EV 1618 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1618 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1618 (Hints)

Different Relation by Hedge-sparrow

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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This will be Hedge-sparrow’s eighth EV crossword. He is a familiar setter to Listener solvers and his themes range through many fields of knowledge.

Preamble: Three related unclued entries all suggest how ten answers must be modified before entry. In the completed grid, solvers must highlight five words (suitably disposed, 38 cells in total, all confirmed by Chambers) which have a DIFFERENT RELATION to one of the unclued entries. Chambers Dictionary is recommended; all entries are real words or names.

It was clearly essential to find those three unclued entries and to work out which one of the three might be interpreted ‘differently’ and ‘produce ‘five words suitably disposed’ in the final grid. The word count given to us, and the fact that we were modifying ten answers suggested that we might need to disregard bars to produce those five words that we must highlight. The very first one of the unclued entries that we solved prompted us about how we would ‘modify’ ten answers before entry (the way we expected) but we needed to solve many of these relatively difficult clues (most of the across clues) before light dawned. We were not helped by the fact that the theme required words that were mostly unfamiliar to us – but of course they were in Chambers.


5          Rough vessel’s quite quiet within (8)
This was the first of a number of very tricky clues. The definition was an unexpected use of the word ‘rough’ (which is often used with ‘figure’) and we needed to  put a short word for ‘quite’ and a letter for ‘quiet’ into the term for a vessel.

10        Delta region harbours waders (5)
The word for the region harbours the delta here.

16        In the end, hikers have occasion for short cut that’s no longer used (4)
The Big Dave’s site’s convention of underlining the definition part of the clue will help you here. The hikers gave us the ‘end’ to which we added a shortened word for ‘have occasion for’ to produce an outdated term for ‘cut’.

20         Old fellow dismissing Kipling’s first piece of lyric poetry (4)
Two clue elements here: the abbreviation for ‘old’ and a term for the fellow which has to ‘dismiss’ the first of Kipling.

22        Aged companion occupied in wheeling Balmoral’s rubbish bag (8)
We realized that we needed an old word for the ‘companion’. We used a short word for ‘occupied in’ then ‘wheeled’ or turned round a short Scottish word for rubbish and another short word for a type of bag – a stringy one.

29        Japanese poem recalling a bird’s cry (4)
We are all probably familiar with the haiku, but this precursor might be less familiar. We simply had to ‘recall’ a three-letter bird’s cry. Think of the unmusical sound of a crow!

39        Chaste daughter escapes enclosing wall in The Globe (5)
The usual letter for that ‘daughter’ had to escape from a term for ‘chaste’ to give us the word for the wall (yes, surprisingly an obsolete noun and not the verb we expected).

42        Difficult to misrepresent straight lines (8)
This clever clue amused us. ‘Straight’ had to ‘line’ the word for ‘misrepresent’.


4            Barges unloading a thousand fish (4)
This was a gift of a clue. We know which letters can represent a thousand and we had to ‘unload’ or remove that from the name of the barges. However, putting those fish into the letters we already had in the grid gave us a puzzle. Enough said!

9           Inquire about Spenser’s term for adjudicator of poetry (4)
This is one of Hedge-sparrow’s tricky clues. You can forget about Spenser once you have adopted his ‘term’. Use a short word for ‘enquire’ (about) and, like us, you might be surprised that the word you have produced could be an adjudicator of poetry.

12        European judge, one breaking rule over brutal slaughter of beasts (7)
Here we needed to put together a number of single-letter abbreviations and ‘one’ to give us a word that comes from a Spanish sport.

19          One Spitfire‘s reckless ascent not having wings in sync (4)
This is not the type of Spitfire that I saw last week in the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos. Consider the ‘reckless ascent’ and remove those ‘wings’ of ‘sync’ and an Italian version of the spitfire appears.

27         Spirit born in mountain hunter (6)
Yet another of those rare words. The usual brief crossword word for ‘born’ has to go into the name of a hunting animal that is known for its presence in the mountains of the USA.

The penny-drop-moment came when we realized what one of those unclued entries was telling us. Of course, they had to be ‘suitably disposed’ in order for us to identify those unusual names. We had produced those ten answers that gave us the five words by using the unclued entries differently, but this was where we needed Chambers. Do remember to highlight what you find.

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 1618 (Hints)
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  1. Good grief, that was tough; probably the hardest for a year or so.
    Populating the grid was initially very slow, given that many clues were quite unforgiving and checkers, where they were present, could not be relied on but eventually there was enough in the grid to hazard a guess about the related unclued entries, thus confirming the method for treating the ten. I was lucky to pick the right one of the 3 to focus on for the endgame and also to spot a familiar name, suitably disposed in the grid so all that remained was to find the other 4.
    Thanks [and respect] to Hedge Sparrow for a remarkable construction and thanks to The Numpties for much-needed help with the clues..

  2. I am not surprised that Halcyon thought it was tough, I have got quite a few in the grid and learned some(a lot) of new words but having to call it quits before the endgame, not disheartened though in the immortal words of Mr Schwarzenegga I’ll be baaack

  3. This one really stretched the little grey cells, though I wasted some time looking for the (non-existent) link between the 10 modified words. With encouragement from Halcyon, and a determination to find the hidden theme, the relevance of ‘suitably disposed’ in relation to one of the unclued answers suddenly dawned on me and there was no more hanging about before highlighting the 38 cells. Finished 4 Dec so in time to try my luck at the prize. Better start 1619 now …

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