Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 1020: Loss by Samuel

Posted by mc_rapper67 on June 9th, 2012


There are several devices going on in LOSS – answers altered before entry; extra letters in wordplay; clashing across and down entries; and lines to be drawn in the completed grid. All probably familiar to regular EV solvers – but not always all together in the same puzzle!…and, as if that’s not enough, there appear to be a couple of EV gremlins adding to the mixture.

Ten answers are to undergo LOSS before entry, with numbers in brackets referring to the original answer length – which helped to identify 9 of these immediately, as their lengths did not match their grid positions – apart from 7D which, at least in the online PDF version, was given as (7) instead of (10). 13D was given as (10) when it should have been (9), but at least it was obviously a LOSS clue…

Twenty-nine clues led to extra letters in wordplay, giving five potential ‘victims’ of said LOSS – and 6 clashes had to be resolved and then, in addition to one extra square, linked with straight lines.

After identifying the 9 obvious LOSS clues, a session of general cold solving followed. After 12 or so solves I had two of the 9 as 29D SHOWBOAT (to fit a 4) and 38D CRAFTSMAN (also to fit a 4)…and when 13D VOL’CANOE’S (to fit a 4) appeared, I realised the LOSS must be a nautical one – dropping (sinking?) the vessel and putting the remainder in the grid. ‘BRIG’ADIER, CAN’TANKER’OUS, ANY OL’D HOW’ – lovely! – ‘SHIP’MENT, MIL’LINER’, POR’TUG’UESE and, the very last entry for me: ‘BARGE’LLO. One down, just a few more tricks to go!

The 29 extra letters started to take shape as more clues – generally fairly tough, I would venture, with just a few ‘easier’ quick gets, to keep the momentum going – fell into place. I could see CAPTAIN and BOSUN, so here we have the unfortunate crews of the lost ships, completed by MATE, ABLE SEAMAN and TAR – although for a while I convinced myself that 44A had an extra S (thinking ‘queen’s’ was a plural, rather than a contraction of ‘is’?) to give CAPTAIN’S MATE, but that would mean 30 extra letters, and only make four crew members. Two down, two to go…

At the same time, the clashing letters were becoming apparent – four along the bottom, B/D, T/U, S/M, S/R, and two in the middle row – S/A and L/E. I struggled to link these with straight lines – I came up with an upturned boat, which fitted the theme, but didn’t use a seventh – or to make a word out of the letters – I came up with ASUNDER, As UNDER? Two capital As left and right? But no crossing bars, and again where was the seventh square/letter? Finally, I re-read the preamble (note to self – always re-read the preamble frequently!) and realised I had to resolve those clashes – obvious really, as most of them could only make proper words with one of the letters – and came up with (E or L)+R+M+U+D+A, which combined with the B in the top row to make the ‘Bermuda’ Triangle…(cue Barry Manilow flashbacks…)


Sorry, I’m sure many of you got there long before me, but it was a lovely moment. Thank-you Samuel for an enjoyable and challenging puzzle, and no thanks to those gremlins, including a missing bar under the T of 7A PATRON…

(There was another gremlin in the printed version – with 18A given as 6, not 8 – and this led to a rare apology being printed with EV 1021 last weekend – but the others remained unspotted and unapologised for…)

 I’m not sure if I have parsed 26A correctly – I haven’t seen D used as an abbreviation of ‘dynamite’ before – grateful for any enlightenment. (Thanks to ‘bb’ for the explanation – updated below.)

Clue No Extra letter/
Amended word
Entry Clue (definition in bold) /
Logic/Parsing – extra letters in (B)rackets
1A A PEDICAB Passenger vehicle copied limitlessly rich on autobahn (7) /
(A)PED (copied) + IC (rICh, limitlessly) + AB (abbrev. autobahn)
7A B PATRON Scots roll back market place for slave-owner (6) /
PA(B) (bap, Scottish bread roll, back) + TRON (market-place)
11A L ECOLOGY English defile American’s dull environmental study (7) /
E (English) + CO(L) (mountain pass, defile) + LOGY (US for ‘dull’)
12A E OVIEDO Old English contended over Spanish city (6) /
O(E) (Old English) + VIED (competed, contended) + O (over)
13A S VRAICS Swimming vicar vacated seas for marine plants. (6) /
anag. (i.e. swimming) of VICAR + S(S) (SeaS, vacated)
14A E HELIUM He … he returned cross about one (6) /
HE + (E)LIUM (mule, cross, returned, about I, one)
15A A PAGE Messenger’s away in Greece … (4) /
double defn. of sorts: PAGE = messenger; (A)PAGE = Greek for ‘depart’, ‘(go) away’, instruction, especially to Satan: ‘apage Satanas’)
16A M EVES … to appear in retreat about 5 nights before festival? (4) /
(M)EES (seem, appear, in retreat) around V (five) – EVE being the night before a festival – Xmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, etc)
18A *LINER MIL* Fancy goods dealer married evil topless fruit-grower (8) /
M (married) + ILL (evil) + INER (viner, fruit grower, without top letter)
19A A EPILOG Spoilage ruined missing section for Georgia’s afterword (6) /
anag. (i.e. ruined) of sPOIL(A)GE – without S – section. (‘Epilogue’ being spelled ‘epilog’ in the US – Georgia)
21A N NESHNESS Nansen regularly excels without one southern local’s susceptibility to cold (8) /
(N)NE (regular letters of NaNsEn) = SHNES (shines, or excels, without I – one) + S (Southern)
23A URES UREA Force uncovered ancient practices (4) /
URES = DURESS (force) without covering letters D & S
24A BRIG* *ADIER Officer set up in evil Indo- European resistance (9) /
BAD (evil) around RIG (set up) + IE (Indo-European) + R (resistance)
26A ADDY EDDY Noble sort of girl had dynamite boxed (4) /
LAY (sort of girl) around (boxing) D (dynamite) ??
hidden word (‘boxed’) in hAD DYnamite; the name ADDY means “Noble kind; of the noble sort”
28A C ESPOUSES Escape humourless custom society embraces (8) /
ES(C) (escape key, on keyboard) + PO (humourless, po-faced) + USE (custom) + S (society)
31A TANKER CAN*OUS Stubborn Canadian upset roué in US prison cells (12) /
CAN (Canadian) + TANKS (US, jails) around anag. (i.e. upset) of ROUÉ
32A A HAT Whaler, not British, to work alone down under (3) /
(A)HA (Ahab, whaler, without B – British), plus T (obsolete, shortened version of ‘to’)
34A SHIP* *MENT Seven knowing chaps start to transport consignment (8) /
S (seven) + HIP (knowing, cool) + MEN (chaps) + T (first letter of transport)
35A P HOST Army flies over Thailand (4) /
HO(P)S (flies over) + T (Thailand)
37A T NAYSAY Any at sea delay refusal (6) /
NAY (anag. i.e. ‘at sea’ of ANY) + S(T)AY (delay)
39A A CURLEW Writhe with dread backing flier (6) /
CURL (writhe) + EW(A) (awe, dread, backing)
41A I LENTOR Retinol treated sluggishness, historically (6) /
anag. (i.e. treated) of RET(I)NOL
42A N ROULADE Our upset burdened musical turn (7) /
anag. (i.e. upset) of OUR + LADE(N) (burdened)
43A BUGOUT DUGOUT Deserter from Nevada initially bombed unlikely spot from yesteryear (6) /
BU (first letters of Bombed Unlikely) + GOUT (obsolete for spot) – BUG-OUT being a deserter in the US, or Nevada)
44A   ALMONER Moan about taking liberal queen’s social worker (7) /
AMON (anag. (i.e. about) of MOAN) around (taking) L (Liberal), plus ER (Queen)
Clue No Extra letter/
Amended word
Entry Clue (definition in bold) /
Logic/Parsing – extra letters in (B)rackets
1D M PEAHEN Heap up chaps for fancy bird (6) /
anag. (i.e. up) of HEAP + (M)EN (chaps)
2D A ECHEVERIA Plant high achiever in abandoned drain (9) /
anag. (i.e. high) of (A)CHIEVER in EA (dialect, drainage channel)
3D T DOLL Idiot left young woman (4) /
DOL(T) (idiot) + L (left)
4D E ILK Like fresh type (3) /
anag. (i.e. fresh) of LIK(E)
5D B COLUMNAR Club roman arranged…arranged in vertical rows? (8) /
anag. (i.e. arranged) of CLU(B) ROMAN
6D O AGAMI Trumpeter’s past friend (5) /
AG(O) (past) + AMI (friend)
7D TUG POR*UESE Iberian upset rogue terribly (7) (should be (10)/
anag. (i.e. terribly) of UPSET ROGUE
8D S AVAL Molten materials about nan, perhaps? (4) /
AVAL (of a grandparent) = LAVA(S) (molten materials) about
9D U RECALL Revoke dodgy cure entirely (6) /
anag. (i.e. dodgy) of C(U)RE, plus ALL (entirely)
10D N NOSEGAY New Orleans senator lifted artificial crystal bouquet (7) /
NO (New Orleans) + SE(N) (senator) + GAY (YAG, or Yttrium Aluminium Garnet, artificial crystal, lifted)
13D CANOE VOL*S Volunteer is able to run from terribly sore emotional upheavals (10) should be (9)/
VOL (volunteer) + CAN (is able to) + anag (i.e. terribly) of SO(R)E, without R (run)
15D   PILEUM Down mums skinned top of bird’s head (6) /
PILE (down, feathers) + UM (mUMs, skinned)
17D   SHALOT Sons stop eating old vegetable (6) /
S (sons) + HALT (stop) around (eating) O (old)
20D T OUDENARDE Drunk almost donated rude tapestry (9) /
anag. (i.e. drunk) of (almost all of) DONA(T)Ed + RUDE
22D CROTALUS CROTALUM Rattlesnakes lifted ogre on old slope (8) /
CRO (orc, ogre,lifted) + TALUS (archaic for slope)
23D   UNCHILD Peacekeepers, mostly aloof, deserted to take kids from Will (7) /
UN (United Nations, peacekeepers) + CHIL(L) (mostly chill, or aloof) + D (deserted)
25D A DESSERT Degree examiners at first lay claim to final course (7) /
DE (first of Degree Examiners) + (A)SSERT (lay claim to)
27D R UNSUNG Spoke about star not celebrated (6) /
(R)UNG (spoke, of wheel) around SUN (star)
29D *BOAT SHOW* Flaunt terrible boast about Hiawatha’s greeting (8) /
anag. (i.e. terrible) of BOAST, around HOW (interjection, North American Indian greeting, i.e. Hiawatha)
30D STYLES STYLER More than one hand pens learner inside (6) /
STYES (pens, for pigs) around L (learner driver)
33D *DHOW ANY OL* One once surrendered house and women carelessly? (9, 3 words) /
AN (one) + YOLD (obsolete for yield, surrender) + HO (house) + W (women)
36D CLOT CLOU Fool about fortune (4) /
C (circa, about) + LOT (fate)
38D CRAFT* *SMAN Farms can’t hurt skilled person (9) /
anag. (i.e. hurt) of FARMS CANT
40D BARGE* *LLO Secure top and bottom of gate with lines of stitch (8) /
BAR (secure, fasten) + GE (top and bottom letters of GatE) + LL (lines) + O (old)

3 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 1020: Loss by Samuel”

  1. bb says:

    26a is ADDY, boxed (contained in) hADDYnamite; the name ADDY means “Noble kind; of the noble sort”

  2. Ginestra says:

    I was so close to doing this. Only three clues away and wasn’t quite there with the clashes – quite pleased with myself! This is the hardest EV I’ve tried. I can sometimes do the “easier” ones and some I give up on just by reading the preamble!

  3. mc_rapper67 says:

    Sorry for the late response, but thanks to bb at #1 for the explanation of 26a – that has ‘scuppered’ my chances of winning a prize this week then!

    To Ginestra at #2 – I don’t recognise the name, so assume you are relatively new to 15×15 and the EV? Hope the blog was of use, apart from 26A (;+>)

    Just keep going at them…and don’t let a complicated preamble put you off, just start with some cold solving, fit as many as you can in (with a pencil!) and then go back to the preamble later – quite often something will click into place.

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