Clues by Enigmatist and Grid by etc
Theme: The Boston Tea Party, with sub-themes of teas and party
The winner of the July puzzle is Norah Clewes of Cheshire.
Review of the July 2023 3D crossword
Setters and designers like to set themselves tasks: for some it is the pangram (or, for the really twisted, the triple pangram); for others the hiding of a theme, or the leaving for the solver to discover a hidden message often known for historic reasons as a Nina. Quite often we find that all the entries in one direction have been thematically treated. It is a very rare achievement to see all the lights in a two-dimensional puzzle featuring thematic treatment.
Here ‘etc’ — let us call a magician a magician, and name him as Nick Inglis — has made all his entries thematically treated, in three dimensions. The closest parallel I can remember in recent 3D puzzles was what Soup did last year with all those Rs and Ws, but here we have every entry being either a *, or a ‡, or else a solution which lacks at least one T but is still a real word. Not lightly was the Ray Parry-Morris Trophy awarded to this grid!
So what’s it all about?
As very often, the way in is via the ‘Easter Egg’ task. Day 4 gives us a nice easy start (thank you, Enigmatist, you have not always been like that). Boston. Now, is the photograph one of Boston, Lincs? Where is St Botolph’s Church? Is the Lincolnshire countryside near the mouth of the Witham really that hilly? I am ashamed to say that I cannot answer those questions. How clever to hide the only boat displaying a name, and presumably the port where registered, behind the instructions. I have seen Boston Lincs only from Hunstanton, and that on a rare clear day. Is that it? One thing I know: it is not Boston Massachusetts. And yet…
Two clues which I solved reasonably early were 20 and 32: here we have MISDEALT and TERROR. Now, those two have one letter in common which can be jettisoned while keeping real words. And so the T is discovered.
Next we find that the asterisked clues, also helpfully dealt with by Enigmatist, are BOHEA and ASSAM (what a nice clue, by the way: I was sadly unaware of Dooley Wilson, but these puzzles are here to educate us, are they not?) CREAM comes from a different angle, but using our two bearings we find that we are dealing with tea.
Finally, the obelus falls into place, with a nice anagram of it’s March second (s) giving neatly and unexpectedly CHRISTMAS, and the rather complicated CEILIDH — taken to international causes us certainly a slight strain of our credibility muscles, as the energy (E) is taken to the I (international) and the boisterous child is full of them both — or that’s how I read it! Anyway, they are both sorts of party, and our theme is complete. Now we can see why all that T was being thrown out — as if the thematically multiple CHES(T)S (have you seen that done before, two identical entries with totally different clues?) — had not pointed the way also.
We have already seen some ingenious clueing. However, my favourites here — from a setter who incidentally collects favourites in his own column alongside the excellent Inquisitor puzzles — are those for LE(TT)ISH and for SPINE(T). I liked the doctor in the House — the capitalising of one word but not the other theoretically gave it away, but you’d have to be on excellent form to see that — and the surface of that swearing following the call for another service — one hopes, in the restaurant rather than the cathedral, though really it was on the tennis court — was a tickler.
However, the prizes for inventiveness here seem to me to go at least equally to the designer. Knowing about LEISH, and above all seeing how PATELLAS can become PAELLAS is brilliant — what helps is the complete lack of relationship between the two words — and Enigmatist’s ‘pair of personal caps(!)’ while ‘tell a’ is nested in the unrelated ‘pas’ complements the idea perfectly.
Frank Paul cannot be accused of giving the CEILIDH away, though I did post-solve it nicely, knowing a thing or two about nanograms, if not about postcodes in the North-East of England: Sunderland? Thirsk? As I said, we are here to be educated.
Lovely puzzle: a grid to be proud of, and clued with just the right blend of help and challenge.
An arrow points to a ceiling, from which we subtract the unit for 1 billionth (10-9) of a gram and replace it with the postcode for Durham, giving:
CEILING – NG (nanogram) + DH = CEILIDH
Clues and explanations
Thematic solutions are indicated with an asterisk.
|Day||Solution||Untreated Solution||Direction, Clue, Count||Explanation|
|1||ASSAM*||9to* How Dooley appears in Casablanca and a state of India (5)||AS SAM|
|2||BARES||BAREST||22ba-5 Place for drinker set out with the minimum of trimmings (6)||BAR/EST anag|
|3||BOHEA*||22up* Black, ordinary, hot water? (5)||B,O,H/EA &lit|
|4||BOSON||BOSTON||22to Aboard Jumbos to New English town (6)||BOSTON hidden|
|5||CAN||CANT||17ac Inclination to stow a gown finally in one of the empty 8s (4)||C[A (gow)N (hes)]T|
|6||CARES||CARETS||13d,19ac-3 Covers floor of room — piano leaves marks (6)||CAR(p)ETS|
|7||CEILIDH*||13ac‡ Boisterous child, full of energy, taken to international song and dance event (7)||C[E,I]LIDH anag|
|8||CHESS||CHESTS||17ba Clipper’s No. 1 orders old containers taken into hold (6)||C/HESTS|
|9||CHRISTMAS*||1ac,2aw-3‡ This time, oddly, it’s March (second) (9)||CHRISTMA/S anag|
|10||CLEFS||CLEFTS||1aw Holding the baby, maybe, nuzzling into regularly cosy cleavages (6)||C(o)[LEFT]S(y)|
|11||COMES||COMETS||1d Halley and Hale-Bopp for two support officer’s rise (6)||CO,STEM all rev|
|12||CREAM*||13to* Yellowish white earth is packing stuff (5)||CR[E]AM|
|13||CRESS||CRESTS||17up Foremost of caddies breaks for five — or ten, tops (6)||C/RESTS|
|14||EVENS||EVENTS||16aw In sleeveless vest, opening garden parties? (6)||(v)E[VENT]S(t)|
|15||GUESS||GUESTS||8to People at ceremony? Grand juries, no question (6)||G/(q)UESTS|
|16||INSULAE||INSULATE||12ba Contents of canister upset over uniform? Length cut off (8)||INS[U,L]ATE anag of (c)ANISTE(r)|
|17||ISLES||ISLETS||14to Atlantis let some houses land in the sea (6)||ISLETS hidden; houses = vb|
|18||LEISH||LETTISH||11aw Language this bad follows call for another service (7)||LET/TISH anag ref tennis|
|19||MELON||MELTON||2d Continue to soften strong coat cloth (6)||MELT ON|
|20||MISDEAL||MISDEALT||10ac Issued incorrect card details, playing with Mussolini’s head (8)||M/ISDEALT anag|
|21||PAELLAS||PATELLAS||18ac During part of dance give away a pair of personal caps (8)||PA[TELL A]S|
|22||PRESE||PRESET||18up Trees flourishing with plantation’s initial programme (6)||P/RESET anag|
|23||RELIC||RELICT||21to Bereaved lady once kindled flame from old nursing college (6)||RE-LI[C]T|
|24||RILLE||RILLET||4d Such running water trickles soak bags with difficulty (6)||R[ILL]ET bags = vb|
|25||RUING||RUTTING||21up Enjoying period of excitement on wagon, I ladder stocking! (7)||RU[TT,I]NG stocking = vb|
|26||SPINE||SPINET||20up Producer of notes? What doctor in the House provides takes the biscuit, ultimately (6)||SPIN/E,T last letters|
|27||SPIES||SPITES||6d Hates shop being unstocked: bad times, no money (6)||S(hoP/ITES anag minus M|
|28||ANGLERS||TANGLERS||9ba They confuse things rodman loaded onto empty trolleys (8)||T[ANGLER (rolley)]S|
|29||EARLESS||TEARLESS||3ac Hardy girl cut up by nobleman — and sympathy unforthcoming! (8)||T[EARL]ESS|
|30||EASEL||TEASEL||5d Relief for bear wrapped in towel that’s prickly … (6)||T[EASE (for OWE)]L|
|31||EASER||TEASER||16up … this Enigmatist’s set to change sides (6)||TEASE/R (for L)|
|32||ERROR||TERROR||7to Bad kid learned basics about ball after clearing table (6)||T(abl)E/RR[O]R ref the three Rs|
|33||ISSUE||TISSUE||15to Part of plant/animal is fat? That’s back to front! (6)||T/IS SUE(t) ‘that’s back’ = T|
|34||RACKS||TRACKS||19up Marks shelf where e.g. cups are kept to infuse tasters on vacation (6)||T[RACK]S|
|35||ROPES||TROPES||19to Irony and metaphor? Yorkshire expert knows ‘em! (6)||T’ROPES|
|Easter egg||BOSTON TEA PARTY||Day 4 * ‡ (6,3,5)|
I seem to have two blank cells on the lowest tier, which puzzles me. Encountered some new words, which I expect I’ll promptly forget! Nice use of theme, with the added twist of removing the ‘t’s. Thanks to Enigmatist and etc. [RS]
Brilliant in every respect, expertly done! [AJ]
Challenging and satisfying [RS]
Nice theme and very clever grid. As ever, some new words – hurrah. Some nice clueing and some very enjoyable contractions when losing the “T”. Particularly liked PATELLAS => PAELLAS. Thank you Enigmatist and etc. [CW]
Crossword setting down to a T! [DR]
I had to admire the design of this puzzle, whereby as many as 30 of the clue’s answers were entered without the letter T – in all cases leaving a real word (even BOSTON, becoming BOSON). There were some tricky clues, but all were fair, and it was rewarding to complete this puzzle. [AB]
The theme yielded quickly but some of the clues less so. A strong brew! [JB]
Good fun. I liked the trick of dumping the Ts. [TH]
I liked the challenge of this puzzle very much, so thank you to Enigmatist and etc. I really enjoyed the moment in my solve when I caught on to the very clever wordplay, where solvers had to jettison (throw overboard) the Ts (Teas!!!). [JA]
Inventive puzzle with helpful theme. Good cluing throughout. [JP]
T’remendous 🙂 [RE]
Enjoyable as usual, but CHESS appearing twice!🤔 [MN]
An enjoyable challenge with an unusual twist. Needed a cuppa after I’d solved it! [SF]
After a few clues it was evident what was going on. Clever constrution to find so many applicable words. 3 isn’t bojea the leaves rather than the drink, which the clue implies? [MJ]
Didn’t think I was going to crack it but after a big mug of tea (Yorkshire, natch) it all started to fall into place. I think I need another kind of brew now. Cheers Enigmatist. [SC]
Another ingenious one. They keep on coming don’t they? Maybe one or two more types of tea and parties would have been nice, but you can’t have everything. Still trying to work out the Whitby link, a pic of Boston (Lincs) would have been a nice misdirection. One or two parsings eagerly awaited, but this is the annual Enigmatist, so … [PA]
I finished an Enigmatist! A struggle until I got the theme then ok and a tough few to finish. All good thanks. [GW]
A clever idea for the theme and how to fill the grid. Some nice clues – I liked 29 Tearless in particular, but the number of obscure words (Bohea, Insulae, Leish, Melton, Prese, Rille/t), and some impenetrable parsings (Bohea, Relict, Rille/t) made it onerous for me and it became a bit of a chore towards the end. Thanks Enigmatist and etc. [JC]
I did it on July 4th, which here in the States seemed appropriate (no offense to my UK friends!). Many words new to me, but luckily most were among the treated ones. Frank’s drawing even more opaque than usual but luckily I play traditional music and was well-acquainted with the word so figured it out that way. Thanks to Enigmatist and etc! [JS]
Clever idea that must have needed much thought to construct. [PD]
Enjoyed this a lot. 26 took a looooong time to figure out! [FH]
It must have been a challenge to create. It was a challenge to complete… but great fun. Thank you. [HH]
Lovely puzzle, though I got the theme very early on which helped. Couple of words were unfamiliar (bohea, prese) but cluing was fair and fun. Thank you. [JT]
Favourite of all to date – elegant link between the theme and the transformations. [BJ]
Highly ingenious, brilliantly clued. [JM]
Admirable. Theme quite obvious but puzzle tricky to complete. [EF]
Brilliant work by Enigmatist turning my strange grid into a lovely puzzle! [NI]
Good fun 😎 [DM]
Excellen puzzle – very invenive – but really sruggled wih Day 26 for some reason. [RG]
Such a clever idea, really enjoyable puzzle. [AR]
Gosh this was difficult. [SW]
I hadn’t noticed this anniversary coming up. What a very clever idea by ETC, although some of the “tea”-less words sent me hunting the dictionary! At one point I didn’t think I would get through it – my heart sank a bit at having to tackle Enigmatist for the clues – but I got there in the end (assuming that my entries get through the checking system!! ) [SB]
Once we cracked the rubric it was enjoyable until the last six answers when the hints was helpful. [RC]
Fun puzzle [MD]
Very clever, tricky to find where the extra Ts should go. [SB]
Great puzzle – I really enjoyed this. An amazing achievement to get some many words which fit the theme of taking out a letter – and pretty much all well-known too. Lots to like here and some very clever clueing too. Thanks to all involved. [BS]
Brilliant puzzle, which even though I got the witty key to it, and the reference, pretty quickly, was a very rewarding ‘slow burner’, and I am still unsure about the parsing of a couple. Good thing it’s summer and we have a bit more time on our hands! [MS]
Very clever. Although still not clear what the connection was with Whitby. [J&JH]
I really enjoyed this one, working out where the Ts where especially when I realised a lot of answers must begin with T . Just one clue I couldn’t work out so have made a guess at it. [NC]
Utterly brilliant. [DB]