Posted by duncanshiell on January 2nd, 2009
The preamble stated that five words (one in a shortened form) of a song title would be spelled out in clue order, by single extra letters generated by wordplay in each of 25 clues. This title was stated to be the start of a nine-word quotation, the whole of which would be graphically illustrated in the completed diagram by its author. The remaining nine clues each contained a single extra word which, in various contexts, could stand before one of the nine thematic words in the perimeter, which was also thematically configured.
It is always difficult with puzzles like this to sort out the clues with extra wordplay letters from the clues with extra words as there is no pattern to the distribution other than the fact they are roughly in the ratio 3:1.
You will see from the table below that I am beaten by the wordplay in 8 down. I think it is a clue that has an extra letter in the wordplay and not a clue with an extra word as I have got a good match between the extra words and the nine thematic words in the perimeter. I suspect it will all be blindingly obvious when explained to me.
About three quarters of the way through the puzzle, I deduced the song title as I’M WALKING BACKWARDS FOR XMAS (CHRISTMAS). The centre column had looked like THE IRISH SEA for some time, but I was on the wrong track with the central row where I was looking at LIMERICK or AMERICA for the right hand end. It finally fell into place, of course, as I’M WALKING BACKWARDS FOR CHRISTMAS ACROSS THE IRISH SEA from a Goon Show script written by SPIKE MILLIGAN with the grid showing SPIKE MILLIGAN spelled backwards in the middle row across THE IRISH SEA in the central column.
The merry-go-round of words in the perimeter gave five words going anti-clockwise from the top right hand corner as CARD, BOX, PUDDING, ISLAND and CAROL. ;Four other words went clockwise from just below the top right hand corner as CACTUS, STOCKING, DAY and BEETLE.
All of these nine words can be preceded by CHRISTMAS and one of the nine extra words in the clues to give:
|Christmas card||Calling card|
|Christmas box||Pandora’s box|
|Christmas pudding||Cabinet pudding|
|Christmas Island||Traffic island|
|Christmas Carol||Oh Carol (a song by Neil Sedaka)|
|Christmas cactus||Strawberry cactus|
|Christmas stocking||Body stocking|
|Christmas Day||Lady Day|
|Christmas beetle||Stag beetle|
This was a fun puzzle that kept me occupied for an afternoon of solving. The penny took a while to drop. When I got ‘cabinet’ as an extra word I did begin to think about puddings, and ‘Pandora’ conjured up images of boxes. The link with the word Christmas didn’t come until carol and stocking became apparent.
Presumable ‘merry’ in the title linked to Christmas as well.
A Happy New Year to all our readers!
|No.||Letter||Word||Entry||Components of Wordplay|
|9||I||SNATH||Anagram of (become tricky) HAS IT containing (to grasp) N (new) = SNATH (handle, of a scythe)|
|10||stag||DOUC||DO (party) + UC (University College) = DOUC (monkey of SE Asia)|
|11||M||INNER||MINN (Minnesota, US State) + ER (hesitation) = INNER (part of a target)|
|12||W||SHOAL||Almost all, omitting last letter of (SHOW [display] + ALL [the whole]) = SHOAL (lot of fish)|
|13||A||SACK||ASK (enquire) containing (about) AC (account) = SACK (wine)|
|14||L||SIROC||Reverse of (back) CLOSE (nearly) without last letter E (gone at last) containing IR (Iran) = SIROC (hot dry wind blowing from North frica to North Mediterranean coast)|
|16||Pandora’s||SPOILSPORT||SPOILS (ruins) + PORT (wine) = SPOILSPORT (party-pooper)|
|17||K||AINEE||IN (fashionable) contained in;(wanting around) AKEE (fruit) = AINEE (senior female)|
|18||body||REIN||REIGN (rule) without (wanting) G (good) = REIN (control)|
|23||I||BAYS||BIAS (prejudice) containing (about) Y (an unknown in mathematics) = BAYS (horses)|
|24||N||MARLS||MARL (clay) + SN (chemical symbol for tin) = MARLS (a dialect of rustic form of marble; marls, therefore, is the game of marbles)|
|25||G||COPPERHEAD||COPPER (bobby, policeman) + H (hospital) + EGAD (a mild oath) = COPPERHEAD (a snake)|
|26||B||AMBIT||BAM (hoax) + BIT (took effect) = AMBIT (scope)|
|28||cabinet||INTO||Anagram of (reshuffle) POINT without the first letter, P, (ignored at first) = INTO (keen on)|
|30||A||CARED||CA (about) + READ (study) = CARED (was anxious about)|
|31||C||ILIAC||CILIA (hair-like structures) + C (caught) = ILIAC (of the bones that form the hip)|
|32||K||OTIS||OK (all right) + TIS (it’s) = OTIS (reference ‘Miss Otis Regrets’, a song by Cole Porter)|
|33||strawberry||SAAME||SAME (not changed) containing (eating) A = SAAME (the people of Lapland, more commonly known as Sami)|
|No.||Letter||Word||Entry||Components of Wordplay|
|1||W||IONA||Reverse of (taken up) (WAN [faint] + OI [call for attention]) = IONA (Scottish island with a famous monastery)|
|2||A||DANCING||N (initial letter of [start to] ‘nudge’) + CIA (agents), all contained in (into) DANG (damn) = DANCING (performing art)|
|3||R||UNRIPE||RIP (tear) contained in (into) RUNE (mystic song) = UNRIPE (immature)|
|4||D||PASTORLY||PADS (dwellings) + TOR (hill) + LY (‘largely’ emptied of its central letters) = PASTORLY (suitable for shepherds)|
|5||traffic||OHOS||Reverse of (over) SOHO (London area) = OHOS (expressions of surprise)|
|6||S||BRASSIE||ASS (fool) contained in (interrupts) BRISE (movement in ballet)= BRASSIE (old golf club)|
|7||F||ROB ROY||RR (Right Reverend = Bishop) containing (kept by) FOB (watch) + OY (Scottish word for grandchild [probably used only by crossword compilers]) = ROB ROY (Novel by Sir Walter Scott)|
|8||O||AUTOREPLY||I am defeated by this one. AUTOREPLY is a quick response. It looks as if AUTHOR (writer) without H (hotel) may come into it. ORE is money and PLY means use, but I’m not using the phrase ‘no money’ and can’t get any parsing of the clue;to fit, nor can I see where the extra O comes from. Grateful for ideas|
|15||calling||DIATOMITE||Reverse of (up) AID (help) + TO (for) + MITE (small contribution) = DIATOMITE (deposit)|
|19||oh||EMBER DAY||Anagram of (out of place) MY BEER AD = EMBER DAY (one of the three fast days in each quarter of the year)|
|20||R||LAETARE||L (first letter of [primarily] ‘lunch’) + (RARE [excellent], with reverse of [served up] TEA [meal]) coming before [earlier]) = LAETARE (the fourth Sunday in Lent)|
|21||X||IRONING||GIRNING (grimacing) without the first letter G (start, off) containing OX (neat) = IRONING (household chore)|
|22||M||UPBOIL||Anagram of (upset) most of PUBLIC containing OM (Order of Merit) = UPBOIL (become very heated)|
|24||A||MAXIMA||MAXIM (saying) + AA (rock) = MAXIMA (greatest, or extremes)|
|27||lady||ERSE||VERSE (poetry) without first letter V (first leaves) = ERSE (regional language)|
|29||S||TARN||STARN (another word for ‘stern’ or the blunt end of a boat [sailors' vessel]) = TARN (lake)|