EV 1624 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1624 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1624 (Hints)

Shadows by Skylark

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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This is Skylark’s eighth crossword in the EV series. We have seen her work during the IQ and EV ladies’ months and in the Magpie and Listener.

Preamble:   Single extra letters in each of 36 clues spell out words spoken in a work. Completing the comment should guide solvers to find and highlight five SHADOWS (37 cells) according to the speaker. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

The preamble led us to draw a coloured strip down the side of the clues to record the initial letters of the words that were going to appear in those 36 clues. We took note that it wasn’t stipulated whether they would be in the definitions or wordplay, so we assumed that they could be extracted from either. We counted 44 clues so saw that there would be eight clues with no extra letter. There were five shadows to find and we noticed that we were given the additional information that they would add up to 37 cells. Nothing to do but solve!


1a          Posit getting bananas for Lambert’s hair treatment (6)
The surface reading of this clue will surely make you smile. We worked out that we were going to replace ‘Lambert’ with a short word for ‘bananas’  (that word that compilers like to use to suggest an anagram!) Of course, most of these clues were going to lose a letter and we had to find that letter in order to do that replacing to get the ‘hair treatment’.

10a         Woodland gods almost hushed first of mice (6)
We back-solved from a familiar word for ‘woodland gods’, shortened a word for ‘hushed’ and added a letter.

11a         Face prop, protruding once (6)
That ‘once’ suggested that the answer was an archaic word. We needed to put a single letter in front of a word for ‘prop’.

17a         In retirement, brag acquiring current money of Eurasian land (4)
There are so many words for currencies. This was one we didn’t know. We know the abbreviation for current and put that into  the ‘brag’ that was ‘in retirement’. We are still remembering to look for a letter to remove in most of the clues.

24a         Forgetting rubles, fetched after princess danced (7)
If you are one of the millions watching the final episodes of Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ you will know what ‘princess’ refers to here. Look for that extra letter and forget the rubles and you have a rather unusual word for ‘danced’ (thinking of where one might dance could help with this).

33a         Mostly calm at finish of harmonical pastoral tune (8)
Skylark has used a version of the ‘trick’ she employed in clues 10 and 11 above to produce the ‘finish’ of ‘harmonical’ and give an extra letter. Thus she provides a letter that must be added onto ‘mostly calm at’ and gives us a ‘pastoral tune’.

37a         Finnish perhaps inspect heron returning (7)
Just two clue elements here; the first needs a word for ‘inspect’ then we have to return the second part of the wordplay.


4d            Give strength to upset Helen, losing coat crossing course (6)
Helen, losing her coat had to do the crossing (remember an extra letter comes out of most of the clues). the entire result of this had to be ‘upset’ to give the answer ‘give strength to’.

8d           Lift or yearn to shift ornament with three lobes for Browning (7)
The wordplay suggests what we have to do with ‘lift or yearn’ but we know that Browning’s ornament with three lobes’ will have only seven letters. Removing an extra letter comes to our rescue.

9d           Pals tense, no longer walked (5)
‘No longer’ tells us that the answer will be an archaic version of ‘walked’. ‘Tense’ tells us how the word will finish and finding a letter to remove gives us the rest of the old word we need.

22d         Skulker dramatically foraged cake in tin on high (8)
We are being prompted that this is a ‘dramatic’ word and we assume that it is a Shakespearean form of a word, as Chambers surprisingly confirms. There are three wordplay elements, the tin, on high and that ‘cake’ that had to be ‘foraged’. Yes, of course, we look for an extra letter in there.

31d         Sound close to farm stocking Dutch fish (6)
Remembering that we are looking for an extra letter helped again here. We needed a word for ‘sound’ and another letter, then had to ‘stock’ a short form of Dutch to produce the fish.

Those eight clues with no extra letter appeared randomly. We had wondered whether they would be separating words in a quotation. We found a quotation but needed almost all the extra letters to suggest the source, and we had to carefully examine our grid, hunting for those ‘shadows’ hiding almost symmetrically there. The completion of the comment did guide us with regard to those ‘shadows’.

Do remember to count those cells to make sure that you have highlighted all the shadows, 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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1 comment on “EV 1624 (Hints)
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  1. Not the easiest set of clues and a few were particularly devilish [eg 2d and the somewhat ambiguous 3d] but Google rapidly identified the text, the work and the guidance for finding the shadows.
    Thanks to Skylark and The Numpties for the warning to count the squares carefully.

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