EV 1507 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1507

Enigmatic Variations 1507

Deathblow by Curmudgeon

Setter’s Blog

The title of EYELESS IN GAZA by ALDOUS HUXLEY alludes to SAMSON being blinded and taking REVENGE in a TEMPLE; the letter I is absent throughout.

It wasn’t the story of the betrayal of Samson by Delilah and his ultimate revenge, when his hair, which represented his strength, had regrown and allowed the now-blinded superman to pull down the temple around himself, that prompted me to compile this one. It was the title of Aldous Huxley’s novel, Eyeless in Gaza, a cryptic clue to a compilation with no ‘I’s in preamble, grid or clues.

Lipograms are an entertaining challenge for those attempting to write them. I wrote a Listener with no ‘O’s on the theme of The Owl and the Pussycat’s “What shall we do for a ring?” and solvers who spotted what was going on seemed to enjoy it and, indeed, many commented in lipogrammatic style.

Removing all the ‘I’s is no great challenge except for problems like the pseudonym I most often compile under (or indeed, any of the others I have used for EV creations, which all have an I) or the issue of recommending Chambers Dictionary. I suggested to the editor that I could also recommend Brewer, where the story of Samson earns a graphic paragraph (Chambers (2016) and Brewer are recommended – to avoid the ‘Is’ in the preamble) but he felt that we could simply omit the recommendation, as he is sometimes obliged to do when space is lacking.

Symmetry had to be abandoned too, when putting Samson’s shattered body in the remains of the temple on the floor of the grid. It simply wouldn’t match the top row. However, I believe that symmetry matters more to setters than solvers and abandoning it gives far more freedom of grid construction.

This was great fun to compile and I have appreciated the comments of solvers.

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