EV 1636 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1636 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1636 (Hints)

Mislaid by Luxor

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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It is a always a pleasure to welcome a new setter to the ranks. Well, this is actually Luxor’s second EV but Phibs had the pleasure of writing the hints for her first one last November – ‘First Born’, the one about Dolly the Sheep. Luxor, of course, swells the very small group of lady setters of thematic cryptic crosswords. Sadly, we lost Nutmeg last year and there are not many of us left; only just enough of us to sometimes provide a ‘ladies’ month’.

Preamble:   Seven answers are shorter than the space available and must be entered with a gap of several consecutive cells. Each gap indicates the location of an item which has been MISLAID. Solvers must complete the entries by adding the missing items, always making real words or names. Numbers in brackets refer to grid spaces and Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

I have commented before how much we like a crossword where everything is actually in the grid (and the preamble) with no misprints, jumbles, extra or missing clue letters or obligation to read the central, fifth, or penultimate, say, clue letters. Here we have a clear preamble that prompts us to discover what these seven MISLAID items could be. We have noted that some clues will lead to shorter answers than the available space and that our final grid will have only real words or names (so we understand that those ‘items’ will change the shorter clued answer to a longer real word that is not clued). Nothing to do but solve.


1a            Jack is reflecting with love poem from Korea (4)
Luxor starts as she means to go on with a number of very unusual words but Chambers confirms them and her wordplay spells out the difficult ones as it does here (especially as the underlined definition tells us what we are looking for).

17a          Engraved plate incorporated in cross (5)
This ‘cross’ is one that we have learned about by solving crosswords – not a gibbet or a Christian symbol.

21a         Person in human resources produces sharpener (8)
We knew how to put the ‘human resources’ into our answer and just a short word for a person had to be in there.

22a          Majolica medicine jars – all fifty-one empty inside (9)
Another of those unusual words! You need to put that short word for ’empty’ into all fifty-one.

26a          Flowers come with litre base included (6)
A new word for the Numpties but the wordplay spelled it out for us.

31a           Delivered guided missile launcher to front (9)
We needed a short word for ‘guided’ and had to put a word for a historic kind of ‘missile launcher’ in front of it (Think William Tell!)

34a          Pressure in Grammar School computing tests (8)
Another unusual word Luxor has used but you simply need to put together the three wordplay elements.

42a         Local detained by upper class girl in alleyway, some say (6)
‘Some say’ suggests that the answer is a dialect word or one used in a region. This word for the alleyway is the North Yorks one I grew up with. We had to put that short word for ‘local’ into the equally short one for the ‘upper class girl’.


1d              Line of verse to scrutinise, circling last letter with ring (6)
Think of a short word for ‘to scrutinise’ (we do it with lines of verse). That word has to circle the last letter ‘with ring’ – the usual ring.

2d             In Latvian capital vote for head of government in heat of the moment (6, two words)
It really is the Latvian capital that we need here and not, as so often in crossword clues, the currency used there. We are being instructed to make a small change in that capital.

4d             A moon may upset South American forest dwellers (8)
The convention in the Big Dave hints of underlining the definition will help here, giving solvers an unusual word that Chambers will confirm.

13d           Challenge violence expelling unruly lone conservative (6)
‘Unruly’ tells us what is needed here and we so often abbreviate that ‘conservative’ in a crossword.

14d           Uncovered plot to capture a king (8)
Another clue where the convention in the Big Dave hints of underlining the definition will help solvers. The sort of ‘plot’ required by this answer would not be very effective in capturing a king. I have commented before that editors tend to delete ‘a’ from a crossword clue unless it is actually serving a purpose, as it is here.

24d           Swimmers sploshing about, not posh (8)
We were at first puzzled by what was evidently a subtractive anagram.

27d          New boys and girls initially struggling as medical workers in US (6)
There are three wordplay elements ‘struggling’ here to give us this principally US expression for medical workers.

32d          In the course of reducing eating a fruit (6)
This sounds like good advice to slimmers but the wordplay is deceptive. Consider what ‘reducing’ is instructing us to do with the first four words of the clue. See the comment on ‘a’ in our hint to 20d.

35d          Winter-ripening pear priest consumed in Nova Scotia (5)
Another new word for us but we used the ‘priest’ who frequently appears in crosswords and put him in Nova Scotia. Chambers, of course, confirmed what that gave us.

We smiled when we realized why we are solving this today. The ‘penny-drop’ moment came quickly but a number of the words Luxor used were relatively obscure so we gave an unusually large number of hints.

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6 comments on “EV 1636 (Hints)
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  1. A very pleasant solve…I learnt lots of new words today. It was a nice mix of gettable and head scratching clues and the mislaid items theme was very clever and made me smile when I got the first one. Nice to have a simple end game for a change Thank you all.

  2. How very appropriate! A nice mix of clues and a clever endgame. I was delayed in thinking that blank cells had to be blank both across and down but the penny dropped eventually. I also had trouble parsing 31a where “missile launcher” can also be “front”, but whatever!
    A happy Easter to all.

  3. Luxor must have delved deep into The Book of Words We Will Never Use Again. Nice and appropriate endgame with some mislaid items actually helping to solve clues. Favourite clue was 40a which shows my age.
    Tx to Luxor and Numpties

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