Posted by kenmac on February 15th, 2012
Phew what a workout! I just hope Schadenfreude derived a lot of “freude” from everyone’s’ “schade!” However, I got there in the end.
Each answer had to be entered with one letter misprinted, though (as if that ain’t difficult enough) four of them are in unchecked cells. The correct letters define a 10 letter (hyphened) word to be written below the grid. This word then cryptically describes thirteen items (one per row) to be highlighted.
The device for generating the superfluous letters was one I’d never seen before and proved quite tricky. This was further compounded by entering 1d as REOBANT instead of REBOANT!
The puzzle took me a long time. I wouldn’t be able to estimate the number of hours but it wasn’t till the Thursday following publication that I finished.
The misplaced letters spelled out SOMETHING OUT OF DATE, OLD FASHIONED OR NO LONGER USEFUL, which is the definition for BACK-NUMBER, coupled with the title (COUNTDOWN) this led to identifying the numbers TWELVE down to ZERO hidden backwards from the top row down to the bottom row, which also allowed us to identify the four misprints in unchecked cells (I:i4, I:e6, N:h5 & O:i8.) In my grid the down misprints have a blue background and the across misprints have a green background.
I had a problem with one or two of the clues. 41a should have been BADGES not BADGE, surely; I can’t see the “topless lass” in 35a and do I have 11d wrong? And, I’m not happy with the eventual entry for 5d!! I’m surprised the editor allowed it through. The last answer I justified was TOFT – sheer brilliance – what misdirection.
(re: BADGES, see comments 1 & 3 below.)
What a masterpiece, one of those puzzles that finds one saying, how the heck did he construct that?
|No.||Clue & definition||Answer||Entry||Correct Letter||Wordplay|
|1||Increases in speed take France’s back five seconds||REVS||REVL||S||R (take)+[franc]E+V (five)+S(econds)|
|6||Put an end to shrewd ruler||TOPARCH||TIPARCH||O||TOP (kill: put an end to)+ARCH (shrewd)|
|12||A poison mixed by me in a pot?||PTOMAINE||PTOXAINE||M||ME IN A POT (anag: mixed)|
|14||Cromer’s neighbour eyes Scottish lane||BOREEN||BORUEN||E||BOR (neighbour in Norfolk (Cromer))+EEN (eyes)|
|15||King and queen on island finding a deadly creature||KRAIT||KRAIB||T||K(ing)+R (queen)+AIT (island)|
|16||A swimmer opposite a hotel||OPAH||OPAC||H||OP(posite)+A+H(otel)|
|17||Ensign travelling across Italy catching fish||SEINING||SEENING||I||ENSIGN (anag: travelling) with I(taly) inside|
|18||Tube reduction not about to change||CONDUIT||COIDUIT||N||[re]DUCTION (minus about: RE) (anag: to change)|
|19||Steps engagement for all to see? Ecstasy!||GIGUE||GIEUE||G||GIG (engagement) + U (for all to see)+E(cstasy)|
|22||Riot’s out of control in the Spanish resort||ESTORIL||ESTIRIL||O||RIOT (anag: out of control) inside EL (the in Spanish)|
|24||Car for practice runs||TOURER||TOTRER||U||TO (for)+URE (practice)+R(uns)|
|25||Goddess lives on hospital pay||ISHTAR||ISHZAR||T||IS (lives)+H(ospital)+TAR (pay)|
|29||Parts of crabs etc left thus in tangled nets||TELSONS||TELSFNS||O||L+SO (thus) inside NETS (anag: tangled)|
|33||Pope led by government is abrupt in manner||GRUFF||GRUOF||F||G(overnment)+RUFF (pope)|
|35||Topless lass, perhaps, and her lover turned over without one sharing a ‘high’||COTIDAL||COTINAL||D||Not sure I can see LAD (rev: turned over) and I (one)|
|36||A removed person this blind could be undeceivable||EVACUEE||EVUCUEE||A||EVACUEE+BLIND is an anagram of UNDECEIVABLE|
|38||How many times on time? (HOW = hillock = TOFT)||TOFT||TOFI||T||T(imes)+OFT (many times)|
|39||This Asian beast could be worse off||SEROW||SAROW||E||WORSE (anag: could be … off)|
|40||One besotted sailor goes in to assault daughter||DOTARD||DETARD||O||DO (to assault)+TAR (sailor)+D(aughter)|
|41||Badge close to perfect lost by unorthodox Ulsterman||NUMERALS||NUMERARS||L||ULS[t]ERMAN ([perfec]T lost) (anag: unorthodox)|
|42||Supermarket accommodating educated German||TEDESCO||TERESCO||D||ED(ucated) inside TESCO (supermarket)|
|43||Zulu king secures a fine cup bearer||ZARF||ZARE||F||A inside Z(ulu)+R (king)+F(ine)|
|No.||Clue & definition||Answer||Entry||Correct letter||Wordplay|
|1||Baritone improvised with no end of tremolandi producing a loud reverberation||REBOANT||REBOCNT||A||BAR[i]TONE (no end of [tremoland]I) (anag: improvised)|
|2||Poet’s pressure isn’t strong on top||STRAINT||VTRAINT||S||STR(ong)+AIN’T (isn’t)|
|3||Shifty look given by Unionist facing leader of revolution||LOUCHE||LOUCDE||H||LO (look)+U(nionist)+CHE (Guevara)|
|4||Processions without English queen? That’s the beginning of socialism||EXEQUIES||EXEQUVES||I|
|5||Work in Spain could become comparatively crooked||WONKIER||W@NKIER||O||WORK+IN+E (Spain) (anag: could become)|
|7||Design of old probe||INTENT||INTEHT||N||IN (of)+TENT (old word for probe)|
|8||Rising politician goes in to justify the future of France||AVENIR||AVRNIR||E||IN (politician) (rev: rising) inside AVER (to justify)|
|9||He wrote and studied English (Charles Reade)||READE||REAIE||D||READ (studied)+E(nglish)|
|10||College with news about food for whales||CLIO||CLIN||O||C(ollege)+OIL (news)|
|11||Explosive mature language||HEBREW||HEBGEW||R||HE (high explosive)+BREW (mature) does brew mean mature? I searched and searched but I couldn’t justify it anywhere|
|13||New established group in Chambers perhaps||NEST||IEST||N||N(ew)+EST(ablished)|
|20||One of several kings love the French female||OLAF||ULAF||O||O (love)+LA (the in French)+F(emale)|
|21||Subaltern and his men lifted a weight||ROTL||ROTR||L||LT (subaltern: lieutenant)+OR (his men: other ranks) (rev: lifted)|
|23||A line used by meteorologists is different on earth||ISOTHERE||ISETHERE||O||IS+OTHER (different)+E(arth)|
|25||According to procedural rules a nun may be this||IN ORDER||ISORDER||N||(double definition)|
|26||Elizabeth’s grandchild keeps on good terms with German Bohemian||ZINGARA||ZINOARA||G||IN (on good terms)+G(erman) inside ZARA (Tindall) Queen Elizabeth’s grandchild|
|27||Spare steward, about fifty-one||RELIEVE||RELIDVE||E||LI (fifty-one) inside REEVE (steward)|
|28||Power on television adjusted in advance||PRESET||PGESET||R||P(ower)+RE (on)+SET (television)|
|30||Chamber music’s second piece drowned by noisy cello||LOCULE||LOCOLE||U||[m]U[sic] (second piece) inside CELLO (anag: noisy)|
|31||Wrong to use female animal, only partially developed||FOETUS||FOETUC||S||TO+USE+F(emale) (anag: wrong)|
|32||Oil-filled cavities quickly absorbing reduced tar||VITTAE||VITTAZ||E||TA[r] (reduced) inside VITE (quickly)|
|34||Scoundrel ignoring Command Paper goes in for excitement||FUROR||UUROR||F||[c]UR (scoundrel: cad) (ignoring C (command paper) inside FOR|
|35||Coal for some conservative German city||CULM||CELM||U||C(onservative)+ULM (German city)|
|37||Perth’s unfrequented narrow street||LANE||VANE||L||(double definition)|