EV 1482 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1482

Enigmatic Variations 1482

‘Map’ by Gaston – A setter’s blog

Setter’s Blog

Five jumps of the Grand National course are shaded green; three further elements TAPE, POST and ELBOW are depicted in rectangles and RED RUM is shaded brown.


Make a mess of mounting favourite (6, 2 words)

My first attempts at designing an EV around the Grand National were frustrating to say the least. Firstly, in common with many people, I suspect, I had not taken in that BECHER’S (brook) was spelt with a single ‘e’ … so back to the drawing board.

Several scrunched up pieces of paper later, I thought I had it ready to send to Steve, only to be told by my son that I had spelt FOINAVON wrong – I had put an ‘e’ instead of the second ‘o’.

Every cloud etc, though, as my next attempt magically produced a bottom left of the grid with a six-letter gap including the ‘e’ from VALENTINES. It wasn’t too hard to engineer the horse above ‘jumping’ the fence to complete the picture.

I remember watching the FOINAVON race in 1967 very well. My mother, an avid and surprisingly successful punter who dealt in shillings rather than pounds, had the telephone number of the local bookmaker. Being Grand National day his line was naturally very busy, so my father was dispatched to drive to the bookie. However his single ten shilling note was not enough to cover all the family’s several one shilling each way bets, and he had to select one of my mother’s to miss out in order for each member of the family to have one selection running. Knowing absolutely nothing about horse racing, he asked another customer which horse he should deselect, and was told: ‘Foinavon has no chance.’

He hadn’t, of course, but we all know what happened……Youtube videos with Peter O’Sullivan’s commentary are well worth a watch.

A full review of this puzzle can be seen over on fifteensquared.

3 comments on “EV 1482

  1. Thank you, Gaston. Impressive to fit a map into so few squares! ‘Beeechers’ and ‘Red Rum’ were the only themed words I’d heard of, but those — plus the Numpties’ hints — were enough to find them all.

    The clues I ticked included 29d’s toast, 47a’s cheese, and 45a’s divine drink — possibly that just means I liked clues with food and drink in them! So I’ll go for 34a’s laughter as my favourite.

    For future reference, which two answers count as abbreviations? The completed grid seems to have shortened versions of ‘dual in-line memory module’, ‘Edinburgh’, and ‘long-playing’.

  2. Smylers – Chambers lists some “words” as “shortened forms” and others as “abbreviations”. In my experience a few of what you might think are the former turn out to be the latter, and vice versa.
    Gaston – a very enjoyable puzzle. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who occasionally blunders with the likes of Beecher’s. I hope you’re more philosophical than I am when that sort of thing is exposed!

  3. Wikipedia claims the Grand National is “an event that is prominent in British culture.” That certainly appears to be the case based on people’s response to this puzzle.

    Now that I’ve read up on this strange horse race, and looked at some maps, I can finally appreciate the ingenuity of this grid. Nice work as always, Gaston.

    Hopefully nobody actually looks at the solution I submitted. Both MURDER and SLAY were written in reverse, so I highlighted those. From there, I just highlighted words that jumped out at me — VALENTINES, CHAIR, and ELBOW made the cut, but so did words like ITCH and PEE. Oh well.

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