Enigmatic Variations 1626 (Hints)
Cops by Piccadilly
Hints and tips by The Numpties
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It is a pleasure to download a crossword by Piccadilly who has been setting them for 35 years and EVs since 1995. Of course he sets for the Listener and Magpie too. We can be sure that his clues will be fair and generous.
Preamble: Across answers in six alternate rows are to be jumbled thematically before entry in the grid, and down answers in the fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth columns are to be jumbled non-thematically. Reading from top to bottom, left to right, the letters in the circled cells confirm the COPS theme. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.
The Numpties particularly dislike jumbles and here we are told that there are two types; thematic jumbles and non-thematic jumbles. We guess that the second type are just normal jumbles of the words the clues give us and we highlight the four columns where we are going to find those. Obviously we will have to attempt to fill the other nine columns first. When we find across answers that intersect correctly with those down clue answers, (and happily, some generous clues give us those) we can see which are the six alternate rows (the likely ones in this 13X13 grid!) that will have ‘thematically jumbled’ answers. Nothing to do but solve.
12a Bodyguard for old King Charles collapsed outside Oxford University (9)
The convention in the Big Dave hints of underlining the definition will help here since we are hinting that this ‘old’ word for a king’s bodyguard could be for any king and that it is ‘Charles’ who ‘collapsed’ outside the university (that solvers will, of course, abbreviate).
16a Working party, British, replacing director’s padded sofa (5)
The solutions to down clues that are unjumbled will probably have given you enough letters of this solution to prompt to what this ‘military style’ working party is, and we are told to replace ‘director’ with ‘British’ to produce a word that we Numpties have never used for a padded sofa (but Chambers, of course and Mrs Bradford confirm it). The way you enter this answer might help towards the penny drop moment. (It did for us!)
18a Fourth of arrows flying true, but not the best archery shot (5)
Again the answer was an unfamiliar usage for us but we were told to use the fourth of arrows, and how, with ‘true’ flying it would give us a less than perfect archery shot.
42a Duke, insecure, performs stupid activities (9)
The answer here was a rather unusual plural version of what our dictionary described as ‘stupidity’. The sort of stupidity the ignorant boy, traditionally sent to the classroom corner, would produce. (Oh my! A modern teacher wouldn’t get away with that!)
45a Old nostrum of fermenting ester containing cocaine (6)
We were surprised that the familiar word we produced by putting that ‘cocaine’ into the fermenting ‘ester’ could be an archaic name for a nostrum, but, as usual, Chambers confirmed it.
3d Indian grain harvest outwardly exhibits disease (6)
‘Outwardly exhibits’ gives us a couple of letters that we have to add to the word for that grain harvest.
5d Swindle friend in Dieppe over fragrant resin (6)
Crossword solvers meet these two short words regularly. That French friend has to be ‘over’ to give the more unfamiliar word for the resin.
8d Shrove Tuesday being after Lent (7)
Like the clue commented on above, the word for what Lent is and the short word for a being, when put together, give what may be a less familiar term for Shrove Tuesday.
13d Noisy petty quarrels from 16 blokes Oklahoma expelled (9)
’16’ referred to our solution to clue 16 (that we commented on above). We needed four more letters and the remainder of the wordplay told us how to get those, producing the noisy little quarrels.
26d Royal Navy imprisoning a conscientious objector with primitive spite (7)
There are four wordplay elements here. When ‘a’ appears in a clue, we usually suspect that it will be needed for the answer (otherwise an editor would have deleted it as redudant) so we have three sets of two letters, put together with the ‘a’ to give us the ‘spite’.
33d Eccentricity I study over time, being busy in Scotland (6)
As in the above hint, four wordplay elements have to be put together to produce an unusual Scottish word for ‘busy’.
Of course the penny-drop moment produced a smile, as it usually does in a Piccadilly crossword.
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