Phibs – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

EV 1557 Hints

Enigmatic Variations 1557 (Hints)

Or Do They? by Poat

Hints and tips by Phibs

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I’ve never solved a Poat puzzle before, so I have no idea what to expect…

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EV 1555 Hints

Enigmatic Variations 1555 (Hints)

The Rules of the Game by Ifor

Hints and tips by Phibs

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Ifor has a reputation for producing top-quality puzzles which are neither simple nor mind-bendingly hard and are extremely rewarding to solve. No pressure then, Ifor…

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EV 1553 Hints

Enigmatic Variations 1553 (Hints)

Exclamations by Maranga

Hints and tips by Phibs

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I wasn’t familiar with this setter, but a check of Dave Hennings’ Crossword Database (xwdb.info) revealed three previous EVs by Maranga, the most recent in 2019. Incidentally, this database is an invaluable resource for setters because it enables you not only to find out whether a particular theme has been used before in any of the major themed puzzles (including EV, IQ, Listener and the Magpie magazine) but also how it was treated by the setter.

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EV 1551 Hints

Enigmatic Variations 1551 (Hints)

Opinion by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Phibs

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I’m delighted to have been given the chance to blog some more EVs, starting with this offering from my fellow hintster and tipster. A prolific setter, Chalicea has a reputation for producing highly accessible puzzles; her definitions, whether of answers or wordplay elements, are usually very precise, often closely matching those found in Chambers.

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EV 1550 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1550 (Hints)

Elementary Solutions by A FEW

Hints and tips by Phibs

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The culmination of a month of puzzles that put the ‘eco’ into recondite decoding features a preamble and four preamblets, and is surely the work of a consortium.
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EV 1549 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1549 (Hints)

Elementary IV: A Dramatic Instruction by Kcit

Hints and tips by Phibs

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Today we have the fourth in the Elementary series, the overall motif for which should now be clear to those who have tackled puzzles I-III.
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EV 1548 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1548 (Hints)

Elementary III: Growing Concern by Brock

Hints and tips by Phibs

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Today we have the third in the Elementary series of puzzles, and we’re starting to get a pretty good idea of what to expect theme-wise.
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EV 1547 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1547 (Hints)

Elementary II: Rising Costs by Hedge-sparrow

Hints and tips by Phibs

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Those who solved last week’s Elementary I may already be able to take an educated guess at the overarching theme of this month’s collection. Staying Alive was a gentle prelude, and I’m expecting Rising Costs to be accompanied by Rising Difficulty.
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EV 1546 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1546 (Hints)

Elementary I: Staying Alive by X-Type

Hints and tips by Phibs

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After almost two years and ninety-five puzzles the Numpties are taking a well-deserved break this month. I am delighted to have been offered the role of locum tenens, and I’m looking forward to being your guide as we navigate a path through the next five puzzles. The prefix to the title of today’s offering suggests that it could be the start of a linked series – time alone will tell (‘cos I won’t!).

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