Enigmatic Variations 1477
Overlapping by Piccadilly
Hints and tips by The Numpties
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Piccadilly gives us a relatively gentle solve with an original device affecting eleven entries and no other complicated device to unravel. This one is sure to please our newer solvers (and of course, the old hands too!)
Preamble: Eleven clues hint at two OVERLAPPING words. Letters in thematic entries not checked by normal entries could spell MANIC CHAV BARRY JILTS PAST LOVER. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.
We hadn’t been solving for long before we realised that Piccadilly was being particularly generous. The word lengths that didn’t match the space in the grid (either a two-cell or three-cell difference) told us where to find the eleven thematic overlapped words and in each of those cases, we realized that we were simply given two definitions – or, rather cleverly, one definition that contained two elements that we could combine into the overlapping entry.
13a Public walk, in part made Ma late returning (7)
The convention on Big Dave’s site of underlining the solution words gives you a prompt towards this unusual word.
14a. Scotsman’s bound to care for son at the beginning (5)
We were not familiar with this Scots word.
17a Supporter of gunpowder arranged a treaty (7, two words)
There was an unusual use of a word here but, again, the underlining is all a solver needs.
24a Game bird (4,4)
Of course, the word count tells us that we are looking for one of the thematic overlapping words. The game was familiar and that gave us the first two letters of the rather less familiar bird. You need to be careful here and be sure to pick a game (with horses, maybe) and not just an adjective that might go in front of a card game.
30a Artist holds end of furry rug (3)
The rug is probably familiar to solvers. Setters often use this convenient word but I have never encountered the foreign word in any other context.
31a Hour I’d wasted putting money in cigar box (7)
Piccadilly has chosen some original anagram indicators in this puzzle.
41a Russian workers’ guilds having no compliance in political alliances (6)
An unusual word that we found by removing ‘compliance’ from a term for political alliances.
2d Big name (4,5)
There are pages of names in the Chambers‘ appendix of first names, so setters are not usually encouraged to use them in crosswords. However, here we already have the first two overlapping letters of the five-letter name. Should you be left with any doubt when your grid is full, there is that phrase made up of unchecked letters to resolve any issues.
11d Courage lecturer lacked making thrust in fencing (5)
There’s a fine surface reading here of a rather timid lecturer faced with a bout of fencing. However we solved the clue by thinking of a familiar word for courage and removing the lecturer.
19d Hybrid cattle dead; appeal for help (4)
There are so many words for hybrid cattle and they are more ‘old chestnuts’ for crossword setters.
28d Note number beginning to record ringing with six bells (5)
We constructed this unusual term from three wordplay elements.
29d Swords group’s used to protect king (6)
Weapons provide so much material for setters too..
There was no endgame where we had to head-scratch to work out what to circle or highlight. We were left with just a final task where that list of unchecked letters confirmed the words we had entered. In fact, the only one we really needed (though we checked for the sake of these hints) was the double V in that rather suggestive extra letter phrase.
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