A subtle message about gun control?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, your source for bad jokes about 500-odd-people’s favorite weekly puzzle.  I believe I read somewhere that Schadenfreude shuns internet crossword commentary, so maybe I should just throw the grid in and be done with it.  Hi Schadenfreude if you really are looking in.

Been a while since we’ve seen the mysterious Schadenfreude – last appearance in 2011 with Brief Appearances, which I couldn’t come close to solving.  Before that was Language Balancing with the Maltese Cross theme, which I got, BAT which I was perilously close on, Terminal Suspension where I spotted the theme but missed the ending, Overhead Reduction (similar pattern).  So watch me be a square or two shy here as well.

Solving in unusual places once again, I was proctoring a 3-hour exam for the US National Chemistry Olympiad

What have we here – jigsaw-style clues, alphabetical order of answers, definition misprints.  Four blank entries, names and a cipher. Hmmm…

Well there is no 1-across but there is a first clue, and a wait a minute, there’s only three letters in the answer but no three-letter answers in the grid?  As the kids say, WTF, Schadenfreude?

Hmmm…

Before solving a single clue, it’s time to start asking questions…  I counted up the number of 8,7,6,5,4 letter answers in the grid, and the number of 8,7,6,5,4,3 letter answers in the clues.  Only two 8 letter clues, only two 7 letter clues.

Hmmm… are we putting two three-letter answers together, or jamming a three and a four together?  It’s a definite that two of the 8 letter entries have to be blank ones, and probably two of the 7 letter entries.  If those 7 and 8’s around the outside of the grid were the blanks, that would give me 6 3-letter entries.  AHA!  I think I know what’s going on with the grid.  Pat on back and let’s solve some clues.

Still couldn’t figure out that first one but with BAD,GE,RED and a misprint O I’m on my way.

Solving the clues was not too bad, and on a first run through I had more than half of them.  With only two 8-letter answers I was feeling pretty good about SIXAINES going on the bottom with the X in the unchecked entry and BLOOPED as my 7-letter in the upper half crossing BRA since it didn’t look like there was going to be a 3-letter entry starting with M to check MALTHUS.  I started building up a grid from those three entries, and that was looking pretty good… since BRA was one of the first that I placed, the names have to start with a C…  and then a Z from BERLIN.  CZ?  Someone CZECH?  O from BADGERED and L from INULAS and I had a pretty stunning (quite literally penny) dropping moment.

CZOLGOSZ was the guy who shot McKinley!

Why on Earth do I know that?  I’m studying for my US Citizenship exam, and since it’s mostly civics, dead presidents are things you are meant to know about!  And this fits – there have been four assassinated – LINCOLN, KENNEDY, MCKINLEY and GARFIELD – I couldn’t remember the name of the guy who offed GARFIELD, but the interweeb on my phone can clear that up – GUITEAU.  So CZOLGOSZ, GUITEAU, BOOTH and OSWALD together have 26 letters.  That’s neat!  Put in the names and we have real words around the outside of the grid.

My working grid for Listener 4237, Restitution by Schadenfreude

Not quite done, there’s still this cypher to work out.  I’ll admit I did it backwards, since H could only be T,  C could only be A, and E could only be M, filling in those made it look like DEMOCRAT VICTIM at the end.  USE BLUE SHADING FOR THE MOST RECENT AND ONLY DEMOCRAT VICTIM.  So KENNEDY is in blue, and I think he’d like it that way.

This was a really excellent puzzle, with a theme that probably kept the Brits guessing more than the displaced Australians reading too much about US History.  Sneaky theme, but for once I managed to sneak up, and I believe I have a completely correct grid this time around, so Victory To George – woohoo!

2013 tally:   10-3-2.  Feel free to criticize me wanting to vote over here, and see you next week when Jaques asks me to mind my grammar.

 

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