EV 1580 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1580 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1580 (Hints)

Arriviste by Artix

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Artix was chosen by solvers as the compiler of this year’s favourite Inquisitor crossword, one which had WORDLE as its theme. Dave Hennings’ Crossword database lists almost 50 of his crosswords compiled for the Listener (an unforgettable ‘One Shot at a Time’ back in 2012), the Magpie, the Inquisitor series and the EV. He co-sets, too, as part of Botox and Nudnix. His clues are invariably subtle and challenging and his themes range widely through sport, art, geography, the media … we never know what to expect.

Preamble: Some of the perimeter grey cells must contain multiple letters; the other two overlong answers must be shortened (into new real words) before entry. Numbers in brackets refer to spaces available. The unclued entry is a codename (in Chambers) which must be adapted into the theme (two words). The titles of two (literary) sequels explain how solvers must next modify the contents of another ten cells (creating new entries). Finally the isolated grey cells must be filled to identify who’s played the ARRIVISTE. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.


10a           This “gnashing of teeth” ain’t making calculations wrong (8)
The word length here will give you a hint since ‘wrong’ is clearly an anagram indicator but ‘calculations’ has twelve letters and you need an 8-letter word – you will need to subtract four letters to find those that anagram to the ‘gnashing of teeth’.

13a         Mats Ek’s little letter, returning favour (6)
As above, Artix uses a subtle stratagem to produce the first letter of those ‘mats’. ‘Returning’ suggests that the remainder of the word is a ‘reversed’ favour.

14a         Scrubbing brown shoulder belt becomes repetitive (3)
You need to use a name for that ‘belt’ here and ‘scrub’ brown. You will need to think about the number of letters you are left with.

21a        Encoders decrypted? (8)
We wondered, at first, if this was a mistake, but then smiled when we ‘decrypted’ the word ‘encoders’ and understood another of Artix’s subtle clues.

30a         Brodie’s noose around Head’s future (8)
Brodie had to be a Scottish indicator for the name of the noose. The origin of the other part of the solution is Spanish.

32a         Lead into temptation the final six on top BBC show (6)
We thoroughly enjoy the top BBC show which will probably be giving its final six candidates some task to hilariously bungle about now. Of course, Artix wants you to use the last six letters of its title.


3d           After starter’s cleared away, praised upcoming chef (5)
You have to clear away the ‘starter’ of a word for ‘praised’ to get this chef. Her name may be ‘upcoming’ but she is pretty well established.

4d           Outspoken chap at wedding is clot (5)
Another clue that produced a smile. Who is the fellow you hear at a wedding? ‘Outspoken’ functioned as a homophone indicator, too, for a medical kind of ‘clot’.

8d           Peer (nowhere to be found) reported toilet upon toilet (5)
Yet another smile – at the wordplay this time. One toilet was ‘reported’, the other just used a slang term to produce the name of that peer who disappeared.

16d          Ultimately, sweet relationship that is non-starter (7)
This was a tough clue that linked the short word for ‘relationship’ with a Latin term (but that term was the ‘non-starter’).

20d         Shilling added to pound invested in flatter pancakes past sell-by date (6)
The letters for ‘shilling’ and ‘pound’ were added onto and into the word for ‘flatter’, producing an archaic ‘pancake’ word.

24d         By end of day, is emotional state up or down? (5)
The ’emotional state’ had to be ‘up’ before the end of day – and it would be ‘down’ – sadly.

Wikipedia was, as usual, our rescuer, as we were more or less ignorant of the theme. That ‘codename’ led us to the theme, the sequels and how we had to ‘modify the contents of ten cells, as well as to ‘identify who’s played the ARRIVISTE’. Good luck with a difficult but rewarding compilation.

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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1 comment on “EV 1580 (Hints)
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  1. That was quite a challenge! The clues were not exactly generous and whilst the general nature of the endgame was clear quite quickly, how to obey the instructions to the letter took some figuring out. I was not helped by having two potential candidates [ie uncompleted clues] for the second “overlong answer. Eventually all became clear and how elegant it was.
    Thanks to Artix and The Numpties for invaluable help.

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