Enigmatic Variations 1566 (Hints)
Head Back Home by inkling
Hints and tips by The Numpties
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“Who is Inkling?” we ask. We will have to solve this puzzle to see whether there is the familiar style of a setter hiding under a new pseudonym or whether the setter is new to us. We learn later that this is the one and only EV Inkling will write.
Preamble: Eight clues comprise wordplay only. Solvers should identify a set of single-word synonyms of the answers to these clues. Leaving the body of the synonyms behind, solvers should take a poetic action and HEAD BACK HOME, arranging the heads into a suitable response. This response (which can be found in ODQ) will, in turn, provide a guide to the missing three-letter word in the centre of the grid. Finally, solvers should draw a continuous line through eleven cells to identify the source. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended; 11 is in Collins.
This was a preamble that needed to be read carefully (isn’t that always the case?) A body is being ‘left behind’. Eight letters will appear as the ‘heads’ of synonyms of answers that have wordplay only. We must arrange those letters, producing an eight-letter word (we assume) that will be a ‘poetic response’. That word will lead us to another three-letter one and presumably identify the eleven-letter source that we need to find and draw a line through.
6a Shoot at duck (6)
We suspect that this is one of those ‘wordplay only’ clues. We take a short word for shoot, at, and the usual abbreviation for ‘duck’ and produce a solution that has no definition.
11a Creditor accepts our note (7)
Chambers gives us a two-letter abbreviation for ‘creditor’ and we put ‘our note’ into that – just two letters for the note.
13a Onset of acidic green bile somehow is preventable (9)
We put together three wordplay elements: the ‘onset’ of acidic, a word for the ‘green’ and ‘bile’ somehow.
28a Chaffinch lacking certainty outside lagoon (4)
The word for the lagoon is rare but it is spelled out for us. We have to take away the word for ‘certainty’ from ‘outside’ the chaffinch..
33a Screen first of revellers before parties (7)
Three wordplay elements here: the ‘first’ of revellers, a short word for before, and a familiar crossword term for parties.
1d Jacobite’s bewildered command (4)
There’s a double definition clue here but we needed Chambers to confirm for us that this short word is also a Scottish (Jacobite) term for bewildered.
6d Meadow-grass surrounding right gate (5)
The three-letter name for the meadow-grass surrounds the two-letter ‘right’.
9d Disclosing tailless mollusc (6)
We simply removed the ‘tail’ from a word that means ‘disclosing’ (we already had all the letters but the penultimate one) and Chambers confirmed that this was a pink or yellow bivalve mollusc.
16d Name that woman covered with gold (6)
We decided that this must be another of those clues that have wordplay only. We put together a letter for ‘name’ then used letters for ‘gold’ to cover a short term for ‘that woman’. The synonym for this word puzzed us for a moment but we already had some of the others and soon saw what was needed.
25d Silver Scottish dove soaring heartily to Will (5)
The last two words of the clue tell us that we ned a Shakespearean word. We put together letters for ‘silver’ and a Scottish term for a dove that had to rise.
31d Force of one newton penetrating walnut’s kernel (4)
We took the kernel of the walnut and put the usual letter for one and a newton into it producing the force.
It was the eight-letter word from a well-loved poem that helped us to make sense of the preamble. If you are not already quoting the poem and smiling at the ‘poetic response’ Chambers will give the extra help and prompt you where to look, leading to that 11-letter source that is rather cleverly presented in the grid. Don’t forget to draw that line through the letters.
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