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Listener No. 4363: Demolition by Schadenfreude

Posted by Dave Hennings on 2 October 2015

It was Schadenfreude week again. Last year we had two: 4291, Maxon (snooker) and 4318, Wordplay (alternatives). I suspect this will be the one and only for this year. Unlike last week, when we were told how many misprints we were dealing with, here we were told that in “some” clues the wordplay omitted one letter of the answer, and these would put us on the right lines for correcting a fallacy.

Listener 43631ac Litter gone by end of week (4) was KAGO which I only got from the wordplay, and 1dn KESAR was easy to spot for the old emperor. 2dn Stuff mostly found in volcanic rock and sun stones (7) looked as though it could be ACRAMAS, although I’d never heard of it. This wasn’t surprising as it didn’t seem to exist as a word (ASHLARS would soon take its place, however).

11ac ESTRO and 18ac RAISES soon had the top left corner taking shape, followed by 3dn Flower dance doesn’t begin (5) for ORRIS and 13ac Gaps for some parts (6). For the latter, I stupidly entered SHARDS without a question mark beside the clue to indicate I hadn’t fully parsed the wordplay. This wasn’t surprising as the correct answer was SHERDS, with the R not given by the wordplay. Luckily I fixed this fairly early in my solving.

At this point, I assumed that a letter not given by the wordplay in one clue would not be given by the wordplay in a crossing entry. However, ORRIS at 3dn didn’t have a missing R where the missing R of SHERDS was. This wasn’t surprising either, as I was wrong in my assumption.

Of course, in typical Schadenfreude fashion, there were a couple of twists to this clueing. 8dn Contact advances (5) was LENDS, although the D missing from the wordplay Contact was unchecked. And at 12ac Unionist inside sheltered the local bird (7) was BLUE-EYE with the U omitted from the wordplay in 7dn, and the unchecked B omitted from the wordplay here — U (unionist) in LEE (sheltered) + YE (the, local).

The top of the grid was finished fairly quickly, but the rest took a bit longer, partly because I was unfamiliar with CAMANS (shinty sticks), PLEBE (first-year US naval cadet), PRAD (horse) and BYEND (subsidiary aim). All in all though, the clues were solid and straightforward.

On to the endgame, and BURIDAN’S ASS was spelt out by the letters omitted from the wordplay. This refers to an ass which dies of starvation because it cannot choose between two equally distant and equally desirable sources of food. This contrasts with the modern day Macdonald’s humans who, when faced with two equally desirable choices, just have both.

Listener 4363 My EntryAfter a bit of time looking at OAT in the bottom right and trying to find an ASS elsewhere, the CARROT in the top left quadrant soon enabled the DONKEY and other CARROT to be found. Replacing the first of these CARROTs with DONKEY was the only option to enable all entries in the final grid to be real words.

So many thanks to Schadenfreude for a fine puzzle and an entertaining theme.

2 Responses to “Listener No. 4363: Demolition by Schadenfreude”

  1. shirleycurran said

    Fabulous graphics, Dave. A step up on my donkey that looks like a stunned mullet.

  2. Thanks, Shirley. And whether stunned mullet or confused donkey, you made me chuckle.

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