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Superpower by Shenanigans

Posted by shirleycurran on 21 Dec 2018

A 13 X 14 blank grid was interesting and, in response to the other Numpty’s initial consternation, I blandly commented,’No problem, I can manage the cartes blanches’. Oh dear no – not only were the clues in alphabetical order, but also there was a misprint in each of them – no, not just in the definition or word-play but anywhere in the clue. ‘Ah well, the corrections will spell out an extract from a source’. Oh dear no! We have to solve the lot, fill this yawning blank hole of a grid and read those corrections in normal clue order. Someone is taking the Mickey. Who is this Shenanigans? (Well, I suspect it is some familiar wolf hiding in sheep’s clothing – the quality of the clues suggests that.) We ask ourselves why she/he didn’t go the whole hog and insist we enter all the words jumbled after applying a PlayFair code or just leave the grid out altogether and suggest we devise it ourselves.

Of course I check her/his right to join the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit and she/he leaves little doubt. We have a real Oenomaniac here’Goddess in Robe at Bacchic rite at first skips (5)’. We, in a Bacchic frenzy, anagram ROBE AT, removing Bite at first and enter ERATO. Not satisfied with a Bacchic rite, our Shenanigans must now ‘Lust after wine I saw in the country (7)’. We decide that has to be saY for saW (which Chambers tells me is dialect usage) and put I GO after TENT which is ‘a deep-red Spanish wine’ or so Chambers tells me. ‘Cheers, Shenanigans! see you at the bar in York’

There isn’t much cheer here. We solve hard and I am through my second G and T before attempting a grid fill, with a mere thirty clues solved – and failing – not long before midnight. Yes, we have that fairly generous anagram, ‘Bars with Poles may work to broadcast TV literacy with a bit of translation superimposed (12)’. More drinking, out with Polish friends this time? No, we realize this is about magnets that may work ‘So’. We anagram LITERACY TV T(translation) and have ATTRACTIVELY which looks as though it might go down the left hand side of the grid, intersecting with VYING. ‘Fifteen words in a clue’ comments the other Numpty, ‘I thought there was a limit of twelve.’ Shenanigans has beaten the record with ‘Remedy for clot, Appleby at the outset put a favourable slant on curbing independent with Chancellor’s No 11 (7)’ Eighteen words for a seven-letter answer! Of course, he/she has me hooked as all those switchings of 10 and 11 and references to Sir Humphrey Appleby convince me that our theme is Yes Minister’. Of course, later I realise how clever this interchanging of letters and digits was – it makes sense in the endgame – but for now it is a fine red herring. For that clue all we need is A(Appleby) with SPIN round I with the tenth (not 11th) letter of Chancellor – R, giving ASPIRIN. Take one and sleep on it.

Things improve enormously in the morning and soon we have a mere eight missing words. It’s clear that those two 8-letter across solutions must be linked with two of the 5-letter ones and intersect with ATTRACTIVELY and PYROTECHNIST. From here on it is tremendous fun as the filling of the grid produces our missing PALATAL, LUGGAGE, AGA SAGA, CHINWAG and RATOON. Even better, GOOGOLPLEX appears, and what we have to highlight is that lovely second TEN to the power of GOOGOL and the 10 10 100 above it.

Yes, I read the misprints in normal clue order and, rather late, they told me that I was dealing with 1 FOLLOWED BY A GOOGOL OF ZEROS, 10 TO THE POWER OF A GOOGOL. (One clever-doggy solving friend told me that the title and the Z and all those Os in the corrected misprints suggested to him what would go down the centre of the grid from fairly early on – not so for us.) I worked my way through the first letters of clues, too, expecting to find the name of that child who invented the term GOOGOL but it was not to be. What did I find? CHAMBERS, of course! About eight hours of solving for me. Thank you Shenanigans, whoever you are, what a fine debut – if it is one!



One Response to “Superpower by Shenanigans”

  1. By your co-blogger Dave according to the Listener web site. Very enjoyable puzzle, I too spent ages cold-solving those slippery clues but a satisfying endgame.

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