclued
18 GAOL Unclued
20  I TREILLE I relet L shaped latticed structure (7) latticed structure: IRELETL* [shaped]
21  IC DRENCH Actress Judy’s acting holding piece of raku to fill with drink (6) to fill with drink: ins. [holding] of R [piece of Raku] in DENCH (actress Judy)
22  HD SAGEST Most wise gents as fancy without new shades? (6) most wise: GEnTSAS* [fancy; without New]
23  OS NATANT Ant struggles with twin swimming ashore (6) swimming: ANT* [struggles] + ANT (twin)
24  TO ASWOON Fainting once like wife of potter, forward (6) fainting once: AS (like) + W (wife) + O (of) + ON (forward)
25  YE NUTMEG Very eccentric girl’s seasoning (6) seasoning: NUT (eccentric) + MEG (girl)
27 BIRCH Unclued
29  VS OFLAG Prison camp belonging to evasive former convict (5) prison camp: OF (belonging to) + LAG (former convict)
31  N SELF No hard part to sandbank uniform in colour (4) uniform in colour: ShELF (sandbank)[no hard part]
33  KY SPAN Bridge is new, supporting resort – okay? (4) bridge: SPA (resort) + N (new)

5 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No.992 – Udergroud by Loda”

  1. Querulous says:

    I’m slightly confused by 3d – shouldn’t the 2nd and 4th letters be PO rather than DO, i.e. cOmPosed?

  2. Mister Sting says:

    You are, of course, completely correct.
    It appears that there is a mistake. ‘Fyopor’ would be a silly name, after all.
    I have amended the post.

  3. Deep Threat says:

    I had ‘wash’ as the extra word in 6d. This gives ‘Mikhailovich’ for the patronymic, which is a more usual spelling. Then the wordplay uses one instance of ‘caned’ as the anagram indicator.

  4. Mister Sting says:

    What *was* I thinking? Obviously, that is what is intended. My apologies all round.

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

    I think the gremlins might have changed “conducted” to “composed” in the clue for 3d.
    Thanks to Deep Threat – I was with Mr Sting on the patronymic.

    Cap’n P’ng’n

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