Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 1,012: Drab Cops by Nudd

Posted by mc_rapper67 on April 14th, 2012


A cryptic title, hinting maybe at Columbo, with his dour demeanour and down-at-heel dress sense? The preamble tells us to find a horizontally-symmetrical four word quotation, and twelve answers needing some sort of adjustment before entry – which for me means a working copy of the grid and a sharpened pencil…a sharp mind would help as well, but we can’t have everything! The aforementioned twelve are also undefined in their clues, which have ‘some’ extra words as a further distraction.

Due to a busy couple of weeks, with work travel commitments and holiday, I seemed to have lots of mini-sessions with this puzzle, without cracking through it particularly quickly. Some early cold solving filled a few ‘normal’ looking clues in, without any hint of a theme, even though one of those I got early on was ‘POETS’ at 23A. Then I spotted a possible undefined/partial clue at 28A – ‘rambling as yet’ which looked like YEATS – a poet! – but crossing letters were YE??T – YEAST?

When 10A suggested KEATS but needed to fit ST??E (STAKE?) the penny dropped and a bit of searching found ‘ALL POETS ARE MAD’ in the middles of rows 4, 6, 8 and 10. So anagrammised (mad) poets turned into real words – RIMBAUD -> RADIUM B, LORCA -> CORAL, CARDENAL -> CALENDAR, etc. A few more obscure (to me) poets, in addition to YEATS, KEATS and LEAR,  meant this involved a bit of e-research and an educational time filling the last few gaps. The quotation is from Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy.

I jumped to a couple of conclusions – 21A PATINAS, 46A NASH, 49A MONTALE – whilst solving, which I then couldn’t remember or justify when I came to blog this. Any suggestions – and/or corrections to this rather hurried write-up – are welcomed.

All in all, a nicely constructed puzzle, a decent mix of harder and easier not-so-hard clues – giving a good chance of a start-in from cold solving, followed by some hard slog to completion. As for the title?…I can see DRAB as an anagram of BARD (poet), but not completely sure where ‘COPS’ comes in (?)…


Clue No Poet Entry Clue /
1A   ACCEPT Understand process of swallowing mushroom (6) /
ACT (process of) around (swallowing) CEP (mushroom)
5A RIMBAUD RADIUM B Ancient parapets border Mercutio’s hare (7) /
RIM (border) + BAUD (hare-related quotation from Mercutio in Shakespeare’s R&J)
10A KEATS STAKE Constant food for ever warm and still to be enjoyed (5) /
K (Boltzmann constant – physics, or velovity constant – chemistry) + EATS (food)
12A   REAU Take water in small scale (4) /
R (Latin abbr – ‘recipe’ – imperative, ‘take’) + EAU (water)
14A LEAR LARE Heartless composer with crimson whiskers (4) /
LEhAR (composer Franz Lehar, doubly heartless – without centre letter – H – also H = heart)
15A   APRICOT Fruit before a meal with Italian cheese – no thanks (7) /
AP (Latin abbr – ante prandium, before meal) + RICOT (Italian cheese, ricotta, without TA – thanks)
17A   TIE-IN Note a German connection (5, hyphenated) /
TI (note) + EIN (German, a, or one)
18A   STORE Painful, internally tense – lay up (5) /
SORE (painful) around T (tense)
19A   RONDOS They’re composed and extremely narrow-minded when wearing jumpers (6) /
ROOS (jumpers, kangaroos) around ND (extremes of Narrow-mindeD)
21A   PATINAS Latin American party figures in moving films (7) /
PATINA = FILM, but not sure of parsing?!
22A   ADDS Joins couples hanging around adventure playgrounds (4) /
ADDS = first and last two (couples) of ‘ADventure playgrounDS’
23A   POETS They might pen employment trainee in chambers (5) /
POS (po – chamber pot) around ET (employment trainee)
25A   SOLD Alchemist’s gold and diamonds for poet’s pay (4) /
SOL (gold, alchemy) + D (diamonds)
28A YEATS YEAST Nine bean rows rambling as yet (5) /
anag (rambling) of AS YET
30A PEELE ELPEE Schoolboys playing urinate beside bounds of lake (5) /
PEE (urinate) around LE (bounds of LakE)
32A   SERA Serine beginning to assimilate watery liquids (4) /
SER (serine) + A (first letter of assimilate)
35A   SAREE Rupee found in so Scottish garment (5) /
SAE (Scots for ‘so’) around RE (Rupee)
37A   BEMA Enrage once director’s left rostrum (4) /
BEMA = bemad (archaic, to madden, enrage) without D (director)
38A   SAWBILL Hummingbird maybe found out what was paid (7) /
double defn/&lit? SAWBILL = hummingbird, SAW BILL = found out what was paid
40A   ADORED Loved to set things in order after trouble (6) /
ADO (trouble) followed by RED (or redd, Scottish to put in order))
41A   ARMED Cultivated fellow going prickly (5) /
ARMED (prickly, of a plant) = FARMED (cultivated) without F (fellow)
44A   SPARE Avoid slit in Donald’s trews (5) /
double defn – SPARE = avoid, save, and also Scottish for slit/opening in a pair of trews-ers
45A   UTILISE Employ and call troops into service as replacement for gang (7) /
UTILISE = MOBILISE (call into service) with UT (as) replacing MOB (gang)
46A NASH SHAN Pear from Asia (but not India) simply rotted early (4) /
not sure?! NAISH or NASHI – pear - without I (India)?
47A   OBOE Stop vessel reaching Spain (4) /
OBO (vessel, carrying Oil & Bulk Ore) + E (Spain)
48A DANTE ANTED Sorrowful city long ago discouraged closing early (5) /
DANTE = DANTED (daunted, discouraged, without last letter – closing early)
49A MONTALE TELAMON Burmese narrative crazed with the love of light (7) /
not sure?! MON (Burmese?) + TALE (narrative)?
50A   THESIS Shiest drunk’s downbeat in bar (6) /
anag (i.e. drunk) of SHIEST
Clue No Poet Entry Clue /
1D   ASHTRAYS Off course Society injecting heroin where butts may be seen (8) /
ASTRAY (off course) + S (Society), around H (heroin)
2D CARDENAL CALENDAR Eccentric person ascending track while classes exist (8) /
CARD (eccentric person) + ENAL (lane, or track, ascending)
3D   PERN Hawk in the direction of Norway (4) /
PER (in the direction of) + N (Norway)
4D   TREASON Turncoat’s last to discuss disloyalty (7) /
T (last of turncoat) + REASON (discuss)
5D   REAL Sincere german Green abandons oxygen (4) /
REAL (sincere) = REALO (German Green politician) less O (oxygen)
6D   DURST Rarely ventured right into the earth (5) /
DUST (earth) around R (right)
7D   IRITIS Pursuing the taxman – it’s a localised irritation (6) /
IR (Inland Revenue) + ITIS (it’s, it is)
8D   UNCO Some news from Perth – tip off American con (4) /
UNCO (Scottish, news) = BUNCO (US, confidence trick, missing first letter, or tip)
9D   BETES Locally relieves temperature when bitten by insects (5) /
BEES (insects) around (biting) T (temperature)
11D   TRIODE Editor trashed semiconductor (6) /
anag (i.e. trashed) of EDITOR
13D LORCA CAROL Left whale at five in the afternoon (5) /
L (left) + ORCA (killer whale)
16D   PLAT Missing Hughes at first, poetess abandoned scheme (4) /
PLAT (obsolete for scheme) = PLATH (Sylvia, poet) minus H (Hughes, at first)
20D   OPTS Chooses very well indeed shortly before Sabbath (4) /
OPT (short for optimum, or very well) + S (Sabbath)
21D   PEARL Perhaps conference lecturer’s a paragon (5) /
PEAR (Conference, type of pear) = L (lecturer)
24D   SEED Recognised local origin (4) /
double defn – SEED = dialect, past tense of ‘see’, and also means ‘origin’
26D PATERSON OPERANTS Father leading boy by a billabong (8) /
PATER (father) + SON (boy)
27D   DEAD ENDS Saddened working in situations going nowhere (8, two words) /
anag (i.e. working) of SADDENED
29D   DEADSET Bathed in insect repellent, notices prolonged onslaught (7) /
DEET (insect repellent) around ADS (notices)
31D   EMERGE Welcoming some work, uncle’s to come out (6) /
EME (uncle) around (welcoming) ERG (unit of work)
33D HARTE EARTH Unlimited allowance of western pine (5) /
HARTE = CHARTER (allowance) without its ‘limits’, C and R
34D   ABELIA Seaman Lamb’s shrub (6) /
AB (sailor, ‘able bodied’ seaman) + ELIA (Lamb, essayist)
36D   ALMS Poor relief from healing ointments out of barrels (4) /
ALMS (relief for poor) = BALMS (ointments) without B (barrels)
38D   SAULT Canadian’s rapid pungent wit, essentially universal (5) /
SALT (pungent wit) around U (universal)
39D   IDIOM Dialect’s briefly the same over island (5) /
ID (Latin, idem, the same)
42D   MILL Rob Frenchman wrongfully (4) /
MILL (military slang, to rob, steal) = M (Monsieur) + ILL (wrongfully)
43D   AEON Foot pedal missing for quite some time (4) /
AEON (long time) = PAEON (foot, in verse) minus P (pedal)
44D   SHAH King’s period of mourning lasting seven days, not four (4) /
SHAH (king) = SHIVAH (period of mourning for seven days) without IV (not four)


3 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 1,012: Drab Cops by Nudd”

  1. Nudd says:

    Many thanks for the blog mc_rapper67 … the COPS in the title is also an anagram, of SCOP, another poet.
    The PATINAS wordplay is PINATAS with ‘IN’ shifted – you are correct on your parsing of NASH and MONTALE.
    I’m sure you noticed (but didn’t mention) the fact that all extra words in the poet clues are not just a distraction – all are extracts from the poet’s work quoted in ODQ7 – I gather that some people did find this to be a way into the thematic stuff.
    This was a nice one to set, and a voyage of discovery and rediscovery – I hope that others found it as enjoyable to solve. Thanks again

  2. Querulous says:

    Really nice puzzle, Nudd – great stuff! Thanks also mc_rapper67 for the blog.

  3. mc_rapper67 says:

    Nudd – thanks for the explanations at #1 – much appreciated.

    I have to admit I hadn’t noticed that the extra words were related to each poet’s work – nice touch! It was a frantic week, and I’m afraid I wasn’t able to give this the full attention it deserved…

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