EV 1501 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1501 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1501 (Hints)

Alternative Names by Kcit

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Kcit, who also sets as Phi and Pedro in a range of newspapers and magazines, is no stranger to EV solvers. We can be sure of fair clues and an entertaining end game.

Preamble:  Clashes in Across and Down entries give ALTERNATIVE NAMES for 1 across (which is clued by wordplay only). Solvers should choose either the name from the across letters or from the down letters (leaving non-words in the other direction). The correct choice indicates how to ensure clue answers have the correct number of letters, even if the indicated number of cells seems wrong. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

The preamble prompts us that there is going to be an apparent discrepancy between the clued words and the spaces available in some cases. We note that, and the prompt that clashes will appear and that they are going to give us names in both the across and down directions. As usual, of course, we solve in pencil, as we are ultimately going to make a choice from what we find in our grid.


1a           Alternative names covering weak players (including Rutherford) (12, two words)
The preamble has prompted us that this clue, which is clued by wordplay only, is significant. We remember that there are abbreviations for ‘weak’ and ‘Rutherford’ and have to produce a two-word solution including ‘alternative’ names, and ‘players’.

11a         I will leave cover to check wreck for marine creature (10)
There are three wordplay elements in play here. ‘I’ have to leave a word for ‘cover’, then we need words for ‘check’ and ‘wreck’ to produce the marine creature. We have to admire the surface sense of the clue, suggesting a diver edging out of cover to see whether there is a shark, for example, in some derelict ship.

14a         Dislike a Norfolk neighbour snaffling husband (5)
Who wouldn’t dislike that? Here we need a local name for a neighbour. Again we smile at the surface sense.

20a         Island shed: sanctions bringing in introduction of electricity after setback (4)
Crosswords are where we most often encounter this  Scottish word. Kcit has used a reversal word and a word for adding a letter to construct this short name for a remote shed.

22a         Dryness I see also reflected in farm building (7)
An unusual word for dryness is constructed by a couple of letters ‘also reflected’ in another short word that frequently appears in crosswords for a farm building.

38a         Elderly fop “cut” royal – neat? Not any more (10)
Two indications in this clue tell us that we are handling archaic words: the defined word is one that will be familiar to Shakespeare students, that ‘fop’ is produced by ‘cutting’ the royal, then adding a word often encountered in crosswords for ‘neat’.

39a         Disapproving comment about Times taking a new Washington location? Times workers never meeting (12, three words)
One has to admire the way Kcit has produced convincing wordplay for this solution. We had to put together a disapproving comment, ‘Times’ a couple of times over, and three wordplay elements giving us ‘a new Washington location’. We back-solved from what seemed to be appearing in the grid and we suggest that is the way to handle this clue.


5d           According to some, insects with rounded divisions turned up in Morocco (8)
The solution was a new word to us. We produced it by finding the letters for Morocco and putting them around a word for ‘with rounded divisions’ then ‘turning up’ the lot.

9d         One increasing flock in what could be taken for lea (7)
This is another clue where you might well back-solve to see what ‘lea’ has to do with the ‘one increasing flock’. It is one of those clever plays on words setters are so fond of.

24d         Epidemic disease gripping area adjacent to black tropical tree (6)
Again you might well back-solve since letters in the grid will suggest the tree which is probably a familiar word but the unusual shorter word for the epidemic disease emerges from the wordplay.

32d        Persuade company to cut American (4)
We were possibly lucky in that we (as we often do) started solving at the end of the clues. When you add the usual abbreviation for ‘company’ to an American spelling of a word for ‘cut’, you begin to realise what Kcit is doing in the crossword.

33d       Against article in Die Welt displaying humour (4)
The mention of Die Welt is clearly a prompt that we need a German article.

Generous clues will have suggested how solvers should deal with cases where the clued word did not correspond with the space available and that prompts you which of the names to choose.

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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7 comments on “EV 1501 (Hints)

  1. Looks like everyone is on holiday! So just to say Thankyou to Kcit for an entertaining and very doable puzzle with a neat endgame which needs just the right number of pennies to drop to see what’s going on. The Numpties’ hints will help you on your way with it.

  2. Neato! Took a while to figure out what was going on…which made it all the more satisfying when it all came together.

    9D took me by surprise (assuming I’m reading it correctly). I don’t have the most experience in this area, but I’ve never seen that device (from 9D) in a British crossword before. But I know Kosman and Picciotto are pretty fond of it in their “Out of Left Field” American-style cryptics. I would love to see more clues like this!

  3. 9d’s fine by me but I’m not completely convinced by either 2d or 3d although Google tells me there’s an example of the latter on Love Island, whatever that is. Otherwise a bit of a struggle [initially picking the other fop didn’t help] but it was fun in the end. Everything, rather obviously, hinges on figuring out 1a and relating it to the clusters of clashes. The final cell-fill was a neat idea.
    Thanks to kciT and The Numpties.

  4. I have the solution for 9d but don’t understand the parsing so look forward to the setter’s blog in due course. I enjoyed the puzzle particularly the endgame once all the pennies had dropped!
    Thanks to Kcit for the entertainment and to the Numpties for their blog.

  5. Wonderful EV! Yes, when ‘the penny dropped’ I smiled in amazement at how us mere solvers can never match the sheer brilliance and ingenuity of the setters. Thanks!

  6. 9 down … A is after LE to give LEA… ‘after’ is the meaning of the other 4 letters (I think, lol!)

    1. Thanks, now I get it. I just couldn’t see it before, don’t know why as now it seems so obvious!

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