EV 1527 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1527 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1527 (Hints)

Point of View by Karla

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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A fine surprise – we have an EV debut crossword, though we have already solved a Listener crossword by Karla. He gave us one called Pot Plant that was about the maximum possible score and the colours of balls in Snooker. He also sets as Wire for the Independent, Leonidas in the Financial Times and has appeared in the Guardian Genius slot.

Preamble:  In 12 clues the wordplay omits one letter of the answer; in number order they spell out a two-word observation associated with a thematic set formed by one superfluous noun in each of eight clues. The unclued entry is a ninth member with cells to be coloured one way according to the observation. Single-letter clashes occur in six cells belonging to entries formed from 12 further clues. Pairs of letters in clashing cells can be jumbled to give a two-word phrase indicating how they should be connected to the central block with a curved line to form half a symmetrical pattern; solvers must complete the pattern running through cells symmetrically located in relation to the clashes revealing the POINT OF VIEW. The complete line should be coloured in the opposite way to the unclued entry. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

Quite a lot to take in there. We are to look for eight extra words and identify 12 letters omitted from clues. We note that these will spell out something ‘in number order’ – not in the more conventional ‘clue order’. In addition we must look for single-letter clashes in six cells and we are told that we must use ‘two opposite colours’ in our completed grid.


14a          Attention given time makes local lively (5)
We remember that we may need to add a letter to those spelled out by the wordplay, a short word for ‘attention’ and the usual abbreviation for ‘time’. The resulting word is ‘local’ or dialect usage.

15a         Bound old German imprisoned by wild tribe (6)
Here we are prompted that the solution is an ‘old’ word for bound. We introduce an abbreviation for German into the ‘barbarous’ tribe.

28a         Fabulous home urbanist excavated with chisel (6)
Again a reminder that an extra letter might be needed. The ‘urbanist’ is excavated and a short word for ‘chisel’ added to give the name of a place we have encountered in fabular literature.

32a         Nordic giant with fifty (not a thousand) intestinal parts (4)
This ‘Nordic giant’ is not one living, for example, in the home defined in the clue examined above. This giant is still very active but a letter has to be changed to give the ‘intestinal parts’. (A clue that is sure to make you smile!)

33a         Game black American buzzard on gnu’s tail (8)
Yet another reminder that an extra letter might be needed. We used the tail of the gnu and an abbreviation for black, added to the name of an American buzzard, putting all of that together to give the ‘game’.

39a         Ancient weapon knave’s first to move back (5)
We simply had to move back the start of a word for knave, to produce an unfamiliar name of an ancient weapon.

40a         Auntie rustling large ox from Nick (4)
Another clue that earned a smile. ‘Auntie’ is a familiar term for this four-letter solution but here we needed to begin with (old) Nick and remove a letter for large and a four-letter ox.


4d            Fitting age to hide one bird’s bald patches (7)
A short word for fitting joins a short word for age and ‘one’ is hidden in there to give this unusual word.

6d           Setter stops majority of elephant impressions (6)
A familiar elephant name is cut short and surrounds a letter for the setter, to give this solution.

8d          Collect regional flower in manner of speaking (4)
We were really puzzled here. We needed to use a local word for a flower (remembering that a flower can be of the blooming or running sort) and surround that by two letters that identify a ‘manner of speaking’ (based on educated speech).

11d          Glaswegian more wary of very tall wedding cake? (7)
This was another imaginative clue that produced a smile. The question mark tells us that the setter is using a word that might describe a pretty exceptional wedding cake. The Scottish indicator tells us we have an unusual word here.

13d         US caps money held in dodgy Thai gems (9, two words)
The clue told us what to do to get these US caps. (Not a term that was familiar to us.)

24d         Drawn limb on right point of shield (7)
Another rare word is put together when we apply the ‘drawn’ to the three words that follow it.

31d         Slippery once in lake with director naked (6)
Lake is the usual abbreviation. The director from whom we have to remove the ‘coat’ is a very famous film director and we are told that this is an obsolete word for ‘slippery’.

34d         Love sitting in Barnet to have Scottish nibble (4)
The love is of the kind we hear at Wimbledon and Barnet is a synonym for a short word that has to surround that love to give the Scottish ‘nibble’.

The extra nouns were the ‘way in’ for the Numpties. When we had only five of them, we recognised the theme and were already able to guess what the ninth member of the group would be. An Internet visit confirmed the theme and prompted what other ‘extra nouns’ might be, as well as helping us unravel what the 12 letters from clashing cells would spell. The two-word observation was needed to confirm what colours we must use.

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 1527 (Hints)

  1. Thanks to Karla for an interesting puzzle. The clueing was fair and not too hard, though keeping track of the various devices in play needed attention. Like the Numpties I found the extra words were the easiest way in, though unlike them I relied on Googling a group of them. The likely two messages were then apparent, and tge remaining stumbling block was working out which crayons to use where. I’m still not sure I fully understand that, although the basic principle at work is well-known. Perhaps Karla will reveal all and say why there caught his attention in a setter’s blog?

  2. What a workout! I found the omission of a letter by the wordplay quite challenging in clues that were often quite tricky anyway. On the other hand the superfluous nouns were quite easy to spot and remembering that clashes would only occur between “further” clues made that job easier. Once the 9th member was clear the whole thing started to fall into place. Getting the symmetry correct was tricky until I saw what would be spelled out once one got it right – a nice bonus.
    Many thanks to Karla and The Numpties.

    1. I didn’t mean to suggest that the Point of View was an afterthought – rather that having the final reveal at the very end was a nice bonus.

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