Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

X by Schadenfreude

Posted by shirleycurran on 28 September 2018

The preamble gives us lots of information but we can make no early guesses about what X, Y and Z are going to be, though we see that we have a ten by ten square within our grid that is going to contain a definition that, together with its form will give us the two-word phrase (7,6) that we will write below the grid. It’s going to be a long definition – 36 letters – and it does appear in Chambers.

Nothing to do but solve! Well, yes, of course I confirm that Schadenfreude still qualifies for entry to the Listener Oenophile Club and find ‘Head of Ulster avoided getting drunk (5)’ I work backwards from  ONION for that and use O’ + NI + ON, so ‘avoided’ has to be the helpful extra word and that shares and O and an I with ONION, so gives me a second and a penultimate letter VE.  (and he didn’t avoid ‘getting drunk’ so we are well into the alcohol already. Burgundy appears next, ‘Ham-fisted islander loses a thousand somewhere in Burgundy (5)’ We live just south of Burgundy and get fine wines. Schadenfreude’s doing fine now! We take a thousand (K) from CLUNKY and get CLUNY. (and that gives us the SE of ‘islander’ as part of our instructive message). He’s not finished with the alcohol yet! ‘Reprehensible soldiers close to midnight occupying boozy officer’s cellars (12)’. We put BASE MEN and (midnigh)T into SUBS giving SUBBASEMENTS, happily producing one of those generous 12-letter solutions, and say ‘Cheers!’ to Schadenfreude down in those wine cellars, even if we had to extract ‘boozy’ from the clue, giving a B.

Schadenfreude gave us a fine set of clues (Well, he would, wouldn’t he?) and with the help of TEA we soon had the grid surrounded by AREOSYSTYLES, AFFECTATIONS and STEVENGRAPHS (I can’t see myself introducing some of those into dinner table conversation!) and we were able to add a few letters to those that were appearing and work out that X was CRUCIVERBAL.  The instructions about what we must change after filling the grid, and ‘what that will reveal’ took a little longer, partly because of that intriguing HZ SE XI ST that appeared in the last four clues – some form of p.c. statement? No, it turned out to be FIVE LETTERS that had to be changed, and TWO WORD PHRASE IN WHICH Zs EXIST.

A full grid and a bit of a head-scratcher trying to make sense of the letters we had in that 10 X 10 square – there was a bit of Numpty muttering before we learned that CHECKED in Chambers, gives DECLINED THE OPTION OF OPENING THE BETTING. What was left to do? Find that two-word phrase in the grid that was ‘where checked squares exist’ but the phrase had not to use any checked squares. Clever word play! That, of course, led me to those unchecked letters, reading down the grid and across – CROSSWORD GRID. All fitting together thematically. Thank you Schadenfreude.

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