Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 1032: 12 Down by Syd Lexis

Posted by mc_rapper67 on September 1st, 2012


This puzzle had what seemed a rather daunting preamble: across entries intersecting the unclued 12D had to lose ‘something’ which could be construed as a ‘mistake’, replaced by a letter to help form 12D, and leaving real words in all cases. In addition, there were two other thematic entries, clued without definition, which represented a third type of ‘No no’.  On first reading there seemed to be something missing – where is the ‘second’ level between the initial ‘mistakes’ and the ‘third’ type of ‘no-no’?

In the end, it proved a relatively ‘gettable’ theme and solveable puzzle – in my case by initially ignoring 12D and getting as many down and (non-intersecting) across answers as I could first, and then using the resulting structure as the bones to hang the meat of 12D upon.

I then spotted early on that several of the intersecting answers had constituent parts which could be seen as hesitations – UM in PREMIUM and VOLUME, ER in HINDER, ERM in ERMINES, HA in GEISHA, WELL in DOWELLED, UR in URANIAN. I also had the two undefined answers – ITERANT and REPEAT.

However, not being a particular fan of the show, it took me a while and a bit of guesswork to come up with ‘JUST A MINUTE’ as 12D. When I say ‘not a particular fan’, I mean ‘having never listened to an episode of the show, but vaguely being aware of its existence’. I knew that hesitation and repeating oneself were not allowed – but it needed some Wiki-research to discover the second no-no – deviation, from the topic in question. Which explained the other two omissions – YAW in YAWLING and ERROR in TERRORISM.

I solved this while on holiday in Australia, travelling around in a camper van, wrote up most of the parsing on my laptop on the plane back (through as mist of time-zones and free gin-and-tonics), and have finished it off just before publication deadline, suffering from jetlag – so apologies for any errors or omissions – or repetition or hesitation!

Given that I hardly knew of the the program in the theme, I thought this was a very accessible puzzle – maybe easier to more dedicated fans? – and thanks to Syd Lexis for some enjoyable holiday solving…


Clue No ‘Mistake’, or thematic connection Entry Clue (definition in bold) /
2A (Thematic No-No) ITERANT Wandering, not at home (7) /
(no definition) ITinERANT (wandering, without IN – at home)
7A   INGOT Reveal up north the unfinished mass (5) /
INGO (a hidden door, or reveal, Scottish) + T (Northern contraction of ‘the’) – INGOT being an ‘unwrought’ mass of metal, especially gold or silver)
11A   OCHRE Chain’s in precious metal – gold (5) /
ORE (poetic for precious metal) around H (chain) – OCHRE being a yellow pigment, but also ‘gold’ in slang
12A (UR)ANIAN (J)ANIAN Greek goddess’s repository hides a Scot perhaps (6) /
URN (repository) around A, then IAN (Scotsman, perhaps)
13A   UTIS Shakespearean clamour confused suit (4) /
anag (i.e. confused) of SUIT
14A T(ERROR)ISM T(U)ISM Iran’s back, engulfed by terrible tremors, organized violence and intimidation (5) /
anag (i.e. terrible) of TREMORS, around RI (IR, Iran, back)
15A   USE An ordinary experience for William – look away from an old contemptible person (3) /
loUSE – LOUSE, contemptible person, without LO – interjection, look)
16A   GENTLE Falcon’s low down, let off (6) /
GEN (low-down, information) + TLE (anag, i.e. off, of LET)
17A (YAW)LING (S)LING Ship’s small boat’s starting to immerse; no good crying! (5) /
YAWL (ship’s small boat) + ING (first letters of Immerse, No Good)
18A GEIS(HA) GEIS(T) Goddess I upset has trained girls to entertain men (5) /
GE (Ge or Gaea, earth goddess) + I + SHA (anag, i.e. trained) of HAS – GEISHA being a plural as well as singular)
19A   SETA Bristle at son, returning having taken ecstasy! (4) /
STA (AT + S – son, returning) around (having taken) E (ecstasy)
20A   DIODE Gods force electronic valve (5) /
DI (gods, plural of ‘deus’) + OD (Reichenbach-ian ‘force’) + E (electronic)
22A (Thematic No-No) REPEAT Old radiation unit’s to corrode (6) /
(no definition) REP (radiation unit, Rontgen Equivalent Physical, now superseded by ‘rad’) + EAT (corrode)
24A   UNDO Wavy, lacking energy with nothing to solve earlier (4) /
UNDe (UNDE, wavy, without E – energy) + O (zero, nothing) – UNDO having an archaic meaning of ‘to solve’)
25A DO(WELL)ED DO(M)ED Pinned in Paris she is trapped by a badly dressed woman (5) /
DOWD (badly dressed woman) around ELLE (‘she’, in Paris, i.e. French)
27A   APSE Recess in passage having no length (4) /
APSE = LAPSE (passage) minus L – length
28A   BESTIR Outwit one’s right to stimulate (6) /
BEST (outwit, beat) + I (one) + R (right)
30A   YEAST Variable drainage channels in the fens need time to ferment (5) /
Y (mathematics, variable) + EAS (plural of ‘ea’, generally ‘runnning water’ but more specifically a drainage channel in the Fens, i.e. Norfolk ) + T (time)
32A   ESSE Being minor, left out; not right! (4) /
ESSE (existence, being) = LESSER (minor) without its left-most or right-most letters, which, coincidentally, are L – Left and R – right!)
36A (ERM)INES (N)INES White furs belonging to me held by climber (5) /
ERS (vetch, climbing plant of the pea family) around MINE (belonging to me)
38A HIND(ER) HIND(U) Last in Wick to keep back (5) /
double defn. HINDER being the last, hindmost, in Scotland, i.e. Wick, or, more familiarly, to keep back
39A   DAPHNE Scandinavian retains power with hydrogen plant (6) /
DANE (Scandinavian) around P (power) + H (hydrogen)
40A   OLE Expression of triumph – print lacks nothing (3) /
OLE = OLEO (print, oleograph) missing O (nothing)
41A VOL(UM)E VOL(T)E Roll Scottish hat in creek in Shetland (5) /
VOE (creek in Orkney, Shetland) around LUM (chimney pot hat) – ROLL being a roll or scroll, precursor of a book, or volume
42A   MITE A small amount – just two notes (4) /
MI + TE (two notes from do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti)
43A PREMI(UM) PREMI(E) Umpire’s upset about money prize (6) /
anag (i.e. upset) of UMPIRE, around M – money
44A   INNED Rejected bishop, thrown out, put up (5) /
INNED (past tense of ‘in’, entered, put up for) = BINNED (rejected) without B – bishop
45A   SADLY Remark about lord, returning unhappily (5) /
SAY (remark) around DL (ld, lord, returning)
46A   BOTCHER Worry about Conservative bungler (7) /
BOTHER (worry) around (about) C (conservative – with a small or large C, depending on your prference!)
Clue No N/a Entry Clue (definition in bold) /
1D   GOUGED Chiselled Scott’s wench and daughter (6) /
GOUGE (obsolete, wench, Walter Scott?) + D (daughter)
2D   ICTERINE Yellowish inert cuckoo covered in frozen liquid (8) /
ICE (frozen liquid) around TERIN – anag (i.e cuckoo) of INERT
3D   THING Lliving creature – meagre and close to dying (5) /
THIN (meagre) + G (last letter of, i.e close to, dyinG)
4D   REPLIED Reprobate made false statement, answered a plea (7) /
REP (abbrev. reprobate) + LIED (made false statement)
5D   ATTESTOR One witnessing a non-drinker is in France getting nothing right (8) /
A + TT (teetotal, non-drinker) + EST (‘is’, in French) + O (nothing) + R (right)
6D   TAILS In Perth herds limited section (5) /
TAIL (legal, limited inheritance) + S (section) – to tail being Aussie slang (i.e. Perth) for herding (livestock)
7D   INSIDE One born to hold back, deserted, and is imprisoned (6) /
I (one) + NE (née, born) around SID (D – deserted, plus IS, all back, reversed)
8D   GAUGE Measure Indian hemp (5) /
double defn – GAUGE meaning to measure and (more usually GAGE?) marijuana or hemp (not sure where ‘Indian’ comes in?)
9D   ONSET Once locally concealing electronic beginning (5) /
ONST (dialect, once) around E (electronic)
10D   THECATE Having a case Spenser’s to prosper, housing jazz fan (7) /
THEE (Spenserian, to prosper) around CAT (jazz fan)
12D   JUST A MINUTE See preamble (11, three words) /
thematic derivation (well, guess at first…!)
19D   SPAE Divine flood without it (4) /
SPAtE (flood, without T – contraction of ‘it’))
21D   DOTE Very small object on earth is to decay (4) /
DOT (small object) + E (earth)
22D   RESIDENT Division in fissure is not moving (8) /
RENT (fissure) around SIDE (division)
23D   ASSENTER Fool’s to admit one who agrees (8) /
ASS (fool) + ENTER (to admit, allow to enter)
24D   UBEROUS Rarely abounding rubes confused about the open university (7) /
anag (i.e. confused) of RUBES, around OU (the Open University)
26D   DYNAMIC Pattern of change in Benin, now with vassal back in charge (7) /
DY (Dahomey, former name of Benin) + NAM (man, or vassal, backwards) + IC (in charge)
29D   IGNOMY One obscure banker fails to end yen’s humiliation (6) /
I (one) + GNOM (gnome, or banker – of Zurich – failing to end) + Y (yen)
31D   TWEEDS Clothes sentimentally pretty daughter’s son (6) /
TWEE (sentimentally pretty) + D (daughter) + S (son)
33D   SALPA Plankton is active, returning, apparently, with luminance (5) /
S (contraction of ‘is’) + A (active) + LPA (AP – apparently = plus L, luminance, all returning)
34D   SHERD Take in split boundary water (5) /
SHED (split) around R (take) – SHERD being archaic for ‘boundary water’)
35D   AD-LIB After date book is impromptu (5, hyphenated) /
AD (abbrev. after date) + LIB (libris, book)
37D   SHINE Female’s around in early party (5) /
SHE (female) around IN – SHINE being old slang for a party

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