EV 1522 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1522 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1522 (Hints)

Consequences by Eclogue

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Eclogue has been setting regularly for the EV series for the last eight years. Solvers will remember The Australasian One that appeared after the ladies’ month last summer.

Preamble: The answers to eight normal clues each provide the potential CONSEQUENCES for their respective entries. All other clues must have a letter removed prior to solving (always leaving real words) which, in clue order, provide the thematic reference (as cited in ODQ7). Read in grid order, the circled letters followed by the entry number of one of two thematic entries narrow down the reference material, which is further pinpointed by those two entries, as well as the sum of their entry numbers; the outlier is thematically numbered. Enumerations refer to grid entries. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

The words ‘Enumerations refer to grid entries’ prompted us that some of the clues would lead to words that would not be the ones entered in the grid. We suspected that these might be the eight that were not going to have an ‘extra letter that had to be removed prior to solving’. It was clear that we needed to find the thirty-letter thematic reference, perhaps spot what the letters in circles spelled or identify ‘two thematic entries’.


11a        Trent belts weak gable’s cornerstone (9)
We needed to remember that we were removing a letter from all but eight clues in order to establish what the wordplay was telling us to do to produce this solution.

14a        Dine Greek character with bootees (5)
Of course, the letter to be removed can come from anywhere in the clue – solution or wordplay. We could see only one option here but were still left with a rather odd clue surface-reading. It was when we consulted Chambers for the ‘bootees’ that we found the answer (an important one, as it holds two of the circled letters).

18a         Saw grande marine creature (7)
Again we looked for an extra letter and finding it led us to a one-letter abbreviation that, rather ingeniously, adds to the other word of the wordplay to give the marine creature.

23a         Morn unfolding aged building cover (5)
We removed a letter then decided that ‘unfolding’ was an instruction and that ‘aged’ in this case was not an indication for an archaic usage.

26a         City against bovine American providing many a blouse (7)
Four wordplay elements came into play here, a standard abbreviation for ‘city’ and short forms for ‘against’, ‘bovine’ and ‘American’.

34a        Priest blessed band (6)
This clue with its transparent wordplay helped us understand how the theme was being used in the grid.


3d            Stacking tense high notes (5)
We were surprised by the answer that the wordplay produces but it is confirmed by Chambers and appears in Mrs Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary.

4d           Score low-value chard in folded sheet (10)
This clue provides a number of potential letters to remove but we need to remember to look at what is being spelled by those letters – we have enough (as you probably have) to make an educated guess at the theme. This ‘essential’ solution took us to Chambers to confirm the definition that appeared.

6d           A pope in Eastern Australian Church (4)
Again, Chambers will confirm the definition that appears when you put together three abbreviations.

7d           One reptile almost current in produce of Faro end of the Med (7)
We needed to put together a reptile ‘almost’ and an abbreviation to get a name that is used in the Eastern Med for something.

10d          Cold war revamped San Francisco’s night tram once (6)
As we say each week, the convention of underlining the definitions in the hints on Big Dave’s site can be all that a puzzled solver needs.

22d          Once cultivated seta via remixing (6)
The above comment applies. We were not familiar with this obsolete term for ‘cultivated’.

The Numpties worked out the theme from what was spelled out in those extra letters and from the circled letters, then from words that solved a couple of the ‘normal’ clues.  We fumbled for some time attempting to relate the eight ‘answers’ that the wordplay produced to words in the ‘thematic reference’.

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6 comments on “EV 1522 (Hints)

  1. Many thanks to Eclogue for a well-constructed and well-clued puzzle. The grid fill went along at an average pace until enough of the message appeared to enable me to deduce the rest and what was going on with the clues, and then the home run was quite quick. The most dangerous moment was entering the consequences since there always a bit of guesswork involved and the potential nightmare of a second equally valid entry – but Eclogue kept us off the rocks and it all tied up nicely in the end. Setting devices seem to go in waves and after a lot of extra letters generated by wordplay, extra letters in clues are in the limelight along with clue answers needing replacement with another word. In fact I’ve just used both myself. I wonder what will come next? And the Golden Goblet is still there for anyone who can devise a good new one.

  2. Excellent EV… but still unsure of 6D… three abbreviations (there are two ways) don’t lead me to a letter missing from the “A pope”?

    1. I experienced the same thing. I knew what the missing letter had to be to fit the message which left me with a word that didn’t seem to fit the definition. I found the answer in the electronic version of Chambers ( you have to scroll a long way down the page). It isn’t in my very ancient hard copy.

      1. I looked online and found searches available within Chambers 21st Century Dictionary… the meaning was not there, and surprisingly, neither were the crossing words as answers to 11A and 14A! Clearly, the wrong place to look.

        So I re-checked my 2014-2016 edition. And there it was, among the subheads clearly referenced as an informal phrase – I do not know how I missed it… carelessness, and maybe there’s too many years on me or the book, lol. Thanks for looking and confirming the answer :)

  3. I really enjoyed this EV. Lots going on and several PDMs as all the strands came together.

    Thanks to Eclogue for the challenge and to the Numpties for their blog.

  4. Well, I got there in the end, hindered by a busy week and a failure to read the preamble carefully which led me to focus on only one half of the thematic material. Once all 8 [7] were identified the rest was rather easier although back-solving some of those “normal” clues took some thought. The clues overall were not the easiest and the whole thing felt a bit over-egged, but perhaps I’m looking for excuses!
    Thanks to Eclogue for the tussle and to The Numpties for the hints.

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