3940 Curry by Kea

Double Ascot Cup winner Kea returned this week, with an interesting method for spelling out a message to solvers. In some clues, an extra letter had to be removed from one of the words, the remaining letters being jumbled to make a new clue-word before solving. Other answers had to be jumbled upon entry. Finding suitable definitions, one word of which can be jumbled with the addition of the required letter to make something which still provides a sensible surface reading, must be quite a challenge for the setter. Gregson cannot remember seeing this technique before.

The extra letters in the clues spelt out KING JAMES PROVERBS THIRTY-ONE TEN. This verse from the King James version of the Bible reads: Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

After filling the grid with clue answers, two of the jumbled entries were left unresolved. These were 1 Across, which had to be CEDLAR or CLDEAR, and 2 Down, which had to be DUCEPS or DSECPU.

Vertically placed towards the bottom of the grid were SPINEL, BLOOD, LIPS, BALAS, AGATE and PORT, which are all "rubies" as Chambers can confirm. These had to be entered or highlighted in red. The top cells in these columns spelt out either DEARTH or DLARTH, depending on how 1 Across was jumbled. One of the meanings of DEARTH is "high price", so this clearly fitted in with the quotation. This resolved the ambiguity at 1 Across.

The preamble indicated that some sort of substitution would be necessary, and that all grid entries would be real words or phrases. This led to DEARTH being replaced by ARETHA, a woman's name which means "virtue", and this resolved the remaining ambiguity at 2 Down (AUCEPS in the final grid). In an elegant finish typical of Kea, the new words formed at 1 and 6 Across were CLARET and ARECA, both of which are associated with the colour red.

All in all, a tough challenge, but very satisfying to finish.

ACROSS
1 Reversing past senility, discharge nurse (6)
CRADLE ELD (past senility) + ARC (discharge), all reversed
"past" indicates an archaic word
6 Make rector a head (5)
REACH R (rector) + EACH (a head)
11 A sturdy shoe cut on hill walks [laws][K] may be scrapped by me (9)
ABROGATOR A +BROGA(N) (sturdy shoe, missing last letter) + TOR (hill)
12 What removes essentials [staleness][I] of breath as trip up doesn't take any time (6)
CACHOU CA(T)CH OU(T) (trip up), minus any instance of T (time)
13 Never-ending surf, up in my backed up bit of Severn [verse][N] (6)
MIURUS SUR(F) + U(P) + I(N) + M(Y) (all minus last letter ie never-ending), all reversed (backed up)
14 Algebra [Arable][G] Boole expounded in part (3)
LEE Hidden (in BooLE Expounded)
16 Eleven seconds of film of singers occupying jester [trees]? [J] (6)
OSCINE O (Eleven) + S (seconds) + CINE (of film)
17 I may have alto's [lost][A] hand thrust in anonymous brief encounter (7)
AMPUTEE PUT (thrust) in A (anonymous) + MEE(T) (encounter, missing last letter)
19 Did earthmen [hearten][M] return American craft having lifted off for exterior? (9)
REASSURED USS (American craft) reversed, inside REARED (lifted off)
21 Earl set adrift single-hearted gay men and the ingénues [ensuing][E] (9, two words)
ET SEQUENS E (Earl) + TSE (anagram of SET) + QUE(E)NS (gay men, missing one of two central Es)
25 Foils [Filo][S] sweet Cinders, perhaps, after Cook gets shortening (7)
BAKLAVA LAVA (Cinders, perhaps) after BAK(E) (cook, minus last letter)
26 Genus of illipes [lilies][P] and wild lilacs (6)
SCILLA (Anagram of LILACS)
29 Rash [Has][R] means to stick, but for Shakespeare, ultimately (3)
CAN CANE (stick) minus E (last letter of Shakespeare)
30 Apparently cover with wool fibre and lubricant from stereo [trees][O] (6)
BEN-OIL Two definitions, one being a nonce word formed from the prefix BE- (in the sense of around, on all sides, etc - see Chambers) + NOIL (wool
fibre), hence Kea's use of "Apparently"
31 Concerned with main arrestive [arteries][V] disc in lorry (6)
AORTIC O (disc) inside ARTIC (lorry)
Disc being something circular
32 I may have orange-yellow sewing [wings][E] and my needles in capitals (9)
CLEOPATRA Two definitions, there being "Cleopatra's Needles" in London, Paris and New York (all capital cities)
33 What makes extremities of webspace boys less active is surfing [fusing][R] (5)
WELDS WE (first and last letters of WEBSPACE) + LADS (boys), less A (active)
The definition here is "is fusing"
34 Prestwick's batmen [meant][B] disheartened returning company auditors (6)
ETTLED DELTTE (DELOITTE, company auditors, minus central letters), reversed.
The use of a corporate name, which, although it is familiar enough to the business community, is not really a household name, seems a little unkind.

DOWN
1 Dashes [Shade][S] of pink bike riders possibly expending energy for acceleration (8)
CYCLAMEN CYCLEMEN (bike riders possibly) replacing E (energy) with A (acceleration)
Gregson had to refer to the OED to confirm CYCLEMAN, though the wordplay is clear enough
2 Copper was running, approaching crescent? (6)
CUSPED CU (Copper) + SPED (was running)
3 City in northern Italy has no central log for goods from Rome (4)
BONA BOLOGNA (City in northern Italy) with LOG removed
4 Hearsay leaves out nothing about each man known by degrees (7)
REAUMUR RUM(O)UR (Hearsay leaving out O) around EA (each)
5 Low-temperature discussion (4)
MOOT MOO (Low) + T (temperature)
6 Stack up gallons in my place (5)
SIGHT G (Gallons) in THIS (my place), all reversed
Stack and sight both meaning a large amount
7 Fraud scout consistently uncovered cunning in a rough remnant [manner][T] (9)
RAUCOUSLY RAU + COU (FRAUD + SCOUT consistently uncovered, ie removing the same number of peripheral letters in each case), + SLY (cunning)
8 Are pirates regularly plundered when ramping ropy thesps [steps][H] ? (6)
ETRIER Anagram of (A)RE + (P)IR(A)TE(S)
The anagram fodder consists of two clue-words, missing letters (plundered) in a regular way, the anagram indicated by "ramping" (dashing about wildly)
[I] 9 Cait [Act][I] as balance for Gerry's below Virginia in Twister? (11)
COUNTERVAIL UNTER (Gerry's below) + VA (Virginia) in COIL (Twister?)
Gerry being wartime slang for a German
10 Boost for the environment cultivated in healthy sanguineous scar [sac][R] (11)
HAEMATOCELE EMATOCE (ECO, for the environment + TAME, cultivated, all reversed), inside HALE (healthy)
Boost can mean "to push up", indicating a vertical reversal
[T] 15 Cut flower again in keeping of fist, not of mixed crate [race][T] (9)
PURE-BLOOD REBLOO (REBLOOM, ie flower again, missing last letter) inside PUD (fist)
"in keeping of" is to be read as "in possession of"
18 Autotyped [Up-to-date][Y] poster about disco, for one embracing volume (8)
ADVANCED AD (poster), around DANCE (disco for one) containing V (volume)
20 Escort around a strait for exit from Bosnia [basin][O] at high tide (7, two words)
SEA GATE SEE (Escort) around A + GAT (strait)
22 Strength of Will's crowning line in sonnet [stone][N] that may be polished (6)
SPINEL SPINE (Strength of will) sitting on top of (crowning) L (line)
"that may be polished" does not seem to add very much to the definition, as most, if not all, types of stone can be polished. However, it does give help in
locating a jumbled clue-word
23 Foot in severe [verse][E] state with only half of clear space to go round (6)
DACTYL CT (Connecticut, a US state) inside half of DAYLIGHT (clear space)
24 Is losing notes [one's][T] rag? Underpinning fluid piano parts is (5)
FLIPS Underneath (underpinning) FL (fluid), P (piano) splitting IS
27 Delays [Sadly][E] take time from set of plans (4)
ALAS T (time) removed from ATLAS (set of plans)
28 Vendor [Dover][N] is one corporation accepting rupees (4)
PORT POT (corporation) containing R (rupees)