Friday, August 8, 2008
At last, a crossword with the flowers removed
I've tried (and failed dismally) on two previous Dipper puzzles: 3946 (Growing Pains) which had clues for vegetables as extra words and 3895 (Where and Tare). A distinct horticultural theme, as well as title. Grid entries in across clues are shorter than the clue answers, and grid entries in the downs are the same length.
So either a flower has to be removed from the answer in the acrosses, or the across answers are flowers derived from the across wordplay somehow? Alternative arrangements makes it sound like downs could be jumbled (ack).
I started on the acrosses. The first one that caught my eye was 14, if we have MAR,S and a 12 letter word for sweets, that's likely to be MARSHMALLOWS. MALLOW sounds like it could be a flower, so it's either MARSHS or MALLOW. I can't figure out the rest of the wordplay in the clue. 16 looks like KEROSENE, with the wordplay giving KENE (hidden) and ROSE the flower unindicated by the wordplay. But which is the grid entry? 24 provides the answer to that - three letters in the grid are the wordplay OT,E and there's SCILLA missing to give OSCILLATE. Anything else in the acrosses? The wordplay for 26 looks like BIN,O,ID, so (CANNA)BINOID. 40 looks like a compound anagram in the wordplay, SHE,ISN'T less IT gives HNESS... (IRIS)HNESS. The definition and 15 letters in 41 make it look like AMERICANISATION or AMERICANIZATION (depending on if you Americanize it), ERICA the flower, and the wordplay is A,M, IS in NATION. 42 looks like INTE or RRED, neither of which are revealing anything, and 43 looks like another compound anagram of RETNAIN...
With my acrosses filled in, and some odd letters next to each other in downs, it appears the jumble guess is going to be right. Oh - it helped that I went back to another compound anagram, in 11, which I'd thought was probably STATIC ELECTRICITY and found that a STATICE is a flowering plant.
The down clues are normal, but from the first one I solved (2 - P,OLDER - which had to fit into -L-E--), it was clear that things had to be jumbled. A few down entries had more than one unchecked cells, so unless there was a hidden message (and there wasn't anything hinting that in the preamble, repeated letters in a word have to go in those unchecked cells, i.e. for ETHICISE as 18d, an I was already placed, so the unchecked cells had to be Es.
I made heavy weather of this one, and put it down for a day or two at a time, getting one or two clues here or there. The real penny-drop moment that helped me get most of the right hand side was seeing DIS(ASTER)AREA for 17. I made two sheets at that point of the acrosses and downs to try to fill in the downs by looking for words where I had some of the letters, and the acrosses from the choices of letters available from the downs...
And crawled home after a lot of hunt-and-pecking. The flower theme had a few great moments - the clueing of IDA(LUPIN)O as IDAHO without H was classic.
There are two I'm uncomfortable with - I have 25 from wordplay alone - caLls fOr toWel... is it LAID-LOW? Or DOWN-LOW? And 27D I'm torn between SONNET and SENNET, I've gone for SONNET in the grid, and off to check.
However this is another victory for George, and a new solving record with four in a row!
Current tally: George 17, Listener 12. Current streak: George 4