Listener 4237: Restitution by Schadenfreude (or The Curse of Tippecanoe)
Posted by Dave Hennings on 3 May 2013
*Sigh*! We’re back to having a list of clues in alphabetical order but no clue numbers. Ron’s X and Y must have been a slip. Never mind … it’s a Schadenfreude puzzle, so all is forgiven, and I numbered the clues myself.
We were told that there would be four blank entries after the grid had been filled, and I guessed that they would be in the first/last row/column. But, then again, I was probably wrong. It didn’t affect the first stage of solving, so off I went.
As with most jigsaw puzzles, solving the long ones first might help the positioning. Here we had two 7-letter answers and two 8-letter ones. This was at odds with the grid where there were eight 7-letter and four 8-letter entries. The only one that I got at first glance was 5 with its lovely surface reading Black poodle mongrel produced a howling hound (7) giving BLOOPED with ‘hound’ being the misprint for ‘sound’.
Having failed on the long entries, I went back to clue 1 and got ASH, followed by 3 BEAM and 4 Liner heading for Boston foundered somewhere about 300 miles NE of Maine (6). Although it was an easy clue, an anagram of LINER + B with ‘Maine’ having replaced ‘Mainz’, it was a delight to solve. I also loved 6 British artist, breast lover (3) with its misprint of ‘lover’ for ‘cover’.
15 minutes later and I had EDUCE, EERIER, ELANCE, EMOTED and ERGO. I wondered whether the vast amount of Es would have any particular relevance, or whether it was just going to make it difficult to fit the entries into the grid. I was also worried that, with the clues getting solved so quickly, the endgame might be a brute to make up for this.
After about two-thirds of the clues had been solved, I finally got the 8-letter answers. Sitting between ASH and BEAM was BADGERED (‘Did bother’ not ‘Did bather’). 30 was Boundaries surrounding area in at least twelve lines (8). Seeing ‘at least’ in a clue often means that what follows is twice what you’re looking for; in this case, one sixaine is six lines (misprinted as ‘links’), so two or more SIXAINES must be at least twelve lines.
This enabled me to position the clues I had in the grid and finish off the final few. These included 29 Rats are at the centre in separate sections (6) and 35 Sailor’s back from country river (4). Obviously this week I had a problem with indicators of particular letters, specifically ‘are at the centre’ for R to give 29 SHREDS (R in SHED + S) and ‘Sailor’s back’ also for R to give 35 URAL (RURAL – R).
Unfortunately, the definition in the unmisprinted 12 Jody’s name to remain attached to Virginia’s railroad (5) has, even now, totally escaped me. EL (for Virginia’s, ie US, railroad) + LIE (to remain) gives ELLIE, but where does Jody come in?
And so, with the puzzle complete, I had the correct letters for the misprints giving:
C Z O L G O • • S Z G U • I T E A U B O O T H O S • • • • W A L • • • D
Well, the first few letters looked as though I’d made a terrible mistake, but luckily the last few relieved me as John Wilkes BOOTH and Lee Harvey OSWALD revealed themselves. They were the assassins of Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy, who could obligingly fit into the top of the last column and bottom of the first giving new words in the intersecting across entries. It needed Google to tell me that Charles GUITEAU killed James GARFIELD and Leon CZOLGOSZ assassinated William MCKINLEY, the two presidents slotting themselves nicely into the top and bottom rows respectively giving new words in the intersecting down entries. Oswald is the assassin whose guilt is still unproven.
Finally the instruction in the preamble had to be decoded and followed. The code was:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
C Z O L G O S Z G U I T E A U B O O T H O S W A L D
As can be seen, decoding the instruction wasn’t quite straightforward since several encoded letters could come from different letters of the alphabet: thus, O is the code for C, F, Q, R, U and A for N, X. However, it didn’t take long to come up with:
Use blue shading for most recent and only Democrat victim
This was KENNEDY in the last column, blue being the political colour for the Demmocrats, red being for the Republicans.
My subtitle The Curse of Tippecanoe refers the to death in office (by fair means or foul) of Presidents elected or re-elected in years divisible by twenty. This lasted from Harrison, elected in 1840, through to Kennedy, elected in 1960. Ronald Reagan brought the curse to an end, although both he and George Bush II survived assassination attempts.
Thanks to Schadenfreude for another entertaining puzzle; no brutal endgame as I had dreaded, but enjoyable and informative nonetheless.