Enigmatic Variations 1567 (Hints)
Condition by Eclogue
Hints and tips by Phibs
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The name Eclogue might suggest some connection with Virgil, but I believe that it actually refers to a hybrid creature whereof the front part is operated by Eclipse (thus partial rather than total) and the rear section by Logogriph, this latter being “a kind of enigma, in which a certain word, and other words that can be formed out of all or any of its letters, are to be guessed from synonyms of them introduced into a set of verses.”
Preamble: Each down clue contains an extra word, from which solvers can take the first and last letters of each in clue order (4,4,3,3,6,7,9) to describe and illustrate the thematic CONDITION affecting the wordplay of the across clues, which must be highlighted in the completed grid. Where an answer has multiple words, the CONDITION affects the wordplay of the answer as a whole, not the wordplay of each word separately. All entries are to the defined answers for which Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.
The down clues are normal apart from the bonus word, and can be confidently tackled; since the mischief in the across clues affects the wordplay but not the definition of the answer (and thus of the grid entry), there’s no reason not to have a crack at those as well, particularly since solving (and entering) one or two may well give a good idea of the funny business that is evidently going on. You will find that many of the clues in both sets are friendly. When you complete the puzzle you will understand why the second sentence about answers with multiple words had to be included, but I would strongly advise ignoring it for now.
1a Source of light to beat on island mass (12, two words)
The answer is divided (8,4) while the three wordplay elements are 3, 5 and 4 letters respectively.
12a Acclimatises when encompassing local work space (7)
The ‘local work’ is a three-letter term, originally from the Cornish tin mines, referring to a system of payment for work which brings no direct returns; it is also the diminutive name commonly given to a famous Egyptian pharaoh. The ‘space’ refers to the smallest variety of quadrat used in letterpress printing for separating blocks of type.
17a Attacked Roman defences, Milton’s stated (9)
The defences are mounds of earth, and the other wordplay element is a Miltonian spelling of a very common word meaning ‘stated’.
33a Secret motive executed by Blyton, say with father locally (12, two words)
Here the wordplay elements are in a 6-4-2 pattern, and the answer may bring to mind a classic clue by John Henderson involving car manufacturers.
2d South American people, always in the north, strike over arish acreage (6)
One of the easier imposters to spot, and a three-element (2,3,1) wordplay, the second element being reversed, which leads to the name of a South American people of Bolivia and Peru (if it isn’t already also the name of a model of car it probably should be).
4d Symbolic narrative’s ordered every European to become wealthy, for the most part (9)
Here we have a (3,1,2,3) charade, the last element being reduced from four letters.
8d Pope’s work modified one attempt against bishop, for one (12, four words)
The four words of the answer here are indicated individually in the wordplay, the first three by single words and the fourth (of three letters) by ‘bishop, for one’, with ‘knight’ being another.
19d Scotsman upgrading resource level in his water network (7)
By far the toughest clue in this puzzle, I thought, made harder by the position of the imposter. When considering the ‘water’ and the change that needs to be made to it, think about ‘his’ referring back to the Scotsman, ‘water’ being ‘a body of water’, and there being two specific levels of examination which could at one time be taken by those in secondary education.
23d I had come after Ed’s affliction for moth (6)
The first bit of the wordplay is straightforward, while the ‘Ed’ in the second part is Edmund Spenser – the element that constitutes ‘his’ affliction (actually this isn’t his spelling of the word, but Chambers doesn’t make that clear) could also have been indicated by something along the lines of ‘prong’.
27d Lead in heavy load to destroy poet’s grasp (4)
The imposter here divides the two wordplay elements which combine to produce a Spenserian verb.
The generous clues (particularly in terms of the definitions) mean that a pattern should start to emerge quite quickly in the across clues. The message generated by the extra words in the down clues will provide confirmation, but when deciphering it don’t forget that it not only describes but also illustrates the condition. Don’t forget, either, to locate the name of the condition (just imagine it’s a Chalicea puzzle) and to highlight it in the completed grid – you won’t find the term in Chambers, but it can be readily verified on the web. By this time, the reason for that second sentence in the preamble should have become clear.
The largely straightforward clues made for a pleasant and none-too-demanding solve. One can admire both the integration of the extra words in the down clues and the way that the across clues unequivocally exemplify the condition.
Phibs Toughness Rating : 🥾🥾 (Suitable for all except first-timers)
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