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A Dreadful Puzzle by Dysart

Posted by shirleycurran on 16 March 2018

Colour-coded jumbles and clues where extra words appeared.

Well the title says it all doesn’t it? No, seriously, we were smiling about the fact that Dysart was possibly attempting to foretell solvers’ reactions and we failed to pay enough attention to that title which could have said it all! Instead, we noted that there were going to be nine jumbles ‘mostly resulting in non-words’ (ah, joy, jumbles!) and eight other clues containing an extra word to which we had to add a ninth word, appearing in the grid, that we would highlight. Nine and nine! We had to change one letter in the final grid producing something thematic and find a cartoon character, eight letters in a straight line (POAT HARE? No – more about that little fellow later!)

We got down to our solve – well, after I had confirmed Dysart’s continued membership of the Listener Setters’ Toping Club: he didn’t leave much doubt did he? ‘Tipple from drink before travelling west (5)’ gave PINTA with the A (before) moving west in the clue to give PAINT. What has that to do with ‘tipple’? I was amazed to find that it is slang for tipple! A few clues further down we find ‘Spirits occasionally abandoned by judge in lodgings (4)’ There are not many J words in Chambers (Jack, Japan, Judge, Joint, Journal, Justice, Joule …) and a spirit that begins with J in JINN so we slotted INNS in without a second thought – well, we did have a second thought and allocated ‘occasionally’ to our list of extra words, giving ourselves trouble later when we were trying to work out what it was doing there. One has to be so careful: Chambers,of course, explains that JINNS in the plural is non-standard use. However, with that tipple, pinta, paint and spirits, I think Dysart keeps his place at the bar. Cheers!

Solving proceeded steadily with these enjoyable clues and when DISTANTLY, OTTO and GIARDIA joined the PAINT in that right hand corner, we were able to establish that ON TAP (so Dysart is mixing the beer in!) was going to be one of the jumbles, and, what is more it resolved itself to a real word, PANTO, when AORTIC almost completed the corner. We were rather surprised when BEAR ‘Have to suffer ill-mannered chap (4)’ seemed to have a triple definition – luckily, we postponed our reflections about that word to the end – when it became so useful!

We had an almost full grid with just HORNITO to slot in down the centre and the intriguing situation of two unches that had to somehow have different letters in them, the N and the T. One of them (or both) were clearly going to be thematic and, sure enough, ANDY CAPP appeared and gave us the cartoon character in eight letters. Google time – What is it all about? More than eight extra words were on our list: that ‘occasionally’ and work, everything, crowds, night, cats, birds, light, heights and laird (sorry – how stupid of me not to realize that was a Scottish indicator – it led me on a wild goose chase about an Elizabeth Laird who wrote about Ethiopian folk tales. How do solvers manage without Google?)

The head scratching continued for far too long before the p.d.m. If we had just read those jumbles out loud, all would have been clear far earlier. There was a muttering about the title – how is it full of dread? AH, FEAR! The other Numpty was soon looking up OCHLOPHBIA, fear of crowds, AILUROPHOBIA, fear of cats, ALGOPHOBIA, fear of pain, ORNITHOPHOBIA, fear of birds, HYPSOPHOBIA, fear of heights, PANTOPHOBIA, fear of everything, PHENGOPHOBIA, fear of daylight and NICTOPHOBIA, fear of night. With a little research, we found that Andy Capp suffered from ERGOPHOBIA, fear of work. So that triple-clued BEAR had to become FEAR and all that was left to do was highlight the one phobia that didn’t have a corresponding word in the clues, algophobia, fear of PAIN. What a fine finish. Thank you Dysart.

That elusive hare? I received grief-stricken comments about the possibility that he was dead and gone but, in fact, no need to worry, he really does seem to be on his hols (postcard arrived from the COMOROS, see 26d, where he is sunning himself on the beach, not suffering from MARAPHOBIA, see 17ac or LEPORIDAPHOBIA) and he’ll be back, one of these days in a straight line of four letters.

 

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