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Double Shuffling and Dealing by Auctor

Posted by shirleycurran on 11 June 2010

The Numpty team gazed for a good hour at Auctor’s Double Shuffling and Dealing and got nowhere at all. Part of the trouble was that phrase in parenthesis ‘… the answer (which is also the grid entry) with one letter omitted’. The answer is usually the ‘grid entry’, so was this something special? Were we entering the answer with one letter omitted?

Our first red herring seemed to confirm this Numpty diversion. If we used CHARMING for ‘Fetching’, (Fetching up special seat ahead of new government) then the clue led to an anagram of CHAIR plus NG (CHARING) and we had the letter M in the margin. Great! Except that we couldn’t cope with that little word ‘up’ in the clue.

Fortunately, remembering what a bunch of oenophiles these setters are, we rethought and came up with SPEWING (much less fetching as a word) and SHERRY to go with it on the top line. And we were on our way.

Not being particularly competent with wordplay played into our hands with this crossword. It wasn’t long before we had a complete grid, often including the only word that the Chambers CD Rom produced to fill the light, even if we could see no link at all to the wordplay. We wondered about the proliferation of moles (and suspected that we were heading for a Hamlet quotation – ‘Canst work in the ground so fast, old mole?’) and muttered seditiously about the definitions appearing in the middle of clues, but we lacked the sophistication that would have led more competent solvers to grasp what was going on – until EMICATED appeared at 17dn and we suddenly twigged that we had seen its definition (sparkled) at 26dn.

Suddenly the TALPIDAE burrowed their way to the moles and we saw what was going on.

Meanwhile ‘I HAVE DECEIVED YOU BOTH, I HAVE DIRECTED YOU TO …’ emerged from our extra letters and Google gave us two more words: ‘WRONG PLACES’. We were told what we had just realized! The Host at the Garter was our guilty party and we were left with WGHEHMETVOOODSL to convert into four words. Easy! GODS and LOVE leapt out at us, leaving ‘WHOM THE’ – so ‘Whom the gods love’. We had already found MENANDER in the usual diagonal slot and Google confirmed the link.

All that was left to do was to sort out those extra words we had happily ignored and return them to their own wordplay.  Here is my ultimate solution with a couple of problems at 24 and 29 across that someone will perhaps explain to me?  I wonder, too, whether I have spotted the correct definition for EVOKE. ‘Cause’ seemed to be the only remaining wandering word.

Auctor certainly challenged us – thank you!

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One Response to “Double Shuffling and Dealing by Auctor”

  1. Shirley
    I suppose it’s a case of ‘one man’s meat…’, but I found the basic puzzle fairly straightforward, but all the follow-up work, which you seemed to find a doddle, I struggled with.
    It took me ages before I finally looked up MENANDER in ODQ, and it was that that helped me get the quotation. Up until then all I had was WHO MOVES THE GOLD! I also think it’s a bit naughty using a quotation that’s not in (my) ODQ without flagging it.
    The wordplay for EVITA is simply AT (administrative trainee) IE (that is) returned. I can’t see V anywhere, which is as it should be.
    As for 29ac, although the definition is in the wrong place, it isn’t actually moved; after all the clue is the clue. So PEAR-SHAPED is the misplaced definition for OBOVATE and also available for reference in the wordplay for PERD(U).
    And sorry, too little time for me to do a blog on this one.
    Dave.

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