Enigmatic Variations 1475
A Donation by Vismut
Hints and tips by The Numpties
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Preamble: 15 clues have an extra word to be removed before solving. The first letter from each word spells out the last three words of a suggestion, the first two of which can be found at 1 down, which gives the shape of an idea to be drawn through 16 letters in the completed grid. The last letter of each extra word spells out, on reflection, who has made the suggestion. Clues are given in alphabetical order of their answers which must be entered where they fit. Only one clue number should be entered in the completed grid to show when A DONATION might be made. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.
A grid that is almost ‘carte blanche’ promises to be a challenge and we at once colour-code the clue lengths and the length of available spaces in the grid in the hope that we won’t need to ‘cold solve’ too many clues before finding a way to proceed with our gridfill – a helpful V, J or Z, say – even a B. We had, in fact, solved well over half the clues before two ‘ways in’ revealed themselves so this was indeed a challenge. The ‘cold solve’ was rendered slightly easier as we kept a record of the initial letters of solutions and learned, through that, that 13 started with the same letter.
It’s madder, occasionally manic, keeping Manx reptile (7)
As usual, the underlining that is the convention on Big Dave’s site will help solvers identify which part of the clue is the wordplay for this unusual word. You need to remember what the feature of a Manx cat is.
Checked material unwrapped has pound as official measure of weight (5)
The word for a ‘measure of weight’ was new to us – there are so many available for crossword setters.
Perhaps Queen Cleopatra’s soul’s leading prophet’s follower (5)
‘Perhaps Queen’ was a hint to us and ‘Cleopatra’s soul suggested initial letters that proved to be useful in our gridfill.
Paisley’s gone yellow and faded in recess (4)
There’s an original Scottish indicator here. If you are highlighting the extra words when you spot them, you might notice the skilful way Vismut has incorporated them. It was at ths point in our solve that we saw what turned out to be very useful.
Stripped prickly oregano Mum pulled up, infuriated by entanglement (7)
You are unlikely to have encountered this term but will need to ‘strip’ a word for prickly and invert a Mum to create it from the wordplay.
Unwrapped snack before celebrity turned over colourful fabrics (8)
Here’s another obscure word but the procedure we adopted in the clue analysed above will produce the answer.
It’s to treat skin on my nice Russian mongrel (8)
Vismut has clearly been obliged to use an unusual name of a generic drug to complete her grid but has given helpful wordplay to resolve the difficulty for solvers. (Don’t forget that we are hunting for extra words.)
Half of very hot sauce covers a fish (4)
Mrs Bradford has pages of fish and over two columns of 5-letter ones but once you have decided what the ‘half of hot sauce’ is you’ll see this one in her list.
Assistance at oedema operation rejected; attempt might be sole treatment (8)
There are three wordplay elements needed for this solution.
Brief advance in development can later rule out hormone (9)
The wordplay here is subtle. Once you have identified the ‘advance in development’ you need to think about the words ‘brief’ and ‘rule out’ and also what ‘can’ might be.
Couple losing with Billie Jean possibly drawing on grass (6)
This sounds like a ‘tennis’ clue, but of course it isn’t.
Reading the first letters of the 15 extra words and the last letters ‘in reflection’ will have identified the theme for you and told you what shape to look for in the grid (helped by 1 down, of course). You won’t need to number all the solutions in the grid to find which clue number to enter as the Internet will tell you all you need to know.
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 fifteensquared.
As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.
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