EV 1530 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1530 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1530 (Hints)

Bare Necessities by Check

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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This is Check’s second EV crossword. In the first, we had to join up stars to create the constellation Leo. The preamble here suggests to us that we are going to find another shape in our completed grid.

Preamble: In 24 clues an extra word must be removed before solving; in clue order, the central letters of these words spell out a creative duo and a cryptically abridged introduction to one of their works. Solvers must reveal the BARE NECESSITIES by deleting the contents of some cells in the final grid to form a thematic shape. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

We recognise that we will be hunting for extra words in just under half of the clues. Check is using the centre letters of these to convey a message. That helps us as those words will be ones with odd numbers of letters. The opening of one of a ‘duo’s’ works is going to be cryptically abridged. That intrigues us, as does the instruction to delete the contents of some of the cells in the filled grid.


1a           Pained American politician interrupts clamour (6)
The word for ‘pained’ is not a familiar one. Three clue elements gave it to us, a short word for clamour that included the letters for the American politician.

10a        League too lax about Mexican native (7)
Like the above clue, we used three wordplay elements with that X giving us a hint about what kind of Mexican native we needed.

20a         Opening in auditorium – beware rodent (4)
‘In auditorium’ prompted us that we were solving a homophone clue but we needed to check the pronunciation guides in Chambers to confirm that.

41a         Academy split over absent feasts (6)
These feasts appear frequently in crosswords. Again there were three wordplay elements, the ‘split’, ‘academy’ and ‘absent’. It took us a moment to understand how they were put together to give us the feasts.

43a         Will’s space museum trip recalled every so often (5)
We always assume that Will is the bard (just as Ed is Spenser) so were tickled that Check shoud be giving him a ‘space museum’. The underlining tells you that that was not the case.

45a         … drink ruining Sean Connery’s pictures? (7)
To understand this clue, we needed to know about a quirk of Sean Connery’s pronunciation.


3d            Deadly fault essentially hidden by Ordnance Survey’s termination (8)
The definition is a surprising use of the word that is again compsed of three wordplay elements; the ‘ordnance’ hides ‘fault essentially’ before the end of ‘survey’.

11d           Endless happiness drinking in Cambridge uni bars (6)
We needed to remind ourselves that there is more than one Cambridge uni. We had to remove the extremes of a ‘happiness’ word which then had to ‘drink in’ the uni in question.

27d         Ennoble spirit during historic tribute (4)
As is often the case in hints on Big Dave’s site, the underlining of the definition is probably all the solver needs. Here the word for ‘spirit’ was a two-letter one that we have learned from solving crosswords.

38d          Improvises with capsizing in shark film (4)
We were entertained by the original use of ‘capsizing’ in this clue which led us to the ‘shark film’ that one immediately thinks of. At first, we struggled to see how that would give us the ‘improvises’ solution.

We were entertained by the solve, as penny-drop moments followed each other as answers to these generous and fair clues steadily filled our grid. It is always rather daunting to fill a grid then be instructed to delete the contents of some cells but the result of doing that produced a smile. We were not required to, but we used a highlighter to colour the ‘thematic shape’.

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4 comments on “EV 1530 (Hints)

  1. Thanks to Check for a neat puzzle with a well-constructed graphic endgame. Another one for newer solvers to feel they can take on, I think.

  2. I didn’t have too much trouble solving the grid but the final endgame took me a while before the penny dropped with a resounding clang.

    Thanks to Check for an entertaining and amusing puzzle and to The Numpties for their blog.

  3. Aah, how sweet! Yes the clues were generous overall but I found they became more difficult towards the end [SE corner] although it may have been tiredness on my part. I did stare at the completed grid for a while before twigging exactly what needed to be removed and how clever the construction is [every single one of them].
    Thanks to Check and The Numpties.

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