toab ruoy, wor, wor, woR

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – I’ll start with a bit of an admission – the last few weeks have been kind of scatty, with a new show, turnover at work and a slew of interviews, so I am kind of behind on solving, and even more behind on submitting.  So this is a puzzle I am writing about that did not wing its way across the Atlantic Ocean and I’m sorry Schadenfreude would not be getting any comments from me. I was told once that Schadenfreude does not like the interweebs so maybe he won’t see this at all.  Should I write it?  Eh, why not.

 

OKeydoke, even though we have already had a Schadenfreude Listener this year it came at an awkward time for me so I hadn’t created a tag.  Tag now created, so scroll down to see some of my highlights of battles with Schadenfreude.  What have we here – omitted letters in wordplay, a word, an instruction, wordplay only, lots of stuff going on.  And all across answers are thematically treated.  Yikes, let’s start on the downs.

There is a 1 down and HAM,LET gets us going, so  a pass on the newly re-christened 1 down test!  Let’s peek at these acrosses maybe – HAMLET crosses METAL and REST… and has one of the letters, so it could be jumblies.  Spotting MELEE at 4 down seems to confirm the jumble possibility. That was about it for that quadrant for a while.  Further down the downs was INDIA, the first I spotted of the “wordplay only” clues.

Trying to get MAINTOP, NONPOLAR and INDIA to slot together was when the obvious smacked me in the face… they’re not jumblies, they’re just reversed, right?  Now all the across ones I’ve solved can fit in, and it looks like the other countries are LIBERIA, SRI LANKA, ERITREA and TOGO

AHA!  Now the grid may not contain real words, but I have some checkers to get me through the rest of these across clues – invaluable in solving what could be ANATTO or ANATTA (bugger it, the letter that isn’t clear is the one that is left out of wordplay – is Schadenfreude going to give us a puzzle with two to the power of 12 solutions???).  Same thing with BRAISE or BRAIZE.

Ugh… it wasn’t until I had a complete grid that I was able to start to piece together the extra letters – there were a couple of alternatives for the unindicated letters… alternatives?  ALTERNATIVES! Oh bugger me – is this the second time this puzzle an answer was staring me at the face to the point where if I was a dog I would have bitten it.  Yep!

Well, NATIVES is an answer running backwards, and it could become NATIONS by changing those two letters, which makes 24 down STERNS… and there it is in Chambers – STERNS means “to row backward” and we have a puzzle!

My working grid for Listener 4318, Wordplay by Schadenfreude

I think I made more of a mess of this as I went along than I should have, but at the end I can call it a fun and neat Victory to George.

2014 tally:  36-0-7

Feel free to tell me to learn how to solve a crossword, and see you next week when Ferret makes a film of some features.

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