Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 1044: Seven Things by Wiglaf

Posted by mc_rapper67 on November 24th, 2012


Wiglaf is a new name to me – and doesn’t seem to appear anywhere else on 15×15, so is either a new setter. or one of those occasional collaborations of setters(?). Either way he, she or they has/have produced an interesting and challenging puzzle here. It does what it says on the tin: there are seven ‘things’ to be found (in clues lacking definitions) and twelve misprints to identify a ‘group of people’ associated with these things. Lastly 18 cells to be identified to ‘reveal the theme’…

On scanning through a first pass, I chanced on HORSE at 37A – fairly obviously not defined, so likely to be a ‘thing’. I then mistakenly came up with COLT at 51 – COL for officer, T for temperature, so the theme is going to be something equestrian… except it wasn’t!

The next undefined one I spotted was THING at 26D – which was probably also a ‘thing’ in the thematc sense. ‘Things’ were not going to be as simple as they seemed!

This was a multi-session solve – some quite hard clues, some obscure (to me) words – like LOD, DYNES, NAIANT, and TSUGA. So, Chambers was much in use – paper copy by my bed, 10-year old electronic copy on the laptop, and now, for just £4.99, a fully-specced latest version on my Android smartphone… Also there was a lot packed in here – longest entry was 8 letters, lots of short words – which usually tend to be the easiest to get, but not necessarily so here.

Eventually a few more THINGS came out of the woodwork – COAT, not colt; PIPE; HEAD; HANDS –  but I was a long way from getting to the denouement. Then, the top-left to bottom-right diagonal took shape as ‘DRUNKEN NIGHTS’ – which explains the ‘THINGS’ of the title, and in the top right corner S + EVEN gave the number. Even so, a bit of Wiki-oogling was needed to link it all together – SEVEN DRUNKEN NIGHTS being a traditional folk song, probably most popularly associated with THE DUBLINERS – the ‘group of people’ identified by the corrected misprints.

There is plenty of background information on Wikipedia – and elsewhere, but this is a traditionally themed folk-song – with variations from many cultures – where a drunken husband comes home each night to find gradually more incriminating evidence that someone else has ‘had their kippers in the grill’, while he has been out drinking. The wife explains them all away, but a nagging doubt remains behind the alcoholic haze… The horse he saw outside was a sow (with a saddle?); the coat he saw on the floor was a blanket (with buttons?), the boots by the door were flowerpots (with laces?)…etc…until (look away those of you of a gentle disposition) he sees some hands on her breasts (a nightgown – with fingers?) and lastly a ‘thing’ sticking up under the covers (a rolling pin…OK, too much detail!).

Lots of fun – eventually – after a challenging slog of a solve. By coincidence, I was on a business trip in Dublin the week I was working on this – although only one drunken night was involved, and no wife waiting at the hotel room with a litany of deceptions and excuses!… 

Welcome Wiglaf – whoever you are – and, well, follow that!

Clue No Corrected Misprint Entry Clue (definition in bold) /
1A   DISCRETE The infernal world, home to the Minoans, consisting of distinct parts (8) /
DIS (Hades, Hell) + CRETE (home to the Minoans)
7A …in facT EVEN Snow comes back in face (4) /
EVEN (in fact) = NÉVÉ (snow field) backwards
11A …came to Hand ROSE Ranks as reported came to land (4) /
homophone (i.e. as reported) – ROSE sounds like ROWS – ranks
13A   KOALA Arboreal creature with fine receding membraneous outgrowth (5) /
KO (OK, fine, receding) + ALA (membraneous outgrowth)
14A   NEUM New German money in notes (4) /
NEU (new, German) + M (money)
15A   ARROYO A river bird’s cut across Yankee ravine (6) /
A + R (river) + ROO (rook, or bird, cut short) around Y (phonetc alphabet, Yankee = Y). Yankee maybe does double duty here, as an ARROYO is a ravine in the US)
16A   EDEN Paradise valley close to the front (4) /
EDEN (paradise) = DENE (valley) with closing letter E at the front
18A …to get peEr… TOOT Tax Officer goes to and fro to get pear for Spenser (4) /
TO (Tax Officer) + OT (same, going back to front) – to and fro
19A   PIPE Private eye receives education of sorts? (4) /
(undefined thematic) PI (Private Investigator) + PE (Physical Education)
20A   SHEIKH Chief quiet about hike out of place (6) /
SH (quiet) around HEIK (anag, i.e. ot of place, of HIKE)
22A   STEMMED What 2000 did to stop horse? (7) /
&lit?/CD? – STEED (horse) around (stopped by) MM (two thousand, Roman numerals)
24A   POUFFE Material gathered into a bunch up of wrought iron (6) /
POUF (anag, i.e. wrought, of UP OF) + FE (Iron)
25A   EST The most outstanding British dismissed awareness-raising programme (3) /
(B)EST (most outstanding) without (dismissing) B (British)
27A   AIL Trouble for apteral corncrakes, perhaps (3) /
(R)AIL(S) – corncrakes – without ‘wings’ (apteral)
29A   FINNISH Jack for example adopts fashionable new language (7) /
FISH (Jack, type of fish) around (adopting) IN (fashionable) + N (new)
32A Dad’s sibling EME There’s space on Earth for lad’s sibling (3) /
EM (space, in printing) + E (Earth)
33A SoUp… PHO Soap husband found in river (3) /
PO (river) around H (husband)
35A   NAIANT Scotsman returns with worker swimming horizontally (6) /
NAI (Ian, Scotsman, returning) + ANT (worker)
36A   THROWER The short oarsman and hurler (7) /
TH (the, short) + ROWER (oarsman)
39A   FINISH To use the last of a five-dollar bill is hard (6) /
FIN (US slang, $5 bill) + IS + H (hard)
41A   ROAM Call from a cell outside standard area with memory outside area (4) /
ROM (computer memory) around A (area)
43A   HARL A fibre of flax Scots drag along the ground (4) /
double defn. HARL can mean a fibre of flax; or (Scottish) to drag along the ground
45A   GAEA Pygmalion’s statue disheartened goddess (4) /
GA(LAT)EA – Greek mythology, statue brought to life by Pygmalion – without central letters – heartless
46A   MEDLAR An interfering person, we hear, found in tree (6) /
homophone – MEDDLER (interfering person) and MEDLAR (type of tree)
48A   SHAN Mongoloid language is southern Chinese (4) /
S (Southern) + HAN (native Chinese people)
50A   TSUGA Hemlock is a blast when it comes from the east (5) /
TSUGA (hemlock) = A GUST (a blast) reversed – coming from the East
51A   COAT Officer with a temperature (4) /
(undefined thematic) CO (Commanding Officer) + A + T (temperature)
52A   HEAD Explosive plug (4) /
(undefined thematic) HE (high explosive) + AD (advertisement, plug)
53A   IDEAL GAS A theoretical unbounded substance“, said Gale surprisingly (8, 2 words) /
anag (i.e. surprisingly) of SAID GALE
Clue No Corrected Misprint Entry Clue (definition in bold) /
1D   DYNES Some force a number to abandon pain-killers (5) /
(ANO)DYNES – painkillers, without A + NO (number)
2D   SOU A small amount of money in the marketplace? Not quite (3) /
Not quite all of SOU(K) – marketplace
3D Back… REAR Jack comes in forearmed (4) /
hidden word in foREARmed
4D   EARTHEN End of the sculpture, perhaps, bird made of clay (7) /
E (last letter of ‘the’) + ART (sculpture, perhaps) + HEN (bird)
5D   TYR God’s an oppressor? Not half (3) /
Not half of TYR(ANT) – oppressor
6D Scottish gLide… SKYTE Scottish guide offering short time in island (5) /
SKYE (island) around T (short time)
8D   VAGI Nerves finally lacking I gave up (4) /
VAGI (nerves) = I GAV(E) – lacking final letter and written ‘up’
9D …to slIp away… ELOPE Relative of tarpon, not quite European, to slap away secretly (5) /
Not quite ELOP(S) – fish genus, related to the tarpon = + E (European)
10D   NAKEDLY Dicky and Kyle barely (7) /
anag (i.e. dicky) of AND KYLE
11D   RED-HOT Percy maybe loses stimulus after Marxist is considered almost certain to win (6, hyphenated) /
RED (Marxist) + HOT (Henry Percy, Hotspur, losing spur – stimulus)
12D   BOOTS One of the old school upset over books section (5) /
(undefined thematic) BO (OB, old boy, upset) + OT (Old Testament, books) + S (section)
17D   NIFFY Smelly nitrogen? Dubious (5) /
N (nitrogen) + IFFY (dubious)
21D   EULER Mathematician’s formulated sine rule without error (5) /
anag (i.e. formulated) of (SIN)E RULE – without SIN (error)
22D …Spanish geNt SENOR Individuals from the south take Spanish gelt (5) /
SENO (ones, individuals, upwards, from the South) + R (Latin, recipe, take)
23D   MASAI An African degree is top-notch (5) /
MA (degree) + S (contraction of ‘is’) + AI (top notch)
26D   THING Dilute gin at first (5) /
(undefined thematic) THIN (dilute) + G (first letter of gin)
28D   BETROTH Contract produced by Hebrew character filled with nonsense (7) /
BETH (Hebrew character, second letter of Hebrew alphabet) around ROT (nonsense)
30D REdden… INFLAME Ridden in rage (7) /
IN + FLAME (rage, passion)
31D   UNSEAT Topless religious woman ready to catch a throw (6) /
(N)UN (religious woman, without top letter) + SET (ready) around A
34D Rash HEADY Hungarian poet gives support to Cardinal Nash (5) /
H (Hungary, International Vehicle Resistration) + E (East, cardinal point on compass) + ADY (poet, Endre Ady, who also happens to be Hungarian!)
37D   HORSE Runs in stockings (5) /
(undefined thematic) HOSE (stockings) around R (run)
38D   WHEAL Western cure for raised streak (5) /
W (western) + HEAL (cure)
40D   HANDS Counterfeit coin, start to finish (5) /
(undefined thematic) (S)HAND (counterfeit coin) with first letter going to end
42D   AQUA Beryl beginning to awaken at quarter to one (4) /
A (first letter of awaken) + QU (quarter) + A (one)
44D …killer at Sea ORCA Non-commissioned soldiers caught afternoon killer at tea (4) /
OR (Other Ranks, non-commissioned soldiers) + C (caught, in cricket) + A (afternoon)
47D   LOD Bias not accepted in statistical function (3) /
LO(A)D – bias – without A (accepted)
49D   HAG Witch beheaded seabird (3) /
(S)HAG – seabird wihout first letter (beheaded)

2 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 1044: Seven Things by Wiglaf”

  1. Raich says:

    Not a new setter, but an EV début, perhaps. I thought I remembered the pseudonym.

    Dave Hennings’ database proved most useful once more! Address below

  2. Big Dave says:

    Wiglaf lives in Tbilisi, Georgia. There’s also a blocked puzzle from him on my own site.

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