Posted by HolyGhost on July 11th, 2012
A fairly painless puzzle this week. The route from 1 to 38 [unclued] may be deduced from the letters that are ignored in the wordplay to 12 clues together with the other unclued across entries [28a and 37a]. A further companion is also unclued [10d]. The full title should be highlighted.
A mild ambiguity in the preamble: “letters that are ignored in the wordplay …” – is that letters that have been ignored by the setter, or should be ignored by the solver? But that is soon resolved (in favour of the former) as soon as one of the irregular clues has been solved. And I make it there are eleven such clues, in one of which two letters have been ignored – I coped.
Most of the top right quadrant came easily, and a smattering of bottom right and bottom left. The unclued 10d looked like EDITH, but that didn’t help. After solving three or four of the irregular clues, it became clear that if an ‘ignored letter’ was checked, then it was also ignored in the wordplay of the intersecting clue. WONDERLAND (more likely than WINTERLAND) suggested itself for 37a, but because I’d misentered 22d as the more common GEWGAWS I stumbled over seeing that 28a was ADVENTURES, connected by the ignored letters I & N. And now it wasn’t too hard to see that ALICE‘S would be snaking down rows 2 to 7, and that the route referred to in the preamble was from OXFORD to GODSTOW. Finding the latter helped me finish the remaining couple of clues in the bottom left corner, and the former meant that the underpopulated top left was soon complete.
A quick check confirmed that the full title to be highlighted was indeed ALICE‘S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND, and that EDITH Liddell was Alice’s younger sister. Lewis Carroll used to picnic with them, plus their father (and other sister?), near Godstow Lock on the Thames, where he reputedly made up the stories that became the book.
The route from Oxford up the Thames to Godstow is generally NW, the initial part being largely west, turning predominantly north with a few wiggles, so the highlighting works, but I thought it was a bit of a shame that OXFORD and GODSTOW were geographically misplaced … maybe that’s asking too much. (Brought to mind was Kruger‘s Military Marches, Inquisitor 6 from February 2007, which did achieve broad accuracy in tracing Offa’s Dyke Path through various towns.)
Very tight clueing (as usual from Phi, to whom thanks). And there was still plenty of time to watch Andy Murray toil through the third set then blast his way past Baghdatis in the fourth under the roof of Centre Court.
PS: As Phi points out (in his comment below), this puzzle was published close to the 150th anniversary of the the original telling of the tale.