EV 1451 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1451 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1451 (Hints)

The Beagle Has Landed by Chalicea

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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This is the first of a series of gentle puzzles with hints and tips to help newer solvers.

Preamble: To show that THE BEAGLE HAS LANDED, solvers must 11, 20, 16 No. 1451 at 1 & 34 (seven words);
Chalicea’s puzzles are usually at the more generous end of the difficulty scale and this proves to be no exception. As there are unclued words in the grid, the clued ones will have to be relatively easy. We are told that there are seven words at 1a and 34a. Chalicea has been rather sneaky as the fifth of these words has been split between those two lines.

It is often worth giving a thought to the title. Clearly this one is a play on Neil Armstrong’s 1969 triumphant statement, “The Eagle Has Landed”, but why the Beagle? Surely Chalicea is not using the tragic story of little Laika, the pup the Russians launched into space, who crashed into the earth in Sputnik 2 in 1957. Another famous beagle? In what way might he have ‘landed’?

9a           To badly rear backward little dog difficult without help at first (6, two words)
We look for indicators: ‘return of’ and ‘turning up’ suggest that we are going to invert the words that our wordplay produces. Here we see ‘backward’ and maybe a suggestion that a little dog really is the theme of the puzzle.

10a         Reluctant states facing East (6)
‘East’ like so many words (‘accepted’, ‘following’, ‘second’ – there are hundreds) can represent just one letter, as can the indicators ‘ultimately’ and ‘primarily’.

13a         Goalies now and then missing Real Madrid’s expression of approval (3)
‘Now and then’ like ‘regularly’, ‘from time to time’, ‘oddly’ and ‘occasionally’ are invitations to use alternate letters.

17a         Partly implant a turquoise skin design (4)
Setters often have a ‘hidden’ or even a ‘hidden reversed’ word in a clue and we find indicators ‘partly’ and ‘sample of’ – these are gifts to advance the grid-fill.

18a         Tongue-like structure not accepted in Italy for pasta (8)
‘For’ in a clue, introduces the definition part of the clue (which must be at the front or back of the clue) so we know that we are looking for a word for ‘pasta’ and we can enter a putative final letter – we can always erase it later if ‘ravioli’ or something like that isn’t the solution.

20a         Main office of bishop, it’s said (3)
We hunt for other indicators. ‘It’s said’ introduces a homophone for a well-known name of a bishop’s office.

22a         Disentangle a local shore bird (6)
This has an interesting feature that doesn’t appear in the blocked cryptic puzzles. Chambers allows many dialect words like ‘un’ – a local word for ‘a’ – but the rule is that the setter must, in some way, indicate that he/she is using a Scottish, rare, obsolete, Spenserian or Shakespearean word (you will see ‘according to Ed’, or ‘the bard’s’, for example).

24a         A greater thing absorbing one before trees (8)
As the Editor, Steve Bartlett, indicated in his introductory notes, The Chambers Dictionary is used by setters of barred puzzles (the EV, the IQ, the Listener and the Magpie puzzles among others). This allows setters to use abbreviations (like A for Ante – ‘before’ here) that are not in the list of those allowed in the blocked puzzles. Chambers contains lots of foreign and obsolete words, so solving a barred puzzle will demand some dictionary delving.

29a         Endlessly solemn teacher (3)
‘Endlessly’ is used by some setters to simply remove the last letter of a word, but here Chalicea is removing both ends of a word for ‘solemn’ to give us a rather rare three-letter definition of a teacher. All her more obscure solutions are generously spelled out (like 14d, see below).

5d           Unusually severe snag Emma Peel, perhaps, rarely encountered (10)
We often begin our solve with a hunt for anagram indicators and today we find several; ‘unusually’, ‘absurdly’, ‘in confusion’, ‘surprisingly’, ‘doctored’, ‘cooked’. These allow us to untangle a number of longish words. (We know that a setter will often resort to an anagram to cope with a difficult long word.) As well as an anagram, we have here a reference to someone who could be an example of the solution word – she is an example of one – thus the word ‘perhaps’.

14d         Seabird dung wrapping nitrogenous compound reduced tumour growth treatment (9)
Here we find one of those obscure words that most solvers are unlikely to know (Chalicea has been devouring her Chambers!) The best policy is to break the clue down. You probably know the word for ‘Seabird dung’ and we are told that that word ‘wraps’ a shortened ‘nitrogenous compound’. The tip is to look up the first three or four letters of the word you know – there aren’t many in Chambers beginning with those!

19d         Back of animal imprudent cooked without splitting it (7)
This uses a convention in the barred puzzles. The word count is indicated as (7). Barred puzzles do not indicate hyphens. In a blocked crossword, the Toughie, for instance, this solution would be indicated as (4-3).

We have enough in our grid to find our Beagle and, as is so often the case, Google helps us continue our solve. We hope it proves to be a pleasure for you too.


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26 comments on “EV 1451 (Hints)
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  1. This took me normalish time, and I quite enjoyed it. I had misread the “7 words”, thinking it referred to all of 11, 20, 26, 1 & 34, hence it took me a while to land. I was also slightly confused by the “at” in the preamble, what does that mean? But remembering what I knew about our beagle put me on the right track, very satisfying.

    Many thanks Chalicea and Numpties

      1. Dutch, that ‘at’ means on the rows beginning at 1 and 34. It was important to make it clear that solvers had to 1, 20, 16 and that this must be performed in seven words on those two rows. Thanks for your input.

  2. I think I have worked myself into a corner. I think I have found the beagle but have some dead ends where nothing fits.
    I have done far better than normal for EV so will await elucidation later.
    Thanks to Chalicea and The Numpties ( I wonder who you are – a collaboration of bloggers unnamed under about – meet the bloggers)

    1. I persevered and I have a full grid. As to its correctness only time will tell. Many learning moments and a lot of new words learnt.
      Many thanks to Chalicea and the Numpties I really enjoyed that. The full grid is satisfying to look at and I hope I haven’t slipped up

  3. Not read any of the above. I was hoping for more comments. CS sent me the puzzle but I haven’t got a printer set up yet. So I scaffolded the grid on an excel spreadsheet and am scrolling between screenshots of the puzzle and a grin with no numbers. Great fun but more than a little frustrating. I’ve taken a break for a couple of pints and will persevere through the next couple of days. Thanks to all involved.

  4. With the hints I still find this a minefield. I thought Toughies were difficult but the EV still seems to be beyond my range. I shall persevere with it though and see if any light is shed on this mass of darkness.

  5. As a long-time lurker on this site – I had to comment to say how much I enjoyed this. It’s great to demistify the weird-looking world of thematic puzzles and I wish there had been something like this when I was starting off with the Listener a few years ago. I grinned when I realised what was going on here – the extra kick that you get from discovering a new or familiar theme is what makes the harder solve so worthwhile. It was a really fun solve.

    Thanks, Chalicea and the numpties – I’m looking forward to trying the others in this series.

  6. We tackled this puzzle when it was published yesterday (our time) and left a comment on the ‘EV Hints’ posting so won’t repeat it here.
    We did enjoy the experience and will be looking out for next week’s one.
    Thanks again Chalicea and The Numpties.

      1. Yes, Chalicea is one of The Numpties – alhough she was only marginally involved with this post. We were going to insist that she was not involved when she was the setter but, on reflection, I see no problem with the setter being involved with the hints as there is no judgement passed on the puzzle. Chalicea’s own setter’s blog will be published here on 17th September, along with the answer grid and a link to the full review which will, as usual, appear on fifteensquared. Gaufrid has agreed to bring this post forward two days to reflect the new closing date and to match our blog

  7. A nice, fairly light-weight barred grid puzzle thoroughly enjoyed. For those struggling, I’d recommend persevering – there are quite a few that should be quickly gettable, and a few checking letters especially in a barred grid make all the difference. The unclued entries raised a smile.

  8. What fun! Thanks Chalicea and The Numpties.
    Those of you wishing to pursue the theme [or a variation of it] further may like to consult the composition by Nicholas Collins with the same title [it’s on YouTube].

  9. That was certainly a novel experience! I did soldier through to the end but if I’ve learnt one thing from the solve it’s that EV puzzles aren’t really for me. I think I much prefer to ‘play by the rules’ and it seems that almost anything goes in these compilations.
    My apologies to Chalicea, it’s not her fault that I didn’t warm to this format!

    1. Stick with it Jane. There is always the added enjoyment of the penny-drop-moment when you spot the theme – the thing that isn’t often in the blocked cryptics. There is a set of rules but they are surprisingly different. We are attempting to give them and explain them in the hints for the next few weeks. And please, please send your entry. As there are fewer entries than the blocked cryptics, you stand a good chance of winning.

  10. I started this yesterday and had 4 outstanding when I put my pen down, having confirmed at 14d, for example, that the Chambers Dictionary 2016 was definitely required (as advised in the preamble). Having spent time on the puzzle I didn’t want to give in just yet and so continued this morning. I managed to come up with an answer for 1 & 34 which then helped me complete the grid. Internet confirmation of the 4 outstanding came to the rescue and it confirmed that with the appropriate dictionary to hand I would have been able to finish yesterday. Conclusion? Waterstones here I come. I did enjoy my first attempt at an EV and thank Chalicea for providing the puzzle and the Numpties for the hints. Looking forward to the next one! Thank you proXimal and BD for providing all the information and opportunity to be involved, otherwise I certainly wouldn’t have been.

  11. Well I spent a lot of time on this today. I solved a lot more clues but the frame is not complete. I am not able to get the whole picture. Reminds me of that day in 1975 when I first attempted a Telegraph back pager. One clue solved and that was it. Moved on a bit since then but still have a lot to learn. Looking forward to seeing the full reveal/review. Thanks for the hints. To my mind some were as obscure as the clues. However, as time rolls on I am sure I will get to grips with this difficult product.

  12. Thank you, Chalicea, Steve, Big Dave, and everybody involved in the hints — there’s no way I would’ve even attempted this without you. The style of the hints works really well.

    I’ve managed to work out all the unclued shaded squares, which was pleasing. I still have 5 empty white squares in the bottom-right corner, so I’m not in a position to submit it, but I’m happy for a first attempt.

      1. Thanks. I think I might have them now. One answer is a collection of letters I’d previously briefly considered but dismissed as clearly not being a word!

  13. Well my first attempt at an EV, other than looking wonderingly at the mysterious completed grids. Its completion has encouraged my first post here!
    I enjoyed this simpler version immensely.
    As up to now I have not been a great fan of looking up multiple entries in a dictionary to help solve a cryptic, EVs probably will not be for me longer term. But I’ll persevere with these easier September ones and who knows?
    Great idea as an introduction and thanks for the hints (which I only used as verification – but gave much peace of mind!).
    I remain in awe of those of you who can complete the regular, tougher EVs – well done!

  14. I am ridiculously pleased with myself because I have completed this puzzle. It is the first time I have managed an EV.
    I admit to using a lot of electronic help, but nevertheless, I did it!
    The hints were great to confirm my answers.
    Have to admit to being a long-time fan of the Beagle in question which I am sure helped a lot.

    Thanks to Chalicea and, from another numpty, to the Numpties.

  15. John Bee, Smylers, Chillin, Ora Meringue and all our new friends – congratulations, we are really delighted. More will be coming on Sunday and, like us, you might even ultimately prefer the thematics – they have that extra fun at the end.

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