EV 1568 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1568 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1568 (Hints)

Baby’s First Words by Ifor

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Ifor needs no introduction for EV solvers. Dave Hennings’ crossword database tells us that he has been setting them since 2010 and this will be his 44th in the series. We know that he will give us a challenge and that we can expect one of a range of scientific, cultural and theatrical themes.

Preamble: Solvers must complete the perimeter so that a wish expressed in BABY’S FIRST WORDS (bar the last of these, which appears elsewhere) reads clockwise from top left. Unchecked letters therein might wrongly show I ONLY IMITATED IT, OKAY? A forename and surname appear symmetrically placed in the grid. Solvers must change the latter in accordance with another of the speaker’s wishes (in ODQ), creating new words. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended; 36 is in Collins.

We wondered which would come first – the completion of the perimeter or the discovery of a forename and a surname (probably of the baby in question) symmetrically placed in the grid. Clearly, with the help of the ODQ, one would lead to the other. In fact we needed the Internet to help us when we had some idea of what was circling the perimeter.


8a           On the move reset section becomes rank (6)
A generous first clue to a relatively unusual word for something that ‘goes off’. We guess what Ifor’s ‘on the move’ is telling us.

11a         Argue vigorously about judge backing child opposed to all language (8)
A very short word for the child ‘opposed to all’ completed the solution made up of that ‘argue’ vigorously, and the usual abbreviation for the judge.

23a         Spinach yield with doubled acreage (4)
Another name for spinach needs a brief word for ‘yield’ with the ‘acreage’ in it ‘doubled’

28a         Old letters returned in fresh delivery (4)
Yet another very generous clue – the underlining will show you which is the wordplay – which speaks for itself.

30a         Festival hoax outside broadcast (6)
Two wordplay elements give this unusual name for a festival. The usual one for ‘broadcast’ is encircled by a short word for ‘hoax’.

42a         Long scarf grew without ends, one not so bright (6)
‘grew without ends’ speaks for itself and onto those letters, we added a word for a dim-witted fellow. You are sure to smile at this clue which gives an unfamiliar word for the scarf.


5d            Cast riots after greeting faded actor (7)
The ‘faded’ suggested to us that this was an old word for an actor. We found it by using a short ‘greeting’ and completing the term with ‘cast’ riots (another of those useful words, like Ifor’s ‘vigorously’ and ‘on the move’ used earlier).

13d          Buffaloes increase rapidly in number, returning after America’s engaged by volunteers (8)
This is more like Ifor’s usual rather more complex clue style. We needed to return a four-letter word for ‘increase in number’ after putting America into the midst of a two-letter term for volunteers – and we got the buffaloes!

14d         Use rod to thrash middle of African river for one of its fish (7)
Most of this solution is made up of a term for ‘use rod’ but we needed to add the ‘middle’ of African, and the river, to get the name of the fish we might find there (thrashing that river reminded us of Basil Fawlty with his car – I’m not sure it will help you catch the fish!)

18d         Tropical tree suffering dieback after bark’s stripped (5)
You need to ‘strip’ the bark off that ‘dieback’ then consider Ifor’s use of ‘suffering’ to produce the name of this tree.

22d         Rudiment of Shakespeare relevant in speech (8)
A word that was new to us but most of its letters appear in the grid and we are told that it is a homophone of a word that means ‘relevant’.

24d        Flower border set out in line, with nothing hidden (8)
Yet another of those Iforian words that tell you that you must anagram part of the wordplay. We used a short word for ‘border’ and letters for ‘line’ and ‘nothing’ with ‘in’ and put it all together to produce a showy flower.

Wasn’t that title deceptive! And didn’t we smile when we understood which baby we were listening to here. You know that you are in good hands when a required change in a completed grid gives real words. Don’t forget to make that change (of course, the ODQ will help you if you are not familiar with what Baby also said).

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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2 comments on “EV 1568 (Hints)
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  1. This one was a bit different in that the clues were trickier than the endgame and there are still a couple solved but un-parsed.
    The first word of the perimeter quotation was a bit of a giveaway and Google rapidly revealed the full quote. The two hidden names were generously positioned and the change required was pretty obvious. Nonetheless the whole puzzle was great fun and survived the distraction of two football matches.
    Thanks to Ifor and The Numpties.

  2. Thanks to Ifor for a puzzle that was fun and challenging in equal measures. I wasn’t familiar with the perimeter quotation but Google came to the rescue and the endgame fell nicely into place. I always admire the ingenuity of the setters in constructing these puzzles especially when as Ifor has done with this one, changes in the grid result in real words.

    Thanks as always to The Numpties for their blog.

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