Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 1029: Turning to Eccentricity by Ifor

Posted by Dave Hennings on August 12th, 2012

Dave Hennings.

Apologies for the late running of this blog, but having just gone through the trauma of preparing for a house move, and then experiencing it, many crossword-related tasks have been delayed. However, I have now found my computer and hooked it up, with phone line and broadband operational, so I’m back on track.

EV 1029Two things stood out when starting on this puzzle: a very long, busy preamble and a grid that looked as though it had been printed upside down. However, since the clue numbers were not inverted, it seemed more likely that we were being told that all entries were to be entered reversed or upwards. I wondered whether, if this were a Listener, it would have been given to us as a carte blanche!

The four perimeter entries were unclued and, I assumed, thematic. Those across described how all other across answers were to be entered; those down described what all other down answers did before entry. So all entries were modified. Moreover, one word in each clue had to be modified before solving, different for across and down clues, and the letters involved in one of these modifications gave a hint.

Finally, a nine-letter phrase had to be highlighted.

OK, so that was basically the preamble. Hopefully my brain wouldn’t be too addled by what was going on, which was basically that all clues had to be modified, as did all answers before being entered, although backwards and upwards seemed likely.

Everything eventually became clear. The perimeter entries read BACK TO FRONT, TURNING TURTLE, WITHERSHINS, SOMERSAULT. Thus every across answer had to be entered back to front, or withershins, and every down answer had to turn turtle or do a somersault before entry. The omitted letters in the down clues spelt out ENTER HEAD TO TAIL, and the hidden phrase, in the main NW-SE diagonal, was INSIDE OUT. This explained the modifications required to the clues: in the acrosses, one word had to have its inside two letters put outside the others, eg acts became cast; in the downs, the central letter had to be thrown out altogether, eg poets became pets. The unchecked and mutually-checking letters in the perimeter entries were given in the preamble by ‘unknowns, thus better’.

I’m sure I’m just being picky, but I’m not 100% sure about the use of ‘under control’ in 19dn, nor the apostrophes in 14ac, 28ac and 17dn which just disappear when the word is modified. I don’t know whether the title has any significance other than ‘turning’ and unconventional.

All in all, an entertaining puzzle from Ifor, which had me unsure at times whether I was coming or going!

Definition in clue
X = letters omitted from clues
ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden

No Entry Clue and Explanation
7 PARLANDO Pardon all incomplete acts cast in declamatory style (8)
9 LAUD Praise aloud after disheartening postil spoilt (4)
10 BELDAM Old woman, able bael without a restraint (6)
BAEL – A + DAM (restraint)
11 LEONID Beginnings of deadly risk irks returning after explosion of lone meteor (6)
LONE* + ID< (beginnings of Deadly Irks)
13 RISP Knight retreating to start of open pone file for McNab (4)
SIR< + P (start of Pone)
14 NUTTER Crazy opening to one’s nose early offer for sale (6)
N (opening of Nose) + UTTER (offer for sale, early word)
16 CITS Interior of coat octa is fancy for US civvies (4)
(CT (interior of oCTa) + IS)*
18 RHEA Vase Aves from South America grave broken in two (dropped from stairhead) (4)
STAIRHEAD – STAI/D (grave, in two parts)
20 TENUTI Item Time to unite poorly sustained notes (6)
T (time) + UNITE*
22 ALGA Seaweed case aces, large inside (4)
AA (aces) with LG (large) inside
25 PENSIL Banner overhanging dead’s edda’s first to be forgotten (6)
PENSILE (overhanging) – E (Edda’s first)
26 ROOTED Turning spade to rose ores, partly planted in the soil (6)
reversed in spaDE TO ORes
27 ANAL A note on retrospective article for acne Caen obsessive (4)
A N (note) + LA< (definite article in Caen, France)
28 UNTILING Removing part of the roofit’ll till bring bedroom out (8)
UNTIL (till) + BRING – BR (bedroom)
No Entry Omitted
Clue and Explanation
1 ITALIC E In compliance poets pots tail off style of writing (6)
I (in) C (compliance) holds (pots) TAIL*
2 TRUES N Take impending impeding day (briefly) for accurate adjustments (5)
R (take) impeding (ie in) TUES (day, briefly)
3 EARNEST T Pledge unsheathed metal meal rents needing repair (7)
EA (mEAl unsheathed, ie uncovered + (RENTS)*
4 SLED E Delvers regularly wield wild drag (4)
DLES* (DeLvErS, regular letters)
5 HALO R Luminous headring (headrings headings of hair are less obvious) (4)
Initial letters of Hair Are Less Obvious
6 INDITE H By way of donor insemination the te old score (6)
IN (by way of) + DI (donor insemination) + TE
8 DARE E Dream Dram about a drug venture (4)
DR (dram) about A + E (drug)
12 INDIE A Music that’s less popular because oaf of has croak (5)
IN (because of) + DIE (croak)
15 URINANT D A width with in turn, swimming head downward (7)
(A + IN TURN)*
17 IN TOTO T It’s Is last out onto ground, eating up time completely (6, two words)
I (IS with last letter out) + ONTO* holding T (time)
19 AGLAIA O Grace of Indian nursemaid having rough gaols gals almost entirely under control (6)
AIA (Indican nursemaid) with GAL[S]* under control (ie held?)
21 ETON T School feted feed on the radio in advance (4)
ET (sounds like EAT, feed) + ON (in advance)
23 LINAC A Stair Stir including acceleration, it speeds up lots of little things (5)
(INCL (including) A (acceleration))*
24 STIR I It contains coins cons right after it’s upended (4)
R (right) after ITS*
25 PELF L Colin’s Coin‘s plea left all regular characters abandoned (4)
regular letters omitted in PlEa LeFt


One Response to “Enigmatic Variations 1029: Turning to Eccentricity by Ifor”

  1. Tony says:

    The Sunday Telegraph explains the title as giving eversion. I for one didn’t know that one meaning of version is a turning of a fetus in the womb.

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