EV 1612 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1612 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1612 (Hints)

Weapons of Mass Destruction by The Ace of Hearts

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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The Ace of Hearts has been producing crosswords for the Magpie, Listener, EV and Inquisitor series since 2015. This, Dave Hennings’ Crossword Database tells us, will be his 11th EV.

Preamble:  From the answer to each clue a letter must be deleted wherever it appears before entry into the grid; definitions refer to the full unmutilated answer, wordplay and number in brackets, to the grid entry. In clue order, the omitted letters give a definition of a word in Chambers Dictionary which must be highlighted in the completed grid. The three unclued entries which might be called WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION are examples of this keyword. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

We saw at once that we were faced with a challenge as we were not entering complete words, but words with a letter extracted at least once. That, of course, renders the solve difficult as the solver doesn’t have real words appearing in the grid to further his progress. We saw where the three unclued entries would go and assumed that they would be full words – maybe a help towards the theme that was going to be indicated to us by the omitted letters read in clue order. We realised that the ‘definition’ of the keyword would somehow be hidden in the grid as it would not be losing any letter(s) and would not have a light of its own.


1           Treelike plant‘s length and weight measures taken in Virgin Islands (7)
The most unusual word that we constructed from these three wordplay elements (the length measure, the weight measure, and the Virgin Islands) led us to suspect that The Ace of Hearts was giving us a pangrammatic grid – but it was not to be.

10        Secure Old Norse name for eldest daughter (5)
The list of names that appears in the appendices of Chambers Dictionary gives the meaning of this name. We used a short word for ‘secure’.

14        Blood vessel before two thirds of local government (5)
We used a short word for before and the answer was clear to us but we were puzzled by the ‘two thirds’ of local government. We had to consider what two thirds could be.

26        Type of aircraft roster to devise (8)
A short word for ‘roster’ and a short word for ‘to devise’ are put together to produce the ‘type of aircraft’.

29        Open country housing institute in large area of Ireland (7)
The ‘institute’ put briefly, went into a word for the ‘open country’. There are four ways of spelling this short word but spotting which of the four ‘large areas of Ireland’ we needed told us which one to use.

32        Aggressive seller for all to see in zany sketch (7)
‘Zany’ tells us what to do with the sketch and the brief way of expressing ‘for all to see’.


1           Clare perhaps sews very badly (5)
The ‘perhaps’ tells us that ‘Clare’ is one example of the solution word. ‘Badly’ tells us what to do with the letters we are given.

3          Local shed section of Lincoln Haymarket (5)
We seem to meet this local word for ‘shed’ only in crosswords. There are a number of ways of spelling it but The Ace of Hearts leaves us in no doubt.

6         Fish in France and almost shoot harmful insect in Paris (8, two words)
We were puzzled by the ‘in Paris’ at the end of this definition (we had put together the ‘fish’, ‘in France and’, and most of the ‘shoot’, but the defined words produced didn’t seem to be especially French. Of course, France is not the only place that has ‘Paris’.

18        With too much to confess, daughter abandoned Turkish citizen (7)
‘Too much’ needs the familiar abbreviation. The remainder of the entry is a word for ‘confess’ but the daughter has to ‘abandon’ it.

20       A short film tackling a variable of neurological disorder (6)
The ‘tackling’ here, means ‘taking in’. A ‘variable’ has to go into ‘a three-letter word’ for that film. The resulting word is not one that we frequently hear or use.

One of the Numpties is an ‘expert’ on this theme but even he was surprised by one of the unclued words that appeared after he had sussed the entire message given by those omitted letters. Chambers, happily, explains what those unclued answers are and spells out the keyword. Don’t forget to highlight it.

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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3 comments on “EV 1612 (Hints)
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  1. Yes, quite a tricky gimmick to cope with but the clues were, for the most part, kind enough – though 6d is a bit sneaky [thank heavens for Wim Wenders!] A straightforward endgame just involved finding the synonym which fit the definition given by the missing letters.
    Thanks to The Numpties for 14a [I, too, was puzzled by two thirds] and to The Ace of Hearts.

  2. It took me quite a bit of head scratching to get started on this one but once I got the gimmick straight in my head I made steady progress. The endgame proved easy enough as the real words stood out amongst the non-words.

    Thanks to the Numpties for the hints and to The Ace of Hearts for the entertaining puzzle.

  3. Finally got the one missing letter this morning. A different gimmick to normal, and with each entry being non-words it took a while to get going. However, slowly it became apparent which letters were to be omitted from the grid, and the grid filled. With a modicum of omitted letters the definition could be deduced helping the rest of the clues to be solved. Nevertheless a fair bit of obscurity going on
    Thanks to the Numpties and Ace of Hearts

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