EV 1556 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1556 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1556 (Hints)

Limitations by Jaques

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Jaques is familiar to EV solvers and to Magpie, Inquisitor and Listener solvers too. We know that his clues can be difficult and expect a challenge but we can also expect an amusing endgame.

Preamble:  A letter has been omitted from each down clue and must be reinstated before solving. These letters, in clue order, give a line of verse (in ODQ). The remainder of the verse indicates what should be entered at 1 across and how two other entries must be changed to redefine LIMITATIONS. All entries in the final grid are proper nouns or words in Chambers Dictionary (2016) which is recommended.

We expected from the preamble that we were going to find a very short verse (possibly just two lines or possibly the last two lines of a verse) and clearly it will be important to solve those early down clues as 1 across is likely to be thematic and give us the necessary hint.


6a         Found content to be too young for Scouts (6)
We had to work out what ‘age’ you probably have if you are not yet old enough to be a boy scout. We also needed Chambers to explain the definition to us.

10a        Air Police distress Parisian hooligan (6)
For the ‘distress’ we had to think of a sort of pain.

13a        Rough slate pillar having rock and totter (6)
Here is a clue where the Big Dave convention of underlining the definition should help. The clue is very deceptive as we expect a verbal solution. In fact, Jaques has put together a pair of three-letter words – the rough slate, and the pillar having rock – and produced a noun.

16a         Appropriate length in short trousers (4)
As above, the underlining will help. The abbreviation for ‘length’ is the usual one. You will have to shorten those trousers yourself (an informal pair!)

26a         Short jacket without question is counterfeit (4)
We removed an abbreviation for ‘question’ from an exotic name for a short jacket.

38a         Mikado’s core response to traditional medecine round country is entertainment for the Japanese (6)
You will possibly back-solve from the solution to the three elements of this clue – three sets of two-letters. The first is spelled out for us. For ‘this country’ we assume that Jaques is being somewhat insular (not, for example, considering EU dwellers like us) and Chambers will confirm the third little bit of the clue.


1d            Neglected tax to land one’s load of liquor and ran (5)
This is a difficult clue to an obscure word. We used a three-letter word for ‘one’s load of liquor’ and remembered that the down clues needed an extra letter added – that led to a word that completed the name for the ‘neglected tax’. Remember that ‘neglected’ might indicate a former or archaic word.

4d           Indonesian inhabitant known to sell Dutch television set to begin with (6)
Our solution began with the television set, then used a two-letter abbreviation. Chambers will probably make you smile if the word is not known to you and you look it up – you will also be given the extra letter you need.

8d          Clear a liar robs Ivy (6)
Compilers conventionally have the right to use capital letters to suit their purpose. This clue gives an example of that.

17d         Fancy for Italian and French to peruse colour scheme (9)
‘and French’ occurs frequently in crosswords. Finding that added clue letter and the unusual word for the colour scheme rendered this a tough clue. The ‘fancy’ in question is one our Italian friends traditionally give us at Christmas – a tasty one.

22d         I’m consumed by slanders and hold forth endlessly for retraction  (4)
We suspect that Jaques was really struggling here to produce a plausible surface reading. (Yes, setting can really sometimes produce a stinker to clue, especially if one has adopted a device as difficult as his!) You need to take a word for ‘hold forth’, chop of its end and ‘retract’ it to get the four-letter object being ‘defined’.

30d         When arising singe moonlike glandular cyst (6)
My comment on the clue above applies here. We caused ourselves problems by initially adopting the incorrect additional letter – two different words (when the letter has been added) would give the required solution – just one letter to preface the ‘rising’ moonlike.

The device of the omitted letter was challenging but when we resolved one question we had about the needed letter in 30d, a word appeared in those last seven letters and  reminded us of a familiar comic verse. However, should this not be familiar to you, looking up the words created by the extra letters in the ODQ will probably not help. We found the Wikipedia article on 1 Across to be more useful and that is sure to raise a smile.

When you have changed two entries (and, probably, like us, been impressed that real words still appear) 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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3 comments on “EV 1556 (Hints)

  1. I find having to add letters to clues, rather than remove or substitute them, quite challenging and some of these were by no means obvious. The clues were otherwise reasonably kind and I chuckled when the penny dropped at 4d. Google and Wiki readily identified the poem and the rest was obvious and very clever.
    Thanks to Jaques and The Numpties.

  2. I hard a hard job getting going with Jaques’ clues, but somehow got onto the same wavelength and they toppled one by one. Thd theme is perhaps as obscure as some of the answers. I have identified the first change required, but the second is proverbial ‘doing my head in’. I think I know what it should be, but just cannot place it on the grid.

    1. Got and couldn’t kick myself!
      But now have a dilemma in how to enter 1a. Wikipedia gives one manner and ODQ another.

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