EV 1497 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1497

Enigmatic Variations 1497

The Asian One by Chalicea

Setters Blog


The OLYMPIC GAMES are taking place in TOKYO, the birthplace of YOKO ONO, who, fifty years ago, released IMAGINE with (John) LENNON, their HOPE for a future of PEACE and LOVE.


Our EV Editor, in allocating themes to his lady setters when he was planning the ladies’ month, gave me The Asian One with the suggestion that the Olympic Games might give me an idea and that this puzzle could then appear in the third week of July (even if the games were cancelled – we could put a ‘would have been held’ into the preamble).

By a stroke of good fortune, when I was wandering on the Internet researching a subject I know very little about, but, of course, finding that the coming summer games were going to be in TOKYO, (this was some months ago) I came across the fact that John LENNON and YOKO ONO produced IMAGINE in July, fifty years ago. Of course, she was born in TOKYO so there was a fine theme.

I know a little bit more about that; I grew up during Beatle Mania and was even taken to hear them by my Uni flat mate whose boyfriend was at school with two of them. Three of us who compile together as Rasputin (Ilver, Artix and Chalicea) used IMAGINE for crossword No 1108 in the EV series way back in 2014. Here’s what we did:

“John Lennon’s Imagine envisages a world with no countries (CHAD. SPAIN, NEPAL, CROATIA, IRAQ and CUBA), HEAVEN, HELL, GREED or POSSESSIONS, all erased from the grid. Religion and hunger in various forms are to be removed from clues before solving. A representation of ‘ABOVE US ONLY SKY’ is highlighted in the grid.”

I could take a different approach this time. With that lovely line of Os in TOKYOYOKOONO, a 12X12 grid was dictated and the leading diagonal was filled. There are four Sundays in July (but five Saturdays, the Inquisitor series has a longer ladies’ month this year and there is still a shortage of lady setters). That meant that four of us had to consult as it was not desirable for all of us to use the same device – solvers would certainly grumble if they got four weeks of misprints, or four weeks of counting the fifth letter, say, or extra letters in the wordplay, but we were all able to come to terms and set the way we chose and I could work with no device in the clues but a number of unclued lights and the very easy trick of instructing solvers what to highlight (in case they hadn’t seen the obvious).

The Asian One was tremendous fun to compile. I hope solvers enjoyed it as much as I did.


A full review of this puzzle can be seen over on fifteensquared.


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