Listener 4174: Sherlock’s Dentures by Salamanca (or Words of Wisdom)
Posted by Dave Hennings on 17 February 2012
I did a blog for a Salamanca puzzle at fifteensquared last month (Enigmatic Variations 1001, Croquet), and here I am doing one for LWO a couple of weeks later. With Salamanca, you can normally expect the quirky (as evidenced by his last Listener The Glady Marsh or should I say Thea Gladys Marsha?). This week we had a puzzle ostensibly about Sherlock Holmes’s gnashers, rather than his Adventures! Salamanca’s EV Croquet puzzle took me about 45 minutes, but I suspected that this one would take longer.
Some clues had wordplay only, whilst others were entered with variations similar to that of the title. I guessed that referred to Adventures losing two letters to become Dentures. Since the wordplay was to the entry, I hoped that this would make them quite easy to spot and to solve. As it turned out, I was … well … wrong!
Zipping through the clues was fairly fruitful this week. 10ac CLERIHEW was the first, helped by having come across LEW meaning ‘lukewarm’ a couple of times in recent weeks. I solved five more acrosses quickly before embarking on the down clues. Ten of these were also solved quickly, helped by a couple of hiddens (3dn ‘lifE’S TERrors’ and 5dn ‘altitudinAL Pasture’) and some straightforward anagrams (6dn ‘as in rum’ and 20dn ‘trespas[s]’). Unfortunately, there seemed nothing untoward about any of the clues or entries, with no wordplay only clues nor, as far as I could see, variations similar to that of the title.
After about an hour, I had over half the clues solved, and the top line of the perimeter was • • R E • A • U Z • L •. It seemed obvious that we had A PUZZLE, and with some simple guesses as I worked my way around the perimeter, I soon spelled out: Here’s a puzzle we can really get our teeth into, Watson.
This enabled me to identify CANINE, WANG, PREMOLAR and INCISORS as the thematic wordplay-only clues, none of which I had managed to solve at this point. Nor indeed had I identified any that needed to be entered in a similar way to the title. It took another few minutes to determine that not only did they all lose two letters as suspected, but it was the same two letters, AV, in every case!
Here are some clues that held me up for longer than they should have:
|11ac||OUTTOP||African primate taking Unionist’s backing to better
U (unionist) in POTTO (African primate) reversed
|23ac||PREMOLAR||US rock group breaking from the deep South, say
Wordplay only: REM in POLAR; not a problem for me, but for our older solvers? At least not as obscure perhaps as Amen Corner a few weeks back!
|28ac||ST[A]R[V]ER||Hunger-striker, perhaps one packing nothing away
STORER (one packing) – O (nothing)
|4dn||SCOPS||Special police tag for some night prowlers
I was looking for scop to be an owl, and didn’t see Scops owl as a separate entry further down
|30dn||SNEE||Old cut: twitch’s not right
You need to look under twitch to see it defined as ‘sneer’ rather than the other way round
As I suspected at the outset, this one took longer than Salamanca’s Croquet mentioned above. However, at just over an hour and a half, it wasn’t a tough puzzle, but entertaining nonetheless. If I hadn’t been so slow to catch on to the thematic entries, I suppose I could have shaved a few minutes off that time.