Listen With Others

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Jean’s Stuff by Schadenfreude

Posted by shirleycurran on 11 October 2019

Sad indeed to see that message in italics at the head of the preamble. We’ve grown used to solving very fair and imaginative Schadenfreude crosswords over the years and this one was no exception. One friend tells me that the title suggested the theme to him straight away but we had decided that KURGAN intersected with PTOLEMAIC producing KUOLEMA as clashing letters before we had a hint of what was to follow. Even then, I anagrammed those unfamiliar letters and produced an eye illness LEUKOMA before reading the preamble more carefully ‘The clashing letters specify whole thematic items exactly’. What a feat to produce words whose elements could be extracted and combined to give eleven of Sibelius’ works!

We had been attempting to justify FINN (for Mika Häkkinen) at 1d but now realised that he is a FINLANDER and that we can combine the FINLAN with the DIA of DIABOLO to give us FINLANDIA. KARELIA had to be there and we found it in the KAR of SIRKAR and the ELIA of TRISKELIA. I had muttered about the non-symmetrical grid but was now astonished tha Schadenfreude had managed to fit so much into a grid at all.

We needed Wiki to give us TAPIOLA, EVERYMAN, ODLAN, SPRING SONG, THE BARD, SWAN WHITE and SNOFRID and had now understood that we had to replace those titles with OPUS NUMBERS but we needed Wiki again to produce those, and were puzzled about three cases where ‘a secondary system must be used for the replacements’ until we grasped that a secondary JS system was used to identify nos 113, KUOLEMA, 115, KARELIA, and 189, SWAN WHITE.

I thought this was a delightful compilation and wish Schadenfreude could be with us to celebrate its appearance. Of course he was a first class Listener oenophile and his clues started and ended with libations, ‘Top sailor overcome by alcohol got stripped (5)’ gave us DIOL around AB and (g)O(t) = DIABOLO for the top, and ‘Junior officers getting drunk finally hearing Wren’s quiet call (4)’ produced SUBS + ON + (hearin)G + SUBSONG. We found coopers, sponges, Greek container for liquid, and a gin in the clues too, so let’s raise our glasses with a grateful toast to Schadenfreude.

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2 Responses to “Jean’s Stuff by Schadenfreude”

  1. David Thomson said

    I enjoyed this one but with a sort of Freudeschaden I suppose as the last in the line from one of our greatest setters. His CAM series were always something to look forward to. The theme came out very quickly with FINLANDIA which made reverse-solving the other opera pretty straightforward. My only niggle is that it absolutely depended on using Wikipedia (my knowledge of Sibelius’ back catalogue is pretty weak) and so rather crossed the line about solving not having to rely on this. But it does seem a line that is being rather regularly crossed now. One consequence is that since Wiki is not a solid reference (in a number of ways) there is also a breach of Ximenean principles which to my mind require precision on both sides of its “equation” so that the solution is unambiguous.
    PS I’m posting this partly to see if the comments facility on LWO is a place where discussion is likely to be generated. So do discuss!

  2. Andrew Shields said

    To maintain any pretence that puzzles should be soluble without online assistance just seems crazy now. Electronic aids have revolutionised grid creation, so why hold to the idea that all solvers need are a shelf of reference books and a local library? I agree about the reliance on Wiki, too – I always try to find another source to verify anything I originally track down on that site.

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