EV 1533 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1533 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1533 (Hints)

Nothing by Hedge-sparrow

Hints and tips by The Numpties

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

This will be Hedge-sparrow’s sixth EV crossword. He is a familiar setter to Listener solvers and his themes range through lots of fields of knowledge but his title ‘Nothing’ tells us nothing.

Preamble: Clues are presented in conventional order. Some answers require thematic amendment before entry. Solvers must highlight the NOTHING theme, which spans the grid in a straight line. All answers are real words or (for clues marked #) phrases. Chambers Dictionary is recommended; the form of the entry marked + is in Collins.

We were pleased, at first that there was no clue gimmick to struggle with but then saw that our clues were not numbered and didn’t have the word-length indicated. That looked rather daunting until we saw that conventional clue order was respected – which, of course, except for the fact that ‘some answers require amendment before entry’ meant that we were given the word-length. What was going on, we wondered.


*        Build protective structure around vacant lodge, enclosing garden area facing west
The solution is a word we don’t hear often but we find it by putting the extremes of that lodge around a grassy garden area and ‘facing’ all of that west.

*        Moor boat lacking appropriate technology – mind out!
We removed the abbreviation for ‘appropriate technology’ from the boat then remembered what ‘out’ could be telling us to do with the letters of ‘mind’ to produce the name of a UK moor.

*        Sandarac tree, chief source of bitter yellow powder
The Big Dave’s site’s convention of underlining the definition part of the clue will help you here. We had to add the name of the tree to the chief, to find a word that was not familiar.

*         Spell ‘venue’ wrongly in exam
‘Wrongly’ prompted us how to deal with the words ‘spell venue’.

*         Crofter’s handful of grass almost ready for harvest at front of pasture
We neeed most of a word for ‘ready’ (almost ready) that we put at the front of ‘pasture’ to give what was evidently a Scottish word.

*         Heavily flowering at last, white ornamental lily deadheaded
Again, the underlining should help with the wordplay which has three elements, ‘flowering at last’ and an ‘ornamental version of that and ‘white’, then ‘lily’ with its head removed.

*         Broadcast tweet covering novel impromptu – like row Schönberg created
Here we had to do a little research to find out what this compound anagram was telling us about Schönberg’s musical innovation.

*        Stew left in a countrywoman’s basket is sent back
The stew here is of a foreign origin. A dialect word for a basket (with left in it) has to be returned.


*            Soldiers carrying partners to the other side of Scotland
The partners here are ones we frequently meet in crosswords – the partners in a game of bridge – and the soldiers are the non-commissioned ones. Put together, they produced a word that we are told is Scottish.

*           English Master raised objection, left in charge of clot
You are sure to smile at this clue. It isn’t the stupid clot who might be in the English Master’s class – it’s of a different type of clot. The ‘objection’ here is a short word that fits between the English Master and ‘left in charge’.

*          Note beginnings of improved self-awareness in American child’s developmental condition
Three wordplay elements here; a short word for the note, letters for the ‘improved self-awareness’ and ‘American’ encompassing all of it.

*           Bony fish initially uncommonly filling for evening’s starter? Indeed
The wordplay produced a very unusual fish. There were four wordplay elements, ‘initially uncommonly’, ‘filling for’, ‘evening’s starter’ and a word for ‘indeed’.

The penny-drop-moment earned a huge smile and made sense of so many aspects of this crossword that had puzzled us. We were, of course, gven a clear prompt about where to find the NOTHING theme that ‘spanned the grid in a straight line’. Our frequent Numpty prompt is to try the diagonals in both directions then the rows and columns. Do remember to do that and highlight what you find.

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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4 comments on “EV 1533 (Hints)

  1. The PDM for me arrived at a most appropriate clue. Was that planned?
    Thanks to Hedge-sparrow and The Numpties

  2. The fact that clues were unnumbered but still “presented in conventional order” was a pretty broad hint about what was going on and my working hypothesis was supported by the 7th across clue – so away we went!. The grid-spanner was easily located but it was the ambiguity of the Schoenberg clue that threw me, not having come across the alternative formulation prevented a solution to 3 other intersecting clues. Mea culpa.
    Good fun and generous clues – even tho a couple of the thematic clues were [necessarily?] a bit forced. Thanks to Hedge-Sparrow and The Numpties.

  3. A really entertaining puzzle. I encountered the same issue with the Schoenberg clue as halcyon above and that held me up for some time. Once I sorted that out the rest was plain sailing. I loved the title – very clever!

    Thanks to Hedge-Sparrow and The Numpties.

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