EV 1584 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1584 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1584 (Hints)

Two Drawing by Karla

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Dave Hennings’ Crossword Data Base tells us that Karla is a relatively new setter though we well remember his recent Listener crossword where we had to draw pods round peas (all connected with Gregor Mendel). As well as setting as Wire in the Independent/1Across and Leonidas in the FT, he sets as Karla in the Listener, Magpie, IQ, and EV series (that’s most of the thematic cryptic outlets though the Crossword Club has taken on another couple of editors and is going strong again, as well as Derek Harrison’s Crossword Centre message board, and of course, the 3D Crossword Calendar – we’ll look forward to seeing him in those, as well). This will be Karla’s second EV. The first was about the Doppler Shift so do we expect something scientific again?

Preamble: There is a misprint in the definition in 14 clues. These misprints in clue order tell solvers the shape and colour of TWO DRAWINGS to be inserted from a central character to interact with two other characters. After initial grid-fill, one of the characters must be changed appropriately to represent the help given to her by a fourth character. Two sets of seven superfluous words in 14 other clues hint at the change. Solvers must highlight the four characters (all in straight lines). Shaded cells indicate the source material. 

Oh my, this doesn’t sound too scientific but what a lot is going on. We are looking for characters who interact, one of whom is going to be changed (we must show how the female character changes) and we will insert two drawings into our grid to represent this inter-action in some way – 14 misprints (the misprints – not the corrected letters) will guide us to the shape and colour of the TWO DRAWINGS. The female character is going to receive help from a fourth character. We will receive help in the form of 14 superfluous words in two sets of seven. We will get further help when we see what those four coloured cells spell – the source of the material.


1a           Cocks on eastern church window vanish (8)
Those 14 superfluous words will perhaps help us ultimately but they are going to deviously mislead us as we solve. We do find one in this clue. We use an unusual five-letter word for those cocks and put them ‘on eastern’ but they are more likely to go on a church spire than a window to give us the ‘vanish’ word.

12a         Still on Plato? Atypical of posh school, whimsically said (7)
We had to include this clue in the hints, not so much for its difficulty or obscurity as for the smile it produced. Think of the ‘posh’ school where rather too many of the UK political leaders went. They are probably still studying Plato in classics classes there, but remember that we are correcting misprints and we have ‘said’ suggesting a homophone.

13a         Metal water trenches locally retreated (5)
You need a local word for those trenches which have to ‘retreat’ to give the metal.

17a         Country nursing sick so-called dictator concerned with part of eye (7)
We put a three-letter name of a one-time dictator into a four-letter country to produce our answer.

35a         A clue to broadcast: ‘Like some potatoes, Tiger?’ (7)
Another clue included in the hints for the smile it produced. Offering potatoes to a ravenous and dangerous tiger indeed! Of course, the underlining says it all (but the answer was a new word for us).

41a         Christmas Show 4 recalled, essentially reversed by 5 (5)
This one was tough. You need to use the answer to clue 4 (see below), ‘recall’ it and change one letter (indicated by ‘essentially’) for another, to get the show.


4d           Mathematician‘s rubber hidden by royal (5)
This ‘mathematician’ is probably the best-known one in the crossword world (not only because his name fits so well into crosswords using such useful letters, but also because he is a reputed setter of those Listener and Magpie numerical crosswords). The royal, here, who is hiding the rubber, has probably died since Karla compiled the crossword. The rubber is another three-letter word that we probably only know from crosswords.

8d           Mill pounds at small mass of swirling grains (9)
The term might not be familiar but we are instructed how to find it with ‘small’ giving us a single letter of the solution.

22d         Last letter twice in oil OAP fixed for sculptor (8)
You need to decide what this letter is that you must use ‘twice’ and what you must ‘fix’ it with to produce the proper noun that is the name of the sculptor.

25d          Six army hands initially manage lifting ancient tomes (7)
By this time, you may well have forgotten that we are on the lookout for misprints to give us the shape and colour of the two drawings. ‘Initially’ is a give-away and we need a four-letter word for ‘manage’ that we will lift, too, to produce our answer.

34d         Marks from attack repulsed surgeon (5)
A verbal form of ‘attack’ needs to be repulsed.

37d         Wise people erasing grand beast from history (4)
Again, the underlining probably says all a solver needs. You must find the ‘wise people’ and ‘erase’ the ‘grand’.

Wikipedia was, as usual, our rescuer, filling out what we remembered when we were prompted by the source material those four letters spelled out. Wiki named all four characters, three very familiar but we needed a prompt for the fourth. We needed to change that female in the grid (in the way that another character helped her to change: two sets of extra words confirmed what she became) and we were pleased when real words still appeared.

Do remember to change her, to highlight all four characters and to colour and shape your two drawings that connect one of them to another two. 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 1584 (Hints)

  1. Once I got into the groove of those misspellings I managed to complete the grid without help from the Numpties, for the first time ever. I needed the hints for the endgame though and am still scratching my head over what to do about the drawings 😕

  2. Me too Seymour!
    Filled the grid relatively quickly. Clues straightforward in the main [loved 20d] and the “source material gave a strong steer to the endgame. The 4 characters and the change to one of them were clear enough but the precise nature of the drawings isn’t. It’s clear what must be drawn and the “shape and colour ” are confirmed by the source but in view of the title one imagines something more of a precise lead re positioning should be waiting to be found. The 14 superfluous words are indeed superfluous to the solve.
    Thanks Karla and The Numpties

  3. The subject wasn’t part of my school curriculum but once I had the shaded squares and first name from the grid the shapes were more obvious despite some missing letters. Still wiki-ing to complete.

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