Enigmatic Variations 1608 (Hints)
More than Meets the Eye by Kcit
Hints and tips by The Numpties
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Kcit needs no introduction for EV solvers. Dave Hennings’ crossword database tells us that he has been setting them since 1993. We know he will give us a challenge with demanding clues, often with some musical connection.
Preamble: There is MORE to the grid THAN MEETS THE EYE. Clues are given in alphabetical order of their answers, which must be fitted in where they will go, resulting in the creation of a thematic 12-letter word. The obelised clue is an ODE variant of a word in Chambers Dictionary (2016) which is otherwise recommended.
That preamble suggests to us that we are going to find an ‘extra’ 12-letter word that will somehow be created by these clues. Skimming through them, we spot one anomaly that suggests to us that the 12-letter thematic word will appear outside the grid – top, bottom, left or right, we wonder. When clues are given in alphabetical order of their solutions (rather than with a numbered grid) we usually suspect that the device is being used to conceal manipulations in the grid. An experienced setter like Kcit would not be doing that just to create difficulty for the solver. Of course, we look for the long clues that will fill the only two 12-letter lights.
* As primarily encapsulated by a Chinese (7)
We back-solved from the word in our final grid to work out how this answer was constructed and decided that it was an &lit. clue. A ‘Chinese’ (a five-letter word for him) was ‘encapsulating’, or taking in ‘as’ primarily to produce yet another word for him.
* Timid campanologist’s beginning campanology? (8)
You need the campanologist’s beginning and the task that he performs to see how he is ‘timid’.
* No longer support Orient after involvement of European chaps (8)
The European chaps have to go into the ‘Orient’ to produce this answer which, we are told, is no longer a current word for ‘support’.
* Applied to the skin, covering particular area around bottom of ear (10)
Chambers confirmed for us that the nine-letter word we were putting round the bottom of ‘ear’ did, indeed, mean ‘covering particular area’. Of course, we were wondering where this answer would fit in our grid.
* Wrong to block tax, though not initially with bad intent (6)
The punctuation is deliberately misleading here. We removed the initial letter of the tax and included the ‘wrong’ in it.
* What might be approachable for German? Cryptic clue might (9)
We’re just back from a family get-together in central Germany where we do frequently hear this word, more in the sense of ‘cosy’ or ‘comfortable’ than ‘approachable’, but I am surprised that it appears in Chambers. However, Kcit has provided a delightful clue for it. (Ironically, the surface sense of the clue works. The Zeitmagazin produces cryptic crosswords in German that resemble this one by Kcit. I know of no other language that has this sort of crossword – though I am sure some do.)
* Hurry to include tavern in Scottish expression of affection 6)
To get this expression of affection you must put together the most likely word for a tavern and a short one for ‘hurry’.
* Absurd behaviour not significant in describing cheeky stuff (5)
To get this word that ‘describes’ cheeky stuff, we had to remove a short word for ‘significant’ from a longer word for absurd behaviour.
* Arenas and a plinth arranged about idealistic building complex (13)
The clue was generous and the underlining of the definition part will help, as will that rather strange word count.
* Type of fugue: local twigs jazz fan is enthralled by artist (9)
We are reminded that Kcit sets the crosswords for the BBC music magazine. Here we needed a four-letter word for what is ‘twigs’ locally, then the artist had to ‘enthral’ the jazz fan.
* Offering some wrinkles in plan that secures game (6)
The two-letter word for the game is one that I suspect crossword solvers have learnt from its frequency in crosswords. Here it has to be ‘secured’ by a word for a plan..
* Wings on shield bracketing one ancient instrument (4)
To solve this clue you need to know the heraldic term for ‘wings on a shield’.
* Redesigned phone box I see, not supporting overseas connections (10)
This clue really helped us with the filling of the grid when we noted the length of the answer and guessed how we would fit it in. ‘Redesigned’ prompted us that we had to find anagram material in 12 letters to give us the word for one ‘not supporting overseas connections’.
Our first suspicions proved to be almost justified. There were some tough clues here and filling the grid, even with most of them solved, was not easy, but word-length anomalies (three answers that were not catered for in the grid) helped and led to that thematic word.
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