Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 151 – Drop by Schadenfreude

Posted by petebiddlecombe on November 27th, 2009


Solving time: very roughly 6 hours, with LOTS of cheating

I foolishly left this for a few days before starting to solve for this report. It turned out to be really tough and I came within a whisker of having to ask for help. Pride took over and I called the cavalry in the form of Bradford, the Chambers Anagrams and Backwords books, and the searchiing facilities of the CD-Rom version of Chambers. To anyone who managed this with just a paper copy of Chambers (my usual intention), I tip my hat! But maybe I’m just out of practice – this was my first barred-grid special for a month or so.

Half the across and down answers (i.e. 10 of each) had to be entered with misprints indicated in the wordplay, with the corrected letters “reveal where the words which solvers must drop from the answers to the remaining (normal) clues can be put, divided equally between the two possibilities”. It turned out that these words were all preceders or followers of “drop” in words or phrases, and the corrected letters simply spelled out “Either side of the title”. This fact, if not the precise wording, was clear very early on, but that didn’t help much – there seem to be about 30 possibilities for each group listed in Chambers, even after eliminating ones that don’t match the necessary word-lengths – enumerations always applied to the original answer, so you knew the length of the word you were looking for. Part of my problem was not counting the number of clues early on and hence eliminating my initial near-miss guess at the phrase (also not counted out) – “before or after (the) theme” – 21 or 18 letters, not the required 20.

To save time (mine not yours!), I’ve only included a few of the weirdest word-meanings here, so you may need your Chambers to understand things.

1 (ear-)COCKLE (“ear-” means the word is eardrop, not drop-ear) – (acre locke(d))* – I could see the anagram immediately but couldn’t see what it made – ear-cockle is a disease of cereal crops
6 (mail-)TRAIN = (main trial)* – easy to solve the clue, but a cheeky one as MAILT(rain-) fits the bill too
10 (-per)ORATED – PER=a(O.R. = men, ATE = worried)RATED = – one of only a couple of “one word” theme items (droplet)
12 E / AVOYmR (for the misprints, the misprinted letter is in lower case, so “avoyer” is the real answer here) – (V,O) in army*
13 I / mNNINGS = M(a)NNING,S
14 ROPE(-ripe) = (i.e. proper)* – an early answer
15 UN(water-)ED = (under a wet)*, with aspen (adj.) = quivering as the anagram indicator – much time wasted on (dry under a)*, as wet=pathetic looked a more likely AI until about the fourth time I looked up aspen in the hope of finding some unexpected def and the penny dropped (had to get that in somewhere)
17 RAREF(act-)ION = (of an erratic)*, with “fluid” as the AI – another early solve, but couldn’t see any connection with “drop” for a three letter word until I cheated and found “act drop” = a curtain drop in a play
20 T / ATAoONS = “à tâtons” = gropingly, in French. One of my last answers. I wondered what your tâtons were, but it seems the phrase just means “by gropes”
22 H / TuUGGEE – T(U)UG,GEE = fit – another very late answer, annoyingly as thuggee is a word I know – one of the few bits of the Goon show that stuck when reading the scripts years ago
27 HEMI(para-)SITE – another frustrating one as the “parasite” part was clear from the start but I hunted for words starting “paras-“
28 E / RIMOSl = (slim or)* – rimose = “with chinks”
31 R / AMId – probably my first answer
32 (rose-)WOOD = rose,wood = angry (Shak.) – got the “wood” early on and explained “William”, but didn’t see the pretty simple (rose=increased in price)
33 S / TEAiING = (i get in a)*, with “tight” as yeat another imainative AI – I suspect others will have been trying like me for “I in (A, synonym for drunk)” wordplay
34 I / ANGsNA – GrievouS in Anna – what I’ve always thought of as “angina” is really “angina pectoris”
35 D / STAsDA – a stadda is a “comb-makers doubled bladed handsaw” (origin unknown)
36 E / LsPTA – (sp. = special, in Lt. = Lieutenant = subaltern),A
37 VIET(name-)SE – (native)*, MESE = keynote
1 COM(-press)URE – COM(P.R. = prize ring)ES,SURE
2 CAN(-tank)EROUS – (one struck an, A = American)*
3 LENIFY(-in)G – (E.N. = Enrolled Nurse, IF = condition) in LYING – my last answer – much time wasted looking for a synonym for “lying” instead of looking up the answer implied by a far simpler route
4 (-out)EDGE – (UT = as (as in “ut supra = as above) in OED), rev. of e.g.
5 CASSO(-let)TE – CASSE((g)OL(d))TTE – a cassolette is a perfume box
6 O / TvFT – TV = box, Ft. = fort
7 F / rOREGO – R,O.R.,EGO
8 IMP(air-)MENT – I,M,PAIR,MENT = “meant”
9 T / nRESS – R in NESS = head
11 TIDE(-lock)S – TIDE = time (as in eventide), LOCK=secure, S=special
18 (pan-)TOMIMIST – PANT = gasp, O = of,MIMI’S, T=tense
19 QUA(-drill)IONS – QU.,A,DR.,ILLIONS = (Illino(i)s)*
20 H / aEELTAP – a, eel = devious chap, tap = to draw off – it was tempting to link “devious chap” with heel, but a heel is just a bad egg
21 E / ANIMATi – A, NIM = fool, AT = in, I = Italy – nim=fool was news to me, but C has fool = “obtain by fooling” which just about matches nim = take / steal / pilfer
23 GOODST(rain-) – GO, OD = on demand, STRAIN = stock = race/kindred – my question here should have been “what is a Freightliner?” not “What’s another fancy word for a freight train?”
24 T / OSaIA – O.S., A1, A(void)
25 I / MEDgAE – M,A=anterior in EDGE=border – simple wordplay but it was hard to see how to make a word by changing just one letter of MEDGAE
26 T / ARwAL – artal is a surprising plural, of the weight “rotl” – Ar., rev. of law
29 L / sUNA – Sun=star,A – which was easy to see but I guessed wrong about where the misprint might be – first letter ones can be tough to deal with
30 E / MESv – mese is the same note as in 37A if you looked that up – ME = the setter,S.V. = Sanctitas Vestra = “your holiness” – really obscure (says a man who will quite happily write VS (= volto subito = “turn quickly”) on pages of sheet music). Nice surface meaning for the last clue in a puzzle, though I don’t know how much papal crossword solving goes on.

8 Responses to “Inquisitor 151 – Drop by Schadenfreude”

  1. HolyGhost says:

    Disagreement at 21d: I have this as AGITATE, with GIT = fool. (Neither the G nor the T is cross-checked.)

    And I thought that PB might have recalled “tâtonnement process” from his endergraduate economics …

  2. nmsindy says:

    This was, I thought, a brilliant crossword, incredible feat of construction. Like you, Peter, I found it very hard. The penny “dropped” with the AIR of IMPAIRMENT. To find 10 options either side of ‘drop’ and find words for them and fit all that in the grid, just amazing. I too had AGITATE, having first thought of ANIMATE. The only clue I was not sure about though it had one of the easiest answers “timber increased in price” was WOODROSE where the wood = furious, you’ve explained, thanks, I did not see that in Chambers, I was looking for woodrose = furious.

    Thanks, Schadenfreude, for a wonderful puzzle.

  3. HolyGhost says:

    Regarding comment 2, the answer at 32a is surely ROSEWOOD, not WOODROSE.

  4. nmsindy says:

    I looked ROSEWOOD up in the dict at the time and could not find the reference so maybe I’m missing the point entirely here. All Schadenfreude’s clues are always so excellent and precise and fully verifiable in Chambers.

  5. Duncan Shiell says:

    I thought this was a wonderful puzzle. For me the penny dropped when I had enough of the misprinted letters for me to deduce the message.

    I would go for ROSEWOOD as the answer to 32a as it is ROSEWOOD that is the ‘timber’ of the definition.

    On 21d, I have yet another version which is AGITATI A/GIT (fool)/AT/I (Italy). I can’t see how it can be AGITATE or ANIMATE as the final E doesn’t fit with the I of VIETNAMESE at 37 across. Admittiedly, I can’t find AGITATI in Chambers, SOED or Collins, but Wiktionary has it as a plural of AGITATO. I wouldn’t normally use Wiktionary as a reference, but it’ll do for me this time.

  6. nmsindy says:

    Yes, Duncan, that explains it re ROSEWOOD, thanks , I just knew Schadenfreude would be right! Looking back at the puzzle, I do indeed have AGITATI!

  7. HolyGhost says:

    On Duncan’s comment (5): his explanation of ROSEWOOD is exactly what I meant in my comment (3); and his remark on 21d is fine – the answer is AGITATE (=excite) but the entry is indeed AGITATI, with the E misprinted, so no requirement to be a word in Chambers or otherwise.

  8. nmsindy says:

    Yes, of course, that’s right, HolyGhost, thanks, looking further back at my notes, I see AGITATE (AGITATI), misprint I, correct letter E.

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