EV 1538 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1538

Enigmatic Variations 1538

Tour by Vismut

Setter’s Blog

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Indexed letters lead to THE TEN TORS, an annual trek across DARTMOOR; unclued entries are names of tors which have been checkpoints, with DARTMOOR replacing BEARDOWN.

O God who has made the Earth of great beauty,
and who has given us the Spirit of Adventure,
we thank you for the beauty of the world,
for the courage and vigour of young people,
for the companionship and for the opportunity
to enjoy all these gifts.

We pray that you will keep them safe on this great venture
and grant that they may meet each challenge
and difficulty with unselfish courage and so find the
true spirit of comradeship as shown to us by
Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

As I’m writing this blog, around 2,700 local(ish) teenagers are setting off on the Ten Tors. Although the British Army is there to organise and supervise, the kids are on their own for two days, walking distances of up to 55 miles over, yes you guessed it, ten tors and camping out overnight on the moor. It looks like this weekend they are going to have nice weather for it, but they don’t know that when they sign up and in the past the weather has been appalling. Too hot, too cold, windy, wet, foggy….

Although the same thing applies to every year – weather and/or pandemics permitting- it seems appropriate that in the Queen’s 70th year on the throne some of the teenagers taking part in this the 60th Ten Tors will be putting it towards their Duke of Edinburgh Gold award.

Having spent quite a large proportion of holidays in my childhood in a huge tent camping “a la ferme” or some such in Europe with my five older siblings, one cousin, parents and grandma I developed a slight aversion to any sort of overnight stay without some privacy (ie walls), hot baths and proper loos (not tractor tyres and a hole in the ground, in a tin shack, which was moved overnight so you had to hunt for it every morning).

My father was also very fond of walks which he described as “a piece of cake” which always, always turned into 10-15 mile hikes through the mud and over some hills. Fine when your seventeen years old (big sister), but not when your six (me). Dad at the front and a line decreasing in height and age of children trailing after him with Mum at the back. Also grumbling. Think end of The Sound of Music, without the singing.

So, when the opportunity to take part in the Ten Tors through my school came along, I didn’t spend too much time thinking about whether or not to go, but I take my hat off to those that do.

The ten tors actually walked each year vary a bit which did make it easier for me to fit them around the perimeter and into the grid as a whole. I was absolutely delighted that the unchecked letters gave A DARK HILLS HUMOUR SHOWS A BIT, which seemed extremely appropriate. It was fun to compile and I got some information from my neighbour, who was in charge of the whole event for one year and got to buzz about in a helicopter. Apparently, the regiments take it in turns.

So not all off the internet, though of course I appreciate that for those of you who don’t live in Devon and therefore don’t see our local news this event may have gone under the radar. Here’s the report from the BBC about this year’s event.


My test solver for this puzzle was Vagans who definitely knows more prayers than I do, but had not heard of this one. So one for the diary for me and many thanks to him.

I hope you have enjoyed this puzzle.


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

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