Enigmatic Variations 1516 (Hints)
Fear by Chalicea
Hints and tips by The Numpties
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Chalicea’s crosswords appear in a range of outlets: this will be her 45th EV and solvers will remember her Asian One in the ladies’ month. After last week’s challenge they can be sure of a gentler solve this week.
Preamble: The slightly adapted statement at 1a, 42, six words expressing the speaker’s FEAR, was made at the time of an event at 23 (all unclued) in a film. An extra letter is produced by the wordplay of every down clue in addition to those required for the answers. These, in clue order, give an instruction regarding 27 cells. Chambers Dictionary (2016) and the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations are recommended.
Nothing too puzzling there. We are prompted that we have a statement that expresses fear made by someone in a film whose location will appear as an unclued light in the grid. As the ODQ is recommmended, this will probably be a famous film line. As almost three of the across rows are unclued, we can expect relatively straightforward clues enabling us to discover the content of those. We can already guess roughly what we will be instructed to do by extra wordplay letters (in down clues only, we note) and the ’27’ letter count will give us a final check.
16a East London wife with good old substitute for costly decorative leaf (9, two words)
A word used in one of the ‘East Londons’ (British or African) for a wife is used here as the first of the two words. The second is constructed from the wordplay. You may need Chambers to confirm the definition.
19a To write, journalist worked with heavy end of hammerhead (5)
The defined word is fairly obscure but the wordplay elements spell it out.
20a Bust of the lady’s mother (5)
As in the above clue, the wordplay spells an unusual word.
37a Support rejected by hospital essentially analysing unlimited trial for metabolic disorder (9)
The Numpties tend to complain about clues that are additions of lots of ‘mini cluelets’. Here four wordplay elements, all of them relatively direct and simple, are added together to give a word you may need to confirm in Chambers.
1d Samples including foremost of the old-fashioned angling flies (8)
We need to remember that an extra letter will be included in the wordplay of all the remaining clues. Obviously this is a clue to tackle when we have some letters in place. It leads to another obscure word.
18d Capital of Western Samoa’s plant yielding arrowroot (3)
Unless your general knowledge is unusually good, you might need the Internet to solve this one – we have to remove one (extra) letter from the name of the capital to produce the plant.
19d Mozambique seaport’s armadillo (4)
Mrs Bradford has sadly just died but her Crossword Solver’s Dictionary will live on and will provide the word needed here.
25d Liberal Italian leader at heart spurning animal fodder (6)
Three wordplay elements include an obvious abbreviation, a word for the Italian leader that is possibly over-used by crossword setters, and an additional pair of letters.
32d Springs up to divine in Callanish (4)
The rather odd surface reading prompts us that the solution is a Scottish word (of course ‘Divine’ can be a noun or a verb). We are prompted to reverse a word that says ‘springs’ (yes, that, too can be a noun or a verb).
34d Man caught in extremes of surging anthrax (4)
Simple wordplay gives the extra letter and another unusual term that Mrs Bradford included in her dictionary.
36d An oddly missing nomadic wild ox in Indonesia (4)
The comment on the above clue applies here. Setters are fond of these obscure words for antelopes, oxen, and so-on, probably because they use difficult vowels in unusual combinations.
The penny-drop moment will probably have appeared fairly quickly, either when the location became clear, or that familiar film line appeared. Remember to do as instructed ‘regarding 27 cells’.
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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