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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