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Trailblazers by Dysart

Posted by shirleycurran on 1 Jul 2011

We were a long way from home and driving down the Spanish autopista with very limited resources as we put our minds to Dysart’s Trailblazers, so it was a relief for the Numpties that this one was not as challenging as last week’s Sabre.

In amongst the flat tyre incidents and the disagreements with the TomTom and the usual travel hiccups, we shared the clues (one nudnick driving and thinking, the other reading and writing with the crossword propped on the map).

Things went astonishingly well with straightforward clues leading to familiar answers (like that clumsy northern MAWR – ‘Wife stops to thrust back awkward girl’ – W in RAM rev.- and Something left over from pantry after trimming the edges – must be an S misprint for ‘pastry’, so we trim the edges of TORTE to get ORT – a scrap or leftover).

We seemed to find a number of clues of this nature and found ourselves trimming  SHAPE to  get ‘HAP (CHANGE with a misprint for CHANCE in 3d), COLONELS to get LONE (perhaps there is a nudnick error there in 23d!) and KEEPER to produce EPEE in 43ac. This seems to ba a Dysart signature trait.

Without Chambers to hand, there were a number of solutions that went into our grid with large question marks – the spelling of PEASED in 1ac, ARILLI for seed pods in 12ac, RUSHEN meaning ‘Like a frail’ in 28ac, that intriguing anagram ‘by container’ in 49ac, that gave us CYBERNATION, and whether ALINE was a US version of  ‘align’  in 9d.

Surprisingly, FATHER BROWN soon leapt out at us from 1ac and we had some sort of memory of his adversary being FLAMBEAU, which justified that title ‘Trailblazers‘ but we were profoundly flummoxed at that point and wondered how people fare if they, like us as we jacked the car up on a remote piece of land in the middle of nowhere to change a flat tyre, have no access to the Internet or a local library to find out about G K Chesterton’s fanciful tales.

Suffice it to say that when we arrived at our destination and could go on-line, apples, soup and a broken window made sense of those unclued lights and we were soon able to see that we had a PARCEL running in the expected place down the diagonal, with what must be BLUE X (the Sapphire cross of ‘The Blue Cross’ story).

Easy, right? Well, we still hadn’t found our misprints, at least, not all of them, and I still haven’t found the O, but I jumped to the conclusion that we were going to DOUBLEX Flambeau within that parcel (Well, there has to be a numpty red herring hasn’t there?)

It took a re-reading of the story to work out that we were required to put lead (Pb) in PAPER to produce the double-crossing parcel and real words in our crossword. I thought that last move, as well as being clever on Father Brown’s part, was tricky for us, but it certainly made a neat conclusion to a crossword that had a fine spread of thematic material scattered all over it.

Many thanks to Dysart.

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