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Listener 4643 - Systematic By Dave

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sunny-dave | 21:18 Fri 22nd Jan 2021 | Crosswords
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An excellent (and far from easy) puzzle - even after spotting the theme it was tricky to find the correct entries which needed adjustment.

Some nice clues too - with very tricky parsing to be done to confirm the last few entries for me.

Thanks Dave - very enjoyable indeed

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Indeed it was hard to tease out some of the wrong, extra or missing letters, but otherwise I found this to be quite straightforward and enjoyable. Pity the modified entries look a bit awkward but I imagine this was unavoidable. New setter? Welcome, if so.
I mentioned only recently on here how I enjoy puzzles like this where you have to work with the theme rather than stumbling on it at the end of the grid fill. I certainly needed to ‘work’ with it in this case as none of the thematic entries yielded easily. The three clue gimmicks made things difficult too, at least until I had the title and author. A proper challenge, thanks very much.

The dearly-missed Radix used to tell new setters that you should try to get 12 ‘funnies’ in a 12 x 12 grid, which in fact we rarely see, so credit to Dave for managing that.
A bit of a slog, involving thematic elements which do not spring automatically to my mind - perhaps I should learn them. The "triple-lock" made things harder. But all staggered out in the end
I thought this was excellent and enjoyed unravelling the clues, which were first class.

Many thanks, Dave. A fine puzzle.
Nice clues, and an enjoyable challenge, thanks Dave. I confess I had to work backwards to solve the last couple, thinking of likely candidates.

Was anyone else delayed by an alternative answer for 21A? It held me up for quite a while.
Yes, I had the wrong answer in the grid for quite a while too.
For me, I had the wrong answer for 6d, with an admittedly iffy but possible additional letter. Got there in the end. A far more difficult puzzle than my first pass through the clues would have indicated. Thank you Dave.
A minority dissenter here. I'm afraid the puzzle didn't appeal at all. The overlapping trio of clue gimmicks made things a lot easier for the setter and a lot harder for the solver. Fortunately I guessed the author with only a few letters in place, which gave me the title, so things got a little easier after a very slow start, but I still found it very tough to spot and work out the remaining thematic answers, and I'm not convinced that one of them is strictly thematic.

A hard slog with no reward at the end. I would have admired and enjoyed the puzzle far more if thematic modifications resulted in real words. Eight that complied with the puzzle's title would have been possible; more than eight would have required a slight broadening of the theme, but would still comply with the literary title.
Am I alone in thinking the thematic adjustment for one of the answers isn't justified by Chambers (the adjusted element referring solely to a different spelling), or by inference from the title? Otherwise a very enjoyable puzzle.
I'd say the adjustment's sound, but Chambers should be more specific in its entry for the adjusted version.
I am fairly sure that thematic adjustments don't need to be justified by Chambers, they only need be justified by an available source of the theme. What you are referring to probably wouldn't be accepted as part of a clue but that's a different matter.
I didn't notice the "odd one out" when solving, but having gone through the modifications again I see one of them isn't followed by the two words in brackets in Chambers that follow all the others, and isn't in the relevant appendix. Whether this matters or not depends on how you interpret the title, I guess.

I am surprised at the lukewarm response to this puzzle here and elsewhere, though I agree with Scorpius that it would have been better if the modified entries were real words.
Based on a relevant Wiki article, the odd-one-out answer is acceptable within the theme, but as entered would actually be wrong, unless done in a particular way, and there would be implications elsewhere. One advantage of not submitting is not having to worry about points like this.
Even though I realised the theme quite early on from one thematic answer, to I found the puzzle quite difficult and a satisfying challenge. Only with the grid nearly full did I bother trying to figure out what the title etc were.
Didn't anyone have any problems with the clues for 1ac and 1dn? I wondered if there were misprints.
Both clues definitely on the difficult side, but ok if you manage to parse them correctly.
Hard work. A couple of accessible thematic answers via the wordplay, but then much head-scratching. I enjoyed looking for thematic clues, but agree with Scorpius that one is actually non-thematic. Got it last of all.
Thanks perseverer for taking the trouble to reply. I'm still struggling to get one of the clues to fit my (correct) answer!

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