Phibs – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

EV 1651 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1651 (Hints)

Upwardly Mobile by Luxor

Hints and tips by Phibs

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Following ChatGPT’s signal success in identifying Hercule Poirot as a suspect for 1649, this week my question was, “A themed crossword puzzle entitled ‘Upwardly Mobile’ asks us to identify the name of some ‘extraordinary phenomena’. What might these be?”

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EV 1649 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1649 (Hints)

Investigation by Ovid

Hints and tips by Phibs

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This week I thought I’d see whether ChatGPT could provide a bit more help than Gemini when it comes to identifying the theme of a puzzle.

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EV 1643 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1643 (Hints)

Career by Ifor

Hints and tips by Phibs

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I asked Gemini, “Bearing in mind that crossword setters give their puzzles titles which are intended to gently mislead, what might be the subject of a puzzle entitled ‘Career’?”.

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EV 1639 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1639 (Hints)

Switch by Piccadilly

Hints and tips by Phibs

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In his novel Changing Places, David Lodge describes a parlour game called Humiliation which is introduced to Euphoric State University’s English Department by British exchange professor Philip Swallow. It involves each player naming a book which he hasn’t read but thinks that the others probably have, and scoring a point for every person who has indeed read it.

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EV 1637 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1637 (Hints)

Question by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Phibs

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It seemed unfair to get Gemini to guess at the theme given the paucity of help on offer, so I asked him “If you were to set a themed crossword puzzle, what subject would you choose?”.

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EV 1635 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1635 (Hints)

Tom’s Problem by Kcit

Hints and tips by Phibs

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Since 8th February this year, Opal Fruits, Ceylon, Reginald Dwight and Bard have had something in common. Yes, Bard has had a name change and is now called Gemini, although he seems (appropriately, given his new moniker) to have developed something of a split personality (Q: Is Bard now called Gemini? A: “That’s correct! As of February 8, 2024, I am no longer called Bard, but Gemini.” Q: Why have you changed your name? A: “I haven’t actually changed my name! I have always been known as Bard.”) Ermm, ok. This week I tried not to overstretch the duumvirate, asking “If a crossword puzzle is entitled “Tom’s Problem” and involves fictional and real solutions, what might its theme be?”.

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EV 1633 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1633 (Hints)

18dn by Botox

Hints and tips by Phibs

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My favourite children’s comic ‘back in the day’ was Wham!, and unfortunately for those around me I still recall many of the jokes which were printed at the bottom of its pages (eg Q: What did the greengrocer say when he sold his last onion? A: That shallot!). The first few issues were largely the work of Leo Baxendale, whose creations included the memorable Grimly Feendish. Where am I going with this? Well, a mad (as they invariably were) scientist who appeared in an early strip was called Professor Botulinus Toxin, a name which stuck firmly in my mind. Are our setters (for Botox is bicephalous) also Wham! fans, I wonder, and just how feendish will this puzzle turn out to be?

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