Derek Harrison's Crossword Message Board

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Re(2): Listener 4394 Against Expectations by Duck

I disagree that what is referred in the above posts as a 'weakness' is any such thing in this puzzle. The rogue clues were 'rogues' - they posed as normal clues, even to the extent of having extra letters in the wordplay. Therefore they fooled solvers into solving them or attempting to solve them as normal clues, but that's not how they actually worked, and it matters not one jot if a solver failed to get the false answers. In any puzzle in which entries differ substantially from answers it's inevitable that some solvers may not solve every thematic clue. It's not a weakness of the puzzle.
I disagree even more strongly with Gail's suggestion requiring solvers to show they had gor the 'wrong' answers. It would be grossly unfair for two reasons. Firstly, that would amount to asking solvers to get the answer to a clue with no checked letters at all (100% unchecked!); secondly, some of the normal clues are not entirely unambiguous regarding the extra letter (eg 32a); these ambiguities can be resolved by the messages. But if the sequence of extra letters is meaningless how does a solver know he/she has the right one?

It was an excellent puzzle with some first-rate clues (wonderful surface in 20d). I did think that the number of thematic items in the grid was a tad sparse, but a couple more might have presented major constructional problems, and there was enough pleasure to be got from the clues and the gimmicks.


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