EV 1650 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1650 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1650

Undesirable Celebrity by Kruger

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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There is no need to introduce Kruger who has been compiling EVs for almost 30 years – quite an achievement! We always find his crosswords tough and this one was no exception but, as usual, there was an interesting theme to enjoy.

Preamble:  Clues are given in alphabetical order of their answers which must be entered where they will fit. Starting at the top left corner, the unclued perimeter identifies who became famous and the reason why, while the other two unclued entries reveal what caused the UNDESIRABLE CELEBRITY. Each clue contains an extra word; in normal clue order, the first, middle or last letters of these (approximately equal numbers of each) instruct what must be highlighted in the grid. Unchecked and mutually cross-checking letters from unclued entries could give SHOWS SPRING’S FLASH STUNTS. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

We were, of course, intrigued by and suspicious of that UNDESIRABLE CELEBRITY. Surely we weren’t looking for Jack the Ripper or Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? There was a lot going on here: clues in alphabetical order to enter where they would fit, and which, ultimately, would have to be sorted into normal order to produce an instruction; an unclued perimeter and two other unclued entries; extra words and the unusual instruction that we had to select the first, middle or last letter of each of those to find something to highlight. Quite a Sunday challenge! Nothing to do but solve.


Inhabitant housing Joe retired after career now regularly to do with atmospherics (11)
We suspect that this answer will begin with A. We need to remember that one of these words is extra. ‘Regularly’ prompts us that we are taking alternate letters of ‘career now’. The Joe, housed in a word for ‘inhabitant’, is of the US soldier kind.

Very important, extremely adaptable Greek chariots (5)
A short word for ‘very important’ goes in front of the ‘extremes’ of ‘adaptable.

Organic matter in water found shinin’ brightly we’re told (7)
A word for ‘shining brightly (or looking angrily) ‘we’re told’ – so it’s a homophone – when it loses its last letter, becomes this name of organic matter found in water.

Regarding the north, India’s throwing out Arabian proof of sudden attack  (5)
A term for ‘regarding the north’ (the far, icy north) needs to replace an abbreviation for Arabian with one for India.

Sliding in difficult icy recess (7)
The underlining of the definition will help here. A rather unusual word is a combination of words for ‘difficult’ and ‘recess’.

Grovel overturning fine of weak magistrate (5)
First you need to ‘overturn’ an expression for ‘fine’. Then you need a 2-letter equivalent of ‘of’ and a letter for ‘weak’.

Brawny setter’s cravats without taste (5)
Kruger, the setter, is not being complimentary about himself here, is he? In fact we need a short possessive pronoun for ‘setter’s’ and that has to be ‘without’ (or outside) a short word for taste.

Gold front of Henry’s robe happens to be gold lace (5)
The usual crossword term for ‘gold’ needs the ‘front’ of another word before the 2-word expression for ‘happens to be’.

Poor person beginning to consume inferior millet (4)
Don’t we learn a lot about types of antelope, African chiefs and Asian drinks and grain in crosswords? The extra word in this clue is carefully placed between a short word for a poor person and the last letter of the millet.

Antipodean leader again at heart of inept morris dancing (9)
Dancing is the key word that tells us how to use ‘again at’ and the ‘heart’ of another word.

Out of order, hires café for meal during Ramadan (5)
‘Out of order’ is telling us what to do here to get the name of the meal.

Posh boy spoilt – raised in island estate with no-one superior (4)
After a single letter for ‘posh’ we have to raise a 3-letter word for ‘boy’ to get this word that you probably only ever encounter in crosswords.

Outdated type of vinyl frequently kept (4)
The extra word has been carefully inserted here to conceal the 4-letter ‘outdated’ term for ‘type’.

We initially misread the preamble and could make nothing at all of the instruction about highlighting but, of course, had to reorder the clues and then opt for the first, middle or last letters of those extra words in order to work out what to highlight. Don’t forget that highlighting!

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 1650 (Hints)
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  1. A two-day event for sure. Given the array of hurdles one might have hoped that the clues would be generous but with a few exceptions that was not to be and it was a struggle to solve more than a handful on the first pass. Fortunately the biggest and smallest solutions seemed the easiest and a full set of 4s and 11s, together with one of the 9s and the sole 3-letter answer enabled a stab at putting words into the grid, thus providing checkers for unsolved clues, if only one knew which ones. The organic matter was particularly refractory so that hint was a help when patience began to run low. With the grid full the reordering of surplus words was a tiresome chore and the need to consider first, middle and last letters, whilst a help to the setter, was another. It was an interesting theme and well done but the endgame merely serves to aid the judges.
    Thanks to Kruger and The Numpties.

  2. All satisfactorily complete bar the last little bit. I.e. ‘unchecked and mutually…..’

    Three days it took to near complete this tough cookie. A fun challenge helped by the hint-masters!! Grazie mille.

  3. Disappointed to say the least not finishing this. The grid is filled. I got the name from the 4th letter of the surname suddenly remembering something from history at school many decades ago. However I can make no sense from the letters from the extra words. I have reordered the clues so that the first one is from the last couple of down clues. I cannot see another order of clues.

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