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MAXON by Schadenfreude

Posted by shirleycurran on 16 May 2014

4291The first Numpty reaction on seeing ‘Schadenfreude’ must have been the same as many solvers’. Here is one of the masters: this is bound to be a challenge but an enjoyable one. The second reaction was one of surprise. What an unusual little grid – 14 x 7, and what a strange title in caps! Then we read the preamble and learned about clashes and a single letter that was coming out of each clue, leaving real words. Well, that is a device we quite enjoy as it is often fairly easy to spot those letters.

Indeed, long before we had solved all the clues, we had FORTY EIGHT as the ‘cumulative amount’, and should, perhaps, have spotted the theme earlier but I haven’t any notions about snooker, so it was a while before the penny dropped. There were not many clues (and I scanned them to see whether Schadenfreude was reserving his seat at the Listener drinks event but sadly found that, apart from an ‘overturned case’ there wasn’t much of a trace of alcohol in his clues, just a rather dull ‘extremely palatable soup’ “Midge[t] perhaps tucked into extremely palatable soup (4)” That later turned out to be some MIDGE URE that I have never heard of, a member of some pop group who went into the P and E of ‘palatable’ (the group, I gather). Well, when we had worked out that we had extra letters squeezed into our grid, the answer was clearly going to be PUREE but it was some time after my solution was in the mail, that a friend explained that one to me.

We solved for a long time and had almost all the ‘normal’ solutions in place , DAYBED, RUTILE, DECEASES, EIDERS, DIAN, SADAT, ALL DONE, REVERED – and we came to a complete halt. DOUBLURE, LINKUPS, PIECE and TEESSIDE were leaping out at us but they just wouldn’t fit, and the preamble seemed to be talking of clashes but —- Well into our third hour of solving, with not a lot to show for it, the light dawned. PINK! I said, and the other Numpty gave me a basic course in snooker that was quickly augmented by a visit to Wikipedia, which, obligingly provided the table I needed.

I learned that there would be nine red balls still on the table after the initial twelve pots and that all those coloured ones would still be there. So now I had all the information I needed to create clashes between the BROGS and what turned out to be DROWNER, in order to place my BROWN ball where it should be. SENGREEN clashed with the G of BROGS to give the GREEN. EYELID clashed with BOWED and so on. This became enjoyable as the colours went in and the astonishing construction became apparent. That RED CEDARS was a master touch (producing a couple of reds!)

It was fun to actually produce the missing words from the colours that still had to be found (the BLACK from SLACKENED and RABBIN and the last few REDS, and, of course,we had our ‘accomplishment so far’ spelled out as we worked. We were still some distance from the end of the first twelve pots when we guessed at THE FIRST TWELVE POTS. There seems to be some special snooker event happening at the CRUCIBLE as I write, so I wonder whether this crossword was date-related.

It was tough but enjoyable, anyway, so thank you, Schadenfreude.

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