Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 1030 Swimming Aid by Rustic

Posted by twencelas on August 18th, 2012


So a short preamble – all entries are affected by A SWIMMING AID, leaving non-words predominantly.

I should add that the clue lengths refer to the grid entry. Well 13ac was an exception, the good old telegraph gremlin (8) should read (7).

As ever the clues hold the key to making sense of the preamble. It did n’t take long to find that all the answers had the letters  ‘TR’ in them and were longer than their grid entries. So did the TR’s go in one square – that was my first guess as the TR’s were lining up between the across and down clues, but this did n’t work in the lower part of the grid where TR clashes with F in 3 instances.

So is the title any clue? – silly question, they almost always are.  A swimming aid – well how about TR out F in that sorts out the grid to the preamble’s conditions and yields TROUT FIN as a swimming aid. The transformation of 12across into Fish certainly helped to confirm this approach to me.

Full marks to Rustic for a masterful grid construction – where each answer includes the adjacent letters TR and a quite dreadful pun.



Key * Anagram, Rev. Reverse, DD Double definition, Underline = Definition


1 Lay waste to area chopping hollow pine trees (6)

(pe (hollow pine) + trees)* + ESTREPE

5 Missile commanding attention when cover’s removed (6)

Strident (commanding attention) – s (cover) = TRIDENT

9 Look after bad heart getting miraculous food from Turkey (6)

La (look) after (heart)* = TREHALA

10 Store’s right inside island (5)

Tesco (store) around r (right) = TRESCO (Scilly Islands)

12 Girl’s dress shirt (4)

(shirt)* = TRISH

13 Unit starting to get matrons worried (8)

(g + matrons)* = ANGSTROM

14 Take cover off ones in the country before fall (6)

Uns (ones – rural) + Trip (fall) = UNSTRIP

16 Wicked astrologic occultist (9)

(astrologic)* = CAGLIOSTRO (See

17 Free entertainment announced in Seychelles is characteristic of urban roads (6)

Homonym of Treat in Sy (seychelles) = STREETY

23 Letter I buried in extremely French layers of concrete (6)

Em (letter) + I in tres (extremely in French) = TREMIES

25 Creative girl gets National Trust into Scottish Town after navy pulls out (9)

Inverness (Scottish town) – n (navy) + nt (national trust) = INVENTRESS

28 Premedication Portia arranged before start of action (6)

(Portia + a (start of action))* = ATROPHIA

29 Aperture that’s essential for defenestration (7)


30 Fragments returned on back of donkey mean destruction for Bunyan (4)

Rev (orts) [fragments) + y (back of donkey) = STROY

31 Is French fish one that wanders? (5)

Est (is French) + ray (fish) = ESTRAY

32 Wound rector who’s ministered outside (6)

R (rector) in tended (ministered) = TRENDED

33 Low cloud is standing around top of ridge (6)

Status (standing) around r (top of ridge) = STRATUS

34 Braided fruit sent back? (6)

Rev (Dessert (fruit)) = TRESSED



1 American gadflies set off strange signals at first (6)

(set)* + rum (strange) + s (signals at first) = ESTRUMS

2 A number of horses on strait meadow beside the Tyne (5)

Str (strait) + ing (meadow beside the Tyne (river)) = STRING

3 Sister dolled up before last part of Easter with more plaits (7)

4 Institute rating apt change for transferring responsibility for the Canadian constitution (9)

(I  + rating +apt)* = PATRIATING

5 Small heraldic form’s right back on corner (6)

Rev (rt – right) + angle (corner) = TRANGLE

6 Demolish ramshackle store in Dahomey (6)

(store)* in Dy (Dahomey) = DESTROY

7 Enthusiasm for tors altered after end of June (5)

E (end of June) + (tors)* = ESTRO

8 Thomas’ wrong to return toffee (6, hyphenated)

Tom (thomas) + Rev. (tort (wrong)) = TOM-TROT

11 Bovine note round about plant producing milklike fluid (6)

Cow (bovine) + te (note) around re (about) = COWTREE

15 Soup Nestor prepared in pit (9)

(Nestor)* in mine (pit) = MINESTRONE

18 Rogue canters through passages in Perth (6)

(canters)* = TRANCES (Perth indicating a scottish term)

19 Units measuring power of lens perish drinking bad port on Sabbath (7)

Die (perish) around (port)* + s (sabbath) = DIOPTRES

20 Twice rest mixing pigments (6)

Bis (twice) + (rest)* = BISTRES

21 Withdrawal to negotiate again (6)

DD Sort of treat is to negotiate = RETREAT

22 Punishes groups of teachers taking a basic subject (6)

Staffs (groups of teachers) around r (basic subject as in the 3 R’s) = STRAFFS

24 Inside old place boy got lost (6)

Sted (old place) around Ray (boy) + STRAYED

26 Report of test due on valve (5)

Homonym Try + owed (test due) = TRIODE

27 Cave not empty found in Island — not new (4)

Nt (not empty) in aran (island) – n (not new) = ANTRA (strictly the plural of caves)

2 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations 1030 Swimming Aid by Rustic”

  1. Deep Threat says:

    Thanks for the review.

    Just a query about 27d, where your answer doesn’t match what you have in the grid, where the final letter is ‘A’. I had the answer as ‘ANTRA’ (which is strictly a plural, the singular cave being ANTRUM ), parsed in a similar way to yours, but with Aran as the island rather than Iona.

  2. twencelas says:

    Deep_Threat – You are absolutely correct – I’ve corrected the blog – Many thanks.

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