The Undertones? by Schadenfreude


CAM 59 Crossword: The Undertones? by Schadenfreude (Lent 2010)

Cambridge Alumni Magazine is a glossy publication sent out three times a year to alumni of Cambridge University in an effort to drum up donations. Recently it’s been publishing a thematic crossword, similar in difficulty and variety to the Listener crossword, and set by experienced Listener setters. It ought to be known a bit more widely among thematic crossword enthusiasts, since it’s published on the web. Indeed, if you want to have a go at Schadenfreude’s puzzle, then avert your eyes from the spoilers below, get a copy of CAM 59, and turn to page 48.

The preamble said, “Overcrowded cells are to be replaced by a single letter (A to L), corresponding to one of the thematic elements which lack a common definition.” There were twelve lettered clues lacking definitions, and clue K, “Our quiet society is corrupt,” was clearly an anagram of OUR QUIET S and yielded TURQUOISE. Several other colours emerged, but this shed no further light on the theme.

There were twenty-four clues whose enumeration exceeded the entry length. The first one I solved was 39a TILT HAMMER, which had to fit into a five-letter entry. Clearly HAMMER had to be replaced by a letter corresponding to a colour. The word YELLOWHAMMER suggested itself: perhaps the theme was simply words or phrases containing colours? I pencilled in ‘L’ for YELLOW tentatively.

The next thematic clue I got was DILLY BAG, which had to fit into a four-letter entry, so five letters had to be replaced. But what colour goes with DILLY? Perhaps GREEN, as in the song, “Lavender’s green, dilly dilly”. But this seemed very implausible.

Then I got JUBILANCE, with four letters to be replaced, and a crossing L indicated that it had to be JUBI. And the crossing entry was AGLEE, with three letters to be replaced. Well, you can have a GOLDEN or SILVER JUBILEE, but none of the colours were GOLDEN (or GOLD) or SILVER.

Then the penny dropped (I’m sure you’re all ahead of me here). The London Underground has a JUBILEE Line, and that’s coloured GREY. HAMMER must be part of HAMMERSMITH (& City Line), which is PINK. And DILLY must be part of PICCADILLY, which is BLUE. And so on for the other London Underground lines: each appeared in a clashing cell, and was to be replaced by the letter of the clue whose answer was the colour of that line as it appears on Underground maps and signage.

There were a couple of further notes in the preamble. “An ongoing change to the underlying theme had altered the status of one item, but its thematic link remains valid.” This referred to the former EAST LONDON line, which was closed in 2007 for reconstruction as part of the London Overground network.

“Five characters which follow two thematic items have been ignored but are given by single extra words in the clues to four normally entered answers.” The five characters must be those in & CITY which follows HAMMERSMITH and WATERLOO. But where were the extra words? I found an extra “city” in 11d, but nothing else in the “normally entered answers” stood out as superfluous. There was an extra “and” in 49a, but that was a thematic entry. So this part of the puzzle didn’t work for me. (Also it seemed unnecessary, since it didn’t contribute anything to the grid.)

There was one clue I didn’t understand. 26a “Cases before a censor” is CATO (all letters checked, so no doubt), but how does the wordplay work?1

Here are explanations of all the thematic clues.

No Clue Answer Wordplay Line
A Note chapter in book BLACK LA C in BK NORTHERN
45a Name of female bird and Irish girl NOREEN N O’ REE ‘N’
34d The rule stops unproductive kid perhaps LEATHERN THE R in LEAN
B Black pipe with foot missing BLUE B [f]LUE PICCADILLY
1a Small child in Brooklyn to stop at home after short film PICCANIN CAN IN after PIC
[The answer is a South African word, so Brooklyn, Pretoria must be meant.]
1d … gin might have this glib lady reeling DILLY BAG Anagram of GLIB LADY
6d Old confectioner finally gets posh clothes to meet a King and Queen SUGAR-BAKER [get]S U GARB A K ER
25a Unattached Scots love unending sex LOOSE LOO SE[x]
47a Councils stop working and sit back having lost independence DIETS DIE, S[i]T reversed
44d Condition regular engineers at the front RESTRICT STRICT after RE
E Unknown quantity of work returned GREY Y ERG reversed JUBILEE
32d Triumphant delight produced by Jane juggling with one club! JUBILANCE Anagram of JANE I CLUB
30a Crooked Scottish Liberal wearing a suit AGLEE L in A GEE
F Settle an argument in Sydney LIGHT BLUE LIGHT BLUE VICTORIA
22d Musical instrument lined with copper material VICUNA VINA around CU
20a Rape and riot devastated the city PRETORIA Anagram of RAPE RIOT
G Master spy and associate MAGENTA M AGENT A METROPOLITAN
18a Timing device assembled by navy in compartment base METRONOME MET, N in ROOM, E
8d Chocolate stirred in on a plate NEAPOLITAN Anagram of IN ON A PLATE
26d Someone like Fellini can set Italy alight CINEAST Anagram of CAN SET I
37a Speech made by one leaving rough East End saloon LONDONESE Anagram of E END S[a]LOON
I Knight on stage PINK K on PIN HAMMERSMITH & CITY
39a Fancy metal rim surrounding the smithy’s tool TILT HAMMER Anagram of METAL RIM around TH’
40d Is this me running workshops? SMITHIES Anagram of IS THIS ME
15d A piece of bone hospital department found in cold drink CENTRUM ENT in C RUM
14a Fish containing about one pound of fused bone SACRAL SAR around C, A L
K Our quiet society is corrupt TURQUOISE Anagram of OUR QUIET S WATERLOO & CITY
49a Clumsy retiring women accepted alcohol and … MAHWA HAM reversed, W A
43d Game fish pursued by Elizabeth and John LANTERLOO LANT ER LOO
L Isle of Wight’s capital YELLOW YELL O’ W[ight] CIRCLE
12d The authorities in India see Charles touring Ireland CIRCAR C CAR around IR
9a Clumsy swimmer died entering enclosure PADLE D in PALE

  1.  It must be cases ↦ CA; before ↦ TO (as in “a quarter to ten”).