EV 1509 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1509 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1509 (Hints)

Flow Chart by Ifor

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Ifor’s crosswords appear in all the outlets for advanced cryptic thematics and you can be sure that he will give you a fair challenge with relatively complex wordplay, a sprinkling of rare words, and something interesting or intriguing to discover and/or highlight in the completed grid. This ‘Flow Chart’ is no exception.

Preamble:  Answers are entered normally; the bars associated with seven cells must be shown. All clues contain a misprint. 25 are in wordplay; corrections in clue order spell out part of an attributed remark. The remaining 12, all in across clues, require corrections to the definition which in clue order spell out two surnames – the maker of the remark, and someone who refuted it in a thematic context. Solvers must highlight all occurrences of letters from either surname (none of which appears in the set of 12 across answers). The resulting FLOW CHART must be described under the grid (10 letters, whose last three are the reverse of the first three of one of the surnames). Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

We realized that to discover two significant names that were going to add to a total of 12 letters, it was going to be important to distinguish between misprints in definitions and misprints in wordplay in the across clues. Colour-coding is our method for this. When we had those names, highlighting would prompt us about the theme since we were to highlight ALL the letters appearing in either surname. (Ifor has given himself quite a challenge since, clearly, the rest of his grid must not contain those letters!) Although there are no bars, we found it useful to use the answer lengths to pencil them in prior to solving; clearly the seven pairs we ink in will become apparent in due course.


9a           In playing versus clubs ace at first offered scope in diamonds, perhaps(6)
Ifor uses anagrams and ‘playing’ is one of his indicators. Remember that we are looking for a misprint in the definition or the wordplay. The answer was a word we were not familiar with.

12a         Will’s foot mob possibly no good in Chicago, unfortunately (9)
You will probably need to back-solve to produce this answer from the letters that are almost all checked. You need to remove ‘good’ from ‘Chicago possibly’ following a type of ‘mob’.

18a        Science posting gold, returning cases of waste from smelting (7)
Three clue elements need to be put together, ‘science’, ‘gold’ and ‘cases’.

19a         Drier chapters penned by gentlemen look endless (7)
Again there are three wordplay elements. The definition surprised us; Ifor has used the least familiar of the items this word defines but Chambers will confirm it, of course.

27a         Mountain sheep in Scottish wood retreat to the west (6)
The answer, one of those that frequenty appears in crosswords, probably because of its useful vowels, is completely checked in the grid. You will need to remember that we are finding misprints in definition or wordplay, in order to understand the two elements of the wordplay, one of which is heading west.

30a         Is a rabble active around parts of castle (7)
We smiled at this solution. We needed a short word for the ‘rabble’ that had to be ‘around’.

35a         Packets that bloke put in steamship (5)
The wordplay (putting ‘that bloke’ into the usual abbreviation for ‘steamship’) will give a technical word. Chambers helped us understand how to find the misprint.


1d           Sick because gripping tail of venomous snake (6)
Mrs Bradford includes more than 20 six-letter snakes in her Crossword Solver’s Dictionary and this one (new to us) was in there. We know that all the misprints in the down clues come from wordplay. Only one word, here, gives a likely candidate for the misprint.

7d           Region of Greece caging in area imprisoning migrant’s woman (6)
The migrant is a travelling person. His woman will need to be ‘imprisoned’ in two letters to give the region of Greece.

8d          Bears rising cold with only one left intermittently (9)
We know that we are looking for hints about wordplay devices in Ifor’s clues. Once we had spotted the misprint (we had a likely ‘attributed remark’ at this stage of our solve – look for that!) we needed to consider the words ‘rising’ and ‘only one left’.

13d        Intercepts turning aback succeeded four times (9)
The solution is a mathematical term. ‘Succeeded four times’ is an amusing use of an abbreviation.

24d         Upset tax collectors pained by every single bloody fine (6)
The solution is  one that frequently appears in crosswords (we’ve never met it anywhere else). The abbreviation for tax collectors will be all too familiar. When you spot the misprint, you will know how to relate those upset collectors to the other letters of the solution.

25d        Lungfish sag into ground after temperature goes awry (6)
‘Ground’ is another of Ifor’s anagram indicators. Seeing that prompted us about where to look for the misprint and how to create this unfamiliar name for ‘lungfish’.

There were instructions to highlight a set of letters and to put bars in that are associated with seven cells. A familiar ‘flow chart’ appeared for the Numpties as we solved and prompted us about what we were writing below the grid. Don’t forget that!

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6 comments on “EV 1509 (Hints)

  1. Well, it took a sleep, a headache and a morning cuppa to break through my brain fog (we also had visitors) before the light of the wonderful PDM shone through. A delightfully winding approach to an old friend of a theme, with Ifor’s usual skill in construction well deployed and the high standard of clueing care that we expect from him. Thankyou – and to the Numpties for their hints of course.

  2. We certainly got an endgame this week. Filling the grid was no walkover either; the clues were some of the toughest in the year or so I’ve been doing these [and there are still a couple awaiting parsing]. Once the grid was filled the 20 cells could be found easily enough but the 7 “barred cells” couldn’t be identified with certainty until the relevance of the second surname to the theme had been established – and even with the 3-letter hint that took some time.
    Thanks Ifor – I’ve learned a couple of new words and a bit more about one of history’s great minds.
    Thanks Numpties – the hints really were a boon this time.

  3. Wow. That was a struggle – I left it for 2 days before having a second attempt at cracking the endgame – but well worth it for the PDM.
    Thank you IFOR, Numpties and the earlier posters whose comments encouraged me to persist with it.

  4. Goodness, that was at the extreme end of tricky! Some really tough clues but all doable with a bit of perseverance. I hadn’t heard of the first name before and although familiar with the second I needed wiki to identify the ‘Flow Chart’ aspect of his work to complete the endgame.
    Thanks to Ifor for the vigorous mental workout and to The Numpties for their blog.

  5. Another brilliant EV puzzle – a real delight when I found one of the surnames and the whole thing fell into place. How do the compilers do it? Thanks to Ifor :)

  6. I have filled the grid…..with great difficulty and many unparsed….but I cannot make anything of the endgame.
    I will have another go tomorrow but at the moment the problem seems insurmountable.

    Having said all that I am still very pleased that since this blog began I have been able to solve many EVs , something I thought impossible for decades.
    Thank you again, Numpties.

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