EV 1525 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1525 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1525 (Hints)

Needles by Chalicea

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Newer solvers enjoy Chalicea’s crosswords because they are among the less difficult advanced thematic cryptics and usually have a fairly graphic endgame or lots of thematic material, often appearing in grid diagonals. What, wonders the solver, is she up to here? – Some sort of ladylike topic, ‘sewing’ at last instead of the usual engineering, literary or scientific themes.

Preamble: The state of the 18 led to 1ac and 38 (all unclued). Solvers must highlight a name (10 letters in a straight line) four unclued NEEDLES are examples of the way he overcame the problem. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended. 

We recognise that we are going to encounter a problem and the name of someone who solved it. That there are seven unclued lights in the grid prompts us that the other clues are likely to be generous.


9a          Romps of birds circling old yard (7)
The birds are the ones you might expect to see in a yard and the remainder of this unusual word for romps is produced by short forms of old, and yard.

12a        Down with black cloaks for women (4)
This is almost a ‘double definition’ clue since the words for ‘down with’, when put together, give the name of the cloaks.

16a         Crosses territory for ancient Greek waistbelt (6)
‘Crosses’ in crosswords often refer to this unusual version of the word. When you link an abbreviation to the crosses an obscure name for the waistbelt appears. (Usually, when we are solving and one rare letter appears, we say “Oh, he/she’s writing a pangrammatic crossword.” But that isn’t one of Chalicea’s quirks; crosswords that have to contain J, Q, X and Z tend to have a plethora of obscure words in them and that isn’t her style, so, we wonder, what is that letter there for?)

21a         Speak insolently in Perth without turning back on husband (5)
Is this a Scottish or Australian hussy, we ask, facing up to her husband? Of course there is an abbreviation for him so the ‘without’ has to ‘turn back’ to produce the dialect word.

23a         With stealth regularly involved, cry plaintively for sweet tuber (6)
The underlining of the definition gives the hint. The plaintive cry is of an animal kind.

35a         Suitable tense for archaic song (4)
We hadn’t met this old word before but simply put together a short word for ‘suitable’ and an abbreviation.


2d            Rustic British belief system in political philosophy (7)
Three wordplay elements come together to give the name of a type of political philosophy, a brief name for the ‘rustic’ followed by British, and a short term for a belief system.

7d           Temperature of the immediate past essentially echoing Italy’s fourteenth century (8)
The Italian system of identifying centuries is unusual. Here the word is a compilation of three wordplay elements, two single letters surrounding a word.

11d           At hand, has broadcast with Three Tenors I don’t want to hear any more (12, three words)
This clue produced a smile. Who wouldn’t want to hear any more of the Three Tenors? We spot an anagram indicator and, together with the three ‘tenors’ are able to find the three words we need.

24d          Sturgeon’s direct publicity time (4)
The Scottish indicator tells us to put together a word for ‘publicity’ and an abbreviation for ‘time’.

Once the nature of the needles appears, an Internet visit might be required to complete the rest of the unclued lights and find the name of the problem-solver.

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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8 comments on “EV 1525 (Hints)

  1. The rather different sort of “working party” involved here proved to be a familiar one, and Chalicea’s light touch meant the solve flowed well. Another excellent puzzle for newer solvers to dig into.

  2. Happy to see a chalicea puzzle today, as being a newbie to to EVs, these are thankfully doable, although still challenging. How do you think up these themes?. Interesting background reading once the theme was cracked – nice misdirection there! I failed very miserably last week, despite the Numpties help, but you got me started this time so many thanks for that. I am always gobsmacked as to how fast you solve and post the hints. Thanks to all involved.

  3. A fairly gentle solve as expected, thoroughly enjoyed. I surprised myself by realising I knew something about the theme, but a trip to Wikipedia confirmed the rest.

  4. A gentle one made a pleasant change after the last few weeks. The clues yielded steadily and the theme emerged without too much trouble. We’ve been relying on these needles for rather too long!
    Thanks to Chalicea and The Numpties.

  5. Well I should never have started this so late at night accompanied by Winter Olympics but I am chuffed I finished it so early (for me!). I know, I know it’s an “easy” one.
    Enjoyed the theme very much, thank you Chalicea!
    One query – shouldn’t 39 Across be two words? Or maybe I have the wrong answer?
    Anyway the way in for me was using the crossing clues to get 38 across

  6. This is the first EV that I have managed to solve without using the Numpties’ most excellent hints….did double check with them, though.
    Who’d have thought it ? Certainly not me .

    What a relief after the last 2 weeks when I failed miserably.

    Thanks to Chalicea and to the Numpties

  7. A comfortable challenge. Thanks Chalicea and the Numpties for pointing me in the right direction on a couple of clues. For me the penny dropped in slow motion. Those unglued answers were solved hours apart.

  8. PS Thank you to the Numpties too.
    Like Ora it is very reassuring to check where you can!

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