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Posts Tagged ‘Schadenfreude’

Listener No 4519: X by Schadenfreude

Posted by Dave Hennings on 28 September 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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‘Quiet Guests’ by Schadenfreude

Posted by Encota on 26 January 2018

Welcome to the first solution & comments to a 2018 Listener Crossword …

A super puzzle to start 2018 with – many thanks Schadenfreude!  As ever with puzzles from one of the very best, there was some clue accuracy that I can only sit back and admire.  A couple of examples:

A group of [micro-organisms] put in to stop antibody (6)

Here I particularly liked the use of ‘group of‘ to define G, as in G8 = Group of 8 etc.  So this parsed as A G in REIN (stop) to give REAGIN.  [Note: the word in square brackets was removed before solving as per the puzzle’s Preamble]

Pompous [Quaker] possesses at least two-thirds of an acre (6)

It was the definition here – for BIGHAS – that I liked.  BIGHA is defined in Chambers as having quite a wide range of different areas.  The smallest of them is one third of an acre, so BIGHAS – i.e. presumably at least two of them – must be at least two-thirds of an acre.  Delightful.

2018-01-07 14.34.54

In the one cell that featured the George’s Bush, both 41 and 43 had to be ‘entered in thematic order’.  In practice that only appears to require a comma after the 41 to indicate their order – I hope I am not missing something here!

And the Title?  Quiet Guests = P + RESIDENTS.  Now if only I had spotted that before finishing the whole puzzle.  D’oh!

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

PS If one was to create a Scoring System for Thematic Puzzles, what might you use to build up the Total score?  I’m currently experimenting with six, each marked out of 10:
Grid; Theme; PDM; Gimmick; Clues; Fun.  Do any of you already do similar?  If yes, I’d be grateful if you’d share with me via the Comments on this site.

Two or three of us compared notes at The Magpie party (many thanks Mark and friends!) very recently and were using very similar.  Thanks to Artix for suggesting the last one – I had been using ‘Overall’ – but that’s far more direct and Fun was exactly what I meant!

I’m not yet brave enough to share my marks per puzzle here – perhaps I’ll start later in the year once it’s clearer that these dimensions are working!

 

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Listener No 4484: Quiet Guests by Schadenfreude

Posted by Dave Hennings on 26 January 2018

The last puzzle of 2017 was very gentle fare from Jago. Would the first of 2018 likely to be the same? Unlikely I thought, being from the mighty pen of Schadenfreude. It was exactly a year (well, 364 days) since his last puzzle based on the logo and motto of The Times newspaper, “Honi soit…” etc. This week saw his 25th Listener, the first being way back in 1998, with its theme of Arnold Bennett’s Five Towns based on Stoke-on-Trent.

Here we had some cells being “crowded” with more than one letter. (Was this going to be based on another busy metropolis?) Entries without any such crowding would lead us to what would need to replace these scrunched words.

Progress on this puzzle was fairly slow, despite getting off the mark with 12ac ENCALMS which was two letters too long for its entry. If I had managed to get 13dn ADAMITE for Naturist worried about Dutch friend (5) the theme might have come together much more quickly, although I might well have wondered if we were dealing with Joy Adams, with Attenborough, Bellamy, etc to follow.

It was, in fact, well over an hour into this puzzle before I got 10dn Rope in leader of gang no longer gambling (4) giving JEFFING. I then saw the possibility of JEFFERSON and, with half of HARRISON and JOHNSON elsewhere in the grid, the theme of US Presidents became apparent.

Meanwhile, the message spelt out by the initial letters of the non-scrunched entries added to the initial letters of their clues seemed to be spelling out sequence together with incumbent or numerical order.

The preamble stated that there was one cell that did double duty. Now I knew that there were at least two Jeffersons, but there had also been two Bushes where 6dn and 17ac intersected. I was somewhat worried by this, and even more so when I scanned List of US Presidents and found that there had also been two Adamses, two Johnsons, two Harrisons and two Roosevelts. There was also that pesky blighter Grover Cleveland whose two terms as president screwed all the numbering up since each term gave him a separate number in the sequence. Thus Obama was the 44th President but only the 43rd person to hold that office. (I can’t bring myself to mention the current incumbent!)

Eventually, all was made clear by the exact message spelt out: Sequence of prime numbers. Thus it was only ADAMS at 2, JOHNSON at 17 and HARRISON at 23 that were the prime Presidents. The two Bushes were the two whose presidencies both had prime numbers, 41 for George HW Bush and 43 for George W Bush. (Why do Americans have this penchant for giving their sons the same name as themselves, normally with Jr or II, III, IV, etc after their name?!)

Thanks, Schadenfreude. Not particularly gentle fare, but good fun and a great start to the year.
 

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Quiet Guests by Schadenfreude

Posted by shirleycurran on 26 January 2018

“First of the year – they’ll have given us a gentle romp to encourage as many solvers as possible.” Blithely, I downloaded … Schadenfreude! Oh no! Sure to be impeccably set and rich in theme and fulfilling but also sure to keep us solving for some time (and it was almost midnight when we finished!) When we had solved barely three clues after almost an hour of solving, I was saying “There goes our hope of a 2018 ‘all correct’!” Fortunately things speeded up once we had had that lovely penny-drop moment and the theme emerged (as, of course, it should have done when we saw those P RESIDENTS of the title).

Yes, I had checked Schadenfreude’s continued right to membership of the Listener Setters’ Tipplers Outfit and his clues left me in no doubt. ‘Tipsy cake for Irish broadcaster (5)’ gave TO RTE . Soon after that came ‘Stop and rob drunken sailor (5)’ which gave us HIGH JACK (producing the JACK of JACKSON – but this was our very last solution, when we had worked our way through the SEQUENCE OF PRIME NUMBERS to find fourteen US Presidents and entered all the others).

There was an entire keg produced by ‘Keg Charlie found in Spanish Harlem café perhaps (7)’ C in BARRIO giving BARRICO, so ‘Cheers, Schadenfreude, hope to see you in Paris.

It was when we spotted that INRUSH (‘Influx ruins refurbished hotel’ – RUINS* + H) produced three extra letters USH, that coincided with the B or BURNING (‘Ardent poet out of sun on northern meadow’ BURNS less S on ING) giving BUSH, that we realized that our quiet guests were to be P RESIDENTS. At first we felt that there were rather a lot of presidents. Wiki tells me that there are 45 (though I imagine this crossword was submitted before the arrival of Mr Trump). Fortunately that message about prime numbers was emerging and, in a second p.d.m. we understood that Schadenfreude, with typical aplomb, had limited the selection to fourteen and that we needed to insert their numbers in the place of those names.

From then on, we were almost back-solving. Jefferson had to appear so we needed a word with JEFF in it and JEFFING (no longer gambling) obliged at 10d, neatly tying in with BAR-PERSON at 7ac. and so on. We could only admire the skill with which those fourteen were fitted symmetrically into the grid (and, of course, when we spotted the symmetry, we knew where to look for our last few presidents) and those difficult names combined into subtle and tough clues. This was the work of a master. Many thanks to Schadenfreude.

Entombed hare

No, I am not going to mention Poat’s HARE – he was dead and buried last year and was curled up in a little hare tomb in the bottom right-hand corner of Schadenfreude’s grid (Thought you had sent him off on his holidays. Ed.)

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Listener No 4432: A Sign of The Times by Schadenfreude

Posted by Dave Hennings on 27 January 2017

One of the crossword world’s more prolific setter’s faced me this week. (For those of you who don’t know, he sets his EV puzzles under the pseudonym Oxymoron.) His last Listener was based on Buridan’s Ass with its carrot-chomping donkey (no 4363 Demolition).

listener-4432-animI don’t know whether maintaining the Crossword Database helped, but the first thing I noticed was that the The of The Times in the title had a capital T, so obviously referred to the newspaper. I’m sure there was a crossword way, way back that had The Times clock as its theme. That appears on the editorial page and reads half past four. Anyway, that hardly helped at this stage of the puzzle.

28 clues (out of 48) had an extra wordplay letter. In the remainder, the answer would not occupy all the cells and would need completing once the theme was discovered.

As expected, on my first pass through the clues I got precious few. (OK, OK… it was a multiple of 2!) I think I probably sped through them too quickly, as about half an hour later, EMPTIER and TRYP (for a 7-letter entry) plus TOPI and INURED meant that the top left corner was looking good. Musing on TRYP again, I found TRYPSIN shortly after it in Chambers, and the S would make INURED become INSURED. Moreover, in the top right, DIETERS could become DIMETERS. Meanwhile, the wordplay for 1ac, which was ENTREES was a mystery.

The top right was also developing well with MULSHES, STELA, MEDACCA and SCHOLAR, but the solve was far from speedy. The extra wordplay letters were also to no avail, being very sporadic… not to mention wrong for some clues! For example, 45ac Guarantees succeeded by being unconditional (7) I had as ENS + (s)URE + S rather than (p)URE.

Two clues that I only parsed when the grid was finished were that pesky 1ac Determined learner going over courses (7), being [b]ENT + SEER< and 2dn Nut in contact with navy fabric (5) for N + IN(t)O + N — I’d forgotten that n was another form of en, plus I thought the in contact with was given by ON. All in all, a bit of a pig’s ear!

It struck me that there was an awful lot of geography in the across clues, including Germany, Austria, Greece, Swaziland and Australia, plus, closer to home, Norfolk, Sussex and Barking.

listener-4432-my-entryEventually I had Both literal parts of coat of arms spelt out by the extra letters. With help from TRYPSIN and the likely SQUIDS at 6dn, I managed to find the required mottos fairly quickly and, on picking up the Saturday copy of The Times, there they were staring out at me from the top of the front page: HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE and DIEU ET MON DROIT. My only disappointment was that there was no Lion, Unicorn or Buckle in the grid.

Thanks for an enjoyable puzzle, Schadenfreude. As expected, this wasn’t an easy solve and took me the best part of three hours for the grid and another ten minutes to track down the highlighting.
 

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