EV 1535 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1535

Enigmatic Variations 1535

Painful Poems by Chalicea

Setter’s Blog

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Extra letters give DOWN CLUES TENTH LETTER, giving the instruction SHADE PLANT AND POETS; LILACS are the subject of the poetic extracts in the perimeter by WHITMAN and ELIOT.


T.S.Eliot’s poetry filled many hours of my studies of English Literature and the lines ‘April is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land’ are unforgettable, though I am not sure that I can agree with the sentiment. It seems to me that the start of the spring, the gentle rain and the greening of the lilac trees is kind, rather than cruel, after the harsh dead land of winter.
I do regret that I hadn’t the courage to opt, at university, for the alternative of American Literature where I would have read Scott-Fitzgerald, Frost, Whitman and Faulkner, for example, much earlier than when I came to teach their works in later years. Whitman’s grief at the shooting of Abraham Lincoln is so movingly expressed in:

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.

Both Eliot and Whitman use lilacs as their symbol of spring, in one case of cruelty and in the other of grief, and it was this similarity that prompted me to attempt to fit two key phrases of their poems around the perimeter of a grid and to include the ‘lilacs’ theme and the names of the poets as almost symmetrical diagonal items to be highlighted, hopefully in an appropriate colour.


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


2 comments on “EV 1535

  1. Worthy of the good man himself (by whom I mean T. S.). Frank Morley somewhere recounts that during Eliot’s time at Morley’s farm, lying low after his break with Vivienne, they enjoyed putting together crosswords in a host of different languages, Greek, Latin, French, Italian, German, and even, with a bit of difficulty, Hebrew. This is not to give EV setters any ideas of course. I’ve often wondered whether a literary biography of the great literary figrues as cruciverbalists might do well.

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