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‘Edwardian Pioneers’ by Dysart

Posted by Encota on 5 May 2017

Cut to the chase: so who else, using the font of all truth and wisdom (aka t’Internet), found the slightly dubious website claiming to describe the Old City State of TIVES – a possibility for 15a, perhaps, allowing SIEVE to be entered at 3d?  Or, as someone in the lift recently suggested, surely ‘THE JUMBLIES’ was written by the same lady who wrote TWAS BRILLIG AND THE SLOTHY TIVES… ?
[He was wrong on so many levels]
However, as TIVES isn’t in Chambers and Chambers is recommended, I opted for changing not 3d SIEGE into SIEVE but 8d LERNA into SIEVE, creating CERUSE, SERAPIS, ACKEES and SHIES.  Though I suspect there’ll be at least one person claiming the former should marked acceptable too?

Tough clueing in this one – though I have already grown to expect nothing less from the superb Dysart.  Some of the trickier items – if I have got them right:

   Valises? Hilfiger’s elevated discarded ones (5)

The theme removes the V and the subsequent jumbling of the definition results in the clue:

   Aisles? Hilfiger’s elevated discarded ones (5)

This parses as L (elevated with a U.S. indicator) + ANES

26d perhaps gives another good example of the complexity of some of Dysart’s clueing:

   As Aretha’s figure is crowned, Rodin’s one is replaced by department (7)

Here I spent ages being conned by “Rodin’s one”.  I was correctly assuming Rodin as the French_indicator but it took me a long while to come up with ‘on’ and not ‘un’ or ‘une’! So ‘ON’ in one word needed to be replaced by D(epartment) in another.  The theme removed an A from the definition: I then spent a while guessing that the def was ‘As Earth’s figure is’, expecting a word something like ‘oblate’, or ‘geo…ate’ or similar.  I then spotted the ‘crowned’ and coronation possible connection, and only then found ‘CORDATE’ (i.e. heart-shaped, as on a playing card) being formed from D in COR(on)ATE – and realised that it wasn’t Earth in the definition but Heart.  And that was just one clue – only 43 others to solve!!

I’m not sure how it went for other solvers but I found the Theme fairly early on.  With ‘They went…’ as the start of the quotation, I guessed ‘The Jumblies’ was probably the Theme – “They went to sea in a sieve they did, in a sieve they went to sea…” I’d solved a couple of Across clues which were one letter short including 27a as THROVE.  But the sixth letter of the 7-letter Entry needed to be I.  Perhaps an ‘I’ had to be added to the 13 themed across clues?  JUMBLIES could be interpreted as “add an ‘I’ into JUMBLES of Solutions to get the Entries” – THROVE becoming OVERHIT, for example – and so it proved.

And the Title?  Well, Edwardian is presumably referring to Edward Lear.  I looked at PIONEERS and thought OPENERS* + I, but hadn’t really thought beyond that.  OPENERS could be the Opening Lines, “They went to sea in a sieve they did,…” etc, or it could be the Openings (i.e. holes) in the sieve.  I sense I may well have missed something else though???

Great fun – and one of the harder Listeners of the year so far.  I ended up finishing the last four clues and the endgame during the following morning, which has been something of a rarity so far in 2017.  Thank you Dysart!

Tim / Encota

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