EV 1464 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1464 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1464 (Hints)

Brilliant by Chalicea

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Chalicea is probably a familiar name. Over the years her crosswords have appeared in most of the thematic cryptic outlets, The Listener, IQ, EV, Magpie, the Crossword Centre, the 3D Calendar series and Crossword Magazine (where she is sometimes Curmudgeon) and 1 Across. She appears regularly in the Telegraph Toughie series, sets a weekly cryptic crossword for the Farmers Guardian and enjoys setting for the NTSPP series and even the Crossnumbers Quarterly. Her crosswords are known to be packed with thematic material and are regarded as relatively gentle, so this one should not be too challenging for our new solvers.

Preamble: A famous physicist whose name appears at 9 described, during a lecture, how another distinguished scientist, whose name (nine cells) must be highlighted, made the BRILLIANT comment paraphrased at 1 down, 44, about 19. What was hypothesised must also be highlighted (6,2,8,4,6). Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

A quick check of the grid shows that the famous physicist (only seven letters so it can’t be Einstein!) and the other scientist’s comment and the subject of it are all unclued lights, but there is no other device so they should pose no problem. Since those are evidently thematic, it makes sense to try to solve the clues that surround them first. As Halcyon said in his/her comment on Kcit’s crossword last week “It’s probably not a surprise that these puzzles are so much easier if you can spot the theme early”. Remember too that the EV series requires the setter to include the title in the preamble as a hint to the theme. There is an unusually large number of solutions with no unchecked letters – not generally approved of as these solutions might appear without the clue even being attempted – but, of course, those might help solvers to work out the unclued lights.


10a          Penguin troops repeatedly seen in Kamchatka’s borders (6)
The wordplay spells this out but you might need Chambers to confirm the unusual word.

15a         Spoilt greyhound lacking socially acceptable element (8)
Like Kcit’s clues last week, you need to see beyond the picture of this misbehaving pet and construct the element by following the instructions the wordplay provides.

15a        Becomes silent with summons finished (6)
Chalicea hasn’t used many relatively obscure or dated words but that ‘finished’ suggests that this solution is no longer current usage.

32a         Bard’s shocking surprises in the sonnets – mostly rude – rewritten (13)
This is one of the solutions you are probably not familiar with. However, we are told that it is Shakespearian and given a prompt about how to discover it.

40a         Blackish edible fungus (5)
So often a short clue like this one is a hint that the setter is using two meanings of a word. Mrs Bradford, of course, provides the list we need as she does for the ‘wood’ in the following clue.


3d           Hopeless tasks willingly brought up with an arbitrary number hidden (5)
The only difficulty in this clue was working out the word for ‘willingly’ that we had to invert.

12d          Sensation over positive pedigree (5)
The solution is an obscure word .

31d           With no limits washes vacated rusty place producing potassium products (6)
Hint users have the advantage that Big Dave’s site provides of knowing which part of the clue is the definition. That leaves you with the two mini hints that produce the solution

After two relatively difficult puzzles, hopefully that was an enjoyable romp. The subject matter that has appeared might require a visit to Wikipedia – and don’t forget to highlight the great scientist who is the theme (there are obvious places to look – setters don’t have a lot of choice) and what he, so imaginatively, hypothesised a hundred years ago (yes – this is the anniversary!)

Do please send in your entry and add your comments here and to the setters’ blogs that are appearing on Big Dave’s site on Thursdays and to the detailed Blogs that also appear on Thursdays on fifteen squared.

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11 comments on “EV 1464 (Hints)

  1. I managed to complete this puzzle without needing any of the Numpties hints which tells me it must be at the easier end of the EV spectrum. The theme was a subject that I don’t much about so I had to do a bit of Googling to get the endgame.
    Thanks to Chalicea for the challenge and thanks to the Numpties – I didn’t need you this week, but I don’t expect that to last!

  2. A sparkling puzzle again from Chalicea, with quite a lot of answers you should just be able to write in; and as always if you target your fire at the indicated thematic places there is a reasonable chance you and Mr Google between you will work out the rest and soon have as full grid. Have a go!

  3. We started doing EVs in September and enjoyed those ones. Since then we have found many of them just too impenetrable and had stopped printing them out on a Sunday. However when we noticed who had set this one we decided to give it another go. So glad we did. We managed to get the whole task completed without recourse to the hints.
    A real pleasure for us so thank you very much Chalicea.

  4. Great puzzle!
    Had to split my time this weekend between solving this and Emily Cox/Henry Rathvon’s excellent “Crank Letter” cryptic in the Wall Street Journal, so I was thankful for the relative gentleness of this puzzle.
    Lots of good stuff in this one. I particularly enjoyed 28A and 33D.

  5. I don’t always have the time to solve the EV, but being Chalicea I knew this would be on the easy side so gave it a shot. And was glad I did – great puzzle, with a theme that only required a small educated guess and creative Googling to crack the endgame. Thoroughly enjoyed, and highly recommended to anyone considering dipping their toes into the weird and wonderful world of barred cryptics.

  6. I have dipped my toes into this and although I am far from finished I have enjoyed the search sofar. I think I have the physicist and I am intrigued enough to carry on.

  7. 6 and 13a gave me a strong steer right away and I focussed on the NE corner to get 19a. So yes, another early theme spot and away we go. Finding the second physicist, despite a suspicion who it would be from the paraphrased quote and the hypothesis, was the hardest part of the puzzle – after the last few weeks the clues were very generous.

    Great fun – thanks Chalicea and the Numpties.

  8. So pleased with myself this week after weeks of total failure looking at EVs.
    Managed to fill the grid and find the name etc that has to be highlighted without using the hints ….although I will admit to using a lot of electronic help.
    Many thanks to Chalicea and to the Numpties …this week for their reassuring hints.

  9. Thanks Chalicea, I enjoyed your puzzle. As the Numpties say a gentle work out clue wise. I am struggling to find the four letter word required though and have assumed it’s the one beginning “*”, but not sure. Really liked the sneaky def for 28a.

  10. Like the 2Kiwis I had glanced at the last few EVs and avoided them. But like Halcyon I targeted the NE corner to get the scientist and then narrowing down the theme early on made it plain sailing.
    Easier as no fiddly messing with extra or missing letters, which can be frustrating!
    Really enjoyed this as a good challenge for my level – particularly as I managed to complete the grid, the theme and the highlights (in pencil naturally!) without electronic or dictionary help. Which took quite a while but made browsing these hints a lovely leisurely treat – thank you Numpties!
    Then of course I carefully checked through the obscure words via online dictionaries, as well as the quotes/phrases/scientists !
    I always feel vaguely guilty about using a dictionary or wiki, I guess I need to conform and shake myself of that to progress….

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