Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 1037: Men Are Fools by Wan

Posted by Dave Hennings on October 6th, 2012

Dave Hennings.

Wan is a new setter to me. I haven’t seen him in the Listener, EV or Inquisitor series, but he/she may have appeared elsewhere. Consequently, I’ve no idea whether to expect a tough puzzle or an easy one.

EV 1037The clueing was novel, with twelve extra letters in the wordplay of the across clues, and the same twelve letters needed to replace misprints in down clues. Finally, ten of the letters which were replaced in the downs had to replace letters in symmetrically placed entries in the completed grid and the two remaining letters used elsewhere.

A lot going on, with letters flying evry which way. Luckily the clues were relatively straightforward, and I finished the grid in just over two hours. And then came to a complete halt!

What’s more, the halt refused to be kick-started. I didn’t know whether the ten letters in symmetrically placed entries were to replace the whole of two entries or if they were scattered willy-nilly around the grid. And there didn’t seem to be any clue in the title (I tried anagrams and men’s names). There were a lot of words that could have one letter replaced, but if two letters in some words needed replacing, I didn’t know where to start.

And so, with my trip to Portugal looming for a week’s golf, the endgame went completely unfinished. So this is where, for the first time in EV blogging, I admit complete failure and apologise to those coming here looking for the answer. Hopefully other solvers out there will post their comments showing just how stupid I am and putting us all at ease.

Well done, Wan, for beating me … I look forward to the solution with much anticipation.

Postscript: The Endgame

I am writing this following the comments from Tony and Wan below. I won’t say that it was obvious, but I guessed when I read ‘used elsewhere’ in the preamble that it referred to the title. However, I didn’t follow this through fully in the endgame. With all the letter replacements going on, it should have been clear that the two extra letters had to replace letters in the title, a nice device. A bit of logical thinking might have got me there … possibly in the time that it took me to write this blog :sad:.

So the title changes to Ten Are Tools, and ten grid entries have one letter changed to give the names of tools. All straightforward and fair … just! Initially I failed to see any replies to the question about this puzzle in AnswerBank, but with help from comments below, I saw them and it seemed likely that there were a fair smattering of PDMs around the country, so well done to you for applying the bit of logic that failed me.

X = extra letters in across wordplay, correct letters in down misprints
Definition in clue
ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden


No Entry
Clue and Explanation
2 BALSA E A raft of superb ales available (5)
in superB ALES Available
A young person receiving drug forms body that reflects light (6)
PLANT (young person) receiving E (drug)
11 REDACTION P Rogue cop trained for new work (9)
12 EVER F In New York, very high state of nervousness (4)
FEVER (high state of nervousness); this becomes OVER when 1dn BREACH becomes BROACH
13 SCULPT Carve head of teacher on old school piano (6)
SCUL (school, old word) + P (piano) + T (head of Teacher)
14 AERIALS R Liars oddly are somehow ahead when it comes to communication — they often stick out (7)
15 FIAT N An order for patent in fact may produce less compliance (4)
(IN FACT – C (compliance))*
N Bag for tools extended to carry the lot (6)
WENT (extended) carrying ALL (the lot)
18 HEATHY W Abundant with shrubs, cereal and ends of grass etc. destined for fodder (6)
WHEAT (cereal) + HY (ends of HaY, grass, etc)
T Allow on main road for a race (4)
MI (main road, ie M1) + LET (allowed)
Scrape tip off quartz (4)
[P]RASE (quartz with tip off)
24 TYROES Beginners try various round letters (6)
TRY* + OES (round letters, ie Os)
A Meat and fruit can be essential but cumbrous material on board (6)
HAM (meat) + PEAR (fruit)
30 TEMP One working not full time (4)
TEMP[O] (time, not full, ie not complete)
31 PREWARN T Portend! A twerp construed ‘left’ of our ships! (7)
(A TWERP)* left of RN (our ships, Royal Navy)
32 TAILOR Skipjack or fish fin to start (6)
OR with TAIL (fish fin) to start
33 RAID C River with sharp descent (4)
R (river) + ACID (sharp)
34 UNTENABLE H Give authority to ransack — in the first place it’s indefensible (9)
ENABLE (give authority) with HUNT (ransack) at first
Inside a pocketbook are strange revolutionary wheels (6)
ARE* + RED< (revolutionary); wheels = reversed and ‘inside’ means in prison, ie criminal slang
36 TEPAL One could be petal or petal and sepal (5)
No Entry
Clue and Explanation
Opening book to deliver sermon skipping opening page (6)
B (book) + PREACH (deliver sermon) – P (page)
N To some a smack snack is not so important at all (5)
B (not so important) + EVER (at all)
3 LARIAT P Picketing role rope for rail organised by uprising volunteers (6)
RAIL* + TA< (volunteers, ie Territorial Army)
4 SCRAW Thin sod‘s unhealthily thin after new year’s loss (5)
SCRAWNY (unhealthily thin) – NY (new year); this becomes SCRAM when 17ac WALLET becomes MALLET
5 ATALAYA T Mower Tower cut tip off causing death to a cropped potato (7)
[F]ATAL (causing death, less tip) + A + YA[M] (potato, cropped)
7 LOCALLY R Money grabbing Scots drive for neat near home (7)
LOLLY (money) grabbing CA (drive, Scottish)
8 NOLITION W A pill will not to do and a skin lotion not to seek carelessly (8)
(A SKIN LOTION – ASK (seek))*
9 EMPARL H Told Hold a consultation in chambers beforehand almost trapped member (6)
EARL[Y] (beforehand, almost) trapping MP (member)
10 TATTLE E Tall Tell tales or just one going around time after time (6)
TALE (just one, ie tale) around T (time) after T (time); this becomes RATTLE when 6ac PLANET becomes PLANER
16 PASHMINA A weight on Will’s head and one on the shoulders (8)
MINA (weight) on PASH (head, Shakespeare)
19 HEMIONE Her mother left for Paris right away — an ass! (7)
HERMIONE (whose mother, Helen, left with Paris) – R (right)
20 STERLET F Dish Fish letters out (7)
22 RATTER A An excellent specimen — when left out he rots rats (6)
RATTLER (excellent specimen) – L (left)
23 AYE-AYE T It may be found in free tree tax system — doubling pennies lost (6, hyphenated)
PAYE PAYE (tax system doubled) – Ps (pennies)
25 REWRAP C Park Pack again and gain advantage having right width reversing inside (6)
REAP (gain advantage) with (R (right) W (width))< inside
Separate, singular and subordinate (6
S (singular) + UNDER (subordinate)
28 RENNE N Poet’s rum run made from apple mostly (5)
RENNE[T] (apple, mostly)
Scallop sandwich recipe with plate of mushrooms (5)
GILL (plate under mushroom cap) sandwiching R (recipe)


11 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations 1037: Men Are Fools by Wan”

  1. Tony says:

    The title has to be changed to Ten are Tools, using two of the Ts. The other letters are used to turn ten words in the grid into tools, such as hammer and mallet. I went down a blind alley at first because I could sort of see Wally in the middle and I was looking for words (men’s names in particular such as Herbert) that meant a fool. Apologies to Walters and Herberts everywhere!

  2. Dave Hennings says:


    Thanks for the comment. I’m currently golfing in Portugal but will update my blog when I get back and consider it further. I’d be interested in any other views on this puzzles, so feel free to chip in.


  3. Nudd says:

    Dave – re Wan, check out Derek’s latest Crossword Centre puzzle and this month’s Magpie. A London buses happening here … you wait ages for one Wan to appear then you get a second Wan followed by a third Wan

  4. Wan says:

    Hello Dave, your blog states ‘x = …incorrect letters in down clues’ but you show the correct letters in your list. It is of course the discarded letters that are of interest so I trust that you didn’t try and use the ones on your list to to replace ones in the grid and ‘elsewhere’.

    I am sorry that you didn’t appear to enjoy the puzzle and hope that you are having more luck with your birdies!


  5. Dave Hennings says:

    Thanks for your comment, Wan, and I’ve updated the blog. I was using the correct (ie replaced) letters so can’t use that as an excuse. I’m not sure why failure with the endgame precludes enjoyment of a puzzle … but it does seem to! Although I believe that setters don’t go out of their way to stump solvers, the occasional tricky (dare I say devious) puzzle does no harm, and I look forward to your next.


  6. Wan says:

    I think that you might be looking at the wrong thread in Answerbank Dave – it is under EV1037 without a space. (There is an unanswered question under EV 1037 with a space!)



  7. Wan says:

    Actually it is strange how it is working in AnswerBank – having searched on EV1037 you have to actually select the question in red to see the answers and rest of the thread. Selecting ‘Answers’ from the top buttons only gives the answer to the other thread (EV 1037 space). Error I think!

  8. Dave Hennings says:

    I made the mistake of just searching on 1037, which failed to bring up EV1037. EV 1037 had no Best Answer and I didn’t see the two comments that lurked below that bit and the ad telling me what to do with my £250,000 portfolio … I wish!

  9. Wan says:

    There should be 10 comments if you have the right one!

  10. Wan says:

    I am a very disappointed with this blog, Dave. As you introduced AnswerBank comment into your update would you please update it again to reflect what is actually written there please.


  11. Dave Hennings says:

    Wan, Done, Dave.

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