Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 1001: Croquet by Salamanca

Posted by Dave Hennings on January 28th, 2012

Dave Hennings.

I did a blog for a Salamanca puzzle at Listen With Others back in January 2010. However, this is my first for one of his EVs, which is surprising since he’s had ten or so since we started blogging them here.

In this puzzle, we were told that the entries for the one- and two-word clues were self-explanatory, and the extra letters in the subsidiary indications of Down clues would furnish a hint. 1ac Oyl(e) (4) and 4ac Forsyth (8) were undoubtedly OLIVE and FREDERICK, both one letter too long for their entry space. It seemed obvious that the first, middle or last letter would be dropped, and it wasn’t long before I had confirmed that it was the first. The fact that I hadn’t heard of a couple of the last names, or that some had more than one possibility, didn’t stop me finishing the rest of the puzzle. That was because the rest of the puzzle was one of the easiest EVs for a very long time.

The extra letters in the subsidiary indications for Down clues (except for the thematic ones) led to The Queen of Hearts, a reference to “Off with their heads” during the croquet match in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Solving time: 45 minutes


Definition in clue
X = extra letters in wordplay
Y = head missing from thematic entries
ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden


No Entry Clue and Explanation
1 OLIVE Oyl(e) (4)
Thematic entry: Olive Oyl(e), cartoon character, girlfriend of Popeye
4 FREDERICK Forsyth (8)
Thematic entry: Frederick Forsyth, British author of thrillers including The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File, and The Fourth Protocol
10 LINENS Cloths that are new kept in rows (6)
N (new) in LINES (rows)
11 LECH The French initially consumed with hot lust (4)
LE (‘the’ in French) + C (Consumed, initially) + H (hot)
12 FERDINAND De Lesseps (8)
Thematic entry: Ferdinand de Lesseps, French diplomat responsible for organising the development of the Suez Canal
14 WASIM Bari (4)
Thematic entry: Wasim Bari, former Pakistani cricketer
15 NAE No Scots back English one (3)
(E (English) AN (one))<
17 EPODE English school beginning to explain lyric poem (5)
E (English) + POD (school) + E (beginning to Explain)
19 EGO I therefore ditched rector (3)
ERGO (therefore) – R (rector)
20 MEAGRE Silver in lake is poor in quality (6)
AG (silver) in MERE (lake)
22 ISAIAH Berlin (5)
Thematic entry: Isaiah Berlin, British philosopher
23 THEODORE Sturgeon (7)
Thematic Entry: Theodore Sturgeon, American Science Fiction author
24 TENSION What might be experienced by Sherpa inhaling oxygen, lacking gravity? (7)
TENSING (Sherpa) holding O (oxygen) – G (gravity); a bit of an odd cryptic definition?
27 HORACE Rumpole (5)
Thematic entry: Horace Rumpole, fictional barrister in books by John Mortimer and made famous by Leo McKern in television’s Rumpole of the Bailey
30 TUMULI Most of commotion is by independent barrows (6)
TUMUL[T] (most of commotion) + I (independent)
33 DOR Way back, missing one insect (3)
ROAD< (way) – A (one)
34 RYPER Dreary person protects birds (5)
in dreaRY PERson
36 SMA Wee Scots are writing back (3)
(A (are) + MS (writing: manuscript))<
38 ANIL Cuckoo starting to like dye plant (4)
ANI (cuckoo) + L (start to Like)
39 ARCADIAN Simple and innocent naiad disturbed by luminous discharge (8)
ARC (luminous discharge) + NAIAD*
40 GULL Cheat bird (4)
2 meanings
41 RAUNGE No longer align Scots fish roe on the tops of gutted eels (6)
RAUN (Scottish fish roe) + GE (tops of Gutted Eels)
42 THOMASINA Tittlemouse (8)
Thematic entry: Thomasina Tittlemouse, character from Beatrix Potter books
43 HENRY James (4)
Thematic entry: Henry James, American/British author whose works include The Portrait of a Lady and The Turn of the Screw
No Entry Extra
Clue and Explanation
1 ELLEN Terry (4)
Thematic entry: Ellen Terry, English stage actress
2 VIDEOING T Shooting movies maybe, give it nod when prepared (8)
3 ENIGMA H Cipher for decoding New Hampshire image (6)
(NH (New Hampshire)IMAGE)*
4 IRENE Adler (4)
Thematic entry: adversary of Sherlock Holmes in A Scandal in Bohemia
5 RENATA Tebaldi (5)
Thematic entry: Renata Tebaldi, Italian soprano
6 ELDER E More aged fish turn red (5)
EEL (fish) + RED*
7 REAPED Q Cut grass round about Quebec (6)
REED (grass) round A (about) PQ (Province of Quebec)
8 CHIDER U One who berates rich due to upset (6)
9 KIM E O’Hara raised voice amplifier (3)
MIKE< (voice amplifier); I assume this is the Kim O’Hara from Kipling’s novel Kim, but it’s a bit vague and anyway I’d prefer ‘perhaps’ in there
13 RAGA E Equipment turned up a melodic pattern (4)
GEAR< (equipment) + A
16 OGEN N Fruit, none good — rotten (4)
(NONE G (good))*
18 EMEER O Muslim ruler, more distressed around Eastern Europe (5)
MORE* about E (eastern) E (Europe)
19 HESTER Prynne (5)
Thematic entry: Hester Prynne, character in Nigel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter
21 ROAD SIGN F As e.g. SLOW — as fording damaged (8, 2 words)
23 HOME H Residence for man around island with no lake (4)
HE (man) around HOLM (island) – L (lake)
25 ERYNGO E Grey one wasted candied root (6)
26 ESTELLA Haversham (6)
Thematic entry: Estella Haversham, character in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations
28 ARIADNE Oliver (6)
Thematic entry: Ariadne Oliver, character in Agatha Christie novels, mostly with Hercule Poirot
29 COMA A Articles about common stupor (4)
AA (articles) about COM (common)
31 URALS R Relating to the country’s southern mountains (5)
RURAL (relating to the country) + S (southern)
32 DUNCAN Goodhew (5)
Thematic entry: Duncan Goodhew, British Olympic swimmer
35 PAUA T Gold bug worked up for shell decoration (4)
(AU (gold) TAP (bug))<
37 SANDY Gall (4)
Thematic entry: Sandy Gall, Scottish author and former ITN news presenter
38 ASH S Remains from sliding frame (3)
SASH (sliding frame)


2 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations 1001: Croquet by Salamanca”

  1. Deep Threat says:

    I agree that this came over as a remarkably easy EV.

    I hadn’t spotted until I read the blog that the removed first letters of the thematic answers in clue order spell out ‘Off with tbeir heads’.

  2. Dave Hennings says:

    Thanks, DT. I failed to see that extra feature … despite having looked! Next time I’ll use a more garish colour to make any extra message really stand out.

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