EV 1503 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1503

Enigmatic Variations 1503

The Proverbial Way by X-Type

Setter’s Blog


The phrases I PROMISE, I WILL and LEAVE IT TO ME lead to HADES; this alludes to the proverb THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS.

As you may know by now, I favour the unusual; but with a bit of humour thrown in, wherever possible – not just in some of the clues in my “straight” puzzles, but in my Thematic efforts, too. As I was racking my brains some time ago for another possible EV idea, in the background was playing Chris Rea’s “The Road to Hell”…and this must have set off a subconscious train of thought, which then surfaced a day or two later with a memory of the saying/adage which finishes off The Proverbial Way. So, how to deal with it?

After a few false starts, I decided to take the literal approach: and I tried to see if I could get a continuous path from the top left to the bottom right of the grid – but not the usual diagonal: more of a “staggered” way. And then I needed to fit in a suitable word for Hell… Eventually, I settled on Hades, since it seemed to me to be the nearest substitute (“Dis” and “Underworld”, etc, didn’t quite seem right); and the “e” gave me a good link with which to finish the Way – not precisely in the bottom corner, but near enough! And then of course I had to come up with some suitable “good intentions”: hence those which appear in the meandering path through the grid. (I’m sure we’ve all heard/made similar promises in the past!)

Once the Way and its starting and finishing points were established, the next challenge was to complete the grid…not easy at the best of times: but with this particular one, there were one or two occasions when only one possible word could be found to fit in a particular spot (hence “iphones”, for example!). I was pleased with the end result; and especially pleased with the way that the Way itself could prove slightly misleading – such as the misdirection of the word “leave”, which appears to carry on across the grid; but in reality, takes a right-angled turn at its end. And I was also pleased with the incorporation of some clue answers as actual words within the “intentions” – such as “promise” and “(s)will” – and (my own particular favourite) “tome”, appearing as “to me” in part of the final phrase.

Hopefully you will have found some pleasure and enjoyment in my latest EV offering: it’s maybe not the most challenging EV you’ll ever face – but I’d like to think that it raised one or two smiles, along the Proverbial Way.


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

6 comments on “EV 1503

  1. I’ve been tackling the EV puzzle for as long as I can remember and I thought this was one the best balanced tests we’ve had recently. I don’t mind grinding out the really difficult examples, (but it really can be a grind, with each obscure clue having to be teased out with Bradfords and Chambers to hand, to confirm that yes, that word really does exist) but I think this sort of puzzle which stretches but is ultimately solvable in a reasonable time is the type that is most enjoyable. Thanks for your EV and explanations above.

  2. Thanks, X-Type – interesting background…several smiles along the way…and I hope you like my blog over on 15×15.
    There is some debate over there as to whether the last E of LEAVE IT TO ME should have been the E of SYSTEMS, i.e. arriving at the entrance to HADES, rather than going straight in to it…
    I think the interest is more in knowing whether either interpretation would be accepted as a prize entry?!

    1. Thanks for your comments on fifteensquared…I’ve discussed the “alternative” option with the EV editor and – though I can’t promise – I think he’ll be prepared to accept either version (he told me he’d spotted the possible ambiguity – which I didn’t! – and was OK with it…). Glad you liked the puzzle: I am of the view that EV’s and the like should be fun and not a grind – however “clever” the Theme and its treatment!

      1. Thanks for the upwards intervention, X-Type…and, yes, some ‘fun’ amongst the ‘grind’ is always welcome!

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