Enigmatic Variations 1492
PTO by Charybdis
The theme-word OVERBOOKING is derived from surplus letters of Set B answers; three surplus Set A answers EIGHT BIBLE SHORTS indicate that eight abbreviations of bible books must be overturned.
I find that setting thematic puzzles can sometimes be a long exhausting process. ‘Long’ in that many ideas often languish for years in my ‘Half-baked Ideas’ file hopelessly awaiting some spark of coincidence to ignite my enthusiasm. ‘Exhausting’ when the process of getting from a half-decent idea to its implementation becomes a series of seemingly insurmountable hurdles before which this bear of little brain scratches his head in bafflement while awaiting a good thought to float in from the aether.
Other puzzle ideas come on the instant, gift-wrapped with a bow. I was once washing up and idly half-listening to the radio when they quoted Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin [who?] opining that ‘The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of the human race than the discovery of a star.’ The words astronomy/gastronomy immediately popped into my head and we were off.
PTO, thankfully, was of the second sort. For no reason whatsoever it suddenly occurred to me that the word GENus could be up-ended to make NEGus. GEN. of course suggested Genesis and books of the bible and so the search for other upsetting parts of the bible was on.
Many books were very unlikely candidates [I never did find a word fitting …?HPEZ?… for instance!], but I derive a ridiculous amount of joy when such searches lead to mots justes like
VELitation and ROCkborers.
I made as comprehensive a list of possible words as I could, matched them by length, and decided to restrict myself to down entries, with a hidden ‘OVERBOOKED’ to be discovered in one row.
But that ‘overbooked’ jammed the grid up too badly, and mzees/mezes was awkward too so EZra was sent off and PETer came in off the subs bench. With a bit of jiggling the grid worked out OK and there we are, Habakkuk’s your uncle.
A full review of this puzzle can be seen over on fifteensquared.