EV 1528 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1528 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1528 (Hints)

Finish by Xanthippe

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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PLEASE NOTE: An error has slipped into 5 across where QUITE should read QUIET. Apologies from all concerned.

Xanthippe has been setting regularly for the EV series for over twenty years. His crosswords appear too in the IQ and Listener series.

Preamble: In seven across clues a letter must be discarded before solving; these letters in clue order describe victims to be removed from the grid. In nine down clues a letter must be added before solving; these letters in clue order describe what must replace the victims. Solvers must highlight the 30 cells showing the replacements and draw two straight lines through ten cells (starting in a highlighted cell) showing another of their kind, to FINISH. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended; all final entries are real words.

We had trouble finding where we could add letters in the down clues but were able to work backwards from what we assumed they would spell and from what was appearing in the grid, that would make potential victims to be removed. We had noted that ‘all final entries are real words’ which helped with the endgame.


10a        Alto left behind without support of bishop (8)
We needed to back-solve this from what we guessed the answer would be. We used abbreviations for ‘alto’ ‘left’ and put those behind ‘without support’.

13a        Related article, abridged piece (4)
The highlighting of the definition willl help. The piece that had to be ‘abridged’ was of the kind that frequently appears in crosswords, sometimes as a ‘man’.

17a         English Bond actor grasps rubles Ed’s torn (7)
Chambers contains all those wonderful Spenserian words. This was one of them. Two abbreviations needed to be added to the name of a famous Bond actor to create ‘Ed’s torn’.

24a         In Nairn, plenty from Highlander, perhaps, embracing wife and husband (6)
The Scottish indicator prompts that we are looking for an unfamiliar word. Cleary we needed a word for someone from North Britain and that would ’embrace’ or hold the ‘wife’.

37a         In the same place, sheep centrally by goat (4)
A lovely clue for the goat. He’s a local one for us (I saw one this morning on the ski slopes). There are three clue elements producing his name, a short form for ‘in the same place’, the heart of those sheep, and ‘by’.

38a        Tipsy poet, dropping peso, dancing around intoxicated Mexican (8)
The word might not be familiar but the wordplay tells us we must set that ‘tipsy poet’ dancing and dropping a peso.


Of course solvers have to remember that the letter to be added in down clues might be needed for the definition.

1d            Take in medicine for back (5)
‘Take’ is one of those tricky words that is often abbreviated using the Latin R (recipe) in crosswords. Here it goes into  a short word for medicine to produce the ‘back’.

2d            Pare last of cheese after unfinished dish with grains(6)
We were surprised that Chambers has an abbreviation for ‘grain’ or ‘grains’ that needed to follow the ‘unfinished dish’ before the ‘last of cheese’.

4d           What follows Ray’s bet?(6)
A tricky clue. Don’t forget that we are hunting for nine letters that we can add to clues to spell out what will replace those victims. The ‘bet’ is a relatively unfamiliar one.

12d           Cairo ceremony once first of eight breaks bread (5)
Another relatively obscure solution – the ‘bread’ here requires another casual or slang synonym, and the ‘first of eight’ has to be included in the word.

22d           Increase energy in Tuesday dance outside (5, two words)
There is more than one abbreviation for Tuesday. A short one goes into a term for a dance.

30d          Swimmer‘s partner swapping band for ring (4)
The Numpties went on a comical red herring hunt, thinking this swimmer’s partner was Leander’s partner, Hero. It was not to be. The partner here was a far more familiar one who had to exchange the ‘band’ for a ring. We needed to confirm this swimmer’s name but Mrs Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary did that for us and helped us with the crossword endgame too.

Don’t forget to hunt for ‘another of their kind’ and draw two straight lines through those ten cells ‘to FINISH’.

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 1528 (Hints)

  1. Well I actually got through completing the grid on Sunday…a first for me. But I had some difficulty with some of the discarded and added letters. Particularly 4d where I thought I was very clever picking up an American civil war theme to give me a G – WRONG! I still dont know where two of the letters come from. But after a lot if looking blankly at the grid, the Numpties very subtle but huge hint at the endgame was staring me in the face. I think I overcomplicated the words that could come out….. And I was waiting for some nudges to help me from the rest of you….

  2. I didn’t get time to look at this until yesterday, then I had to rescue it from the the recycling. I’m glad I did, it was a really enjoyable solve. Like The Numpties I found spotting where to add letters a bit more difficult than spotting where to remove them. Mrs Bradford was a great help with the endgame – by the way I loved the title …once the penny dropped!
    Thanks to Xanthippe for a beautifully constructed puzzle and to The Numpties for their blog.

  3. I also couldn’t find time for this until today but thoroughly enjoyed a quick solve helped by generous clues and years of a pursuit I shouldn’t name for fear of giving too much away.
    Many thanks to Xanthippe for the fun and to The Numpties for the blog.

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