EV 1483 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1483 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1483 (Hints)

Mixed Feelings by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Stick Insect needs no introduction as a setter in the Magpie, Listener, Toughie and EV series.

Preamble:  Before solving each clue, solvers must show MIXED FEELINGS, by either rejecting a letter that is not wanted or bringing in one that is missing, always leaving real words. In clue order, these two sets of letters indicate a work (in Oxford Dictionary of Quotations) and provide an instruction which solvers must follow to reveal it in the grid. The work must be highlighted. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended; 5ac is in Collins.

One of the first suggestions to new cryptic solvers is that they should always solve in pencil. There is a veiled hint here that we are somehow going to adapt our grid (according to an instruction) to reveal a work. It isn’t clear to us yet whether one of the sets of letters will reveal that instruction and the other indicate the work, or whether the revelation will follow the indication, but, as always in such a situation, we draw two coloured strips alongside the clues and put added letters into one, and missing letters into the other.


1a           Sot’s panic about entering stable endlessly (5)
As usual in the hints on Big Dave’s site, the underlining of the definition part of a clue can be all the help a solver needs. Here you must remember that ‘about’ has more than one short form. The solution word was a rare one for us.

5a         Oi, be my frisky impotence rememdy (7)
Quite a randy suggestion here to some frisky lady – but that word speaks volumes to cryptic crossword solvers.

19a        Bruce’s ma providing dairy products and potassium in grain (5)
Bruce was, of course, a noted Scot though his ‘ma’ less so. The wordplay here used another unfamiliar ‘grain’ containing that potassium

22a         Aragon spies coming after frequency band (5)
There are three wordplay elements here. The ‘spies’ are a crossword old chestnut. You need to remember that a letter has to be added or removed to produce another of the wordplay elements.

34a         Membranes could dance when iodine’s involved (6)
You certainly need to be aware of the table of elements to solve this crossword. The membranes and the dance were unusual words

41a         Mathematical lies mischievous god broadcast (4)
‘Broadcast’, ‘on the radio’, ‘for audience’ etc. are familiar homophone indicators.

47a         Cresta run avoided by athletic American president (4)
We needed a short word for the athletic ‘president’ that could ‘avoid’ the ‘run’ in order to produce the 4-letter entry. 

48a         Trent university replaces a roof support (5)
We needed to back-solve, remembering that a letter had to be lost or added, in order to find a word for a ‘roof support’ that was unusual.


3d           Ed’s shovel engineers an opening first (7)
Those missing letters can create dilemmas. We consult Mrs Bradford to find likely Spenserian words but had to read through long lists of ‘shovels’, ‘hovels’ and words for ‘shove/ push’ etc. since it seemed to us that the wandering letter had to be there. It was, indeed, an unusual word we came up with.

23d        Emote setting a country up (5)
The definition wasn’t a lot of help here but the wordplay suggested a 4-letter country and letters inthe grid revealed that for us.

30d        Lynn follows a rim travelling British hill (7)
Munro is not the only name for groups of British mountains. This lovely word is more or less spelled out here.

32d         Thrice quilts get in the way once together (6)
We were lucky that this solution had no unches and the word appeared by itself. The ‘once’ suggests that it is an archaic word. (One wonders about another suggestive surface reading.)

35d         Dug up a school student (5)
The surface reading sounded horrific but we took note of the ‘up’ and remembered that there is a range of words for ‘school’.

37d        Perhaps lawyer in barn taking diamonds from jockey (5)
Yet another unusual word for this ‘Perhaps lawyer’. Stick Insect has chosen the most rare of the meanings of that word but we constructed it by adding the first letter suggested by the clue to the four we already had in the grid. Be careful! There’s a potential error you could easily make.

42d        Carver loses end of shoe in boggy ground(4)
We simply had to do what the wordplay suggested to find our boggy ground.

We frequently find that messages produced by missing or added letters are difficult to find in their complete forms but if you recorded the letters as we suggested, you will probably have enough to suggest the work. From experience, we know that ‘shade’/ ‘change’/ ‘letters’/ ‘cells’/ ‘grid’/ ‘column’/ ‘row’ are likely words to find in messages and that sometimes helps us complete them.

Do remember that a work in the grid needs to be highlighted and 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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5 comments on “EV 1483 (Hints)

  1. We enjoyed solving this one earlier this morning. Thanks to Stick Insect for the puzzle & The Numpties for the blog :-)

  2. Kudos to Stick Insect for a stunning construction fitting in a substantial amount of thematic material without it jumping out too soon. I happen to have studied that half a century ago and it is was as tricky as this puzzle, but the messages and ODQ will see you over the finishing line without no specialist knowledge needed. Thanks again to all involved.

  3. I thought this was going to be relatively simple but the clues in the bottom two quadrants seemed a good deal more taxing than those at the top. The instructions were straightforward and the work was easily found on Wikipedia but nonwords in the grid always leave me with a sense of disappointment.
    Note to editor and compositor of the printed puzzle – many of your customers will have less than perfect eyesight and a little more consideration would be appreciated.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and The Numpties.

  4. Neat! I was completely unfamiliar with the work, but now I’m not. And I think I might have it memorized.

    I have to say, I’m becoming quite the Stick Insect admirer. If anyone else was tickled by his Trekkie EV back in October (EV 1456), then his “Translation” cryptic in the February Magpie should be sought out at all costs — I’ve already nominated it my puzzle of the year.

  5. It must have been fun trying to get all that into the grid. Well done Stick Insect. For some reason it took me ages to get into your puzzle, but cracked it in the end so thank you to you and to you too Numpties

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