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Listener 4095: Atom Smasher by Llig (or 50:50-ig)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 6 August 2010

This is Llig’s 13th Listener; let’s hope it’s not unlucky for him … or me! There are misprints in down clues and 13 clashing letters. I have to confess that clashes are not my favourite grid device as they tend to addle my brain far too much. Anyway, mustn’t grumble.

My quick run through the clues is quite successful with over a dozen solved in about twenty minutes. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single clash to be seen. Luckily, SPACEMEN and GLAD in the first column should enable a few more answers to be entered here, and some (hopefully not all) will be clashes, won’t they? And so some more answers go in on the left of the grid … but still no clashes, although the Q in 2dn looks probable.

Meanwhile, the correct letters of misprintes in the down clues are far too sporadic to give anything but a small hint, starting as they do T.EL…E.. which will probably be THE LETTERS.

25ac finally resolves itself as COLLISION (COLL + IS + ON) and the central I clashes with the R of SUPERNOVA. Soon after this I get GNOMON crossing GONZO, and suss the method of resolving the clashes … wow! this is really early for me. I have I/R, C/Q and M/Z and it seems that the letters in one half of the alphabet would take preference; from the title, this is likely to be the letters N-Z.

Not that that helps much at all in completing the grid from this point on. Not to mention that some of the clues are, in my opinion, quite tricky, albeit totally fair! For example:

1ac: What may serve a dual purpose in Internet cafe (4) took me ages to get JAVA!! And I designed the Crossword Database! (OK, I didn’t use Java)
23dn: It leaps in the Lion’s tail — study African source of virus (8) with a corrected misprint giving leams!
33dn: Cloned gene finally isolated by Minister? There’s no good in it (5) where the final E of GENE is ‘isolated’ by DD (minister) less the G to give ENDED (closed not cloned).

Finally I have a completed grid, with 13 first/second half of the alphabet clashes. The message spelt out by the correct forms of misprints gives THE LETTERS A TO M ARE ERASED. I have a moment of self-doubt as I consider that the letters A-M in the entire grid should be erased. After all that would, in a somewhat sledge-hammer way, resolve the clashing letters. However, if this were the case, I think the message would read ALL LETTERS A TO M ARE ERASED or EVERY OCCURENCE OF THE LETTERS A TO M IN THE FINAL GRID ARE ERASED. No … it is just the clashes that need considering, giving the final grid below.

This puzzle proved a bit of a struggle, but was very enjoyable nonetheless. Thanks to Llig for that. As I double-check my solution, I wonder if Llig is Welsh!

4 Responses to “Listener 4095: Atom Smasher by Llig (or 50:50-ig)”

  1. erwinch said

    I had seen atom being read as A to M in a previous puzzle and a search of The Crossword Database confirmed this as being Speech Balloon by Charybdis, Independent Weekend puzzle 501 (Jan 2005) – I still have it on file.  Still, there is no copyright on devices used in crosswords.

    I too struggled with Java, as the coffee of course.

  2. Erwin (and anyone else who may be interested)
    I am being deliberately vague here, but I have an EV puzzle by Kea which you may not have seen. It’s amazing. If you would like a copy, drop me an email at d42h42 at gmail dot com.

  3. Andy W said

    JAVA – first one I got, but failed to solve the puzzle, mainly through lack of time. I tend to judge solveability (for me) in the first 5 minutes, and I’m rarely wrong, and even then I err on the side of caution. This one looked like the equivalent of a Magpie B grade, but I only managed an hour with it, and got about a third of the clues – neatly avoiding all but one of the clashes (JAVA/SPACEMEN, unsurprisingly). I didn’t solve anywhere near enough to see the theme though, and didn’t look at it again until today.

  4. […] wrongly stated in my last blog for a Llig puzzle, Atom Smasher that that was his 13th Listener. In fact it was his 16th and this is his 17th. The reason for the […]

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