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Listener 4278: Generalisation by Samuel

Posted by Dave Hennings on 14 February 2014

A normal sized grid this week (7.5cm × 9cm), but containing an awful lot of squares (14×17). Still, Samuel tells us that there are some unused cells, and the number of clues isn’t too high (45), although about half of them contain a misprint in the definition.

Oh… and it’s a carte blanche which would end up with an asymmetric grid pattern. It’s not often we get that; I think a Xanthippe puzzle back in November 2010 was the last.

Listener 4278I started on the clues, and here we had some that consisted of wordplay only and gave a foreign word which had to be translated into English (I hope) before entry in the grid. Trust Samuel to be innovative! I was pleased to get 1 CAMPHOR, 3 TALAK, 4 GNARL and 5 SORB very quickly. (I’m assuming that, like me, you numbered the clues before you started on the puzzle.) I putt CAMPHOR in the top left-hand corner with fingers crossed, and, assuming my unsolved 2 would go next to it, put TALAK beneath the AMPHO.

The next answers came fairly swiftly, although there was a bit of a hiatus after 15 BINOCLE before I got 29 HARE KRISHNAS. It looked like I was in luck and it started with the HA in campHor/talAk so the break between acrosses and downs was round about clue 25. A handful more, and I was finished with my first pass through the clues. A nice haul this week.

No words in a foreign language yet, but the correct versions of misprints looked as though it might begin Un or Une. So we were looking for someone French… or Canadian… or Belgian — perhaps we were back in Poirot territory.

I went back to 2 Irish girl’s trouble with good-looker, cutting face? (6), which I had thought might be AILEEN, but couldn’t see why. A bit more research in my old Chambers’s Christian names, and AILISH was found (AIL + [D]ISH). I also got 26 At the start, rower’s taken in by revolutionary clip-on oar (7) PILCORN, which had ‘oar’ for ‘oat’ and was a fairly straightforward anagram of R[OWER] CLIP-ON which could drop down from camPhor. However, this meant that AILISH went in row 2 and TALAK got relegated to row 3.

It looked as though words might be going diagonally, NW-SE. However, 11 CAVALRIES was sneaking back into the left-hand half of the grid. Moreover, it overflowed the left edge of my grid, so the whole thing had to be moved one square to the right. At the very end, 23 KOTO would mean that I had to move everything a second time.

Eventually, I got the correct versions of misprints from most of the first three words: Une nation de boutiquiers. Although I didn’t know (or had forgotten) the French for shopkeeper, I had certainly heard of Napoleon’s assertion that “England is a nation of shopkeepers”. Mind you, the ODQ also has it as a proverb, although it’s not one that I’ve ever had cause to trot out!

And thus, the wordplay-only clues led to the French words for various shopkeepers, entered in the grid as their English equivalents: 20 DRAPIER/DRAPER, 22 LIBRAIRE/BOOKSELLER, 28 PAPETIER/STATIONER, 30 FLEURISTE/FLORIST, 31 EPICIER/GROCER, 38 MODISTE/MILLINER, 40 CORDONNIER/COBBLER and 41 BOULANGER/BAKER.

The used part of the grid was in the shape of England, and it just remained for me to find the two extra shopkeepers that separated England from Wales and Scotland. BARBER was an easy find, but it took a couple of minutes to see TAILOR diagonally at the top of the grid.

Listener 4278 My EntryAs I blacked out the unused cells, I was surprised that Samuel hadn’t used his favourite phrase and said that they should be shaded “in an appropriate colour”! Despite this major oversight, it was great fun as usual: a simple phrase transformed into a delightful puzzle. As I popped my entry in the post, I wondered who had helped Samuel with his French translations. Et où est le vin?
 

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