Posted by loonapick on June 23rd, 2007
Sorry for the delay in getting this blog ready, but I struggled with this puzzle, because I couldn’t work out the device required to fill the grid. As usual when I seek inspiration, Mr Biddlecombe came through for me.
He informed me that the title was weak – Mucking About certainly would imply more than just reversing some of the words, but it does go some way to identifying the quote which is formed by the initials of extra words in the clue, and he also pointed out that an important word (“old”) had mistakenly been removed from the clue for 26dn. This was enough to get me through the puzzle, although it took me a while, even then.
The completed puzzle, weak title notwithstanding, was a masterpiece of construction.
The quotation and author are – “It is pleasant to play the fool on occasion” (Horace), and in Latin “dulce est desipere in loco”, which appears in the middles of lines 5-7, if you have solved the crossword correctly.
The “capricious elements” in the preamble refer to the need to reverse the entry in half of the across answers (eg 31 across (EROS) becomes SORE and in down clues, one word in half of the clues needs to be reversed (eg “sprits” in 3dn becomes “strips”).
A final twist is that you have to identify the words which have to be inserted at 1, 34 and 35ac. In line with the theme, these are FESTE (entered backwards), YORICK and BOTTOM, all fools in Shakespeare plays (“Twelfth Night”, “Hamlet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” respectively).
This entry would go on for ages if I were to detail every clue. Rather, if you need any help understanding any clues, post a comment and I’ll reply.