Enigmatic Variations 1505 (Hints)
Two Straight Lines by Piccadilly
Hints and tips by The Numpties
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Piccadilly’s last EV crossword was ‘Boricahf’, where we had to solve a Playfair square to find three types of spaniel, so you know that you can expect something unusual.
Preamble: Each set of clues is presented in alphabetic order of its answers, to be entered where they will fit in one of the four identical quadrants. Correct assignment of answer sets to quadrants results in two words (15 cells in TWO STRAIGHT LINES) which must be highlighted. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.
Not one, but four little identical carte-blanches with bars marked, clue-lengths given and four sets of clues in alphabetical order of their answers; it doesn’t take a mathematician to know that there are 24 possible arrangements of the four mini grids (or maybe 23, as it wouldn’t be like Piccadilly to put them in ABCD order). Of course, you solve in pencil so that you can move your grids but the Numpties decided that it was easier to cut the completed grid into four and manipulate the four mini grids until we saw the TWO STRAIGHT LINES (then to stick it back together, of course).
Spearman raged uncontrollaby (5)
Most versions of Chambers have an appendix of first names. This one appears there.
Famous boxer older: not good excuse for failure (5)
The famous boxer is the one who so often appears in crosswords. Think of your ‘older’ sister or brother to find the rest of the wordplay.
My soul reborn at last, something devoted to God (6)
There are three wordplay elements here; a word for ‘my’, a ‘soul’, and ‘reborn at last’. The unfamiliar answer was new to us.
Glen I’d scoured providing fuel for Scots (6)
‘Scoured’ is used in an original way here but the convention of underlining in Big Dave‘s hints will give all the help you may need.
Find fault with an old snare (6)
As in the above comment, the underlining of the definition should help you find an obsolete word. Piccadilly has used ‘fault’ in an unusual way.
Dam set back in a canal (6)
A very short word for ‘canal’ produces the second part of this unusual word for a dam.
Name a poisonous plant (5)
It’s good to remember that crossword editors encourage setters to remove ‘the’ and ‘a’ from crossword clues unless the articles are an integral part of the answer.
Numerical calculators damaged without clout in parts (6)
We like subtractive anagrams like this one where one anagrammed word is subtracted from a longer anagrammed one to give a jumble of the answer.
Atria rebuilt somewhere near Nagasaki (5)
Again, the underlining will help if this place is unknown to you.
With generous clues to mostly familiar words, it was initially filling each of the grids that took us the longest. Then we needed to shuffle our mini grids around, looking, of course, in the dominant and non-dominant diagonals and up and down the rows and columns until we found those fifteen letters to highlight.
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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