Never knowingly undersolved.

Inquisitor 1168: Initial letters by Schadenfreude

Posted by HolyGhost on March 23rd, 2011


A bit more difficult than some recent puzzles … not made easier by my going away for a weekend’s walking with no Chambers and only a rather dated Collins that I found in the pub – not much help there.
Initial letters of extra words spell out a quotation with one word missing. Whenever such an extra word has an odd number of letters, the middle letter must be highlighted in the entry for the corresponding clue; then, reading left to right and row by row, these highlighted letters + the isolated central cell spell out the author. Finally, we have to represent the word missing from the quotation by joining up all the occurrences of its initial letter in the completed grid. Phew.

Things were not going well – on the first pass through I solved two of the across clues (33a TARDIS, 39a ADIDAS) and none of the downs (except maybe 26d KIT-CAT, with the Schadenfreude trademark of CAT = vomit = throw up). I had a few ideas for the top right quadrant, and returned to these after a disappointing dinner (soggy tempura batter, sea bass replaced by cod, our first choice of wine unavailable) … progress was steady, but s l o w – so, time to call it a day. And then, just as I was getting into bed, I stood on a dozy wasp, and was stung in the bare sole of my foot. What pain! As I said, things were not going well.

Time passed. The letters in the author’s surname hinted at a Russian and the first name could be Vladimir, which helped in solving a few more clues. I had the last words of the quotation as _HE MIN_S OF STARS, and earlier significant words looked to be LAND and AIR – enough to go to the ODQ, which revealed the author as Vladimir Mayakovsky and the quotation as “Ours is the land. The air – ours. Ours the diamond mines of stars.” It was only then that I spotted the half-diagonals being formed by D‘s, and so filled in the rest with D‘s to create a diamond shape.

And the rest was just finishing off. A good puzzle: solve many of the clues, then guess some thematic material; more clues, find enough to check out the quote; more clues helped by having located all those D‘s, other clues by now knowing the initial letter of the extra words; yet others by having the author’s name, thereby identifying the middle letter of the extra words that had to appear in the answer … lots of toing and froing.

P.S. Too many boys and girls; a couple of lavatories; and two EA’s. And I nearly forgot: the isolated central cell is Y.

No. Answer Extra word Wordplay
1 VALETA Ordinary ATE (=irritated) + LAV(atory =John) rev.
7 KRAKEN Uncaged KEN (=boy) after ARK (=large vessel) rev.
12 LA-DI-DA Rich IDA (=girl) after LAD (=boy)
13 MIRO Spurned MIRA (=star) + O (=love) – A
{Miró, Spanish painter}
14 BROOD Increasingly B(ishop) + ROOD (=cross)
15 MENDINGS Steamboat M(ike) + ENDINGS (=finishes)
16 LANDMAN Team L(eft) + AND (=something added) + MAN (=strengthen)
17 WIDGIE Handsome GI (=soldier) in WIDE (=extra)
18 EIDERS Easter [REEDS]* around I(sland)
20 ENCODER Land-army [ONCE]* + DER (=the, German)
24 DEARIE Alistair DIE (=stop work) around EAR (=listening)
25 REAMED Notable R(iver) + EA (=river) + MED(iterranean =sea)
31 INDORSE Diplomats [CONSIDER]* – C(onservative)
33 TARDIS Hospital TAR (=Jack, sailor) + SID (=James) rev.
{Sid James, actor & comedian}
34 RONDELS Each R(eceived) + ON (=by) + D(utch) + ELS (=golfer)
{Els, golfer (but not Mickelson, Casey, nor Kaymer)}
36 CLOUDIER Academicians CLOU (=dominant idea) + IE (=that is) in DR (=doctor)
37 DINIC Idiots Hidden: (sol)D IN IC(eland)
38 ARUN Riding A + RUN (=track)
{Arun, English river}
39 ADIDAS Outfit A(merican) + DID (=performed) + AS (=like)
{Adidas, sportswear company}
40 TUSKER Used Double definition (morse =walrus)
41 ETHYNE Reply-paid [THEY]* + EN (=letter) rev.
No. Answer Extra word Wordplay
1 VEBLEN Servant [VENERABLE – ERA (=important date)]*
{Veblen, US economist}
2 ABRAIDED Orwell A + B(ook) + R(omeo) + AIDED (=provided assistance)
3 LOON Unbalance LOO (=lavatory =can) + N(erves)
4 ELODEA Rewards LODE (=open ditch) in EA (=running water)
5 AD-MASSES Shadily [MAD]* + ASSES (=fools)
6 DIENES Twice DIE (=merge) + NES(t) (=fit together)
8 RADICLES Hoeing DI (=girl) in [CLEARS]*
9 AMIDOL Enigmatic A + M(obile) + IDOL (=image)
10 KINGDOMED Matriarch ME (=note) in [KIND GOD]*
11 NOSERS Irritate NO (=drama) + ER (=queen) in SS (=steamship)
19 DIANDROUS Nasty D(aughter) + IS around [AROUND]*
21 PIERIDAE Enjoys PIE (=prize) + R (=king) + IDE (=fish) around A(dult)
22 TRE CORDE Second [CORRECTED]* – C (=keynote)
23 DEDALIAN Ordinary (di)D + ED + AL + IAN (=three boys)
26 KIT-CAT Faked KIT (=Christopher) + CAT (=throw up)
27 PODUNK Sulking PO (=humourless) + DUN (=dingy) + K(night)
28 NEREID Transmission ID(entity) after N(uclear) + E(lectronic) + RE (=engineers)
29 WIDISH American I(nternational) after W(elsh) + DISH (=beauty)
30 FESCUE Resembling S(ection) in FE (=iron) + CUE (=rod)
35 ENVY Servile EN (=nurse) + V(er)Y


4 Responses to “Inquisitor 1168: Initial letters by Schadenfreude”

  1. Hi of Hihoba says:

    Ba and I finished the whole crossword, including finding the author and the quotation (minus its missing word). Searching Google and various other engines utterly failed to yield the quotation, which is not included in our old(ish) editions of the ODQ. Only when Ho, with his latest edition, found it did we discover the missing word.
    What an amazing feat by Schadenfreude to construct the diagram with the author’s name, including many unusual letters, hidden and the diamond of Ds!

  2. Ali says:

    Excellent blog as always.

    I enjoyed this one a lot. I can’t quite remember whether I found the quote using ‘ours’ or ‘land’ in my ODQ, but the discovery of half a grid’s worth of Ds was both a massive help in finishing off the bottom half and also one of those ‘ooh, very good’ moments that make solving thematics all the more worthwhile. A very impressive grid construction and some great clues. Top stuff all round.

  3. Trisha Putwain says:

    I’m still boggling over this one – I think it’s damn clever to set a cryptic xword at all – but then to fit in extra words, in the right order, sorting out which have to have odd or even numbers of letters, then making sure the initials spelled out the quotation, then that the middle letters came in the right place in the answers to spell out the poet’s name in the grid, then to make the Ds form a diamond – AND make sure there were no other Ds in the grid – I’m lost in admiration! It became obvious to me that the first name had to be Vladimir, and I had the ‘ky’ ending, so he was easy to find on Google – then looking up his entries in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (revised 4th edition, 1996) of course gave the rest. Brilliant!

  4. Scarpia says:

    Thanks HolyGhost.
    I thought this was a brilliant puzzle.Agree with other comments,the grid construction was a wonder and what a lovely ‘finish’,with the diamond of D’s and the author’s name highlighted in an original way!
    I got the quotation from the ODQ once I’d solved about two thirds of the puzzle,which helped considerably with the rest of the clues.
    I spotted the trademark CAT early on,thanks to a previous blog.

    My choice of music to begin this puzzle was Nikolai Myaskovsky’s cello concerto,strange coincidence!

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