EV 1510 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1510 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1510 (Hints)

Contrasts by Skylark

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Skylark was appeciated as one of the ladies whose crosswords appeared during the ladies’ month.

Preamble:  In 31 clues an extra letter must be removed before solving; in clue order, they apply to one of a pair, as does a phrase in the grid. Solvers must change the phrase to describe the second member of the pair (retaining/creating real-word crossing entries, one confirmed in Collins) and highlight six other words and phrases (47 cells), which also describe the person. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended, 35d is in Collins; one answer is an abbreviation; solvers should consult the original version of the work of CONTRASTS.

We recognised that a work was involved, though, at this stage we had no other inkling about the final statement of the preamble. We counted 45 clues and realised, therefore, that 14 clues woud have no extra letter to be removed (more difficult than crosswords where every clue has one). We also noted that these might be removed from definitions, as well as the usual wordplay.


5a          Wright divides boron and oxygen in between synthetic resin (7)
We ‘back-solved’ this clue from the word that partly appeared in our grid, as the synthetic resin was not one that immediately came to mind. Remember that we are looking for an extra letter in two-thirds of the clues. Two other (obvious) abbreviations are used in this clue ‘in between’.

18a         Australian cadger chat’s base (6)
With the ‘extra letter’ in mind, we were able to solve half of the word for ‘base’ and Chambers confirmed that the Australian cadger was the other half.

19a         Turning, tease Mel pursuing romantic partner’s sweetener (9)
Three clue elements were put together; the romantic partner came first and we had to ‘turn’ tease at the end of the solution to produce the sweetener.

22a         Slob’s behind second hillside (5)
‘Second’ gave us the usual abbreviation. The word for the ‘hillside’ is an unusual one.

27a         Suffolk girl returning in Scotland once on the borders rattles liars (9)
A short local (Suffolk) word for a girl had to return with a Scottish term for ‘once’, then two letters completed a familiar word.

41a         Distinguish viewer, note conservative’s intervening (6)
The wordplay, telling us to put a letter into a word for ‘viewer’ – note, spells out an unusual term for ‘distinguish’.


7d            In Glasgow receive stolen goods, one collection (5)
To get this Scottish term we needed to remind ourselves that there was probably an extra letter in the clue.

11d           Authorised farm squatters in South Africa caught entering near zebras regularly (8)
A brief word for ‘caught’ enters ‘near’ and ‘zebras regularly’.

16d          Forgetting date, Grace, not old, embraces Rita, finally bistro’s owner (8)
This was the toughest clue for us. We needed a word for ‘grace’ and had to ‘forget’ the date and add an old word for ‘not’. We still needed another letter to give us what looked like being a French term for an inkeeper, and we had to remember that an extra letter was probably lurking in the clue

17d           Trump’s fancy bumf and gold (5)
A clue to produce a smile. Of course, Trump is the US indicator.

18d         Upset academy cutting viscous mineral (5)
Another abbreviation has to ‘cut’ or go into an upset word that surprisingly means ‘viscous’. Fortunately, checking letters give most of the mineral.

33d         Paged think suspect’s spoken (5)
Be careful here! It would be too easy to slot in the wrong unchecked letter.

It was the phrase produced by the extra letters that led us, via Google, to the work and we then had no trouble spotting the phrase in the grid that had to be adapted, retaining real words, as Skylark had told us. Finding the 47 cells to highlight – those six other words and phrases – initially proved difficult and it was then that we understood that final comment in the preamble, as the first site we consulted gave us only one of them. We needed to consult the ‘original version’. Do remember to highlight those cells and to adapt the phrase in the grid.

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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5 comments on “EV 1510 (Hints)

  1. Many thanks to Skylark! I love the way our setters unearth these themes – a new one to me but full of fun. It was intriguing to find one answer mirroring that in another recent puzzle elsewhere. Not a problem of course, and grid constraints mean the same words do tend to crop up. Anyone fancy offering a short-list of old favourites?

  2. Great fun! The clues were a good mix with those in the SW corner proving the most taxing. It was the rhythm of reciting the revealed phrase to Mrs H that led us straight to the source and the line to be changed was then obvious. Five of the six descriptors were also quite easy to obtain but it all depends on what is considered the original. No complaints – there cannot be many contenders and No 6 was shouting out in the grid all along.
    Thanks to Skylark and The Numpties.

  3. I’m a bit late to the party on this one, a busy week meant I didn’t get around to looking at it until yesterday. What a treat, a really fun solve. I recognised the phrase but identifying the original version took a bit of time, who knew there were so many versions?
    Thanks to Skylark for the entertainment and as ever to The Numpties for their blog.

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