Enigmatic Variations 1482
MAP by Gaston
Hints and tips by The Numpties
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Gaston is a familiar name to EV solvers and needs no introduction.
Preamble: Eight suitably positioned and thematically connected elements are hidden in the completed grid . Five of these are of a kind and should be coloured appropriately (35 cells). Three others (the first and last two on the MAP) should each be highlighted by drawing a rectangle round the relevant elements (13 cells in total). Solvers should add to the MAP by finding a ninth element, forever associated with the theme, whose six cells should be coloured brown, including one cell that had been shaded earlier. Apart from one that is L-shaped, all elements are in straight lines.Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended: two answers are abbreviations.
The preamble told us very clearly that our final grid was, in some way, going to resemble a map with features we would need to identify and shade. Since there was no other device leading to a hidden message, we guessed that this ‘map’ was going to be of something that would be familiar to solvers so that we could simply begin to solve.
12a Anonymous people almost destroyed war-torn city (6)
A sad reference here to that war-torn city. A couple of indicators (almost’ and ‘destroyed’) will help.
17a Measures of yarn of variegated garments lacking check (4)
Think of the variegated garments worn by jesters, say, and remove an abbreviation for an annual check and you’ll have the ‘measures’ word.
18a Right amateur dismissed by marine at sea (5, two words)
The two-word ‘right’ comes from a dead language.
20a Federation burying king with current Egyptian symbols (5)
The following clue will give a prompt about the letters that indicate this ‘federation’, though the King and the current will need to be added to give the rare solution word.
22a … with the Queen holding note for one of its leaders (4)
The abbreviation for Queeen, the name of the note and the ‘leader’ are all crossword favourites.
26a Scheme for saving people in West Africa(4)
The tradition of underlining the definition part of a solution in Big Dave’s crossword hints says it all.
28a Sanction dropping nurse back (5)
Again the underlining should help. A familiar abbreviation for a nurse needs to be dropped from the ‘sanction’.
37a See you being against alcoholic drink (4)
A delightful clue for another ‘foreign’ word. Two wordplay elements combine to give it.
40a Reportedly carried weapon that’s found on shores of lake (5)
The word appeared in our grid and surprised us. A homophone will help to you to solve the clue.
48a Stiffen front of old contract in Edinburgh (8)
You might need to have recognised the theme and spotted one of the thematic words to find this historic Scottish word, made up of a word for ‘stiffen’ and a word for ‘front’.
1d Will chap lose money when climbing ravines in Goa? (7)
‘Climbing’ in a down clue is always a useful prompt. Here a different word for ‘will’ and a different word for a ‘chap’ or ‘fellow’ have to do the climbing and lose the ‘money’.
3d Radicals having conservative style, surprisingly (6)
There’s a fine surface reading here of an unusual political situation. You will smile when you realise that we are talking about rather different ‘radicals’
4d Maybe Loren having no bounds with opening of rich old port (5)
Of course one ‘Loren’ comes to mind at once – the ‘old port’ less quickly, I imagine.
5d Ancient thrust sword, and sword clipped knight (4)
Another rare word but the two elements of the wordplay will spell it out.
7d Stupid Frenchman that has a lot of chips (4)
We needed Chambers to confirm this four-letter solution.
13d Superior Belgian province (5)
The same comment as for 26a.
19d That woman fixes timeless old harrows (6)
Solvers are familiar with the word for ‘that woman’ and need to add a word for ‘fixes’ (timeless) to find an obsolete word for ‘harrows’.
24d Brood once over small city (4)
The ‘small’ city is a city ‘cut short’.
27d Venomous arachnids alone covering little dog (7)
Don’t waste time worrying about the poor little dog, simply ‘cover’ him with a word for ‘alone’ to produce the arachnids.
Even those who don’t live in the UK will probably have spotted a couple of familiar words in the grid (read through a few bars to see longer words, and if the whole theme doesn’t at once appear to you, enter a couple of the words you see into Google, for example, and the rest will be topical and evident). Photographs will make clear what colour you need for the highlighting should you have any doubt.
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.
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