EV 1507 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1507 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1507 (Hints)

Deathblow by Curmudgeon

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Curmudgeon has set in the 3D Crossword Calendar since the very first of those colourful creations which are in aid of the BBC Children in Need project, and the RNIB. She also sets in the Crossword Club’s Crossword magazine. Her crosswords are generally considered to be easy and approachable.

Preamble:  A feature completely absent from the puzzle, we’re told, echoes the state of a character that most of the top row (unclued) evokes. Most of the bottom row (also unclued) represents the shattered result of the broken character’s 25d, and DEATHBLOW. Solvers must shade the name of one author (12 cells) who used the theme.

We see that the crossword involves a character whose ‘state’ will be evoked in most of an unclued top row and that for some reason that will be revealed in 25d, he (or she) will be ‘broken’ together with something ‘shattered’ in the unclued bottom row (this suggests to us that the name of the character and some other ‘broken’ thing might appear jumbled together at the foot of the grid). It looks as though more than ‘one author’ has used this theme.


14a          Felt concern (but not constant) formerly uttered (4)
The solution is an archaic word but you need to remember the abbreviation for ‘constant’ and to remove that from a simple expression for ‘felt concern’.

23a         Gull docked ocean mammal and male swan (6)
You need to ‘dock’ an ocean mammal (remove its tail) and add the male swan to get an unusual name for a gull.

24a         Second test’s end before whole sequence stops (some have declared) (7)
The clue seems to be all about cricket but the wordplay is giving an old word for ‘stops’ that you can construct from ‘second’, ‘test’s end’ and the name for a whole series of cricket matches.

25a         Patter by expert to powerfully bond about husband for renewal of mutual love (13)
A brief word for ‘patter’ is followed by a brief word for ‘expert’ and the ‘husband’ goes into a word for ‘to powerfully bond’ in this clue that suggests you have gone to a marriage-guidance counsellor to bring the two of you together again.

30a         Maybe agate archway regularly seen after alcohol knocked back (6)
Chambers will confirm that the word we produced by knocking back a three-letter drink after seeing that ‘archway’ regularly (off and on) is ‘maybe agate’.


1d            Royal Academy embraced by local female partners’ long-gone treasured goals (6)
The local word for females takes in the Royal Academy to give an archaic word for the treasured goals.

8d           Leaders of surgery trust able experts to arrest odd tumours (7)
A brief word for ‘odd’ is taken in by all those ‘leaders’ producing a ‘Latinate’ plural word for tumours.

10d          Met only by arrangement and blended for Ed (7)
How would setters cope without those Spenserian words? Curmudgeon spells out how to create this word.

28d        Mac’s fuddled snort averted partly (6)
Again Curmudgeon gives a broad hint about how to find a Scottish word.

29d         Part of Talmud, valuable nugget on a God from Egypt (6)
‘A’ is usually only included in a clue if it is to be part of the solution. The Egyptian god is the usual one and the valuable nugget is a short word for a precious stone.

37d         Scorn long ago of dreadful Sundays (US maybe excepted) (5)
The ‘US maybe’ has to be excluded from those ‘dreadful Sundays to find this old word for ‘scorn’.

There are several ways that you might have spotted the theme of this crossword. Possibly you hunted through the columns, rows and diagonals to find a 12-letter author. (Don’t forget to highlight those letters!) You may have sorted out that cryptic top row and created the description of a character and a title of one of the author’s works, or perhaps you understood how the character’s ‘DEATHBLOW’ resulted in the character being ‘broken’ and somehow present in the bottom row with the shattered result of his 25d.

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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5 comments on “EV 1507 (Hints)

  1. A delightful and far from curmudgeonly puzzle with gentle clues to help us get started. I happened to know about the theme, which an obvious part of the top row and the cunning (but not too difficult to spot) feature gave me. If it doesn’t ring bells for you, a little Googling of what you find, and the Numpties’ final hints, should reveal all. So many thanks to Curmudgeon and on with the weekend!

  2. Wonderful puzzle – how do the compilers do it? Well beyond a simple solver’s abilities!

  3. This came together quicker than I anticipated. The clues were mostly gentle but there were a few that were more challenging in the SE corner. I spotted the author and looking for anagrams of the top row revealed a choice of 2 words which, whilst not correct, provided a clue to the relevant work of the author. All that remained was to un-shatter the bottom row. I’m assuming that the absent feature is a device of the setter.
    Thanks to Curmudgeon and The Numpties

  4. The generous clues made for a relatively gentle solve. I spotted the author while filling the grid and the rest flowed nicely from there.
    Thanks to Curmudgeon for an ingenious puzzle and to The Numpties for their blog.

  5. A little late to the party, but still want to express my admiration.

    Had to read the preamble several times over before I decided to systematically search for the “absent feature.” I was surprised that I didn’t notice it when I was filling the grid. Quite impressive.

    So for me, it was the absent feature that gave me a toehold into the theme. The rest of the endgame flowed smoothly from there (with a little help from Google).

    Thanks, Curmudgeon!

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