Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 1064: Upper Half by Shark

Posted by mc_rapper67 on April 20th, 2013


OK – I know when I’m beaten – I surrender! I’ll come out quietly with my hands up. A seemingly simple preamble, a reasonably quick grid fill, and then two-plus weeks staring at it trying to wheedle out the thematic denouément…with no moment of inspiration…yet. I am sure someone will put me out of my misery in the comments…please!

The preamble says ‘A clash must be resolved…’ (‘a’ clash, so just one square?) ‘…so that three related words appear in the final grid (26 letters in total)…’ (so one square with a clash will reveal three words and 26 letters?) ‘… Only those letters that appear in the UPPER HALF’ of the grid must be highlighted.

So, where to start – no particularly short or long answers, which is where I usually head for inspiration – as they are all 6 letters! An ingenious construction, although the back of my mind tells me I may have seen similar ‘all-6′, or ‘all x’, grids before.

But not to worry – the sheer number of crossing letters, and some fairly steady solving, led the grid to fill up at a reasonable rate. A few answers that were gettable from their wordplay, but needed a reassuring check in Chambers – SOMONI, TAVERT, THAIRM, ADNEXA.

The only clash I could find was the last letters of TYRANT and INHERE in the right column. So that is ‘a clash’ – but how to resolve it and find these words? Having filled the grid in maybe an hour’s solving, spread over a few days away on the Easter school holidays, I then spent many many minutes – lying in bed, on the train to/from work, AT work! – searching in vain for anything – horizontal, vertical, semi-circular, spiral, rectangular – which might help resolve the clash and give me the three words.

So, Shark – apologies if I have taken your name in vain and spouted various imprecations upon your good character in the last while – I hope your ears were burning! Thanks for an interesting challenge, and I’m sorry I wasn’t quite able to complete it. 

EV1064NB. I have just had a thought that maybe the ‘clash’ is the ‘CUP TIE’ in the top left quadrant – and maybe anagramming or replacing those letters might give something? But it is too little too late on a Friday evening before publication, so I’m not going to try and go down that route! And that doesn’t explain TYRANT/INHERE…

I am out ‘incommunicado’ most of the day tomorrow (Saturday 20th) – I will update with any enlightenment, and maybe update the grid – when I come back to civilisation in the evening.

 UPDATE: As pointed out in the comments below, with SENSES not PENSES at 28D  - the words SENARY, SEXPARTITE and HEXAMEROUS can be found (with E not T in the clash) – and just highlighting the ‘upper-half’ letters of these gives VI.


Clue No Entry Clue (definition in bold) /
1A ENIACS Old computers malfunctioning in case (6) /
anag (malfunctioning) of IN CASE
6A TAVERT In Scotland bewildered clergyman returns in shabby clothes (6) /
TAT (shabby clothes) around VER (REV, clergyman, returning)
11A SOMONI Asian cash provided twothirds of coins (6) /
SO (provided) + MONI(ES) – two thirds of monies, or coins
12A SLUSHY Sentimental fling masking most of passion (6) /
SHY (fling, or throw) around (masking) LUS(T) – most of lust, or passion
13A CUPTIE Clubs to conclude match (6) /
C (clubs) + UPTIE (end, conclude)
14A TEETER Almost force Queen to hesitate (6) /
TEET(H) – almost teeth, or force/authority + ER (queen)
15A ADNEXA Notice new cut back for gland’s attachments (6) /
AD (notice) + N (new) + EXA (AXE, or cut, back)
17A TERRAN Perhaps, Asimov’s human is from Jupiter randomly in disguise (6) /
hidden word in ‘JupiTER RANdomly’
18A PISTON Iron peg limits square valve mechanism (6) /
PITON (iron peg) around (limiting) S (square)
19A INHERE Reside at hotel till old (6) /
IN (at) + H (hotel) + ERE (same as ‘ear’ – obsolete for ’till’, or plough)
20A THAIRM Asian intermittently drums Ian’s musical string (6) /
THAI (Asian) + regular letters (intermittently) of ‘dRuMs’
29A HEPTAD Group of pints with covering of froth (6) /
HEAD (froth, on beer) around PT (pints)
30A AERATE Excite aged with speed (6) /
AE (Latin abbreviation ‘aetatis’, aged so many years) + RATE (speed)
31A EUTAXY Good order from European Union to charge majesty at last (6) /
EU (European Union) + TAX (charge) + Y (last letter of majesty)
32A STAINS Holy men beginning to travel west spots … (6) /
SAINTS (holy men) with T (first letter of travel) moving left, or westwards
33A NIECES Pope’s daughters, delicate sons with earl in confinement (6) /
NICE (delicate) around (confining) E (earl), plus S (sons)
34A EIRACK Glaswegian bird is evil now and again with instrument of torture (6) /
alternate letters (now and again) of EvIl, plus RACK (instrument of torture)
35A ELCHEE Maybe The White House wing cut food for ambassador (6) /
EL (L-shaped wing of a building, such as the White House) + CHEE(SE) – food ‘cut’ short
36A SCYTHE Instrument to cut time on the radio (6) /
homophone – SCYTHE (cutting instrument) sounds like (on the radio) SITHE or SYTHE (time)
37A NYLONS Stockings worn only in new style (6) /
NS (New Style) around anag (i.e. worn) of ONLY
Clue No Entry Clue (definition in bold) /
1D ESCOTS Pays for drug costs out of joint (6) /
E (ecstasy, drug) + anag (i.e. out of joint) of COSTS
2D NOUSES Drama follows retired talents (6) /
NO (or Noh – Japanese drama) + USES (archaic – follows, as in a path)
3D IMPORT Bring in money inside one Australian suitcase (6) /
I (one) + PORT (Australian colloquialism for suitcase), around M (money)
4D CNIDAE Nettle-cells brood in French port lacking nitrogen (6) /
CAE(N) (French port,lacking N – nitrogen), around NID (brood, of pheasants)
5D SIENNA Queen is turning a brown colour (6) /
ANNE (queen) + IS – all urning
7D ALEXIN Once complement drink with unknown spirit [not good] (6) /
ALE (drink) + X (unknown) + (G)IN – spirit, without G – good
8D ESTATE English bananas taste rank (6) /
E (English) + anag (i.e. bananas) of TASTE
9D RHETOR Maybe Aristotle’s right-hand mechanical memory is twisted (6) /
RH (right-hand) + ETOR (ROTE, or mechanical learning, twisted round)
10D TYRANT Bully tense younger soldier, perhaps (6) /
T (tense) + YR (younger) + ANT (soldier, perhaps)
15D ARKITE Army regulation aircraft having quality of vessel prepared for deluge (6) /
AR (Army Regulation) + KITE (aircraft)
16D ASHERY Potassium carbonate may be made here from bottomless cast on railway (6) /
A (‘from’, form of Latin preposition ‘ab’) +SHE(D) (cast, bottomless) + RY (railway)
20D THESES Papers – the Times finally electronic, Sun is next? (6) /
THE + S (last letter of Times) + E (electronic) + S (Sun)
21D HECTIC Rushed about after he is found with unfinished work (6) /
HE + C (about, circa) + TIC(K) (unfinished work)
22D APIARY Nurses can be found here before a meal – date is off the record (6) /
AP (ante prandium, Latin, before a meal) + (D)IARY (record, without D – date)
23D RAUNCH Dart right not left will result in coarseness across the pond (6) /
(L)AUNCH (dart) with R (right) for L (left)
24D SAANEN Hunters surround an initially edible ruminant (6) /
SAN (Nomadic tribe of bushmen, or hunters) around AN + E (first letter of edible)
25D SEXILY In outskirts of Sicily banishment cut short in an exciting way (6) /
SY (outer letters of Sicily) around EXIL(E) (banishment, cut short)
26D SANCHO Instrument from Africa starting to slice chilli pepper (6) /
S (start of Slice) plus ANCHO (type of chilli pepper – not in any of my older paper or PC e-Chambers,
but it is in the version on my Android phone, which I think is the ‘recommended’ 2011 version…)
27D ATWEEN To urinate primarily nightly at intervals (only in certain places) (6) /
AT (to, towards) + WEE (urinate) + N (first letter of nightly)
28D SENSES Opinions not specified in letters (6) /
SEES (letters, C, or see) around NS (non-specific)

4 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No. 1064: Upper Half by Shark”

  1. D. Reynolds says:

    Unfortunately, ‘penses’ is the wrong answer. It’s SENSES. Read up from the first S and use the E. You highlight SENARY. Then highlight SEXPARTITE [diagonally reading down] and HEXAMEROUS [diagonally reading up]. Actually you only highlight the top half which gives VI.
    Yet another brilliant mathematic meditation for Easter. My cup runneth over.

  2. Tony says:

    There was a hint in the fact that every answer is six letters long.

  3. mc_rapper67 says:

    Thanks to D. Reynolds at #1 for helping me over the line – it all makes SENSES now! (I must have been thinking of ‘pensées’ at 28D.) I am as SIX as a parrot to have missed that.

  4. Nick says:

    Another really good puzzle from a top setter. I struggled as I usually do tackling a Shark but got there in the end (as I don’t always). I confess that I didn’t notice for some time that all the entries were six-letter as I had convinced myself to concentrate on the 90 degree symmetry for some reason. Thanks Shark

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