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An entry in Fortnightly Topic Challenge #46: "Tales From the Cryptic"


The house was quiet... Suspiciously so. The father of the house knew immediately that something was wrong. A crime had been committed. The suspects were three boys – let's call them suspects A, B, and C – and three girls, suspects X, Y and Z. But who was guilty? And what was the crime? The father had two suspicions.

Suspected crime A: Theft. Twelve clues are missing a valuable item (one of two different types), which must be restored before solving, adding spaces and correcting capitalisation where necessary.

Suspected crime B: Forgery. Ten other clues are counterfeit, containing only a small mistake in the location of one item that's invisible to the naked eye. These mistakes must be corrected before solving.

All modifications produce real words found in the UKACD. To help identifying the types of items needed in "theft" clues, ten pairs of successive clues1 – neither of which are "theft" or "forgery" clues – have one extra letter clued in the wordplay part. In each pair, one clue has the extra letter at the start and the other has that same letter at the end. These extra letters (each counted only once) spell out a term which contains an example of both types of valuable items that are used in "theft" clues. Most of the items are common terms; of the more obscure ones, one is from Central America and two are associated with the numbers 68 and 73. The remaining eleven clues are normal.

For each valuable item in "theft" clues, if the item is capital, pick its symbol; if the item is not capital, pick only the capital part of its symbol. These selections, in clue order, spell out the location of some letters in the grid which form Exhibit A. This reveals which of the suspected offences was the actual crime committed, as well as the geographical location of the scene of the crime.

The letters affected by the foul play in "forgery" clues spell out Exhibit B. This reveals the time at which the crime occurred, and also spells out the location of some letters in the clues which form Exhibit C. This reveals the identity of the culprit(s), as well as the target of the crime, the specific variety of which clever detectives may have found out in an earlier step.

1 "Ten pairs of successive clues" here means that the two clues of each pair are directly next to each other in the order written, but there can be other types of clues between pairs.

enter image description here

Across
2. Movement towards celestial body under influence of gravity during autumn (6)
6. Character of amazing magician entrances – bystander's left enthralled by Field's 10th and 11th appearance's intro (6)
10. Lotsa round animals (principally porcine) male lead to wood (8)
11. Biologist Pastil's spilled all over uniform (5)
12. Philosopher dismissive of partner's freight containers (6)
13. Risk taking cap of fire (5)
16. Odeon explorer losing weight? A word in motion (4)
17. Bus tabs? He shows Biblical kingdom (5)
20. Perhaps symptom of schizophrenia oddly stalls old soldier with onset of Alzheimer's (6)
25. Japanese pill boxes are popular with singer Diana (5)
28. Statues on island that's very diss of MIT, originally revolutionary at heart, visited (4)
29. Journey of leaderless group of big cats (4)
30. Height not included in retired cartoon hero's epithet (4)
31. Send money for listening device (4)
32. Hateful Eight detainee? (5)
33. In secret, UK's premier's next toe migrate? On vacation within northern Sudan's borders (6)
35. Nobleman's company, in the company of auntie, undressed (5)
39. Say, Macbeth production's opening in place of southern Scottish island (4)
42. Nephritic energy found in all, oddly (5)
44. Storer ejected by editor did snoop (6)
45. Retreating, the French operated small trap (5)
46. Adorer going wild after woman with low singing voice skipping a song from Carmen (8)
47. Recording musician's sit elate singer Ronnie James behind Stuart (6)
48. Maybe egg eaters are against almost nude photos, ultimately (6)

Down
1. In the middle of regular selections of avid film fan in retrospect (4)
2. Seen behind back of tax image discovered Angelo's ultimate Shakespearean villain (4)
3. In support of getting closer to bein searching for food? (8)
4. Small amount of arsenic comed with sarin, for example for Ottoman officials (4)
5. Extremists in linguistics have semi essentially removed from Persian? Maybe it was once of value in the Baltics (4)
6. Cause destruction of cells destroying entrance of Parisian palace (4)
7. In the manner of core parts of firearms regulation (1,2)
8. Name of female – queen, for instance – ignoring Commonwealth's boundaries (4)
9. Parliament Road? That is to the north of Texas's capital (4)
12. Split citizen possibly played with raincoat (8)
14. Cat breaking fragile dish's top (8)
15. Ecstasy is gold after raisin ghost O'Donnell (5)
18. The male control is on the inside of this (6)
19. Spired league finals with essentially meaning to become Trump follower (5)
21. Feel overwhelmingly welcomed, darling (4)
22. Frames in Ireland arc hover edge of Ocean – tubers are grown here (6)
23. Top redcoat regularly holding map (4)
24. Province in the country of barely inviting African Union's leaders (4)
26. Novel finally honest op language of Nineteen Eighty-Four (8)
27. 1990s fad game about Shrek? (4)
28. Oral reconstruction in politician's tooth (5)
34. County's Mattel rest's conclusion (4)
35. Check the papers of vehicle driver at first (4)
36. Ready for happy little piggy (2,2)
37. Albert escapes undying bird (4)
38. Eisenhower as furniture retailer (4)
40. Upcoming soft drinks lead to difficulties (4)
41. This old city has walls put up very well, Mr. Orbison (4)
43. Hooray for Spaniard, one showing string of flowers (3)

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Filled grid:

enter image description here

Exhibits A,B,C:

A: CRIMEA or, perhaps, CRIME A.
B: AFTER EIGHT.
C: CANDY or, perhaps C AND Y.

The valuables stolen in clues of type A (theft) are

metals (68 is ERBIUM, 73 is TANTALUM) and currencies.

So

some time after eight, C AND Y (one boy and one girl, accomplices in crime) stole some candy -- specifically, some After Eight mints. This instance of Crime A happened in Crimea.

Clue explanations:

2a. norm INFALL ddef (INFALL and IN FALL) Movement towards celestial body under influence of gravity during autumn (6)
6a. Th COPPER LAMBDA A(-mazing) M(-agician) B(-ystander) enthralled by (-fie)LD A(-ppearance) Character of amazing magician entrances – bystander's left enthralled by Field's 10th and 11th appearance's intro (6)
10a. norm MAHOGANY MANY round (A(-nimals) + HOG) Lotsa round animals (principally porcine) male lead to wood (8)
11a. Th EURO LOUIS OILS* around U Biologist Pastil's spilled all over uniform (5)
12a. norm CRATES SOCRATES dismissive of SO Philosopher dismissive of partner's freight containers (6)
13a. Fo F ANGER (-d)ANGER Risk taking cap of fire (5)
16a. Th NICKEL DORA Odeon explorer losing weight? A word in motion (4)
17a. Fo T SHEBA (ABS HE)* Bus tabs? He shows Biblical kingdom (5)
20a. P1 S [S]ALOGIA S(-t)A(-l)L(-s) O GI A(-lzheimers) Perhaps symptom of schizophrenia oddly stalls old soldier with onset of Alzheimer's (6)
25a. P2 S INROS[S] IN + ROSS Japanese pill boxes are popular with singer Diana (5)
28a. Th TANTALUM MOAI (A(-lum) O(-f) M(-it)) + (-vis)I(-ted) Statues on island that's very diss of MIT, originally revolutionary at heart, visited (4)
29a. norm RIDE (-p)RIDE Journey of leaderless group of big cats (4)
30a. norm NAME (-h)EMAN< Height not included in retired cartoon hero's epithet (4)
31a. norm WIRE ddef Send money for listening device (4)
32a. norm LEIGH substring &lit Hateful Eight detainee? (5)
33a. Fo E UNSEEN U(-k) + (E(-migrat)E within N S(-uda)N) In secret, UK's premier's next toe migrate? On vacation within northern Sudan's borders (6)
35a. P2 I COUNT[I] CO + (-a)UNTI(-e) Nobleman's company, in the company of auntie, undressed (5)
39a. P1 I [I]PLAY I(s->P)LAY Say, Macbeth production's opening in place of southern Scottish island (4)
42a. Th RAND R(-a)N(-d)A(-l)L Nephritic energy found in all, oddly (5)
44a. Fo R PEEKED KEEP< + ED Storer ejected by editor did snoop (6)
45a. P2 L SNARE[L] (LE RAN S)< Retreating, the French operated small trap (5)
46a. P1 L [L]TOREADOR (-a)LTO + ADORER* Adorer going wild after woman with low singing voice skipping a song from Carmen (8)
47a. Fo E STUDIO DIO behind STU Recording musician's sit elate singer Ronnie James behind Stuart (6)
48a. P1 V [V]SNAKES VS NAKE(-d) (-photo)S Maybe egg eaters are against almost nude photos, ultimately (6)
1d. P2 V AMID[V] (aViD fIlM fAn)< In the middle of regular selections of avid film fan in retrospect (4)
2d. Fo I IAGO (-tax)I (-m)AG(-e) (-angel)O Seen behind back of tax image discovered Angelo's ultimate Shakespearean villain (4)
3d. Th GOLD FORAGING FOR AGING In support of getting closer to bein searching for food? (8)
4d. Th POUND AGAS A(-rsenic) + GAS Small amount of arsenic comed with sarin, for example for Ottoman officials (4)
5d. Th COLON LATS L(-inguistic)S containing CAT without (-semi)C(-olon) Extremists in linguistics have semi essentially removed from Persian? Maybe it was once of value in the Baltics (4)
6d. P2 E LYSE[E] (-e)LYSEE Cause destruction of cells destroying entrance of Parisian palace (4)
7d. P1 E A LA (-fir)EA(-rms) (-regu)LA(-tion) In the manner of core parts of firearms regulation (1,2)
8d. P2 R MONA[R] MONARCH minus C(-ommonwealt)H Name of female – queen, for instance – ignoring Commonwealth's boundaries (4)
9d. P1 R [R]DIET RD + IE + T(-exas) Parliament Road? That is to the north of Texas's capital (4)
12d. norm CROATIAN RAINCOAT* Split citizen possibly played with raincoat (8)
14d. norm GARFIELD FRAGILE* + D(-ish) Cat breaking fragile dish's top (8)
15d. Fo G ROSIE (E IS OR)< Ecstasy is gold after raisin ghost O'Donnell (5)
18d. norm HEREIN HE + REIN The male control is on the inside of this (6)
19d. Th ERBIUM BIDEN (-Ser)B (-)I (-umpire)D (-leagu)E + (-mea)N(-ing) Spired league finals with essentially meaning to become Trump follower (5)
21d. norm LOVE substring Feel overwhelmingly welcomed, darling (4)
22d. Fo H IDAHO I(-dah)O A(-rc)H over O(-cean) Frames in Ireland arc hover edge of Ocean – tubers are grown here (6)
23d. Th LEU (rEdCoAt holding M), up Top redcoat regularly holding map (4)
24d. Th LIRA RIAU R(-arely) I(-nviting) A(-frican) U(-nion) Province in the country of barely inviting African Union's leaders (4)
26d. Fo T NEWSPEAK NEW (-hone)S PEAK Novel finally honest op language of Nineteen Eighty-Four (8)
27d. P1 [P]OGRE POG + RE 1990s fad game about Shrek? (4)
28d. P2 MOLAR[P] ORAL* in MP Oral reconstruction in politician's tooth (5)
34d. Th DOLLAR KENT KEN + (-res)T County's Mattel rest's conclusion (4)
35d. norm CARD CAR + D(-river) Check the papers of vehicle driver at first (4)
36d. P2 E UP TO[E] UP + TOE Ready for happy little piggy (2,2)
37d. P1 E [E]TERN ETERN(-al) Albert escapes undying bird (4)
38d. P2 S IKEA[S] IKE AS Eisenhower as furniture retailer (4)
40d. P1 S [S]ADOS SODAS< Upcoming soft drinks lead to difficulties (4)
41d. P2 O YORK[O] (OK ROY)< This old city has walls put up very well, Mr. Orbison (4)
43d. P1 O [O]LEI OLE + I Hooray for Spaniard, one showing string of flowers (3)

The thefts, reduced:

C[u] E[uro] N[i] T[a] R[and] A[u] L[pound!] C[olon] E[r] L[eu] L[ira] S[dollar!]. This tells us where to find Exhibit A.

In the forgeries

a space has been moved from one side of a letter to another; the letter it has moved past is the one used for the extraction. These letters yield Exhibit B, AFTER EIGHT, which as well as telling us when the crime was committed and what was stolen also indicate that we should look at the letter after each occurrence of eight in the clues. There are five of these, and the following letters -- Exhibit C -- are C,A,N,D,Y.

The paired clues

yield SILVER PESO: one metal, one currency. (And a SILVER PESO is a thing: a type of coin which exemplifies both.)

Credit where due:

I was missing aspects of 48a and 23d. Deusovi, whom I'm afraid I ninjaed by what seems to have been a very small margin, kindly provided those in comments. He also pointed out (in TSL chat) a better way to interpret what Exhibit C says about the culprit -- my original suggestion, which kinda works but is clearly worse, was that one of the girls is called Candy. If you like this answer, you might want to find something of his and upvote it.

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  • $\begingroup$ 48a is "VS" from "against"; 23D is "ma[LE U]p". $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Dec 31 '20 at 15:06

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