Listener Crossword 4074: Solution Notes

Back to 2010 menu

Printer’s Devilry by Qid

Puzzle explanation

The letters omitted from 12 entries spelt ETAOIN SHRDLU (as shown below). This phrase gives the 12 most commonly used letters in the English language in approximately the order of frequency; see the Oxford English Dictionary. The 12 encoded entries, all of four letters were: 12 wase + etao = butt, 16 kaim + inet = tong, 17 dere + aoin = etas, 27 ouzo + etao = toad, 28 tank + inet = cose, 34 slim + aoin = tara; 2 salk + shrd = lido, 4 gull + lush = spet, 7 bass + rdlu = teen, 29 byte + shrd = ugli, 31 anal + lush = mitt, 32 teff + rdlu = lira. In the remaining 12 clues, the misprints (shown below) gave the letters of ETAOIN SHRDLU (in “corrupt form” — see forme in The Chambers Dictionary) and the correct letters gave what Linotype® operators may often have had in mind, namely “to rush lead in” (itself an anagram of the theme), which was to be written under the grid. Misprints in across clues were in the first letter of the word and, in down clues, in the second letter.

Clue explanations

Conventions: * = anagram, < = reversal

Number Missing letter
Misprint
Encoding
Answer Explanation
ACROSS
1 E PLASTERSTONE PARENTS STOLE *
11 Oops → Tops DIAPENTE First letters
12 + ETAO → BUTT WASE W + BASE – B
14 T NEOTEINIA MARIE ANTOINETTE * – MATTER *
15 In → On PORTAL (s)PORT + A + L(esbianism)
16 + INET → TONG KAIM AIM after (Roc)K; reference crash of Northern Rock bank
17 + AOIN → ETAS DERE D + ERE
20 A STENGAH A G ’N’ T HE’S *
22 Nicked → Ricked RANGE ROD GEAR DR NO *
24 As → Us MARSILEA (LARAMIE + ’S) *
26 O APOTHEM (hex)A(gon) + POINT + HEM – IN & lit
27 + ETAO → TOAD OUZO OU [or, French] + OZ <
28 + INET → COSE TANK TAN + (Jac)K
30 Equally → Squally NIMBLE (M + B) in LINE *
33 I ENERGETIC (v)ICEREGENT *
34 + AION → TARA SLIM Two definitions; reference Viscount Slim
35 Toy → Hoy LEGATARY L + EG + A + TAR + (grann)Y & lit
36 N CONIROSTRAL CONTROLS AIR *
DOWN
2 + SHRD → LIDO SALK Hidden
3 S SASSAFRAS NUT S(alome) + A STRAUSS FAN *
4 + LUSH → SPET GULL GULL(y)
5 pRayer → pLayer TENACE TEN. [held] + ACE
6 H STOP SHORT (Ru)S[or]S(ia) + TOP + (Nigel) SHORT
7 + RDLU → TEEN BASS B + ASS
8 tSar → tEar OBITER OBI + TEAR – A(lexander)
9 R STRING PEA PANTRIES * about G
10 dAd → dUd STAG-HEADED THE DUD AGES *
13 OLd → ODd SPERMACETI PRIEST CAME *
18 D TAMPONADE PO in MANDATE *; reference Jerry as chamberpot
19 L TRAMMELLER MART < + MELL + ER; reference Emergency Room
21 U UNILOBULAR LULU O’BRIAN; one ear implies one lobe
23 tHe → tIe GHERAO HER in GOA *
25 iDly → iNly SPICAS SS about PICA; reference to soccer teams
29 + SHRD → UGLI BYTE BY T. E. (Lawrence); author was well-known by his initials
31 + LUSH → MITT ANAL Hidden
32 + RDLU → LIRA TEFF Hidden
Back to 2010 menu