Enigmatic Variations 1498 (Hints)
The Australasian One by Eclogue
Hints and tips by The Numpties
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Eclogue sets regularly for the Magpie, Crossword magazine, Inquisitor and the EV series. Their crosswords have been appearing in all those advanced thematic cryptic outlets for over ten years so you have probably already solved several of them and know you can expect fair cluing and a theme that might possibly teach you something. The Numpties met a familiar theme here, as our parents were involved and one was even present in what Eclogue presents. You know, already, in view of the last four crosswords during the ladies’ month, that it will be about places, people or events in that specific area of the world.
Preamble: A letter must fall out wherever it occurs from a thematic (or related) answer in each of the central nine columns, dropping into the bottom row to form THE AUSTRALASIAN ONE, which, along with two thematic answers, is not in Chambers Dictionary (2016) which is otherwise recommended. Enumerations refer to grid entries.
We see that columns 2 to 10 in the grid have one, two or three words in each and we are told that only one of each column is a ‘thematic or related item’ so we are looking for nine of those. Clearly, in order to establish which letter will drop to the bottom row, we need to solve the across clues first. Clue enumerations refer to what we are entering in the grid, so there is no hint there, but we soon spot solutions that are longer than the space allocated.
9a Area levying rent for service selection (11)
The definition here is subtly worded and ‘rent’ is used in an unusual way but Chambers amusingly justifies the word you will produce.
11a Display five to signify number removed between one and ten (8)
Difficult wordplay here, remove the ‘number’ from ‘to signify’ and use Roman numerals to give three more elements you need for the ‘display’
14a Production of sherry involving sun and time (6)
What a fine clue with a lovely surface meaning. Of course you need sun and time to produce good wine but here you just need to use two little words that signify those.
17a Historic attack shelled local tumulus (4)
Another lovely surface reading. There is more than one way to ‘shell’ something (with shells or removing the shell). The word for the ‘historic attack’ is just as rare as the word for the tumulus.
20a Almost catch sight of bottom that’s fat (5)
We’ve only included this clue because it amused us. It will probably be your COTD (Clue of the day). The ‘bottom’ is just a short word that is sometimes thought to be coarse.
36a Vision in low light getting work in McGonagall’s country (8)
An unusual word produced by putting a short word for work into a poetic noun for the place McGonagall wrote in.
37a Issued regulations for college blocking instrument under control (11)
An example of Eclogue’s complex wordplay here. Begin with a word for ‘for’, then put ‘college’ into an instrument and complete the solution with a short word for ‘under control’.
2d Daughter to go off rustic hand (6)
The usual ‘daughter’ who will ‘go off’ in the way eggs do, to give a local word for ‘hand’. Here was yet another lovely surface reading that suggested the farmer’s lassie had abandoned her crush on the farm employee.
6d Tod’s former partner coming round under the influence of wine (4)
Crossword compilers need that ‘former partner’. Here a foreign word for wine has surrounded that returning partner. The definition word ‘tod’ is the one regularly used in the Dales.
10d Old flare-up in revenue institute becoming active (6)
We are being prompted to change a single letter in a word for ‘revenue’ to produce an old word for a ‘flare-up’.
31d Doctor outside with the bow in Antipodean test area (5)
You can guess that this is one of the thematic solutions that is not in Chambers. Wikipedia gave it to us – we had to put the abbreviation for the doctor around the ‘bow’ word.
35d Hamish’s to walk unsteadily having at first slurped drappie (4)
A very short word for a ‘drappie’ has been initially slurped. The Scottish expession for ‘to walk unsteadily’ is most evocative.
There were four cases where we had a choice of two letters to drop to the last row. One of them was resolved, as the letter appeared twice in the clued word and was clearly the one that had to drop, but solvers will have to do a little research (using the nine thematic words that have appeared) to be sure of putting the right letters into the final row and producing THE AUSTRALASIAN ONE.
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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