EV 1497 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1497 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1497 (Hints)

The Asian One by Chalicea

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Chalicea is one of the most prolific of crossword compilers appearing regularly in the Magpie, the Listener, the Inquisitor series, and the EV as well as in Crossword magazine and the 3D Calendar series where she sets as Curmudgeon. She also sets ordinary cryptics for the Telegraph Toughie series and back-page crosswords and has been setting the weekly cryptic crosswords for the Farmers Guardian for years. Her puzzles are popular because they usually contain lots of thematic material and are not too difficult.

Preamble:  THE ASIAN ONE is the location of the 19 20, and the birthplace of one who, fifty years ago, together with 22ac, released 7, their 36 for a future of 28 and 33. Letters in circles, read in normal order, instruct solvers what to shade in the completed grid. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

We see that there is no clue gimmick but just clues to solve with the seven mentioned in the preamble unclued. Eleven circles are going to spell out for us what we have to highlight. As we have already seen how the North American One, The African One and The European One led to people, places or items thematic to those places, we expect this one to lead us an Asian place or person (or both).


10a           Recipient of transplanted tissue in the manner of plants (6)
As we usually comment 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. The hint here prompts you that you are adding together two wordplay elements to get an unusual word for plants.

13a         Mythical creature;  sad biblical lady, sick finally for end of banishment (4)
As we commented above, the underlining is useful and will prevent your opting for the better-known and more obvious answer. Clearly you are being prompted about a letter change.

15a         Land-tenure in India following civil disturbance, we hear, and conflict (8)
There is a touch of &lit. here (a clue where elements are shared by the definition part and the wordplay). This obscure word is one we have only ever encountered in crosswords. You are prompted that there is a “heard” element, then a short word for conflict that India follows.

26a         Bard’s young family members misconstrued 9 (5)
We don’t like crossword clues that refer to each other but this one might make it easy to work out a Shakespearian word.

29a         Connect and secure scaffolding crosspiece (7)
For this piece of scaffolding, you need to add an unusual word for ‘connect’ to a familiar one for ‘secure’.

32a         Almost without difficulty keeping sun to the east in Skara Brae (6)
The Scottish indicator prompts us that we need to use most of a word for ‘without difficulty’ and that it must ‘keep’ the ‘sun’. As usual in Chalicea’s crosswords, a Scottish word has crept in.


8d           Rejected glazed fabric, cold, containing metallic element (5)
The ‘glazed fabric’ that has to be ‘rejected’ here is another of the words that are often used by crossword compilers and not encountered much anywhere else.

21d          Spread powder once in Holyrood and hunted rodents snaring most in the end (7)
Here she goes again – a rather obscure Scottish word, but all you have to do is insert a letter into a longer word that is familiar for ‘hunted rodents’ (your cat probably did it!)

26d         First pair of skis temporarily provided for slope in Aviemore (6)
Two elements to this clue ‘The first pair’ of skis and a word that tells us they were on loan – and, of course, its another Scottish word.

27d         Undermine self-esteem in bard’s superficial medical problem (6)
An archaic word is made up of two short words. The best thing to do, probably, is to solve this word towards the end when most of the letters will have appeared.

29d         Obtain a cross for plant of ginseng genus (5)
As with the above hint, if you leave this word till the end it will have appeared in your grid with no need for solving. It has three clue elements with ‘a cross’ providing two of them.

A relatively gentle solve gave us several penny drop moments with the items to be highlighted being indicated by the unclued words as well as from what was spelled out by the circled letters. You should have no difficulty spotting them – remember to hunt in across clues, down clues, then in the diagonals and, if those searches fail, look in a circle – that’s our usual procedure.

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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6 comments on “EV 1497 (Hints)

  1. Classic Chalicea. Strong theme, neat construction, fair and not-too-difficult clues. A great puzzle for those newer to these barred puzzles to take on. Thanks as always.

  2. Super for beginners and a welcome relief for all after the head-scratching of the past couple of weeks. Straightforward and fair clues, topical theme, what’s not to like?
    Thanks to Chalicea as well as The Numpties.

  3. I’ve just been told by a solver that the start of the ‘thematic’ Asian One actually included the other ‘thematic’ item. Clearly I wasn’t the only one to appreciate the link.

  4. Re the hint for 29a, I had to think very hard to find a familiar word for “lock”.

  5. Ditto to what David and halcyon said. What a joy!

    Favorites were 15a, 16a, 39a, and 1d.

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