EV 1528 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1528

Enigmatic Variations 1528

Finish by Xanthippe

Setter’s Blog

Extra letters in across clues give SIX FISH, which must be replaced by SIX SHARKS, given by letters added to down clues; two lines go through GREAT WHITE in the shape of a fin.

I’m not sure of my original inspiration for predators consuming prey but settled on sharks and fish pretty quickly. There are many fish and plenty that have other meanings; important for clueing purposes. Originally I planned to have fish and sharks being spread across more than one entry. H-ERRING and B-ASKING worked well for this but others didn’t seem to work. I then looked for sharks that had a fish of the same length with as many coinciding letters as possible. At this point I had the idea for adding the shark’s fin. I played around for a little while with how the I or G of the HERRING could fit with the fin before settling on the final positions. After fitting as many pairs in as I could, it was then time for how to relay the message – adding and removing letters fitting the theme.

It was only on resolving the proof that I realised the fin could have been symmetric, which would have been preferable. When setting I’d assumed the lines would need to meet in the centre of a cell but moving WHITE down one cell position would have given a better result.

Our editor was happy with the puzzle but had noticed a more common fish , which could have misled, so a small rework and a few new clues.

My apologies for the error, quite annoying!

A full review of this puzzle can be seen over on fifteensquared.