EV 1518 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1518 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1518 (Hints)

Burned Out by Nudd

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Nudd has been setting cryptic crosswords for most of the thematic cryptic outlets for many years. As part of the Rood setter combination, he was winner of the Listener’s Ascot Gold Cup some years ago. One of my all-time favourite crosswords was his Inquisitor, ‘Leading Light’ where we finally coloured much of the grid brown and the ‘Leading Light’ was Rudolph’s nose. We can expect to find substantial thematic content in his grid. This is his seventh EV.

Preamble:  All clues contain a misprint of one letter in the definition part. The correct letters in clue order give two suggestions as to the nature of the twelve unclued entries (the second of these suggestions proceeds to indicate why these particular entries might be BURNED OUT). Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended; all entries are real words or phrases.

It is helpful that all the clues contain a misprint ‘in the definition part’. With only thirty clues in all, we are clearly going to have to solve all of them, or most of them, to find the real words which are unclued and to work out what is being spelled by those corrected misprints. We needed to fill most of the grid in order to manage this endgame so the Numpty hints are slightly more copious and generous than usual.


9a          True spirit of Turkey’s lacking in capital (4)
The convention of highlighting definitions in the hints on Big Dave’s site will be helpful here, as we have been told that the misprints occur in the definition parts of clues. ‘True’ doesn’t offer many possibilities, especially when we need to remove the ‘capital’ from ‘Turkey’s spirit’.

10a         Old sailor falling for mass attention (7)
We put an abbreviation with the word for a sailor.

18a         Shady poet’s reputation beginning to emerge (5)
We found that the brief word for ‘reputation’ is obsolete.

19a         Parisian friend starts on sweet sherry, not fino (5)
Rather a lovely surface reading here. The underlining will again give all the help that you may need.

23a         Hanging landscape abandoned before entering country (8)
Nudd has struggled here to produce his corrected misprint. We had to back-solve from the ‘suggestion’ that was being spelled out by the corrected letters. We needed to remember that ‘abandoned’ might be prompting us that a word is obsolete.

28a         Heading for Antarctic, departs and puts on extra knits (6)
Another convincing surface reading but we needed to break the clue into its three elements; ‘heading for Antarctic’, ‘departs’, and ‘puts on’.


1d            Concerned with the value of deals, Trojan clutches empty pouch (7)
The meaning of the word that was produced, when we put an empty ‘pouch’ into a word for Trojan, had us consulting Chambers. It is fairly obscure.

3d           Covert turning in direction of racket (6)
Again, the underlining leaves the solver with a clear way to produce the solution.

4d          Describing scalp of Karpov and others bagged by Belorussian (3)
Karpov is a familiar name that prompts to the context of this solution.

5d         Vocal’s behind song fragment having missed intro (5)
We are being told that we must remove the start from a song fragment.

6d         Spots once crooked runner contend in rivalry (6)
There are two indicators in the definition part of this clue. We constructed the solution from a short word for a runner and a short word for ‘contend in rivalry’.

7d          Fellow immediately succeeded, coming up well (5)
The abbreviation needed here was the usual crossword one but the word for ‘well’ that had to come up is a rare one.

12d         Protective ditch which can be set in acreage surrounded by trees on prairie (4)
Nudd has needed this 13-word clue because of his difficulty finding the word to produce the corrected misprint and the obscurity of the short word for those trees on the prairie.

19d        Grab associate using liquid oxygen (5)
This succinct clue leads to three wordplay elements.

21d         Indian fowl balance on tree (5)
There are just two elements to the wordplay here and the tree is one we often meet in crosswords.

Spotting what the longest unclued light was giving us was the Numpties’ penny-drop moment. Up to that point, we had been wondering why the ‘real words’ that were filling the unclued lights had not been clued. What the corrected misprints were spelling then made sense – especially, for us, the ‘second of the suggestions’ and how it ‘proceeded’. We smiled when that explained the title. Nothing to highlight, this time but we needed Mrs Bradford, (as usual) to help us with the endgame.

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6 comments on “EV 1518 (Hints)

  1. Many thanks to Nudd for a very well constructed puzzle with bags of thematic content. Keep an eye on the emerging two suggestions. Two letter groups gave me the way in along with one of the entries, and as usual with this sort of puzzle once the theme is clear the unclued words start to fill in quite quickly. Another feature of those words will also prove very helpful – part of Nudd’s careful and helpful construction. So go for it!

  2. Agreed – a very enjoyable puzzle at the harder end of the spectrum. Misprints, especially when restricted to the definition, are hard for a setter to handle, and it’s typical of Nudd’s expertise that he was able to conceal almost all of them within misleading surface readings. Another pleasing feature is that it’s impossible to complete the grid merely by using such as Qxw to find the unclued lights from crosschecks, as several have alternatives that can be resolved only by grasping the theme.

  3. Theme readily grasped! T’was the clues that slowed me down – I found several quite tricky and a couple still need parsing. As for the endgame, the odd one out was quick to appear and what needed to fill the other 11 was a safe bet. I share my birthplace with the first named gentleman who actually bought me a pint once!
    Great fun – many thanks to Nudd and to The Numpties whose hints were more than usually useful.

  4. I have solved all of the clues except for 16d. Only one of the two ten-lettered, unclued entries is obvious and the rest await a “penny-drop” moment, something that is tantalisingly out of reach at the moment!

      1. Clunk and the penny dropped. Only need two answers now: those in the NE quadrant that share an initial letter. I’ve got _ _ NS _ S across and _ ERE _ down, unless I’ve slipped up.

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