EV 1629 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1629 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1629 (Hints)

Ceaselessly by Curmudgeon

Hints and tips by Phibs

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The author Anne Rice, most famous for Interview with the Vampire, used the pseudonym Anne Rampling when writing a couple of slightly risqué novels. I believe that my fellow blogger, whose output frequently appears under the name Chalicea, uses the nom de clef Curmudgeon for her somewhat edgier puzzles. Though let’s be clear that we’re not talking here about the cruciverbal underworld inhabited by Private Eye‘s Cyclops, and certainly not the nether regions of decency explored by the appropriately-styled setters of the Craptic Crossword in Viz. Strong stuff this is not, although I’m sure the wordplay in 10a and the definition in 9d would never have sullied the thoughts of the demure Chalicea.

Preamble: The title CEASELESSLY is omitted from the quotation reading clockwise around the grid’s perimeter, starting in the top left corner. Single extra letters generated by wordplay in down clues give a hint leading to an instruction. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

That’s pretty clear: across clues are normal, while the wordplay in every down clue leads to an extra letter that doesn’t form part of the answer.


10a    Urinates over old ultimately rubbishy homemade fireworks in Perth (6)
In the wordplay, ‘over’ is used in the sense of ‘from side to side of’, while the Perth in the definition is the Scottish one.

18a    Curiously apropos male chromosome in plant development without spores (8)
An anagram is followed by the letter designating the chromosome specific to the male sex.

20a    Growing out initially nasty afro within summer in Gap (5)
‘Gap’ is not the clothes shop but a city in the Hautes-Alpes département, apparently known as the ‘capitale douce’ of the Southern French Alps, mais je ne sais pourquoi.

36a    Devil to arrest in casual circles (4)
Two definitions here, the ‘in casual circles’ indicating that the required sense of the second one is a slang term , though it will be familiar to anyone who has ever watched a British TV cop show.

42a    Old-fashioned derision of pre-exam test period (7)
A 4+3 charade leads to a word shown by Chambers as ‘obsolete’, hence the ‘old-fashioned’.


2d    Make known to Ed base chart skill (6)
Single words in the wordplay lead to elements of 1, 3 and 3 letters; ‘Ed’ is of course Edmund Spenser, the father of Sylvanus (who knew?).

6d    Cover with gloom lake bottom and ancient vessel even for poets (9)
A 3+3+3 charade, the last word of which is shown by Chambers as being a ‘poetic contraction’.

19d    Emit in a stream pamphlet including Ireland in outdated vivid description (10)
The five-letter ‘pamphlet’ could also have been indicated by ‘area’ or ‘stretch’, and it contains a two-letter abbreviation. The answer is an obsolete spelling of a familiar word.

23d    Sly monkey at heart intent to juggle cheques between accounts (8, three words)
The monkey at the centre of the three-part charade shares its name with one spelling of a Japanese alcoholic drink. The answer relates to the fraudulent use of a financial instrument to gain unauthorized credit, such as the issuing of rubber cheques.

26d    Having keen sight, Errol, say takes in schema now and then (7)
There aren’t too many famous Errols to choose from (the late Hot Chocolate vocalist and Roland Rat’s hamster friend notwithstanding), the one here being the Australian swashbuckler and hellraiser who rented a house in Malibu with David Niven that the latter christened ‘Cirrhosis-by-the-Sea’. The answer is an adjective relating to an embodiment of keen eyesight, but it’s a strange-looking word.

31d    Charge one sweetheart in Scotland advanced for fruit (6)
This is a charade that involves four elements in a 3+1+2+1 pattern. The ‘sweetheart in Scotland’ pops up every so often in cryptics, and could also be clued as ‘Brand, perhaps’ (or ‘Grimond, say’ for more mature solvers).

Definitions in clues are underlined

As the message generated by those extra letters starts to emerge, it will become evident that it is actually a ‘metamessage’, guiding you to an instruction which should contain enough information to enable you both to populate the perimeter and to fulfil the remainder of the brief. Should you have recourse to the source in its entirety, the very beginning may not be ‘a very good place to start’.

The clues were on the whole pretty friendly, the instructions were clear, and the theme was far from obscure. A nicely executed puzzle from the Edward Hyde side of our setter.

Phibs Toughness Rating : 🥾/🥾🥾 (Suitable for all, despite its PG rating)

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5 comments on “EV 1629 (Hints)
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  1. The clues were indeed very friendly and the eventual instruction clear enough even to one with minimal knowledge of the theme. Some quick Googling led to both parts of the endgame.
    Thanks to Curmudgeon and Phibs.

  2. I concur with halcyon. To have finished before lunch isn’t usual for me. Now how do I spend the rest of a cold, damp Sunday?
    I, too, am unfamiliar with the subject, so unfortunately no satisfying ending, though the clues were entertaining.
    My thanks to Curmudgeon and Phibs.

  3. Definitely on the easier end of the EV spectrum, but an enjoyably straightforward solve on a theme about which I had no knowledge but found easily on Google. Thanks Curmudgeon and Phibs.

  4. It is always a joy for me to complete an EV as before these hints were introduced I spent many years staring at what were then totally incomprehensible puzzles.
    This one was a gem.

    Huge thanks to Curmudgeon and to Phibs.

  5. A Curmudgeonly thanks to Phibs (Curmudgeon was adopted as an alter ego because people said, too often, what a sweet, gentle set of crosswords and clues Chalicea produced). It’s now one of a dozen pseudonyms that have appeared (in setter combinations for at least eight so watch this space for Bics, Dash, Nudnix, Rasputin, Chen, Charismatix etc.)

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