Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 997: Sol by Kruger

Posted by mc_rapper67 on December 31st, 2011


A shorter (and less complicated!) preamble than some recent EVs – each clue giving an extra letter, which would spell out an instruction to apply to all answers before entry.

I was lucky enough to spot the underlying theme to this quite quickly – within the first 10 minutes or so… I went through the clues, comparing them to grid entries and noticed that most answer lengths were one letter more than the entry, some were two or even three, and one five…but some were the same length. However, none were shorter – implying some sort of letter removal was required before entry – in most cases.

Then, as I started solving, a pattern emerged – answers requiring deletions had repeated letters which matched the number of characters over the grid entry, e.g. CYCLE, AGLEE or EGG-WHITE, whereas I managed to get a couple of the matching length answers, like LAUGHTER and ACHING – which had no repeated letters.

Simple, I thought – and it may seem that way, with no quotations, hidden words, patterns to be drawn, etc. – but there was still some fairly hard solving to get through before I got the instruction to confirm my theory – OMIT ALL REPEATED LETTERS FROM EVERY GRID ENTRY. Thus the twelve-letter DIESEL ENGINE becomes the seven letter entry DIESLNG, etc.

Some quite hard (but fair) clues, the extra letters in wordplay, and the fact that crossing letters were not always helpful, due to omitted letters, all added up to make this an enjoyable challenge of an EV, and quite a feat of construction – so thank-you Kruger, and a happy New Year to you all…

Clue No Extra Letter Derived Answer Entry Clue (definition in bold)/
1A O VERGER VERG Church official on the other side of Mongolian tent (6) /
(O)VER (on the other side) + GER (Mongolian tent, or yurt)
4A M ECONOMICAL ECONMIAL Abused once, mother in US state is careful (10) /
ECON – anag (i.e. abused) of ONCE – plus (M)OM (mother) + I (in) + CAL (California)
11A I OTTAR OTAR Pole’s covering bird in oil (5) /
OAR (pole) around T(I)T (bird)
13A T TENSON TENSO Native enters wine competition (6) /
TEN(T) (wine) around SON (native)
14A A WHEATEAR WHEATR Bird, weak with high temperature, on cultivated area (8) /
W (with) + HEAT (high temperature) + anag (i.e. cultivated) of (A)REA
15A L ASTRICT ASTRIC Bind most unlikely burglar finally before international court (7) /
(L)AST (most unlikely) + R (last letter of burglar) + I (International) + CT (court)
16A L ACCENT ACENT Chief accountant upset customer lacking single distinguishing mark (6) /
AC (CA, chief accountant, upset) + C(L)ENT (client, or customer, without I – single)
18A R LAUGHTER LAUGHTER Scornful act disturbed the rural gentry at first (8) /
anag (i.e. disturbed) of THE + (R)URAL + G (first of gentry)
19A E AVGAS AVGS When star put in fuel for plane (5) /
AS (when) around V(E)GA (star)
23A P BANNERET BANERT Opinion’s taking in waiter but not starting to influence knight (8) /
BET (opinion, as in ‘I bet…’) around (P)ANNER (pannier, or waiter, without I – first of ‘influence’)
24A E ACHING ACHING Priest abandons sermonizing in pain (6) /
pr(E)ACHING (sermonising) without PR (priest)
26A A CYCLE CYLE Saucy calendar displays series of romances (5) /
hidden word in sauCY C(A)LEndar
27A T GRAECO-ROMAN GRAECOMN Old Croat and German devised style of wrestling (11, hyphenated) /
anag (i.e. devised) of O (old) + CROA(T) + GERMAN
31A E SOCLE SOCLE Plain face is very good on shortened 2-iron (5) /
SO (very good) + CLE(E) – shortened CLEEK, or golf club (2-iron)
33A D WHELPED WHELPD Wife occupied soft bed (with no blankets initially), and gave birth (7) /
W (wife) + HELD (occupied) around P (soft, pianissimo) + E(D) – bed without B, first of blankets
34A L EGG WHITE EGWHIT On changing weight, it could be used in cookery (8, 2 words) /
(L)EG (on-side, in cricket) + anag (i.e. changing) of WEIGHT
35A E RELENT RELNT Soften first of ridges with iron for example [not the middle] (6) /
R (first of ridges) + ELEm(E)NT – element, such as iron, without its middle letter
36A T WICCA WICA For a second time almost caught by Dominica’s ultimate black magic cult (5) /
(T)WICe (for a second time, almost) + C (caught) + A (last of Dominica)
37A T DRAGONTREE DRAGONTE Otter and gander destroyed large plant (10, 2 words) /
anag (i.e. destroyed) of OT(T)ER + GANDER
38A E AGLEE AGLE After a period of time shelter is askew in Ayr (5) /
AG(E) (time) + LEE (shelter)
Clue No Extra Letter Derived Answer Entry Clue (definition in bold)/
1D R VOWEL VOWEL It could be a promise to relative (5) /
VOW (promise) + (R)EL (relative)
2D S ETHNARCHY ETHNARCY Egyptian fratricide’s cunning – hiding in US city governor’s domain (9) /
(S)ETH (Egyptian god, who committed fratricide) + NY (US city) around ARCH (cunning)
3D F RAEBURN RAEBUN Artist from north of the border with black vase (7) /
(F)RAE (from, Scottish) + B (black) + URN (vase)
5D R CURETTAGE  CURETAGE Procedure to remove tissue from dog and French cat’s tail – madness! (9) /
CUR (dog) + ET (French, ‘and’) + T (last of cat) + (R)AGE (madness)
6D O OMAN  OMAN Afternoon moon is hazy in sultanate (4) /
anag (i.e. hazy) of A (afternoon) + MO(O)N
7D M METHANAL  METHANL I leave them animal pickled in formaldehyde (8) /
anag (i.e. pickled) of THE(M) + ANiMAL (without I)
8D E INRO  INRO Emperor follows in something of traditional Japanese dress (4) /
I (in) + N(E)RO (emperor)
9D V ASSIST ASIT Help very large sibling inside (6) /
(V)AST (very large) around SIS (sister, sibling)
10D E LOCUSTA LOCUSTA Place to eat repellent grasshopper (7) /
LOCUS (place) + TA(E) (eat, repelled)
12D R ETCHINGS ETCHINGS Impressions of awful singer in Chad? Au contraire! (8) /
TCH (International Vehicle Registration for Chad) in anag (i.e. awful) of SINGE(R)
17D Y TRAVEL AGENT TRAVELGN He could arrange to get away from river engulfing composer and another man (11, 2 words) /
TA(Y) (river) around RAVEL (composer) plus GENT (another man)
20D G GRAMMATICAL GRAMTICL With properly constructed language, letter covers refugee’s first and habitual response to local girl (11) /
GAMMA (letter) around R (first of refugee), plus TIC (habitual response) + (G)AL (girl, dialect)
21D R BACKWARD BACKWRD Unwilling poet eats part of carcass with wife (8) /
BARD (poet) around (R)ACK (part of carcass) + W (wife)
22D I DIESEL ENGINE DIESLNG Disturbed genie inside lamp’s opening base – it could be a source of power (12, 2 words) /
anag (i.e. disturbed) of GENIE INS(I)DE + L (first of lamp), then E (logarithmic base, mathematics)
23D D BRACELET BRACELT Support cash discount by returning box for ornament (8) /
BRA (support) + C(D) (cash discount) + ELET (tele, or box, backwards)
25D E NOTHING NOTHIG One night transformed insignificant person (7) /
anag (i.e. transformed) of ON(E) NIGHT
28D N NOTATE NOTAE Write, in specialised symbols, observation about native (6) /
NOTE (observation) around (N)AT (native)
29D T WHERE WHER Sharpen leading edges of rapier and épee – in what circumstances? (5) /
WHE(T) (sharpen) + RE (leading letters of Rapier and Épee)
30D R CELLA CELA Chamber in temple’s underground vault (5) /
double defn (of sorts) – CELLA = temple chamber, CELLA(R) = underground vault
32D Y ODEON ODEN Mostly sing in a frequently changing voice beside theatre (5) /
(Y)ODE (most of yodel, or sing in a changing voice) + ON (beside)

6 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 997: Sol by Kruger”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, mc_rapper67 and Kruger. My solving experience was quite similar to yours, except that it was very much more than 10 mins before I spotted the theme. As you say, hard but totally fair and most enjoyable. Thanks for explaining Seth – I did not understand that but it had to be right. BTW – and this only came to me quite a bit after I solved the puzzle – I think the title means SOLO (ie just one letter appearing) treated in the same way as the grid entries were.

  2. Ernie says:

    Thanks for your blog.

    I just want to point out that you have used ‘repeating’ letters in your preamble whereas you obviously meant ‘repeated’ letters.

  3. mc_rapper67 says:

    Thanks for the feedback:
    – Ernie at #2, I have corrected that
    – nmsindy at #1 – good spot on the title, or should that be tile?! – I had assumed ‘sol’ was Spanish or Italian for only/alone or similar – I had a note on my working copy, but lost that over Xmas, so was working from scratch and long-distance memory here…

  4. Tony says:

    Sol means sun in Italian and Spanish.

  5. Deep Threat says:

    I think that at 19a the star is ‘V(e)ga’, giving ‘AVGAS’ as the full answer and ‘AVGS’ as the grid entry.

  6. mc_rapper67 says:

    Thanks DT – yes, that makes more sense – duly updated. As I said, I had lost my notes by the time I blogged – hope I got it right in my submitted version!…

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eight + = 17