EV 1492 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1492

Enigmatic Variations 1492

PTO by Charybdis

Setter’s Blog

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.


8 comments on “EV 1492
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    1. Herge, I took it to mean that it is the whole words containing the altered cells that are symmetrical not just the individual cells e.g 1d & 25d, 5d & 23d.

      1. Ah! The whole words.Thank you, Denise. That’s why I couldn’t complete the final step despite looking at it for hours!

  1. I’m suspicious about that “bit of jiggling”, which perhaps euphemistically conceals some protracted thought and trialling. For me the grid structure (particularly the symmetry and the inclusion of longish words) was hugely impressive, especially given the further constraints imposed by overbooking in the way it was eventually included.

  2. Hi. Yes, Hergé, Denise is correct. “Sixteen cells must be altered in symmetrically placed grid entries” in the preamble was not intended to mislead, and if it had been symmetrically placed cells [which proved impossible to construct] I’d have written that, but I’m sorry for your frustration. I’ve been there! :-)
    Ifor, you are very kind! And yes, perhaps I was understating things by saying “bit of jiggling”. Looking back at my progressed saved gridfills I see it took almost 7 hours to get from the early gridfill shown above to get to the filled grid. I have to say, though, that that’s quite fast for me! :-)

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