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Listener 4166: Brief Appearances by Schadenfreude (or Two of My Favourites in One Puzzle)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 23 Dec 2011

Finally, November saw this year’s outing for Schadenfreude, and we were greeted by a square grid that had an extra cell protruding from each side. Plus there were nine completely barred off squares on the main northwest-southeast diagonal. Upon reading the preamble, we discovered that thirty-seven (37) entries were to be written in reverse, and 22 (twenty-two) had a letter removed and the remainder jumbled to form the entry. Since there were sixty-two clues in total, there must be at least three normal ones, but probably many more since some entries would be both jumbled after the removal of a letter, and entered in reverse (ie backwards or upwards).

Listener 4166So, on with the puzzle, and, as to be expected with Schadenfreude, some tough clues. I had a bit of déjà vu with 2ac ROAD HOGS, reminding me of 7dn in the previous week’s Nibor puzzle, MR TOAD. (In fact, as I penned this blog, I had the worrying feeling that I’d already blogged these clues!) 12ac was ZYMOTIC, and I wondered whether going through all the clues once in a first pass was the right way to attack them. I sidetracked to 1dn ARM which confirmed that both 2ac and 12ac were entered in reverse.

I solved some of the long entries fairly early on: 7dn TATOUAYS (rev), 2dn EMISSARIES (rev) and 3dn GREAT BEAR. And so, for the next hour, almost without realising it, I concentrated on the left half of the grid. I made a conscious effort about this time, with about twenty (20) clues solved, to move to the bottom right and work my way up, on the basis that there were more answers going in reverse. 60ac CONNELLY (rev) and 27dn CORNELIANS (rev) started me off.

Slowly the grid neared completion. It didn’t help that I misjudged the omitted letter at 49dn Ladies maybe long delayed boarding ship: I removed the E from SLATES to give LASTS rather than the T to give LASES. As a result, I thought the omitted letters spelt out something ending in …EOR rather than …TOR. Other parts of the message soon made it clear that we were looking for Nine film titles and their Director. Four (4) nanoseconds later, and I was writing HITCHCOCK, one of my cinema icons, in the isolated squares on the main diagonal. The title is a reference to his many brief cameo appearances in his films.

Finally 9 (nine) letters needed changing, and there are nine letters in ‘Hitchcock’, so it was pretty obvious that the nine film titles would intersect the directors name. I looked for PSYCHO, one of my favourite films, and was a bit worried when I couldn’t place it horizontally or vertically in the grid. In fact it was seeing BLACKM… that put me on track for finding the nine titles all running in a SW-NE direction through HITCHCOCK. In order, left to right, they were:

Psycho      Marnie      Topaz      Suspicion      To Catch a Thief      Torn Curtain      I Confess      Rebecca      Blackmail     

I suppose Schadenfreude decided that the nine letters needed changing in order to disguise the titles somewhat, but in the process he must have made the grid ten times more difficult for himself given the requirement to make new words in the process. Phenominal! Just look at how many squares contribute to the theme!

Listener 4166 My EntryI must admit that I finished the endgame before I had solved all the clues. For example, 33ac Offence over female’s religious drawing SINOPIA only became apparent once I had the P of PSYCHO to reveal PIANOS as the entry at that number. Other notable clues included:

21ac PONGO A soldier on leave
PON (on, ie ‘upon’) GO (leave)
22ac SNATHE A handle has what function when turning?
S (has) + [EH (what!) TAN (function)] reversed
37ac SCUPPER Sink a hole
2 (two) meanings
16dn SUBTEND Extend under ground but within singular region
BUT (anag, ie ‘ground’) in S (singular) END (region); ‘extend under’ is the definition
32dn OVERLORDS Supremos of Vatican City pursued by irregular soldier run out of Italy
O (of) V (Vatican City) + anag of [SOLDIER R (run) – I (Italy)]
49dn SLATES Ladies maybe long delayed boarding ship
LATE (long delayed) in SS (ship); ‘ladies’ are a type of slate

Another tour de force from Schadenfreude, a tribute from one master to another.

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