EV 1487 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1487 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1487 (Hints)

Difference by Chalicea

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Solvers are accustomed to crosswords by Chalicea and know that they can expect something graphic in the final grid – probably something to be highlighted, with relatively gentle clues.

Preamble: Fifteen words from the thematic poem, which explains what led to the DIFFERENCE, appear in the clues (in the order of their appearance in the poem) and need to be removed before solving. Read in clue order, the initial letters of the words flanking the removals give an instruction concerning 37 contiguous cells. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

There’s a fairly unusual device here which requires us to possibly guess at the instruction (at least in part) or spot words from a ‘thematic’ poem before we can be sure of how we are going to complete our grid. However, there is no other clue device and some generous clues are immediately evident so we can expect all to become clear as we solve.


9a           Note louse wriggling in Spenser’s two high parts of heads (6)
Clearly an obsolete word is needed. As usual, the Big Dave convention of underlining the definition parts of clues will give solvers considerable help here.

25a         Without invitation, guest in Leith leaves endless grief and ultimately pain (4)
Two elements of wordplay give a Scottish word. ‘Guest’ is used in an unusual way.

29a         Old man has care of domesticated mammal (4)
The four-letter solution is a short name for a more familiar longer word.

36a         Diminutive first trinket retrospectively held no good now and then  (6)
We had to find another word for ‘held’ then consider the ‘now and then’ and the word ‘retrospectively’ to get that trinket.

37a         Where one hangs another etching, maybe, to atone, once, for travelling in bush with swag (12, three words)
You are unlikely (unless you are Australian) to have heard this delightful expression. We all know where we hang things but a short word that used to mean ‘atone’ has to be added to complete the phrase.


4d            Infatuated ancient fool going too far (6)
The solution is an old word that seems to appear frequently in crosswords. This clue leads to the Spenserian spelling of the obsolete word.

14d           Flat cap raised by chatterer with no restraints – bore! (9)
‘Raised’ in a down clue suggests an inverted word. As usual, you can get help from Anne R Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary if this clue mystifies you, though she gives a shorter form of the word.

17d           Gran taking over from ma, at first and pa in sympathy for abnormal flower fusion (8)
The clue spells out for us how we have to play with gran, ma and pa to find a botanical word.

28d          Be, say, in Haiti somewhere engaged in corruption; awful boob pursued by law primarily (5)
Crosswords really introduce us to some quaint words. The wordplay spells this one out.

You need to be sure that you have obeyed the instruction concerning 37 contiguous cells that was given by 30 letters.  That word ‘contiguous’ is used by setters when the sides or corners of cells touch.

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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4 comments on “EV 1487 (Hints)

  1. A classic Chalicea which solvers new and old should enjoy and be able to complete successfully. If the source does not spring to mind Googling “poem” and a selection of the extra words may well help. Remember to count the highlighted cells: the 37 is given to help you home.

  2. Not too taxing, with some amusing clues, though the penny took a while to drop at 20a. I had 16 extra words at first and might take issue with the size of 23d but for the clarity of the instruction. I was only vaguely familiar with the poem but Google found it easily enough and the cells added up correctly.
    Thanks to Chalicea/The Numpties.

  3. Fun. Really like the image conveyed by the end result.
    Glad I’m not the only one who had to resort to Google (I apologize to my high school English teachers). Once I did, though, I was able to complete my search for the remaining 15 superfluous words fairly quickly. With those out of the way, I was left with a very relaxed solve (which I appreciated).
    Thanks, Chalicea!

  4. Really enjoyed this puzzle, well designed, good mix of clues and a strong theme.
    I was lucky enough to guess the theme very early on so attacked it that way round.
    Hope I correctly parsed all the letters that weren’t at intersections and thus didn’t have ‘checkers’!
    Only unearthed that Sunday’s Telegraph couple of days ago so I have sailed close to the deadline wind. Thank you to the setter

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