Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 1005: Answer by Shark

Posted by Dave Hennings on February 25th, 2012

Dave Hennings.

I’ve come across a couple of Shark puzzles before and have been nicely entertained by them. Here, subsidiary indications led to an extra letter not entered, and they spelt out part of a quotation in recent editions of the ODQ although “barely indexed” in the 4th edition. Luckily I have the 5th, so thanks for that.

A fairly small 13×11 grid, and some straightforward clues, meant that I finished this in 1½ hours … average for an EV for me, and slightly more taxing than a couple of recent 45 minute solves. Before I finished the grid, I could see that the quotation probably started “Je suis …” (either that or “Jesus …”), but that didn’t help me. I carried on to the end and got ‘capitaine’ and ‘soldats’, both of which were referenced by the ODQ index and pointed to a riddle and answer of anonymous origin:

Enigmatic Variations 1005

Riddle: Je suis le capitaine de [vingt-quatre] soldats, et sans moi, Paris [serait pris]?
Answer: A [ie, ‘Paris’ minus ‘A’ = pris, taken]

Of course, in English it doesn’t make any sense at all! I am the captain of twenty-four soldiers, and without me, Paris would be taken? Eh!

Mind you, ODQ doesn’t throw much light on the meaning of “captain of twenty-four soldiers” and is somewhat dismissive of any reference to letters of the alphabet and printing.

SERAIS and PRIS were supplied by the two clues given without definition, 21ac and 10dn. To finish the grid, two representations of the answer had to be highlighted in a total of 24 cells, “vingt-quatre” being omitted from the string of extra letters. It wasn’t difficult to see that all the individual As in the grid could be shaded to give two large As.

All in all, an entertaining puzzle from Shark.

Definition in clue
X = extra letters in subsidiary indications
ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden

No Entry Extra
Clue and Explanation
1 IMPRESA J Elegant Scottish residence has a motto (7)
JIMP (elegant, Scottish) + RES (residence) + A
7 BLOOPS E Howling sounds happen before reversing bobbin (6)
BE (happen) + SPOOL< (bobbin)
11 MYROBALAN S Fruit from my tree inside Ian’s marketplace (peeled) (9)
MY + BALSA in [T]RON[E] (marketplace, Scottish, peeled, ie outsides removed)
15 ACTIN U Chopped elder in France contains reduced protein (5)
AIN[É] (elder, French, cut short) containing CUT (reduced)
16 REMANNED I Stayed around and provided with operators again (8)
REMAINED (stayer) around N (and, ‘n’)
18 ALSO S Lasso thrown further (4)
19 SLANGER L US drug dealer returns most of LSD to fisherman (7)
[D]SL< (most of LSD) + ANGLER (fisherman)
21 SERAIT E Ecological communities on small island (6)
undefined; SERE (ecological communities) + AIT (small island)
24 SNIPS C Shares smart odd socks around (5)
NIP (smart) with SCS (odd SoCkS) around
27 LENITY A Clemency from doctor innately forgetting name (6)
(INNATELY – N (name))*
28 ARIPPLE P In a small wave, rush unrestrainedly into snow, perhaps (7)
RIP (rush unrestrainedly) in APPLE (snow, a type of apple)
30 LUDO I Game easily changed without lid on (4)
[F]LUID (easily changed, without first letter) + O (on)
32 ABACUSES T Frames insignia and causes upset (8)
TAB (insignia) + CAUSES*
35 INULA A Plant’s within hall (5)
IN (within) + AULA (hall)
37 FIRMWARES I Computer parts made from company with sign (9)
FIRM (vompany) + W (with) + ARIES (sign, astrological)
38 TEASER N Complicated Eastern riddle (6)
39 ESTUARY E Creek’s royal house almost in sight (7)
STUAR[T] (royal house, almost) in EYE (sight)
No Entry Extra
Clue and Explanation
2 MYSELF D I left hurriedly — symphony all over (6)
(FLED (left hurriedly) + SYM (symphony))<
3 PRIMA E First Roman charge advanced (5)
PRIME (charge) + A (advanced)
4 ROTA S Tease because round (4)
ROT (tease) + AS (because)
5 SAANEN O Goat from Sweden starts to act abnormally on gas (6)
S (Sweden) + AA (starts to Act Abnormally) + NEON (gas
6 ALAE L Wings’ entirely aged (4)
ALL (entirely) + AE (aged); I think the apostrophe is unintended
7 BAA D Bleat from poor American (3)
BAD (poor) + A (American)
8 OSCARS A Calcium in bones, including radius for statuettes (6)
CA (calcium) and R (radius) in OSSA (bones)
9 OUTLAW T Ban runner having allowance of time (6)
TOUT (runner) + LAW (allowance of time)
10 PRIS S Initially prolong period of glaciation in the Alps (4)
undefined; P (initially Prolong) + RISS (period of glaciation)
12 KNOTLESS E Fractured skeletons without difficulty (8)
13 ORSELLIC T Nearly smear under supportive plate of red dye (8)
LIC[K] (smear, nearly) + TORSEL (supportive plate)
14 ANGSTY S Celebrated rise once anxious (6)
SANG + (celebrated) + STY (rise, old word)
17 VESICA A Bladder in birds beginning to incur urge in Scotland (6)
AVES (birds) + I (beginning of Incur) + CA (urge, Scottish)
20 RIA N Rain battered drowned valley (3)
22 INDUNA S Perhaps Zulu tribal leader is in dingy South Africa (6)
IN + DUN (dingy) + SA (South Africa)
23 VIOLAS M Energy also engineered for musical instruments (6)
VIM (energy) +ALSO*
25 PRAAMS O Dutch boats from river rising in windswept plains (6)
PARAMOS (windswept plains) with R (river) moved up
26 CLEVER I Ingenious contraption initially used to be dearer (6)
C (Contraption, initially) + LIEVER (dearer, old word)
29 PSORA P Scabies, no longer in heart of flapping bird from North America (5)
PP (heart of flaPPing) + SORA (North American bird)
31 UNDE A Previously wavy ice-cream has topping removed (4)
[S]UNDAE (ice-cream, no top)
33 BARE R Bills receivable are open to view (4)
BR (bills receivable) + ARE
34 UNAU I Sloth from Bedouin author (4)
in bedoUIN AUthor
36 AIR S In Scotland, very much warm and dry (3)
SAIR (very much, Scottish)


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