Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 1038 Difficulty by MynoT

Posted by twencelas on October 13th, 2012


So a puzzle with a title of Difficulty – but no indication of its level of difficulty. Nine letters are missing from the subsidiary indications and this then needs to be used to modify the final grid and produce all but one member of a set. Sounds quite hard to me.

Following reading the preamble, the next thing I noticed was the number of clues 72 I make it filling a 14×14 grid. So lots of short answers, which can be some of the trickier clues to solve. But in hindsight, most clues were relatively straight forward.

The additional letters – taken in clue number order, not clue order give MOHS SCALE, which for those with a mis-spent youth like myself, is immediately recognisable as a scale of mineral hardness. A quick refresher, seeing as it is nigh on 20 years since I left the world of Physics behind, yielded the 10 levels of the scale, in ascending order of hardness:

1     Talc
2     Gypsum
3     Calcite
4     Fluorite
5     Apatite
6     Orthoclase Feldspar
7     Quartz
8     Topaz
9     Corundum
10     Diamond


Original grid fill

Modified grid fill


Modified grid fill

Missing item

Orthoclase Feldspar, which at 6 is probably a fair representation of the “Difficulty” / Hardness of this puzzle. Many thanks MynoT for a pleasing puzzle and a chance to reminisce of the pleasurable time I spent studying and researching in physics.


* Anagram, DD Double definition, Rev. reverse, Underline – Definition in clue


1 Control of pipes is holy man’s work (4)
St (holy man as in saint + op (work) = STOP
4 When 15th of March produces indirect efforts(6)
As (when) + ides (15th March) = ASIDES
M 8 Symbol of stove (4)
DD Aga and Agma = AGMA
11 Source of watertrembling but not very loud (7)
Aquiver (trembling) – very (v) + f (loud) = AQUIFER
13 African teachershops in the morning (6)
Mall (shops) + am (in the morning) = MALLAM
14 Out-of-date financial statementsprepared from deeds held by typesetter? On the contrary (8)
Comp (typesetter) in acts (deeds) = ACCOMPTS
17 Head accountant left scoundrel(6)
Ras (head) + ca (accountant) + l (left) = RASCAL
18 Child’s tick’s bigger than this (4)
DD MITE (A mite is defined in Chambers as smaller than a tick)
H 19 Journalist once recognised not new (4)
Ackn. (recognized as in acknowledged? ) – n (new) = HACK
20 Do not start to pose as a connoisseur (4)
Tarty (to pose?) – t (do not start) = ARTY
S 22 Girl’s boxer returns (4)
Rev Ali (boxer) = ISLA
24 French aristocrat has money from Laos (gold coin) (5)
Duc (French aristocrat – duke) + at (money from Laos) = DUCAT
27 Knight almost out of ravine(4)
K (knight) + hors (out of) – s (almost) = KHOR
29 Confucius keeps algae(4)
Hidden conFUCIus = FUCI
31 Spanish lady heartlessly produces watery liquids(4)
Senora (Spanish lady) – middle = SERA
32 Ruler of Czech Republic and Russia primarily (4)
Cz (Czech) + a + r (start of and Russia) = CZAR
33 False alarm concerning cheek(5)
(alarm)* = MALAR
35 Mountainsof country without river? (4)
Rural (of ciountry) – r (river) = URAL
37 Correct gear for areas of shifting sands(4)
(gear)* = AREG
40 Source of flourin barrel:Uruguay (5)
Drum (barrel) around u (Uruguay) = DURUM
41 Train of combustible material as safety device (4)
42 Turacoof lecturer on railway (4)
L (lecturer) + o (on) + ry (railway) = LORY
44 Scots gave leave to plunder (4)
45 Cast into oil by Dryden(4)
(into)* = OINT
47 Shakespeare’s pygmy skeleton (5)
49Learnedseven not five (4)
Seven – v (five) = SEEN
A 50 Mother’s boy (4)
Dam (mother) = ADAM
L 51 Sesames in tins without name (4)
Tins – n (name) = TILS
53 Suffering in country without sun (4)
Spain (country) – s (sun) = PAIN
54 Quotefrom a dead dictator (6)
A + d (dead) + duce (dictator as in Mussolini) = ADDUCE
57 Ten fully composed in easy manner(8)
(ten fully)* = FLUENTLY
58 Calledthree times when in front of sea (6)
Ter (three times) + med (sea) = TERMED
59 “Terete” could beincorrect or left out (7)
(incorrect – or)* = CENTRIC
60 So depart after expression of hesitation (4)
Er (hesitation) + go (depart) = ERGO
61 Young woman gets hold of uranium base for application to bad purpose(6)
Miss (young woman) around u (uranium) + e (base) = MISUSE
62 Frame band (4)


1 Fish eats one in river(4)
Sar (Fish) around a (one) = SAAR
2 French bear belonging to us (4)
DD (French word for bear) = OURS
3 Familiar photoof religious Catholic on Cyprus (5)
Pi (religious) + c (catholic) + cy (cyprus) = PICCY
4 A very loud song for romantic intrigue(6)
A + FF (very loud) + air (song) = AFFAIR
5 Enclose marine mammal (4)
6 Lawyer and spies in ancient country annexed by Rome(5)
DA (lawyer) + Cia (spies) = DACIA
7 Show joy, perhaps, on return of English book (5)
Rev (E (English) + Tome (book)) = EMOTE
8 Character not active in sacred river(4)
Alpha (Character) – a (active) = ALPH
9 Cosmetic bleat about blemish (7)
Maa (Bleat) around scar (blemish) = MASCARA
O 10 Violently angryFrenchman in Alaska (4)
Ak (alska) around M (Frenchman) = AMOK
12 Cheese particle (5)
15 Lucerne for example physician rarely used(5)
16 Bit of skirt, be silent (4)
21 Nameless chief for those in Perth(4)
Thane (chief) – n (nam-less)  = THAE
23 Son and father mimic Farinelli, for instance(5)
S (son) + pa (father) + do (mimic) = SPADO
25 Making up panel for more than one story(5)
Rev. Slat = TALES (There would appear to be a missing E in the subsidiary indication)
S 26 Contralto having fatty acid in aural passage (5)
C (contralto) + ala (fatty acid – alphalinolenic acid) = SCALA
28 Drunken revelor heartless gaiety (4)
Or + gy (heartless gaiety) = ORGY
29 Infectionfrom down mostly (3)
Flue (down) – e (mostly) = FLU
C 30 Raw and impolite (5)
DD Crude and Rude = CRUDE
31 Mystic’s rising whenever visiting America (4)
Rev (if (whenever) + us (america)) = SUFI
34 In backward Argentina tango is magic(3)
Rev. RA (Argentina)) + t (tango) = ART
36 Listleaving nothing out of series of calls (4)
Round (series of calls) – o (nothing) = RUND
38 Rower’s wife becomes fit to bring back bits of plankton(7)
Rower – w around Rev,. (fit) = ROTIFER
39 Strip backof insect taking exercise (5)
Fly (insect) + pe (exercise) = FLYPE
43 Reported part of aeronautical manoeuvre(4)
Homoym of Role (part) = ROLL
45 Spirit in watermakes a noise in drink (6)
One (Drink) around din (noise) = ONDINE
46 Swordof soldiers with lifeforce (5)
Ta (soldiers) + Chi (Life force) = TACHI
48 International with independence that’s us in WI(5, hyphenated)
I (international) + and (with) + I (independence) = I-AND-I
49 Before group’s return note venues (5)
Si (note – variant of te) + Rev. (Set) = SITES
50 Passagesof a poem once special (5)
A + Dit (poem once) + s (special) = ADITS
51 Lecturer to abandon right of ownership at once(4)
Tuter (Lecturer) – r (right) = TUTE
52 Wrestlingwith problem oddly at first (4)
Sum (problem) + o (oddly at first) = SUMO
E 54 Agreements, say, must be modified (4)
(say)* = AYES
55 Man in ancient city on a lesser pilgrimage(4)
Ur (ancient city) around m (man) + a = UMRA
56 Eatsomething extra hot (4)
Etc (something extra) + h (hot) = ETCH


10 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations 1038 Difficulty by MynoT”

  1. maestro says:

    there was one extra difficulty that eluded me and also perhaps eluded you – the preamble says that 14 answers must be entered with a single letter misprint. You explain here 9 of them. which are the other 5 and what words do they make?

  2. twencelas says:

    Don’t forget the crossing entries.
    Fulll list below:
    Asides = AZIDES, Seal = ZEAL, Quart = QUARK, Khor = THOR, Scapa = SCALA, pory = LORY, atomy = ATOPY, tute = TITE, sites = RITES, seen = REEN, medic = MEDIA, tace = TACO, sera = SORA tales = TALCS making 14 and the usual telegraph gremlin mite = CITE giving 15.

  3. Tony says:

    I don’t think 20A works, unless the word play is something else. And it’s always the Oxford English Dictionary, not ODE, unless that stands for something else or it’s yet another EV error.

  4. twencelas says:

    Tony – I’m not happy with 20ac certainly
    I read ODE as OED – suspect someone from the grauniad reviewed it, but it does nt refer to the 20ac entry

  5. bb says:

    for 20, do = PARTY, not start to Pose leaves ARTY.

  6. Phi says:

    ODE is fine – Oxford’s equivalent to the single-volume Chambers is called the Oxford Dictionary of English (hence ODE) while the big mega-volume set (not I think to be
    published in hard copy again) is the OED.

  7. twencelas says:

    Thanks Phi for the clarification – after my comment I noticed that the ODE was also referred to in this week’s Inquisitor so suspected as much.
    bb – Thanks for putting me out of my misery with 20ac

  8. Deep Threat says:

    I think 25a is a double definition. Per Chambers ‘tales’ = the filling up, from those who are present, of a deficiency in the number of jurors.

  9. Deep Threat says:

    Sorry, that should be 25d.

  10. twencelas says:

    Thanks Deep Throat I agree.

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