Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 1,008: Sarnies by Syd Lexis

Posted by mc_rapper67 on March 17th, 2012


Food for thought this week, with SARNIES on the menu from Syd Lexis. Not much else to chew on for starters – with an unnumbered and only partially-barred grid…but at least Across and Down were indicated! In the classic Monty Python ‘Aussie Wine’ sketch there is the line: ‘This is not a wine for drinking, this is a wine for laying down and avoiding!’…and I normally take that approach with unnumbered/thematic jigsaws. But the rota says it is my turn to blog, so I pressed on, hoping I hadn’t bitten off more than I could chew, and that I would get my just desserts – not end up looking like a pudding.

 The preamble says that to ‘complete 6 Down’ eight thematic clues – each a mixture of wordplay and definitions for two words, ‘sarnies’ i) to vii) – need to be solved and entered in a way to be deduced, adding vertical barring to maintain 180-degree symmetry and proper words.

It looked like 6D would be the middle column. And looking at the order and enumerations of the starred across and down clues, it  soon became clear that the thematics would go in the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 8th, 10th and 12th rows, and the first and last columns. But I couldn’t get my head round those jumbled clues to start with, so I attacked the others and gradually started to fill some of these in, starting from BRASH and SRI in the bottom left, BADE. ALEE and NEEDERS in the bottom right.

Once I had a few crossing letters, I returned to the sarnies – and started to find words that looked like fillings – HARVEST (anag of THRAVES), TRUST, SPECTRE – and then got to 6D – THE RIGHT GRID.

Suffice to say, after a fair amount of brainache, I eventually worked out that the missing vertical bars – to complete THE RIGHT GRID – would shorten a couple of those across rows, and also cut the sarnies in two – so HARVEST in WINGS became W-HARVE/ST-INGS, and so on. This was helped by spotting that the bar above the P of PRES-ET/HER-SED in row 8 jutted out slightly into the prevous cell, looking as though it was missing a vertical bar down to close off the P. Not sure if this was an intentional pointer, but I’ll take what I can get!

Phew – maybe I made a meal of it, and some of you found it easier to digest? – but this was a tough workout, and I felt very satisfied with myself for getting there in the end – posting my competition entry off just in time… 

I couldn’t work out any significance of the theme – anniversary of the invention of the sandwich?! So I guess it was just there for the devilishness of it – interesting construction and devices – a worthy EV.


Clue No Sarnie Entry Clue, definition(s) in bold /
i SPECTRE in ADDLE ASPECT/REDDLE To sum up: the French rarely face the sun-god, moving to end haunting fear, become muddled /
ADD (sum up) + LE (the, in French) / SPECTRE = RESPECT (obsolete, to face) with Re (Egyptian sun-god) moving to the end
ii HEADED in BIGNESS BIGHEADEDNESS Scottish pile up on cape originated, one day, with notice about size /
BIG (Scottish, to pile up) + NESS (cape) / HEED (notice) around A (one) + D (day)
iii DERIDE in PENATE PENDER/IDEATE Hamper mischievous goddess – mock Edmund’s injury, covering the same like a foot /
PEN (hamper, confine) + ATE (Ate, Greek goddess of mischief) / DERE (Spenser, injury) around ID (Latin abbreviation, idem, the same)
iv ETHER in PRESSED PRESET/HERSED Newspaper editor, returning note about article, assumed medium filling all space commandeered /
PRESS (newspaper) + ED (Editor) / ER (note, RE, returning) around THE (article)
v SIDE in RENTS RESIDENTS After opening, special school division is returning dead Earl’s periodic payments /
RENT (tear, opening) + S (special) / SI (IS, returning) + D (dead) + E (Earl)
vi CAP in UNABLE UNCAPABLE Catch in rubber hat about one penny not having sufficient strength /
ULE (rubber) around NAB (catch) / C (circa) + A (one) + P (penny)
vii TRUST in UNWORTHY UNTRUSTWORTHY Not deserving hope, tense with fungus, morbid, taking rare vegetable lacking time for cure /
T (tense) + RUST (fungus) / UNhealTHY (morbid) exchanging HEAL (cure) for WOR (rare, vegetable, wort, minus T time)
viii HARVEST in WINGS WHARVE/STINGS Moves with speed to reap, upsetting thraves, on wide waterside meadows /
HARVEST = anag (i.e. upset) of THRAVES / W (with) + INGS (waterside meadows)
Clue No   Entry Clue, definition in bold /
* n/a NOON New Scottish cooker’s culminating point (4) /
N (new) + OON (Scottish oven)
* n/a PAUAS Maori settlements keep gold decorative shells (5) /
PAS (pa – Maori settlement) around AU (gold)
* n/a AHOY Hail a large single-decked boat (4) /
A + HOY (single-decked boat)
* n/a EERIE With last of finance Ireland set-back could be frightening (5) /
E (last letter of finance) + ERIE (Eire, or Ireland, set back)
* n/a TIER Tasmania mountain range fierce animal loses heart (4) /
TIgER (fierce animal) losing its middle letter, or heart
* n/a RAILS Banters water-birds (5) /
double defn. to RAIL can be to banter, a RAIL is a water-bird
* n/a GERMENS Mongolian tents covering males’ rudiments (7) /
GERS (ger – Mongolian tent) arund MEN (males)
* n/a BETROTH Promise to marry a little girl about to talk nonsense (7) /
BETH (diminutive of Elizabeth) around ROT (talk nonsense)
* n/a SWIRE Father’s hugging wife’s neck (5) /
SIRE (father) around W (wife)
* n/a EROS Asteroid’s irregularly notched, missing earth at last… (4) /
EROSE (eroded, irregularly notched) missing E (earth)
* n/a ANGEL a divine messenger – one to take shape (5) /
AN (one) + GEL (to take shape)
* n/a BADE Asked for early brandies regularly (4) /
regular letters of BrAnDiEs
* n/a BRASH Second class, hasty, crude (5) /
B (second class) + RASH (hasty)
* n/a VERT Right to cut green trees, halving tops (4) /
half of VERTices (tops)
Clue No   Entry Clue, definition in bold /
* n/a NOWHERE Who breaks in once, not, note to be out of the running? (7) /
NE (no, once) around anag. (i.e. breaks) of WHO, plus RE (note)
* n/a TOHO Stop at stop (4) /
TO (at) + HO (stop)
* n/a UNREEL Wind off drum perhaps, sounds incredible (6) /
homophone of ‘unreal’, or incredible
* n/a SAVER Special cattle protector (5) /
S (special) + AVER (cattle)
* n/a THE RIGHT GRID See preamble (12, three words) /
to be deduced
* n/a OPT Make a choice of pupil, teacher (3) /
O (of) + PT (Pupil-Teacher)
* n/a RAIT Soak dish of chopped vegetable (Indian, not American) (4) /
RAITa = Indian dish, without A (American)
* n/a HAG The greater shearwater’s sacrificed down for witch (3) /
HAGdown (greater shearwater) without down
* n/a ASIDES Indirect efforts while page is held… (6) /
AS (while) around (holding) SIDE (page)
* n/a UNITER one joining returning train, having lost final (6) /
reversal of RETINUe – train, without last letter
* n/a DIRE Dreadful, mournful piece of music’s no good (4) /
DIRgE – mournful song, without G (good)
* n/a AMIR Chink backs certain prince’s title (4) /
RIMA (gap, or chink) backing
* n/a ATROPA Murphy’s relation could kill one left at sea to return after acting (6) /
A (acting) + TROPA (A – one – plus PORT – left, at sea, all reversed) – Atropa, or deadly nightshade, being in the same family as the potato (Murphy)
* n/a STENTS Medical devices succeeded with plugs of material (6) /
S (succeeded) + TENTS (plugs or rolls of material, medical)
* n/a NEEDERS Those goading left out those who want (7) /
NEEDLERS (those goading) without L (left)
* n/a WELDED Applying pressure, joined lord in old armour (6) /
WEED (archaic, armour) around LD (Lord)
* n/a HEEZE Lift man’s electronic journal – but not at home! (5) /
HE (man) + E-ZinE (electronic journal, without IN – at home)
* n/a SESH She’s upset an informal sitting (4) /
anag (i.e. upset) of SHE’S
* n/a ALEE Area with open country toward the sheltered side (4) /
A (area) + LEE (open country)
* n/a SRI Second scientific society’s respectful title (3) /
S (second) + RI (Royal Institute)
* n/a CHE Rancher shelters one in Cheddar Gorge (3) /
hidden word in ranCHEr – che being West Country dialect for I, or one

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