Posted by loonapick on September 13th, 2007
Jigsaw puzzles like this add a new element to solving a barred crossword, because you have to solve a significant percentage of the clues before you can start placing them in the grid.
Olympic Jigsaw added another element of difficulty by making the answers to nine of the clues (indicated by italics) a word which was not entered into the grid. Instead you had to work out the theme and enter words relating to the theme.
The first thing to do was to solve these themed clues – thankfully, most of them were very straightforward.
The solutions to the italicised clues were as follows:
PHYSICIAN – (any chip is)*
Presented with this list, and the reference to Olympic in the title, it didn’t take much to work out that we were looking for examples of the above that could be linked to Gods (food of the gods, twilight of the gods etc). At first, I thought we were only looking for words linked to Greek mythology, but it soon became apparent that other mythologies were involved.
The next thing I worked out was the lengths of the missing words. By looking at the lengths of the answers to non-italicised answers, I could see that I needed 2 five-letter words and 3 six-letter words across and 2 seven-letter and 2 eight-letter words down.
I now had a list of nine “clues” to mythology-related words, and maybe 15 of the other answers ready to be put into the grid. The easiest place to start was the two eleven-letter words, as they would hopefully help with the placement of other words.
The eleven-letter words were:
CAR(RAGE)E-NAN – a food additive; and
COTTAGE PIES – (nice potato egs)* minus ON
I also had the two four-letter words going down (UNCI – hidden backwards in “atomIC NUmber” and AN(N)A), so it was obvious that UNCI and COTTAGE PIES went in in the south-west corner and ANNA and CARRAGEENAN in the north-east.
After placing in a few more words, I began to try to find out what the entries for the nine italicised clues were, and one or two came easily. Eventually, by working out more words from checked letters, I had everything bar the across word in the east side of the top line, but I did have ?IMA?A, and the only two letters left from the RUN V BIONIC MAN mentioned in the preamble were V and N, so I could work out VIMANA.
The nine God-related words were therefore:-
VIMANA – a Sanskrit word with several meanings, one of which is “CHARIOT of the gods”
PAIAN – one of many spellings of Paean, the Greek PHYSICIAN of the Gods, according to Homer
AMRITA – a DRINK of immortality in Hindu mythology
MODIUS – a divine HEADDRESS
ICHOR – the BLOOD of the Gods
MERCURY – the MESSENGER of the Roman gods
AMBROSIA – the FOOD of the Greek gods
RAGNAROK – in Norse mythology, the TWILIGHT of the Gods, a battle which would see the death of all gods
AILANTO – the TREE of heaven
One last thing needed to be done to complete the puzzle. In normal grid order, the clues’ initial letters gave a hint to a six-letter word which needed to be highlighted in the completed grid.
The hint was ASGARD LOCATION IN TWO THOUSAND AND TWELVE. My thinking on this was ASGARD is roughly the equivalent of OLYMPUS, and London will host the Olympics in 2012, so I looked for LONDON in the grid, and lo and behold! there it was – third column letters 4-9.
A very enjoyable solve, all in all!!