His by Nebuchadnezzar

Puzzle explanation

The instructions from letters surrounding the extra words in clues were “Replace with dots; connect with four straight lines without lifting pen”. Thus the clashes and the solitary K in the grid were changed to produce the classic “nine dots” puzzle, attributed to Henry Ernest Dudeney. The puzzle was included in Sam Loyd’s Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles, Tricks and Conundrums with Answers published by Samuel Loyd Jr in 1914, under the title “Christopher Columbus’s egg puzzle”, alluding to the apocryphal story of Columbus making an egg stand upright by first crushing one end to flatten it slightly. The puzzle solution in the grid starts from the clash cell 16 and traces the phrase “thinking outside the box” (from clashing letters, the K and the two cells outside the box where the path changes direction). The letters omitted from clues’ wordplay spelt “egg of Columbus” clockwise in a “box” containing the nine dots; that phrase is used to refer to a clever discovery that seems simple after the fact, of which the Nine Dots solution is an example. The title “His” in Morse code would be ···· ·· ···, consisting of nine dots.

Christopher Columbusís egg puzzle

Loyd’s description of the nine dots puzzle was as follows:

“The funny old King is now trying to work out a second puzzle, which is to draw a continuous line through the center of all of the eggs so as to mark them off in the fewest number of strokes. King Puzzlepate performs the feat in six strokes, but from Tommy’s expression we take it to be a very stupid answer, so we expect our clever puzzlists to do better; it is a very ingenious trick, fully as good if not better than that of making an egg stand up on end, for the perpetration of which with an over ripe egg the great navigator was loaded with chains.”

Clue explanations

Conventions: * = anagram, < = reversal

No Extra word Answer (omitted letters) Explanation
1 merchant DOSSALS LASSO < in D(amascu)S
6 astern ABSEIL AB + homophone of SAIL
12   DE(E) DE(o)
15   (O)OM OM
16 cut TERIYAKI (R + YAK in II) after TE(a)
17   NI(S)I TOO with letters shifted six places back alphabetically
18 polemical REDATE MANDATE with RE for MAN
19   (F)AR (M)AR(y)
22 supermodel UNHAIRS H in (UN + AIRS)
25 magazine ENDERON (’EN + ’ERON) around (nu)D(es)
28 at ALLEGRI ILLEGAL * with R for L
31   LI(B) L + I
32 hits GALOOT (TOOL + AG) <
35 ends REND (B)REND(a)
36 saw VIDEOTEX (VOTE DI) * + EX
39   YA(M) AY <
40   (O)UR URBAN − BAN
42 wear FLETCH F + LETCH
43 eventually HAYSEED SEED after HAY
1   DUDENEY DUDE + (YE + (mathematicia)N) <
2 club ONE-TIME (M in TIE) after ONE
3   ST(E)D (fine)ST D(ust)
4   AN(G)ERING (A + E) around N + RIG around N
5 blonde LAER LA(y)ER, LA(g)ER or LA(t)ER
6 from ALIYA ((aw)AY ILA(n)) <
8 deconstructed SNAKE KANS < + (tailor-mad)E
9 attends ISOBAR RI < around (SO + BA)
11 amidst SMIR SMIR(k)
13 enticing CHILDE (gir)L in CHIDE
14 filmed INDUBIOUS (BIO in INDUS) around U
19   (F)IS(C) (l)I(p)S
21   B(U)L(B) B + L
23   HOSTE(L)RY HO + ER in STY
24 coins AGOROT AG + OR + (b)OT(h)
26 claims PINNULE PINNACLE with U for (A + C)
27 weapons UDDERED DUD * + DERE <
29 career LIMAIL LIMA + I + (carte)L
31   LOYD ENCYCLOPEDIA * − (PIECE + C + A + N) *
32 pilot G-SUIT G + ’S + TIU <
33   AD(U)NC A(nd) D(oing) N(arcotic) + C
34 mayor’s LEITH LITHE with E moved toward the start
37 foils TOGA TONGA − N
38   J(O)BE B in J(an)E
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