EV 1519 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1519 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1519 (Hints)

Satisfaction 2 by proXimal

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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For the last EV of the year we meet proXimal, the EV editor, again. We can be sure of a challenge but fair and carefully constructed clues too. He seems to be promising us ‘satisfaction’ and this is certainly a meaty crossword.

Preamble:  The answers to 30 clues must be entered with a single letter misprint, always occurring in a cell checked by a crossing entry; correct letters spell out a proverb about SATISFACTION. In every other clue, a string of consecutive letters must be removed from one word before solving; these removals hint at an alternative version of the proverb. Finally, one appropriate entry should be replaced with the final word of the alternative version. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended; the grid contains real words and phrases at each stage.

Setters are always searching for new devices: misprints in the entered words is one that I believe proXimal originated in ‘Satisfaction’ No 1; certainly tougher to set than the ‘misprint in the definition’ device, which is difficult in itself.  We are relieved to see that we will be changing just one letter in 30 clued words, always producing another real word or phrase.  The correct letters (those we are not entering) will spell out a 30-letter proverb. We count 38 clues and know that we will be removing strings of consecutive letters from eight of those; these are going to give us a thematic hint of some kind – guiding us to ‘an alternative version of the proverb’.

Our hints should help you solve clues that we found relatively challenging but will leave you the task of placing a single misprint (prompted by crossing letters) in each of the solutions, and, of course, recording the correct letters you don’t use.


10a         Having changed hands, fastening that tin for Nigerian (6)
We know that ‘changing hands’ in a crossword suggests shifting from left to right or the inverse. ‘Tin’, like ‘bread’ is another usage familiar to solvers.

12a         Rarely pleasant males in discontented audience (5)
‘Discontented’ is prompting us about two letters of the solution and those have to surround the ‘males’ to produce a word that, we decide, is ‘rare’.

16a         Belly for all to see, mostly fat, like mound (7)
Three wordplay elements make up this solution. We used a little word for ‘belly’, a single-letter abbreviation and most of a word for ‘fat’ (and we grinned at the very expressive surface reading of the clue).

19a         Old refuse close to station harmful (4)
It is important to solve this clue! Initially we didn’t find the correct word for ‘old refuse’.  Mrs Bradford helped us in the end. The wordplay spells out what is needed – the ‘close to station’ and a short word for ‘harmful’.

25a         Member of Spice Girls about to starve(4)
This clue which will produce a rare word for ‘to starve’.

29a         When whaling scares group of friends (7)
We were grateful for the wordplay (an abbreviation and a word for the friends) that gave us a term we had never met before (I’ll be surprised if other solvers know it!)

32a         Historically, manipulate price of case of ribeye, wonderful to hear (7)
‘Historically’ suggested to us that this was another archaic word. ‘To hear’ prompted us that part of the solution would be a homophone for a ‘wonderful’ word.


1d           Elgin’s surfeits of marble carried by ship (5)
This clue suggested to us that the Elgin marbles were being sent home – but it was not to be. The Scottish indicator was clear and it was a rather paltry marble that was on rhat ship.

6d            Seabirds both lag flying south (8)
As usual, the Big Dave convention of underlining the definition parts of clues will be a help, leaving a clear indication of how we are to find the seabirds.

7d          Spectre back to scare politician on purpose (6)
Another relatively rare word for a spectre that is made up of three clue elements with the politician being the usual two-letter one who appears in crosswords.

20d         Old Turkish bread by feeding equine (6)
Our comment on clue 10 applies. The equine here is consuming another short word.

23d         Once dedicated old boy out of office (6)
Another familiar ‘crossword’ abbreviation is followed by the ‘out of office’ term to give an archaic word for ‘dedicated’.

24d         No longer treacherous, earl accepted by corporation  (6)
Again, we are prompted that the solution is archaic. Even the term for the ‘corporation’ that accepts the earl is one we principally associate with medieval times.

As we solved the clues, a whole series of prompts emerged and we smiled when these were confirmed by the proverb that was spelled out. There were a number of cases where more than one potential misprint was evident and we needed to keep a careful record of what we were doing and to make frequent checks in Chambers for possible misprinted words. Our solve ended the EV year with a smile when we realized how a generic term for those eight ‘strings of consecutive letters’ could replace an appropriate entry in the grid. Care needed there as there is more than one ‘appropriate entry’ but remember that real words must result.

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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3 comments on “EV 1519 (Hints)

  1. Many thanks to our esteemed editor for an excellent puzzle to round off the year. I wasn’t expecting to kick off the comments as I found the clue entry system quite tricky- but that is my shortcoming not its, and variety in the “gimmick” (not a great word) is always welcome. And yes, a little care at the end but a big smile!

  2. I thought this might be a bit of a slog but I enjoyed it a lot. The removed letter strings quickly formed a pattern and once the intentional misprinting was familiar the clues became easier. I like the arrangement of the 2 clue types to demarcate real words in the proverb and the clever ‘mislead’ of the endgame.
    Many thanks to proXimal and to The Numpties as always.

  3. Looking forward to this one. I’ll get to it before the end of the year. Speaking of which…

    Happy new year to The Numpties and to proXimal and to all the BD commenters that have enhanced my solving experience throughout the past year. Excited to see what 2022 will bring!

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