EV 1535 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

EV 1535 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1535 (Hints)

Painful Poems by Chalicea

Hints and tips by The Numpties

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Chalicea’s crosswords appear in the Magpie, IQ, Crossword Club, 1 Across, and Listener series as well as on the back page of the Telegraph, in the 3D Calendar, and Telegraph Toughies. Solvers often welcome her relatively gentle clues which stick fairly closely to Chambers definitions. You can be sure that there will be some graphic content that will usually require highlighting with occasionally more than half of the grid being thematic.

Preamble: Three iconic phrases from two PAINFUL POEMS circle the perimeter. In clue order, single extra letters (not entered in the grid) produced by wordplay in each across clue spell out a message showing where to find an instruction concerning 18 cells. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

A nicely succinct preamble with no complicated device signaled. There’s that ‘extra letter’ device again but it is only in 20 clues and it is going to lead us to an instruction that will probably concern 18 cells in the grid.


8a         Australian idiot up one mahwa tree (6)
Remembering that we are looking for extra letters in the wordplay of across clues, we added together three wordplay elements to give an unusual word for the tree.

9a         Cashier from time to time not in the rear locally in Glamis (5)
The indicators tell us that we are looking for a Scottish dialect word.

11a         Once on British territory only without limit to tear away (6)
Back-solving is probably the way to handle this clue using a word for ‘without limit’ and (remembering that we need an extra letter) one for ‘tear away’.

29a        Drug‘s curiously instructional if dubious actions ignored (5)
The words ‘curiously’ and ‘dubious’ prompt us that we have a subtractive anagram here – that we have to remove the ‘actions’ from ‘instructional’.

33a         Skill reflected by company concerning US mammal’s fur (6)
Three wordplay elements here. The ‘skill’ is reflected, then the ‘company’ is needed and a short word for ‘concerning’.

35a        Eye sat awkwardly in poet’s passages (5)
The underlining tells us what is defined ‘awkwardly’ once we have removed an extra letter.


1d            In Johannesburg thong regularly braided on loom ultimately (4)
Clearly we are being guided towards an African word which is spelled out by the wordplay.

2d            Awl in Perth centrally develops section of limb (6)
Again we have an indicator – Perth, of course, can be in Scotland or Australia, and again the generous wordplay spells out what is needed.

3d            Formulae gabbled according to poet in swirling masses lacking force (7)
You are not likely to have met this word before – an old word used by the poet Chambers honours with frequent examples. However, the letters that appear in the grid might help you to remove the ‘force’ from those swirling masses.

18d           Stroke creating staccato sound‘s sadly alas, OTT (7)
‘Sadly’ is the helpful word and the convention of underlining the definition in the hints on Big Dave’s site tells you what is needed.

20d           For the French beautiful and fine fruit (7)
Two French words must be put together here; they produce a stilted word for the fruit.

You may have needed Wiki to explain what was or is painful about the extracts from the poems. As expected, we have to get the coloured pencils out. Don’t forget to obey the instructions – maybe select a specific colour or combine a couple of highlighters. We were slightly puzzled when the ODQ gave a slightly different version for the end of the final phrase in the perimeter but we honoured the poet’s original way of spelling the word (which he does with an apostrophe).

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.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

2 comments on “EV 1535 (Hints)

  1. Chalicea is in elegiac mood here, Easter notwithstanding, with only water and milk on offer in the clues. We will earmark a bottle of something bubbly for her if she ventures our way … A well-constructed puzzle with an interesting theme is always a delight though, and especially a not-too-taxing one for a busy weekend, so “Cheers” and thanks as ever.

  2. I found the grid combined with a blank perimeter a bit unforgiving and some of the clues a little less generous than Chalicea’s norm though there were enough gimmes to make progress. With the clues complete and the message leading to the instructions deciphered it took a while to spot two of the items. Wiki then, eventually, provided the link and enabled the perimeter to be filled in. I need to read more poetry [tho I enjoyed Alice Oswald’s “Falling Awake” last year].
    Thanks to Chalicea and The Numpties.

Comments are closed.