Enigmatic Variations 1598 (Hints)
Action-packed by Eclogue
Hints and tips by The Numpties
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
Eclogue set crosswords for all the thematic crossword outlets. This is their sixteenth in the EV series.
Preamble: Answers to five clues consisting of wordplay only are thematically connected to their entries. The wordplay part of every other clue includes an additional letter which must be removed prior to solving (always leaving real words). In clue order, these letters provide a refrain (with one variant spelling) of the reporters of this ACTION-PACKED sequence of events, who must also be completed (sharing a single letter). Numbers in brackets relate to entries. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.
Because of that comment about enumerations, we note that some entries are going to be of a different length from the clued words and we suspect that those will be the answers to five clues that will be ‘thematically connected’ to their entries. A pattern soon emerges when some answers to relatively short clues that ‘consist of wordplay only’ do not fit the letters we already have in the grid for those slots.
3a One shipping order on dado here having equal depth (9)
This was a tough clue that we back-solved. We found four small clue elements (after removing a letter): the one, the shipping order, the ‘dado’ (that was the difficult bit) and the ‘here’.
13a Copts detailed copies about place of special attraction (5)
Another ‘difficult’ clue for us. We needed to remember what ‘detailed’ can mean – that gave us the opening letters of our solution, to which we added the ‘copies – about …’
16a Set lord on poet’s paths (6)
We were troubled about what evidently was an anagram indicator – an unfamiliar one for us, leading to a word that you would find only in Chambers, which gives such a rich range of Spenserian words, for example.
19a Modern version of circuit on commercial bay making a comeback (5)
Two small wordplay elements here. The scientific Numpty knew the short one for the circuit’ (it’s the fifth example of that word in Chambers).
33a Edinburgh’s to lay the blame on that formerly immersed in woe (4)
To get this pretty obscure Scottish word you need to work out what ‘that formerly’ could be.
36a Alpha with high voice ordered raki (6)
A specific alpha is produced when you add a short word for the ‘high voice’ to the ‘raki’ that is ordered – after an additional letter has gone, evidently.
37a The RAF developed hot wing for domestic duty (11)
The convention in the Big Dave hints of underlining the definition will help here since it spells out how to use the wordplay to solve this clue. We were not familiar with the term for this ‘domestic duty’ but once we had extracted an aditional letter, we were told what had to be developed. The ‘wing’ was an obscure term that gave us the second part of the solution.
5d Doers served up stale starters (4)
The ‘stale’ here was simply telling us that the answer was ‘stale’ or ‘out of date’.
8d Harsh record for the chopping block (7)
When you have removed the most likely ‘additional letter’ you are left with two short words, the synonyms of which will give you the ‘chopping block’.
17d Nothing right with Australian rinsing pasta (4)
There are three small clue elements to put together to give the fairly unusual pasta word.
22d Scottish kindling Mormon set up in open space (7)
We didn’t know this Scottish word for kindling and had to back-solve to work out the wordplay. It will help if you have the refrain, at this stage, and know which letter to remove. When you have done that, a brief word for the ‘mormon’ has to be ‘set up’ in what is a figurative use of the ‘open space’.
29d Swimmer lifting unfortunately rotund head in pool (5)
You need to remove that extra letter (the most likely one here!) in order to do that ‘unfortunate’ lifting and to find the letter that completes the name of the swimmer.
34d Statist denial of old arising on top of okimono (4)
There isn’t any point in attempting to understand the meaning of this clue (we didn’t!) but the letter to remove was fairly evident and the convention of underlining the definition in these hints will tell you that you are looking for a ‘statist’. In my home county (North Yorks) that ‘denial of old’ that has to rise, is still a very current denial word .
There was more than one way to get to the penny-drop moment in this crossword. The refrain appearing in those additional letters will be familiar to many and the words spelled out by the ‘wordplay only’ clues are another prompt, as are the words actually appearing in those cells. Looking in one of the ‘obvious’ places in the grid (especially as there are two empty cells to be ‘completed’) gives yet another prompt. The ‘shared’ single letter will become clear – only one is possible. Thanks to Eclogue for the smiles the memory gave us.
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.
As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.
Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.