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Forced Entry, by Mr Lemon,

Posted by shirleycurran on 2 April 2010

How encouraging to the dumbo team to have a preamble only three and a half lines long. Indeed, those three lines included those oh-so-familiar extra letters and the original mathematical instruction about adding or subtracting the extra letter from one letter of the answer but, at least, we were reassured that ‘the change never takes place in an unchecked cell’.

After the numbers nightmare two weeks ago and last week’s hard-labour yoga contortions by Elint, Mr Lemon’s ‘Forced Entry’ was light relief. It must have seemed easy to the experts, as we had half the grid filled with convincing misprints that intersected splendidly with each other after just about an hour’s work.

STRASS showed us the way, and it soon became clear that there would be little ambiguity about which letter to change – on the whole. How easy it is to be complacent! Our first hold up came with MERE (Marine’s red lake) at 31d. We already had POSTHOUSE/POSTHORSE, OCTAL/OCTAD, CARTS/CARDS, MATERNAL/PATERNAL and MERE, with D added or subtracted, gave a convincing MIRE or MARE. Oh dear! Of course, we needed MERI to give us SABINE/SALINE – but it was the fresh light of  Saturday that resolved that first clash.

We worked steadily with great enjoyment and growing amazement at the ingenuity of this construction. I can hear, all around me, the critical voices saying, “But there was no cherry tree to chop”, “no forgery to draw”, “no fiftieth birthday celebration”, “no wrens to batter to death”, (some of last year’s highlights). We felt that the lack of a theme and a p.d.m. added to the difficulty of Mr Lemon’s remarkable construction. There was no short cut – we just had to solve each clue and there were astonishing moments when four misprints converged in a single word. STRAPS, at 5ac, for example, had the T/P of TEAR DROP/PEAR DROP, the E/A of EDIT/ADIT, the F/P of FILOSE/PILOSE and the S/P of STRASS/STRAPS. What sort of mind can construct this kind of grid – it must have taken an aeon.

No problems? No more red herrings? But of course we had. 12ac ‘Stop fifty in mountain pass’ had me dreamily wandering in the New Zealand HAAST or up Esk HAUSE in the Lake District but I had to consult my wise solving friend to be prompted towards the GHAT that could absorb that  L, fifty, giving the extra letter G to turn HALT into HAET.  And a BAN for a governor (2d Governor has quiet party’)? It was clear that we needed BASH for the party, giving, of course, BOSH but I was hunting for pashas and bosses. It is never easy.

Well, here are my final solutions (with the extra letter in brackets in the clue answer where they fall in the wordplay. At the end if it’s an anagram):
1a SUNS(P)ET/SUBSET
5a STRA(W)SS/STRAPS
10a MOONY(A)/LOONY
12a (G)HALT/HAET
13a O(A)RTON/ORSON
14a AGILA(D)/AGILE
15a DO(J)ORSTEP/DOORSTOP
17a MOUCHER(Q)/MOUTHER
19a PEPO(C)/PESO
20a NALAS(C)/NAIAS
21a DATES(N)/RATES
22a FRIE(N)S/TRIES
25a WOTHO(D)/SOTHO
27a HOP(E)S/COPS
28a (D)IMPEACH/EMPEACH
29a DOGGE(D)REL/HOGGEREL
32a SHEEN(L)/STEEN
33a AB(L)EAR/ANEAR
34a P(F)EEL/PEER
35a C(P)ARTS/CARDS
36a BO(J)ARDS/BEARDS
1d S(B)LOWMARCH/SLOWMATCH
2d BA(N)SH/BOSH
3d SCOTTI(K)ES/SNOTTIES
4d THROBS(C)/THROES
5d SAVE(J)RS/SAVORS
6d P(D)EARDROP/TEARDROP
7d ED(D)IT/ADIT
8d FIL(J)OSE/PILOSE
9d SUM(H)/SUE
11d OR(B)LOP/ORLON
16d POSTHOUSE(C)/POSTHORSE
18d FAST(B)ENED/HASTENED
19d MATERN(C)AL/PATERNAL
23d FOOT(L)LE/ROOTLE
24d VERGE(A)R/VERGES
25d SHEAR(E)S/SMEARS
26d OCT(H)AL/OCTAD
30d GEN(S)T/GENA
31d MERE(D)/MERI
32d CO(P)B/SOB

What a lovely find DOGGEREL/HOGGEREL was! Altogether, this was great fun!

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4 Responses to “Forced Entry, by Mr Lemon,”

  1. What sort of mind can construct this kind of grid – it must have taken an aeon

    I think it would have been fairly easy to construct the grid. It’s easy to write a computer program to identify all the words (in some dictionary) that can be misprinted as another word. We could then take the output of this program and use it as a custom dictionary for a crossword compilation tool like Sympathy or Qxw. (We could also have a look through the output for interesting finds like HOGGEREL.)

    Then we’ve got to write the clues, but we have a choice as to which extra letter to put in the wordplay (depending on whether it’s added or subtracted). For example, we might have GANNET in the grid, with GARNET the answer to be clued. R=19 and N=14 or 40, so we need to have either an extra 5=E (if we get there by subtraction), or 21=U (if we get there by addition). Hmmm… well, with the extra E we have an anagram of REAGENT, so perhaps simply, “Tackle boiling reagent”.

    13a O(A)RTON/ORSON

    I failed to understand the wordplay for this clue. What was your explanation?

  2. R=19

    You’ve got to be able to count, though!

    R is actually 18, so we need an extra D or a V…

  3. Yes, indeed, counting those letters up and down is one of my weaknesses.

    Misprints are not my favourites so I might try to get the other half of the dumbo team to construct such a programme. (I am being driven insane just now hunting for a suitable misprint for ‘LAST GASP’ with S as the correct letter!)

    I thought O(A)RTON/ORSON was stretching things somewhat using ‘bow’ as OAR and TON as ‘people of fashion’.

  4. You’re right, “people of fashion” = TON. I missed that completely.

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