EV 1590 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1590 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1590

Anthology by Charybdis

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Charybdis is a prolific setter for all the advanced thematic crossword outlets and I see on Dave Hennings’ Crossword Database that this will be his 27th EV so we can be sure that we are in competent hands.

Preamble:  Clues are presented in conventional order.  Solvers should initially add vertical bars. The four answers to obelised clues stand for two words from a traditional saying. Two adjacent words (ten cells) from this saying can be found in the grid. Solvers must remove two vertical bars, add an extra one, and alter the contents of eight cells to reveal the ANTHOLOGY. Two examples (3 and 3) must then be highlighted at the beginning and end of the ten cells along with seven other examples (in all, 45 cells). 

We realise that the placing of these bars is going to somehow affect the outcome of our solve since clues are in conventional order but clue lengths and clue numbers are not there, and those bars are initially missing from our grid. Fortunately, we have the normal down clues to help us, and clearly we will begin with those AND, of course, we will use a pencil for those bars since two of the ones we put in will have to be removed and an extra one added.

We felt that it was difficult (and important) to complete the across clues, so have given rather more hints than usual.


Swagger further down street to pop in 
Consider how you can be ‘more down’ and the ‘street’ must ‘pop in’ to produce the ‘swagger’.

Fix fight ending in dive
The fix you need here is nounal.

Little grey cells recalled arsenic missing son and late earl
A fairly obscure answer but recall the ‘arsenic’ with the son missing and you will need the earl towards the end.

Perfect fifth husband Leo I aim to spoil
No, this isn’t Chaucer’s Wife of Bath! The underlining will help and Chambers will confirm what the wordplay gives, should you, like the Numpties, not know the word.

Prejudiced people releasing English pastures for payment
You need to release the English from amongst those ‘prejudiced people (ones who have it in for oldies).

Radical beloved girl and liberal
The underlining of the definition says it all.

Spoil early stages of big race
Think of the most famous classical big race. You need only the very early stages of it to produce the spoil.

Cheek shaver
Two relatively obscure examples of the word in this double definition clue.

Put out and feverish after month away
You need to take away that month from the ‘feverish’ word to get ‘put out’.

Surprised reactions off and on pathways
Think what ‘off and on canmean in a crossword clue.

72 gallons gross
Another double definition clue where one of the answers is obscure. We had no idea what a term for 72 gallons could be but a word for ‘gross’ in Chambers led us to do a small calculation that answered the question for us.

Feature of renting a let
We didn’t really feel that this thematic solution was a ‘feature’ but it is certainly a ‘feature of the wordplay.

Long ago fresh pack of hunting dogs set out again
Another relatively obscure answer, as suggested by the ‘long ago’, for the first part of this double definition clue.

Angus’s first to enter Glaswegian joint – reluctant he’d say
Clearly two Scottish words are needed here, one for the ‘joint’ (that Angus primarily enters) and one for Angus’s word for ‘reluctant’

Spy that girl’s burn in Ayr 
A combination of a word for ‘watch’ and the usual one for ‘that girl’  produces this unusual Scottish word (How  does Charybdis know all these unusual words?)


3d           Lawyer’s put in possession of island in diocese (5)
Put that island in the diocese and you have the archaic word you need.

4d           Reservoir Dogs actor’s old-fashioned faithfuness (5)
Of course Wikipedia will help if, like the Numpties, who can’t reel off who acted in what.

9d         Hide and bombard (4)
Yet another double definition clue.

11d         Gather what Norman charcuterie offers up (4)
You are being invited to  invert a French word here.

13d         Gee-gee runs with donkey to eat a mass that’s essentially hay or this? (9, two words)
You need to put together all the little bits that are clued here to get ‘this’ two word answer that we are prompted is ‘sort of” hay.

16d        Empty attempt to hold one for cuddling – it’s what gorillas do (8)
We needed to put ‘one for cuddling’ (one who likes it) into that empty brief ‘attempt’.

22d        Upbringing of Prince Caspian, say, receiving Oscar for tale teller (5)
The ‘say’ suggests to us that ‘Caspian’ is just one example of the word we need to go along with the Prince and the Oscar to give the ‘tale teller’..

The four answers to obelised clues were our hint to the theme and those two words from the saying appeared in our grid when we simply read what we had written in the grid.  We were told to alter the contents of eight cells. We then read the three letters at the beginning and the three at the end of the new entries (with new bars) and ‘the penny dropped’. There were seven more examples to make up our  45 cells. They may not all be familiar to you but trust us – they are there.

Don’t forget to highlight those, and 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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6 comments on “EV 1590 (Hints)

  1. Definitely a two-day event. The clues spanned the difficulty spectrum and the absence of symmetry added to the difficulty of not knowing the lengths of the acrosses. The 4 obelised solutions gave a vague hint of what to look for in the grid and its placement was helpful – at which point the penny dropped, especially since the 8 alterations would reveal the 7 “others”. What held me up was lack of familiarity with the second of the two threes. Eventual recourse to Chambers finished it all off. Most enjoyable!
    Thanks to Charybdis and The Numpties.

  2. More than a two day event for me. I admit to being side-tracked by assuming that the grid would be symmetrical which meant a restart.
    Anyway the grid is complete , the two words obvious, but the actual anthology still eludes me. I am assuming it’s subject matter relates to the four obelised answers.

    1. I found the title somewhat unhelpful and went off in a Chaucerian direction. In retrospect it is a bit loose. Think of the 2 words in the grid in conjunction with the 4 obelised examples.

      1. Afour day event here in the end. Yes, the title is misleading, but I feel I should have twigged this earlier tha I did.
        Very elegant in the way the saying plYs out two ways.
        Thanks Numpties Charybdis and halycon

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