EV 1564 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1564 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1564 (Hints)

Two Missing by Piccadilly

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Piccadilly has been setting crosswords for 33 years and EVs since 1995 – this one is his 52nd Enigmatic Variations crossword. Of course he sets for the Listener and Magpie too. We enjoy Piccadilly’s crosswords and know that we will have fair clues and an endgame that will not leave us frustratingly head-scratching.

Preamble:  Clues are presented in conventional order but with TWO MISSING. Clues comprise a definition of the answer, a jumble of its letters beginning at the beginning or ending at the end of a word but not overlapping with the definition, and another word which can appear anywhere in the clue. Solvers should take one letter from these words, the position of the letter corresponding to the position of the word in the clue. These letters provide the TWO MISSING clues. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended; one answer is an abbreviation.

We realised as we solved the significance of those words ‘which can appear anywhere in the clue’. We were being told that those extra words might appear at the start or end of a clue or – and this was significant – might separate into two groups those jumbles of letters of the answers. As the letters we extracted from those words appeared, we were initially puzzled, until we understood that the preamble was telling us that we would have two more clues of the same style with a definition and a jumble of the solution’s letters.

Clearly, as the clues are simply jumbles of the answers (with an extra word) it is not possible to give hints in the normal way but the underlining of some of the slightly more unusual words that are used as definitions will help solvers who consult the hints: so here goes.


*          Harden lacquer in kiln
Piccadilly clearly tried to give good surface readings to his clues but we reminded ourselves that these were not wordplay, but a jumble of letters that gave a synonym of ‘harden’ and an extra word.

*        Shakespeare’s Mark should act craftily
The underlined definition will help here. The word was new to us and we reminded ourselves that setters are allowed to be deceptive with capitalisation.  This was not necessarily a reference to Mark Antony’s manipulation of the Roman crowd.

*         Positions in Hindu discipline challenge an assassin
This word is one that will be familiar to crossword solvers but not one we meet often in any other context.

*         Beasts wandering from owner are rehoused systematically
Piccadilly has used the Chambers definition for this slightly unusual word.

*         Golden poppy is a plant with aromatic seeds
Remember that the extra word may appear anywhere in the clue.


*         Love sister’s rustic old dovecote
The answer was not a familiar word for a dovecote. It was more familiar to us as a word for a kind of sloping slat.

*         Tradesman Cyril breaks promise
Of course there are vast numbers of types of tradesmen but the underlining probably helps here and for us, the letters appearing in the grid gave us much of the solution.

*          Fruit tarts? Mince ten lemons
As in the clue mentioned above, there are many fruits but again, letters appearing in the grid, as well as the jumbled ones, should help.

*          Broadcasting system came second incredibly
When compiling the hints, we usually check with Chambers that we are interpreting a word correctly. I was surprised to learn that this ‘name’ for the system comes from French.

Piccadilly was generous, as, once we had realized where those missing clues were going to fit into the grid, the letters that appeared spelled most of the required answers, helping us complete the task of extracting letters from extra words – so we had two ways to reach our solution.

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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3 comments on “EV 1564 (Hints)
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  1. At a first glance this looked as if ware going to be a three day event, but when re-reading the ipreamble and applying them to the fist few across clues the penny dropped. No searching for anagram indicators today. Then it was easy to spot where the down clues began. Virtually finished by lunchtime.
    Thanks to the Numpties and to Piccadilly for a puzzle with a difference.

  2. Like Steve, above, I thought this was going to be a struggle but started from the end where the solutions were shorter and got lucky. The last half-doze were enough to get a hold on filling the grid and identifying one of the missing locations, then it all got a lot easier and was really just a matter of doing anagrams. Refreshingly different.
    Thanks to Piccadilly and The Numpties.

  3. I also thought I was going to be in for the long haul but once I solved the first few across clues things started to fall nearly into place. Once the grid was filled it was obvious what the unclued words had to be and the missing clues confirmed this.

    Thanks to Piccadilly for an entertaining puzzle and to The Numpties for their blog.

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