Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations 1065: Hotiuhtw by Rustic

Posted by Dave Hennings on April 27th, 2013

Dave Hennings.

Having escaped from the jaws of Playfair codes with yesterday’s Listener (Oh, No! Not Another Playfair), courtesy of Mordred, here I am well and truly in at the deep end! Time to see if I can sort out one of these pesky blighters.

EV 1065Luckily for me, Rustic’s clues were straightforward and fair, with the four asterisked clues leading to four birds: GROUSE, PIGEON, MERLIN and THRUSH. There were four unclued 4-letter entries which also needed to be encoded and were thematic. I wouldn’t be able to solve them until I had uncovered the Playfair codeword. With the grid completed, these codings were revealed:

GR coded as DT
SE          UL
PI          RP
ON          LC
ME coded as UC
IN          PE
TH          IG
SH          UG

I think that the first thing to look for is where letters appear on both sides, in this case PI coded as RP, since the three letters involved would be in the same line or column, thus IPR. However, that still left the choice of IPR, R··IP or PR··I.

After that, it seemed that it was a case of tinkering! TH coded as IG and SH as UG, so pairings T / S and I / U must each be in the same columns. Although not certain, it was probably better than 50:50 that the G and H were next to each other and were part of the code-square following on from the codeword. Next I saw SE coded as UL, and I guessed that the SU were next to each other near the bottom and LE adjacent near the top. It also seemed likely that the bottom line was VWXYZ. All in all, a lot of guesswork trial and error logical experimentation.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I came up with PRATINCOLE. I nearly dismissed it, since I had never heard of it, but a thumb through Chambers confirmed it as a bird of the plover family. The next thing I did was to decode the title, and I got Feathery, so I guessed that the remaining 4-letter words were either words for ‘feather’, or more likely, some more birds. Decoding the two letters I had for each one gave RA··, ··OT, ··EN and HA··. A short while later I had encoded RAIL, KNOT, WREN and HAWK to complete the grid. It also confirmed 10dn as LEER and not LEAR.

A very enjoyable and, even with the Playfair jiggery-pokery, a fairly quick solve, so thanks to Rustic.

Definition in clue
ABC* = anagram
ABC< = reversal
abCDef = hidden

No Entry Clue and Explanation
1 SIRI It helps to see turned over leaf (4)
IRIS< (it helps with vision)
5 CRUSTAL Injurious influence in Calfornia relating to the earth’s surface (7)
RUST (injurious influence) in CAL (California)
11 CATECHISE Systematically examine injured hiccatees … (9)
12 LENDING providing fish eating the last bit (7)
LING (fish) containing (eating) END (last bit)
13 RAIL —> ATTE Unclued
14 INCEPT Begin awkward without clubs (6)
INEPT (awkward) outside C (clubs)
16* GROUSE —> DTEQUL Australian’s very good grumble (6)
2 meanings
18 SPINEL Draw out the Spanish mineral (6)
SPIN (draw out) EL (the in Spanish)
19 LIBERATE Free balance holding end of pole (8)
LIBRATE (balance) holding E (end of polE)
13 ICE SKATE Ray’s after cool piece of sporting kit (8, hyphenated)
SKATE (ray) after ICE (cool)
25 MANAGE To get on West’s straddling horse (6)
MAE (West, the actress) straddling (either side of) NAG (horse)
26* PIGEON —> RPHLLC Earlier a girl’s animal starts to eat organic nourishment (6)
PIG (animal) + EON (first letters of Eat Organic Nourishment)
28 TUFFET Fine volcanic rock on edges of endmost mound (6)
TUFF (fine volcanic rock) + ET (edges of EndmosT)
30 KNOT —> VBLA Unclued
31 AIRSIDE Diaries set out description of part of Heathrow? (7)
32 EXECUTORS They perform simulated outré sex without clothes at first (9)
(OUTRE SEX)* outside of C (first letter of Clothes)
33 ACROGEN Unusual orange coloured fern? (7)
(ORANGE C (coloured))*
34 OMEN Sign from submariner turning (4)
NEMO< (submarine captain)
No Entry Clue and Explanation
1 SOLIDLY Sensibly cover top and side of loin in sauce (8)
LID (top) + L (side of Loin) in SOY (sauce)
2 IDENTICAL Idea Clint formulated is not different (9)
3 WREN —> RCNC Unclued
4 JAIPUR Quarrel when I turn up inside Indian city (6)
I + UP< in JAR (quarrel)
6 REGISTER Written record concerning wild tigers (8)
RE (concerning) + TIGERS*
7* MERLIN —> UCTCPE Wizard trapping Rex Lambert in abandoned mine (6)
R (rex) L (lambert) in MINE*
8 SHARIA Muslims are mostly within the law (7)
AR[E] in SHIA (Muslims)
9 TITANIA Young girl cuckoo about satellite (7)
TIT (young girl) + ANI (cuckoo) + A (about)
10 LEER King’s reported to look lecherously (4)
sounds like LEAR (king)
15 KENTLEDGE Scots knew attached strip’s pig iron (9)
KENT (Scots knew) + LEDGE (attached strip)
17 LACERATE Rip fastening chord on standard (8)
LACE (cord) + RATE (standard)
20 BUNDLER Packer’s mistake moving top of label down (7)
BLUNDER (mistake) with L (top of Label) moved down
21 LECTERN Reading-desk recently shortened and moved (7)
22 MACACO Former Portuguese colony introduces Cape lemur (6)
MACAO (former Portuguese colony) containing (introducing) C (cape)
23* THRUSH —> IGIMUG The hurry to avoid Eastern disease (6)
THE RUSH (hurry) – E (eastern)
24 SPURRY Type of chickweed out east with a short fruit-bearing branch (6)
SPURREY (chickweed) – E (east)
27 UVEA Iris partly mauve and purple (4)
in maUVE And purple
29 HAWK —> FIVM Unclued


One Response to “Enigmatic Variations 1065: Hotiuhtw by Rustic”

  1. Jaguar says:

    This was my first taste of Playfair, and while I’m still not really used to it I think it was a good introduction. The choice of codeword was a bit obscure but otherwise fine.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

eight − 3 =