Enigmatic Variations 1508 (Hints)
Out and About by Kruger
Hints and tips by The Numpties
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There is no need to introduce Kruger who has been setting EV crosswords for over 25 years. Solvers will expect a challenge but clues that are fair.
Preamble: Two fully-checked entries are clued and entered normally. The answers to all other clues must have one letter taken OUT and the remaining letters moved ABOUT to provide the grid entry. All clue answers and grid entries are real words and phrases. The removed letter is given in each clue following the enumeration, which refers to the answer, as does the word count. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended; the entry at 16 is in ODE.
First of all, we understood that clues (definition and wordplay) were going to lead to a word of the indicated length but that we were going to remove the indicated letter from that answer and shuffle or jumble the remaining letters. That sounded like a tough challenge until we read the following sentence of the preamble and realized that the shortened entries were also real words. Of course, some groups of letters will anagram to a range of different words, and we realized that we had no definition for the one that was going into the grid, so it would be a matter of filling the grid and finding which of the possible words would fit – an enjoyable exercise.
11a Church official losing right to join new church – a sign of change of focus (8v)
It was useful to solve the longer clues first, as these gave a framework to the grid and helped us decide which of the possible entries (for 1d, for example) would continue our gridfill. Here we removed the abbreviation for ‘right’ from the word for a church official then added abbreviations for ‘new’ and ‘church’. We were not aware of the meaning of the word that emerged but it anagrammed to only one possible entry.
12a Insects devouring yellow acacias (6r)
Two types of insects frequently appear in crosswords. The other is in 22d. We put a setter’s favourite short word for ‘yellow’ into this one and produced a name for acacias. With 9d already in place, we had no trouble finding the word to enter.
15a Woman visiting Shanghai not native to the west (7t)
Solvers need to remember what ‘to the west’ can mean in a crossword clue.
18a Setter perhaps returns to most of consecrated cemetery (8d, two words)
Kruger is not referring to himself as the ‘setter’ here. This setter ‘returns’ and is followed by most of a word for ‘consecrated’ to give a familiar term for the cemetery.
28a New permit for USA songbird (8t)
Of course this bird appears in Mrs Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary but she lists a lot of 8-letter birds. We needed a word for ‘new’ and a word for ‘permit’.
32a Anonymous appearance stopping cheers in collectorate (7o)
Possibly the most difficult clue of the puzzle. ‘Stopping’ is a setter’s word for ‘going into’. Here we took an abbreviation for anonymous and a short word for one’s ‘appearance’ and surrounded those by a conventional expression for ‘cheers’. This produced an unusual word for ‘collectorate’ that Chambers confirmed for us.
4d Without too much information, is unable to attract queen with this (7m)
Another way of indicating that some letters are included in others is used here in the ‘without’. ‘Is unable to’ goes outside the letters for ‘too much information’. The queen we are attracting here is not the royal one.
5d Council of Europe accepts what was replaced by SOCA brief (7i)
We needed to use three acronyms here, one for the Council of Europe, and one that was what SOCA now represents. The easiest route to the solution is probably to back-solve, remembering that ‘accepts’ is yet another container indicator.
8d To cheat independent panel’s conceivable (9c)
Three clue elements gave an unusual word for ‘conceivable’; the short word for ‘cheat’, an abbreviation, and a word for ‘panel’.
17d Sandpiper plunged once and came into view again (9g)
The short word for this sandpiper is another of those favourite setters’ words. We are told that the term for ‘plunged’ is archaic by the use of ‘once’.
23d Current porter maybe takes afternoon break when upset (7l, three words)
‘Takes’ is yet another container indicator. The ‘porter’ here is of the alcoholic type and the afternoon break (a short word for ‘the break’) must be reversed inside it to give a foreign expression for ‘current’.
26d Spilt cream on instrument (7c)
One would be very careful to spill nothing on this rather valuable instrument. The clue was a gift but we were surprised to find that Chambers includes the name.
27d Bird in perfect condition, I’ve netted (7v)
And one final container indicator ‘netted’ telling us what has to go into a word for ‘in perfect condition’ to give the name of the bird, as Mrs Bradford does, of course.
29d Vocal crowds in stores (6d)
We needed the homophone indicator to give us this word – see the comment below.
We found that the two fully-checked entries helped us fill those two quarters of the grid and that the other two quarters challenged us until the very end of our solve with one rare word for which, of course, there was no definition, as our last entry in the south-east corner. However, the clue to that answer was generous.
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