Listen With Others

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Listener No 4519: X by Schadenfreude

Posted by Dave Hennings on 28 Sep 2018

We’ve already had one Schadenfreude puzzle this year. Back in January there were the prime numbered presidents. My first thoughts with one of his puzzles is whether it’s going to be an easy-ish one or a bit more tricky-ish. I’m not giving too much away to say that it was middle-of-the-road-ish.

An extra word appeared in every clue. Those sharing one letter in common with their answer gave X using those letters. The others, using second and penultimate letters, gave what needed changing and what was to be revealed. The four unclued entries one cell in from the perimeter would provide the definition of Y which would also help to give Z.

All this turned out to be good fun, and the surface readings of the clues were amusing, given some entertaining extra words. We had a plucky European, an upright catholic, a diffident Italian, a swarthy earl, a rich sweetheart and, much to Shirley’s delight I’m sure, a boozy officer!

The definition of Y was DECLINED THE OPTION OF OPENING THE BETTING. The single letters provided by the clues gave cruciverbal and what needed changing and the resultant revelation was Five letters and Two word phrase in which Zs exist. The form the definition of Y traced was obviously a square, and I was lucky to guess at “checked” for Y since I hadn’t come across that meaning before.

It didn’t take long to see CROSSW in column 4 and thus change three letters to give CROSSWORD. I now wondered whether the “in which Zs exist” might be deviously guiding us towards PUZZLE as the second word, but, given that we could only change two more letters, it soon became clear that PUZZLE was impossible. GRID, however, was possible in row 10 and a crossword grid certainly, in the UK at least, has checked squares.

Thanks to Schadenfreude for another imaginative crossword showing how almost anything can become cruciverbal fodder.


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