Enigmatic Variations 1562 (Hints)
Loss by Kcit
Hints and tips by The Numpties
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Kcit needs no introduction for EV solvers. Dave Hennings’ crossword database tells us that he has been setting them since 1993. We know he will give us a challenge and this crossword is no exception to that norm.
Preamble: Clues to the nine-letter entries – all real words – consist of three definitions to component parts in order. To form the entry, each part must suffer an identical LOSS affecting the same letter each time in a given clue. The six letters thus obtained can be arranged to give a relevant two-word phrase, which must be written below the grid.
Nine other entries are deemed to have suffered the same LOSS leading to a different word being clued. However, the entries have their losses restored, always in checked cells. Numbers in brackets refer to the spaces available. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended; 5 is in ODE.
We were faced with two challenges here. We coloured our nine-letter words and found that there were six of them. Each part of these words was going to ‘suffer an identical LOSS’ and we were going to obtain six letters that we would arrange ‘to give a two-word phrase’ under the grid. We guessed what this phrase might be.
There was a second device in the puzzle and we were being told that the words we would be entering would not be the clued words, but that ‘entries are deemed to have suffered the same LOSS’. Of course, we took note of those words ‘Numbers in brackets refer to the spaces available’. This always tells us that in some cases an entry is going to be longer or shorter than the clued word.
11a I rejected hotel work in Malaysian city (4)
We were not familiar with the names of Malaysian cities. We had to remember short forms of hotel and work (and reject them) to get this one.
17a Amphibia wrecked our stay? Not entirely (7)
The ‘our’ was wrecked and the word for the ‘stay’ had to be cut short – because of these amphibia?
20a Chap’s recalled keeping tense since appearing on the boards (4)
Notice that apostrophe. It is hinting to us that we have a possessive pronoun here and that it has to ‘keep’ tense. ‘Appearing on the boards suggests the bard’s stage to us, so we are looking for a Shakespearean word.
21a Queen, overseas, spread English repeatedly (5)
To get this foreign queen we needed a short word for ‘spread’ followed by a repeated abbreviation.
27a Blackguard: two items in vineyard switched (4)
The short word for a villain or a mean dog was constructed by adjusting two ‘items’ or letters in something we like to get from a vineyard (it’s the name for the vineyard itself or its vintage production).
30a Expert first to leap out in endless whirlpool (7)
To find this expert you need to cut short the word for the whirlpool and remove another item (the first to leap!)
34a Horse rather evil, it’s conjectured (9)
Here was one of those nine-letter words that consisted of just three definitions and all three were to suffer ‘an identical loss’. We chose a very familiar word for a horse and another common word for ‘rather’ then remembered that there is a Shakespearean word that is believed to have meant ‘evil’. When we treated those three words in the same way, we were left with a real nine-letter word (and we knew what the two-word phrase was going to be).
2d A keyboard player with change of heart. There’ll be buzz about him (8)
There’s nothing difficult about this clue but we are including it in the hints as it is such a fine clue and will help by providing a lot of down letters. Simply think of the most likely words for ‘a keyboard player’ and change the heart of the long word to see why there will be that buzzing around him.
5d Pressure to interrupt diner? Shock for the French (6)
This is the answer that is in the ODE. You need the infinitive of this French word ‘shock’. It is in Chambers in a different form but Kcit has spelled it out for us. Think of a five-letter word for a diner and add pressure.
16d Eccentric relationship dry (9)
This is probably the easiest of the nine-letter words. It was the first one we found and gave us a useful letter for that two-word phrase. A short word for ‘dry’ is probably the one that will leap out at the solver.
22d Male tucking into booze with elevated attitude – Spanish port? (7)
We tucked that male into a common short word for the beer he’s getting into, then the attitude had to be ‘elevated’ to get the Spanish port – sadly not a port you could drink.
28d A local snaring weaver bird gets person in a state (6)
Crossword compilers so often use the short ‘local’ word for ‘a’. You need to put a short name for that bird into it to produce the name of the person in the state.
Since six nine-letter words were clued by only a series of definitions and in nine other entries, we were entering words that were not exactly the clued word (but which had their ‘LOSS’ restored) we were faced with a fairly tough solve and were grateful for the remaining 23 clues that gave us some help. Do remember to write the short phrase below the grid.
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