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Right and Wrong by tnap

Posted by shirleycurran on 1 July 2016

Right and Wrong by tnap 001I’ve just hunted for tnap on Dave Hennings’ Crossword database and find that he/she/ they have no previous advanced thematic cryptic crosswords listed. I’m surprised and wonder whether this is another combination of experienced setters. It was a very masterful piece of setting for a newcomer. I struggled with the endgame as long as with the original solve and my worksheet demonstrates how difficult I found it to establish which letters should be read across and which down to get the desired result.

But that was a long way ahead. First I had to scan the clues to see whether tnap qualifies for admission to the Listener setters’ topers’ shower. Oh dear! Not a single alcoholic clue unless we read into ‘Hi/ad an inclination active in period of abstinence (5)’. That was the first clue I solved (giving A in LENT). I’ll have to give tnap the benefit of the doubt – see you at the bar somewhere in the north next March tnap. Cheers!

We read the preamble with misgivings. We were ‘usually’ not going to enter real words into the grid and six of the adapted words were going to have the adapted letter in an unchecked cell. The 35 clues leading to those answers were, in addition, going to have a misprint in the definition  with the correct letters giving us a quotation.  Well, we just crossed our fingers, hoping that it was going to be a familiar quotation ‘If music be the food of love, play on’ – or something like that.

But it was not to be.We solved laboriously, relieved to find some clues that led straight to their grid entry, and making a fair stab at spotting those corrected letters, but we had 35 solutions in the grid and an evident ‘HEAR ALL YE LEA…’ and still no light dawned. There was some tough cluing here: ‘Crawler, skedaddle off after mistress (7)’ was not made easier by the fact that we had S?O??O? in the grid and there were a few like that (LADYFLY with the S, O and O all disappearing in the endgame).It took what must have been the easiest clue of all and one of the last handful we solved ‘Lift to improve dair/ly, it’s in and out twice (4) – leading, of course, to tide – to suggest RIDDLE to us as the end of the quotation and finally reveal the quotation.

Right and Wrong by tnap 001Two men wrote a lexicon, Liddell and Scott;
Some parts were clever, but some parts were not.
Hear, all ye learned, and read me this riddle,
How the wrong part wrote Scott, and the right part wrote Liddell.

So the letters of LIDDELL were to replace the letters of SCOTT. Well, with delight, I saw that all the clashes that had appeared in our grid shared the letters of those two names so I breathed a sigh of relief after several hours of solving and decided to do that final ‘simple’ task – opting for the LIDDELL letters – in the morning.

Did I say ‘simple’? I highlighted all the LIDDELL letters and was all set to put my grid in an envelope and mail it to Mr Green when I was struck by misgivings. The preamble said ‘six of the replacements are not checked by a crossing entry’, and also that letter replacements must occur in 35 answers. I had a number of words where no ‘replacement’ had occurred: ARECANOT, CURABLE, DANCED, PRAESIDIUMS and so on, and yet those had been clues with misprints. Something was awry.

I spent the next couple of hours helplessly flailing, as it was obvious that I had to find six unchecked cells that could be switched to LIDDELL letters but I could see no rational way to identify which letter was to go into those. Yes, in hindsight, it was obvious, but when I finally managed to read LIDDELL five times, paired with SCOTT seven times, by reading the clashes in across clues, followed by those in down clues I was stupefied that tnap could have set this. Of course the six unchecked replacements appeared as a matter of course. Impressive, tnap! Thanks.

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