Enigmatic Variations 1467 (Hints)
The Flavour of the Month by Gos
Hints and tips by The Numpties
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Gos is a familiar name to Listener solvers where he has compiled ten over the last 24 years. This is his fourth puzzle in the Enigmatic Variations series.
Preamble: The puzzle’s theme is a literary work, considered the first of its kind and which might cryptically be called THE FLAVOUR OF THE MONTH. Four entries are the names of protagonists and are clued only by wordplay. The title of the work must be entered in the grid in the available space as a representation of the eventual outcome. The circled letters in the completed grid may be arranged to form the creator of the work. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.
An examination of this non-symmetrical grid suggests to us at once where we will ultimately put the title of this literary work. We count 13 circled cells and store that information for midway through our solve when we will have a chance of spotting an author. Four entries are ‘clued by wordplay only’. We mark six relatively short clues as potential candidates – even 1a, which has very few words for a 12-letter entry.
8a Shore worker in Wellington uncertain husband and wife are docked (7)
This NZ word might be one you have never used. We were given an anagram indicator and three elements from which to create our word.
10a The first person to wander around in New Zealand? (5)
There’s a type of clue called an &lit. in which the definition and wordplay both lead to the same solution. In this case the ? at the end of the clue prompts us that something is happening.
13a Parisian in with European ballet member (7)
Solvers of this level of cryptic crossword generally have knowledge of the basic elements of European languages (German ‘ein’, ‘der’, Italian ‘Ciao’, ‘il’, and French words for ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘wine’ etc.) Gos counts on this.
15a Became fast runner in Shawfield (4)
This is one of the solutions you are probably not familiar with. We needed to find that Shawfield is a dogtrack and confirm that the unusual word was relevant.
17a Minority which might be construed as 45? (6)
We were puzzled here but ‘back-solved’ from the word that was appearing in the grid and worked out how that could relate to 45. It is certainly a cryptic clue.
27a Old tale to expound to auditor(4)
We are told that this word is no longer current and that it is a homophone.
29a As with wheel of car loth to change (7)
Gos gives a generous clue to produce a word we didn’t know.
32a Physician’s supporter a misguided Saint following King Edward (8)
As in clue 29, the solution is very obscure but you can construct the word from King Edward’s abbreviation followed by ‘a saint’ (‘misguided’)
1d Soldier from region is married in Aberdeen (4)
We are told that the word is a regional or dialect word and that it is constructed using a Scots word for ‘married’.
3d Age-worn steps: short supply in old Arizona (4)
As in the above clue, we have an indicator for an archaic word and a prompt that a US word for ‘supply’ is shortened to produce that old word. We needed to hunt around in Chambers to convince ourselves that this defined ‘steps’ and not just one of them.
4d Suit of old appearance to Ian (6)
A double definition clue using an archaic and a Scots word.
9d No longer mouldy with age (4)
Again we have an indicator for an archaic word but it is one you probably often use in combination with another word.
11d A whole equivalent grade covered by Italian soccer club (7)
I don’t know much about Italian soccer but this is probably the first club that springs to mind for all of us. You can guess at the two letter abbreviation that has to go into it to get the ‘whole’.
Sorting out the circled letters was our way to crack this puzzle and the title was immediately obvious. We had three potential character names and we have read this classic but needed Wikipedia to remind us, and confirm that they were its protagonists and to give us the other one. Of course, when you have that breakthrough, the puzzle is relatively gentle.
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