Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 1024: Two Drifters by Nudd

Posted by mc_rapper67 on July 7th, 2012


Phew…this was enough to drive a man to drink…(well, this man, anyway)…fiendish preamble, tricky devices and tough clues - with maybe a modicum of encouragement in the definition part of 35A – ‘…this can be resolved‘. Well, it could, but only just in time for the prize entry submission deadline…

The preamble asks for TWO DRIFTERS to be highlighted in the grid, in conjunction with finding a quotation made up of 20 extra letters in wordplay, which would suggest how to modify twelve other answers before entry - eight in one way, four in another.

The positions of the said twelve answers were easy enough to find, as their lengths differed from their grid positions (no gremlins in the enumerations this week, I don’t think) and four were one letter different, the rest more – which helped distinguish them, as per the rubric.

So far, so good – but knowing where they were supposed to go and working what to actually put there turned out to be two tasks on different levels of the spectrum of this puzzle. A lot of head down, lying in darkened room-type solving ensued before I could make any sense of this. I wasn’t helped by finding 17A TWAIN quite early – didn’t he ‘drift’ in a riverboat calling the depths ahead?…cue some diversion in that direction…

To cut a long and difficult journey short…the extra letters lead to ‘WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE…’ – from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge - with two associations: ‘… and all the boards did shrink’; and ‘… nor any a drop to drink’. Like most people, I guess(?), I was familiar with the latter, but had to research the former.

The ‘boards’ were PADDLE-BOARD, LOUVER-BOARD, KNIFE-BOARD and DRAWING-BOARD, which each ‘shrank’ by a letter, and the quantities of drink (possibly more than a ‘drop’, in some cases?) which had to be removed from answers were: DOUBLE, GILL. CADE (barrel, or cask), SHOT, TIFF (sip, or dram), QUART, TOT and FINGER.

 Which left the ‘drifters’ – the ANCIENT MARINER and the ALBATROSS – who were positioned in three upwards diagonals, from the A of 27D, the A of 42D and the M of 44D.

Wow. At times I felt I was going to have to give up and blog a partial solve, or call on the services of one of the other EV bloggers. I found this harder than some recent EVs - lots of e-thumbing through my electronic Chambers for some obscure words - but a great challenge and very enjoyable, thank-you Nudd. I was trying to have an AFWW (alcohol-free working week), but this did push me over the edge towards a glass or two, to relieve the strain.

One minor quibble – three of the ‘shrinking’ boards were obvious from crossing letters, but 11D D(RA)WING could lose either the R or the A. I assumed it was the R – to make a real word (to DAW being an obsolete verb, to dawn) – but this wasn’t made clear in the preamble… And I’m not sure I have fully explained 30A, but it must be BLOODSHOT, mustn’t it?

Lastly, on an administrative/economic note – I am looking forward to scanning and e-mailing my prize entries from this week’s EV onwards - see the rubric below - saving the price of a stamp and envelope…and having an extra day to finish them off, which could have been necessary with this one… The Sunday Telegraph seems to be piloting this initiative, as the Saturday Telegraph prize puzzles still seem to be snail-mail entries…for now. (The Times is mostly on-line submission these days, and the Guardian/Everyman prize puzzles can be faxed in – maybe the Independent might follow suit and join the others in the 21st century…?)

“To enter by email: Scan your
solution and entry coupon, and email
it to [email protected],
with EV 1025 in the subject field.

Clue No Extra letter/
Entry Clue (definition in bold) /
Logic/Parsing – extra letters in (B)rackets
1A W TRICKS Watches after trustee obliquely strikes hog perhaps (6) /
TR (Trustee) + (W)ICKS (to ‘wick’ is to strike a curling stone – hog – obliquely). Trick being slang for a watch.
5A   TATTERS Shreds potatoes taking time (7) /
TATERS (potatoes) around (taking) T (time)
10A PADDLE ADDLE Led astray behind home, walk unsteadily (6) /
PAD (home) + DLE (anag, i.e. astray, of LED)
12A KNIFE NIFE Base informer returns to try and defeat by treachery (5) /
E (base, mathematics) + FINK (informer, sneak) – all returned
14A   EXEATS Permissions from Bishop to move extra food (6) /
EX (extra) + EATS (food)
16A A LISLE Left passage following thread (5) /
L (left) followed by (A)ISLE (passage)
17A T TWAIN Old couple, teetotal (on wagon) … (5) /
(T)T (teetotal) + WAIN (wagon)
19A   SKIN hide special relationship (4) /
S (special) + KIN (relation)
20A E RICKLY Stack rare Romanian money in a loose heap in Ayr (6) /
RICK (stack) + L(E)Y (Romanian money, rare variant of leu)
22A   LEOTARD Kick around restricted by fat in tight garment (7) /
LARD (fat) around (restricting) EOT (toe, or kick, ‘around’)
23A R ANALYSE Frogs undergo breakdown of cells to ascertain component parts (7) /
(R)ANA (frogs) + LYSE (cause lysis, breakdown of cells)
25A FINGER *PLATE Door protector’s place behind Queen in fine entrance to Balmoral (11) /
F (fine) + INGATE (Scottish, entrance, e.g. to Balmoral) around ER (Queen) + PL (place)
28A   BATTERY Slope way behind cannon emplacement (7) /
BATTER (slope) + Y (last letter, ‘behind’, of way)
30A SHOT BLOOD* Inflamed violent criminals relegating leader in disgrace (9) /
Not completely sure! Maybe HOT-BLOODS – violent criminals? – relegating HOT to the end?
BLOT (disgrace) around OODSH (HOODS, violent criminals, relegating first letter to last) – thanks to Matthew from comment #1
32A W HOARIER Stop one on horseback, out of depth and even more old and grey (7) /
(W)HOA (stop!) + RIER (rider, one on horseback, without D, depth)
35A   SOLUBLE Blouse with top of lapel damaged – this can be resolved (7) /
anag (i.e. damaged) of BLOUSE + L (first letter of lapel)
37A A CHANCE Chickpea gets European safety standard mark – something unexpected (6) /
CHAN(A) (chickpea) + CE (Communauté Européene, EC toy safety standard mark)
38A T OVAL Lecturer appearing finally in grey-green Aussie sports ground (4) /
OVA(T)L – lovat (grey green) with L – lecturer – moved to the end. (Why Aussie – the Fosters Oval?)
39A   OINKS Animal noises over in Kansas (5) /
O (over) + IN + KS (Kansas)
41A   READS Studies concerning commercials (5) /
RE (concerning) + ADS (commercial)
43A E SHERPA Swerve past guide (6) /
SHE(E)R (swerve) + PA (past)
45A CADE AQUA* Amateur, almost fraudulent, announced help for swimming exhibition (8) /
A (amateur) + QUAC (almost quack, or fraudulent) + ADE (homophone of AID, help)
46A TIFF S*WARE Potential risk to programs, difficult to avoid at one time (9) /
STIFF (difficult) + WARE (obsolete for beware, avoid)
47A R STERNUM Old Aberdeen star with strange bone (7) /
STERN (obsolete, Scottish for star) + (R)UM (strange)
48A   KERNED Granulated core of nut daughter’s left (6) /
KERNED (granulated) = KERNEL (core) with D – daughter – for L – left
Clue No Extra letter/
Entry Clue (definition in bold) /
Logic/Parsing – extra letters in (B)rackets
1D   TANTRA Translator in Indian police station, a giver of religious instructions (6) /
TANA (Indian police station) around TR (translator)
2D   IDEA Almost perfect notion (4) /
IDEA (notion) = most of IDEAL (perfect)
3D   KEENLY Eagerly fashioned Allen key out of aluminium (6) /
anag (i.e. fashioned) of (AL)LEN KEY – without AL (aluminium)
4D E SNAKY Not to be trusted – drinks cooler contains sodium (5) /
(E)SKY (Aussie cool box) around NA (Sodium)
5D V TIT Nag’s set on sex appeal (3) /
T(V) (set) on IT (sex appeal)
6D   TELCO Virgin maybe has company behind pile of debris in Araby (5) /
TEL (mound of debris) + CO (company)
7D   THISTLY Hairstylist shedding airs could be this weedy (7) /
anag (i.e. could be) of H(AIRS)TYLIST without AIRS
8D QUART *ERS Lodging in the capacity of rector, rest uneasily (8) /
QUA (in the capacity of) + R (rector) + TERS (anag, i.e. uneasily, of REST)
9D   SLENDER Thin transmitter restricting inductance (7) /
SENDER (transmitter) around (restricting) L (unit of inductance)
11D DRAWING ?D(R/A)WING? Approaching doctor in flight (7) /
DR (doctor) + AWING (in flight, on the wing)
13D GILL *FLIRT Government wrongfully with force runs in drunk and abandoned wanton girl (9) /
G (government) + ILL (wrongfully) + F (force) + LIT (drunk), around R (runs)
15D E STEREO Control course of game combining two slightly different points of view (6) /
STE(E)R (control course of) + EO (game)
18D   BLETHER Scots gossip finding oblivion in bedroom (7) /
BR (bedroom) around LETHE (oblivion)
21D R CAPO Find fault with ordinary band leader (4) /
CA(R)P (find fault) + O (ordinary)
24D Y STALLS Delays match hosted by Saints (6) /
STS (plural of St, saint) around (hosting) ALL(Y) (match, unite)
26D W AKIN Similar to local cat not male (4) /
(M)A(W)KIN – dialect for cat, without M (male)
27D H ABSORBS Takes in Biblical book before services (7) /
(H)AB (book, of Habakkuk) + SORBS (service trees)
28D E BOULDER Rock Greek parliament returning communist (7) /
BOUL(E) (Greek parliament) + DER (Red, or Communist, returning)
29D DOUBLE *DECKER Crude bloke reduced big sandwich (12, hyphenated) /
anag (i.e. crude) of BLOKE REDUCED
31D LOUVER LOVER Pigeon-house in spun velour (6) /
anag (i.e. spun) of VELOUR
33D   AHORSE Once mounted, advanced outside Europe (6) /
A (advanced) + HORS (outside, French) + E (European)
34D   RESTED Took it easy in desert storms (6) /
anag (i.e. storms) of DESERT
36D   BASAN Not quite worthless African huntsman produces sheepskin (5) /
BA (not quite BAD, or worthless) + SAN (African bushman, hunter)
37D   CREAK Caught by old prank, make groaning sound (5) /
C (caught) + REAK (prank, obsolete)
40D R NAAN Bread for new cardi maybe (4) /
N (new) + A(R)AN (type of woollen garment, e.g. cardi-gan)
42D TOT AP*E Suitable shelter for animals out of cold – it can’t be declined (6) /
APT (suitable) + (C)OTE (shelter for animals, without C – cold)
44D E HUM Hoax the umpire swallowed (3) /
hidden word in (i.e. ‘swallowed’ by) ‘tH(E) UMpire’

3 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 1024: Two Drifters by Nudd”

  1. Matthew says:

    Thanks for the blog, mc_rapper67.

    In 30a, I think violent criminals=HOODS and disgrace=BLOT.

  2. mc_rapper67 says:

    Thanks, Matthew – that explains 30A perfectly – have updated accordingly.

  3. Nudd says:

    Thank you for an excellent blog and solution notes mc_rapper67. I’m pleased that, despite the struggle, you found it enjoyable – and am delighted that you persevered and got there in the end. Thanks also to Matthew for the clarification on 30a. The only outstanding query, on the use of Aussie in 38A, relates to one Chambers definition of ‘oval’ which is ‘a cricket or football ground (Aust)’ – although I do warm to your guess that it might have been Fosters related.
    Your minor quibble on the amendment to ‘drawing’ coinciding with an unchecked square is most valid, and the potential for ambiguity only struck me when someone pointed it out after publication. However, as you spotted, my criterion for every change was to leave only real words, so only one of the two options was valid – but it would have been fairer had I clarified that in the preamble. Apologies to anyone who stumbled as a result.
    Thanks again for the extremely useful feedback, always very welcome.

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