EV 1604 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1604 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1604 (Hints)

Protest by Cranberry

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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This will be Cranberry’s second EV and we see that he/she has also produced a couple of crosswords in the Inquisitor series. Like his/her first EV, Scratching The Surface, this is no cake walk..

Preamble:  The unclued entry (13, two words) has called for a PROTEST. Every clue either generates an extra letter not in the answer or contains a definition with a single-letter misprint. The extra letters and correct letters of misprints together, in order, spell out the focus of the protest and the names of two protesters, whose efforts should be highlighted (33 cells total, in two blocks) in the final grid. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

We saw at once that the combination of two cluing devices was going to produce some difficulty and as they were not evenly spaced, we were never sure which Cranberry was opting for (though with 23 of one and 26 of the other, there was almost a balance). Fortunately, since nine letters of the unclued entry appeared, we were able to make a guess at that, which gave us one way into the theme. Challenging clues made those two protesters’ names difficult to find – what they were protesting about appeared more quickly. Good luck!


1           Sign of victory in the Wild West, finally the end for General Custer (7)
So often I find myself commenting that the convention of underlining the definition on this Big Dave site can be a real help to the solver. Not a lot more to say here except that the sign of victory occupies five letters of the seven-letter clue. (And maybe to comment on Cranberry’s amusing use of General Custer.)

13        Norse goddess satisfied before meal (5)
We needed Wikipedia to confirm the name of this minor Norse goddess who doesn’t appear in Chambers. We were intrigued to learn that Cranberry could have used the name of a Middle-eastern ‘version’ of a Barbie doll or even a fragrant jasmine flower. You need a simple word for ‘satisfied’ then to consider the abbreviatin for ‘before meal’

18        You reportedly overlooked significant anterior membrane (6)
We began with a word for ‘significant’ then ‘overlooked’ the ‘reported you’ and needed to add another single letter at the end of our word to produce the name of a membrane which Mrs Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary obligingly provided us with.

23        Tokyo exec’s into card games essentially; is he worried about ego? (6)
As I commented for clue 1, the underlining possibly gives all that is needed – except a fairly intricate putting together of the six letters provided as two individual ones and a ‘worried’ foursome to produce the six-letter word.

32        Factor in wife’s tax-deductible holiday in Victoria (5)
If, like us, you have guessed what extra letter  you need to find by this time, you may struggle here to spot it. The solution leaps out at you and you need to consider the origin of that word.

39        Otherwise loth to change old photographic material (5)
We used a short word for ‘otherwise’ as part of that contraction for the photographic material.


2           Pop’s successor in Great War arrived late initially (5)
You need rather specialised knowledge of Great War aircraft to complete this clue, though the answer is helpfully spelled out.

4          Scapegoat teachers say (5)
We used a three-letter name for a group of teachers (no, not NUT) to give us most of the name for this scapegoat.

9         Huge growth acceleration in South American fauna exposed (6)
Of course one letter has to come out of those you are putting together – the acceleration, South American and the ‘exposed’ fauna. Mrs Bradford does confirm the word that these produce, though not in her list of ‘fauna’.

11         Believed some prefered to die in spiritual style (12)
We struggled with the wordplay of the 12-letter word that fitted with the eight we had in the grid when we had found the unclued entry. Chambers convinced us that we had the correct rather unusual word that gave us the extra letter we needed. We finally grasped that we needed a word for ‘in spiritual style’ (think of a word describing a spirit!) In that word consider how ‘some’ prefered (‘found preferable’ – you might say) to ‘die’.

20       Reject article supporting rustic philosopher’s follower (7)
Again, the convention of underlining in Big Dave’s hints will help. We began with a short word for the ‘rustic’ then used another short word for ‘reject’, concluding with the ‘article’.

24       Parisian’s out of house, then straight back (4)
We were prompted here that we needed a French word. We constructed it from the ‘house’ and used the ‘straight’ for the second half of the word.

29      Irish rogue that is after British cattle (6)
Chambers confirms that the word these three clue elements produce (British, followed by a simple word for ‘cattle’ that is) is a rogue in Ireland.

I suspect that for some lucky solvers, the theme would be suggested by the preamble but it was not familiar territory for the Numpties and we needed Wikipedia which gave us most of what was needed when we fed in the two-word, 13-letter caller of the protest, its focus, spelled out by those extra letters and the names of the protesters. Spotting their efforts in the grid was a challenge but produced two amusing blocks which we remind you to highlight.

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 1604 (Hints)
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  1. You’re not kidding Numpties, no cake-walk at all.
    Some fiendish clues here, and the two gimmicks running together with no help in determining which is which made the task even more challenging. I found a couple of clues slightly ambiguous in their choice of substitute letter but the whole lot together were clear enough to google and then correct my errors [being unfamiliar with the theme]. The cells to be highlighted are clear enough online.
    11d and 32a deserve particular praise.
    Thanks for the hints and thanks to Cranberry for the contest.

  2. This one stretched me somewhat. I hadn’t got very far by Monday and I put it aside. Going back to it this afternoon I look at the unclued answer and the few letters I had suggested one surname, and that suggested the actual answer. I was expecting a historically significant protest, so this was both amusing and helpful. I finally had the extra letters and misprints and slowly the answers appeared.
    Thanks to Numpties, and to Cranberry for reminding me of this protest

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