A sign of The Times by Schadenfreude
Posted by shirleycurran on 27 January 2017
The title gave everything away didn’t it! The capitalisation of The told us that we were dealing with some newspaper of other that a number of us subscribe to just to get the Listener crossword and others buy only on a Saturday. Did we spot that? No! But we did see the name Schadenfreude. He challenges us once a month in Cam and gave us a C grade crossword in the current Magpie (say no more – it is still current but you can subscribe to the Magpie if you don’t already do so and receive six more Listener-style crosswords each month ranging from some that are easier A standard and some like the December set that even went to E level).
We didn’t spot that capitalised The as I was too busy scanning the clues for a rather paltry confirmation that Schadenfreude earns his access ticket ror re-entry to the setters’ tippling club. ‘Wine of poor quality given by peasant farmers (5)’ We needed to check that MIR[T]IN was Japanese wine (and maybe not of such ‘tin’ or poor quality) before reading on to find STEANES, ‘Antique earthenware containers as seen at Barking (7)’ ‘Barking’ was an interesting anagram indicator that gave us AS SEEN [A]T* with an A to spare. Sadly those STEANES turned out to be EMPTIER, ‘He removes politician participating in English test (7)’ The English test was an E TRIER and that involved the MP.
Schadenfreude ended his very restrained alcoholic clues with ‘Wee amount consumed after tea in auditorium (5)’ and we opted for T + ATE for that, giving us TATE with a space which we later filled with an I creating a TATIE and adding to Schadenfreude’s vegetables (Membranous outgrowth invading pop’s vegetables (7)’ ALA in SHOTS = SHALOTS and hint of cocaine ‘More than one faster discreet profligate short of cocaine (7)’ – another intriguing anagram indicator in ‘profligate’ that produced DIETERS from ‘discreet, with an extra C). Not much alcohol but a modest place at the bar reserved for Schadenfreude. Cheers!
Fitting those solutions and SUIDS, MULSHES, ISMS and CURT into our grid, intersecting with ARCH, SMEATH and STELA, produced very helpful spaces that crossword compiler obligingly completed suggesting QUI MAL Y P… (and gave me MARCH so that I was convinced that at last the HARE was about to leap into the grid but, again, it was not to be! Some rather quaintly named SUIDS or pigs and those ANOURA – amphibians, but no HARE) That was all we needed. Suspecting that a star setter like Schadenfreude was going to produce symmetry, we were able to fit in HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE respecting more or less the formatting of the original. (No, surely I am not advertising The Times!)
Of course, DIEU ET MON DROIT approximately where it ought to be, so all that remained for us to do was solve the wordplay of a couple of solutions that had gone into the grid without our really understanding them. NINON was clearly the answer to ‘Nut in contact with navy fabric (5)’ but what had that ‘Nut’ to do with anything? A friend has explained that NUT = EN which = the letter N, + IN[T]O + N = NINON. That using NUT for EN then going to the letter seems to be a double leap for me but sobeit. We were puzzled by ENTREES too but the extra message (which we completed by back-solving) needed an extra B so that had to be [B]ENT + REES<. There was some challenging cluing here!
As I said, we completed the message BOTH LITERAL PARTS OF COAT OF ARMS by working backwards after our full grid had required the two Latin mottoes. It was a challenging and enjoyable first solve of the year. Thanks to Schadenfreude.