17
$\begingroup$

This puzzle was intended to be formatted as a PDF; the puzzle PDF is available on Dropbox, and a screenshot of said PDF is hosted on Imgur. If you'd like to solve digitally, there is also a template Google sheet.
The referenced puzzle is available here; no knowledge of it is necessary to solve this puzzle.

This puzzle is an entry in Fortnightly Topic Challenge 46, "Tales from the Cryptic".


Not Bluebeard's Castle

by Deusovi

In Bela Bartók's opera, Bluebeard's Castle, a woman enters a dark and mysterious manor for the first time. This manor has several doors that the owner of the manor claims should never be opened, but the woman's curiosity gets the best of her; she opens all the doors and makes a gruesome discovery.

...But there's already a cryptic crossword with that theme, so we'll have to make do with a substitute. This puzzle is based on a similar work that also contains the described events.

The unclued top row of the grid gives the title of the work. Each Down answer must be modified in accordance with this title, producing new words each time (one hyphenated, one prefix, and three proper nouns).

Unlike Bluebeard's Castle, after the "gruesome discovery" in this work, the performance continues. The protagonist's reaction to the discovery has briefly affected 7 of the Across clues.

The first letters of these clues (in an appropriate order) will describe how both this puzzle and this work set appropriate expectations for the future, each in two different ways.

The unclued bottom row both describes what happened in the manor before the discovery, and explains “the protagonist's reaction” in more detail.


12×11 crossword grid

Across

1. (see instructions)
12. Shannon's location is "engaged in wandering" (4)
13. First-class defamation backfiring in Russian parliament (4)
14. Called southern Asian city restaurant (4)
15. Psychotic Charlie is biting John (4)
16. Observe "quitting at 02:01" in declaration of innocence (3, 1)
18. Medals of doctor Tyson (5)
20. Radical town around Eaton (5)
21. Riddle: "I'm a Democrat, but not liberal..." (5)
23. Evan Dalton's secretly an anonymous artist (6)
24. Once again, look at red ear, award (6)
25. Ensure Steve's tool is not even taken (3,2)
26. 1970 maybe was amazing, as I hear (5)
28. A member of tribal pro-ent flank (5)
32. Falls out of the ranks (4)
35. Tropical fruit sated poorly when sun was out (4)
38. Near Kauai, island's oppressive authoritarian has uprooted forest areas (4)
39. A bit cross after being flipped (having had no temper initially) (4)
40. End to tedium not found in methods of operating things written by a list (4)
41. (see instructions)

Down

1. Rush is a band
2. Expression of discontent with rag edited by Henry
3. Talk about concealing American records
4. Grace's death -- that hurts
5. Word to deny the writer and reader's intellect
6. Character from dogmatic Alaskan city brought up evil spirit
7. Close on new car, disheartened
8. I find I am cut
9. Source of glitch about Null Island
10. Small mountain is not extremely cold
11. Orc in LOTR violently struck nationalist symbol looking like the flag of Egypt
17. Small marine predator from weir that's been damaged
19. In olden times, you like votes in favor
20. Houston group's detailed piercing
22. Stocker pal?
27. In court, regret having created small jar
28. Kitschy down fabric
29. Saw card with moon sitting on top of menu
30. Loud guy to be braided in ad
31. Types answer after stress
33. Mountain in Greece obscuring some smaller adjacent peaks
34. Clandestinely transmute something erotic
36. Greek goddess is discovered to be back
37. What once was vacant Exeter Street

$\endgroup$
6
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's a Deusovi cryptic crossword!!!! It's a Deusovi puzzle!!!! $\endgroup$ Jan 4 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi (I am expecting the answer "no" to this and the error is probably mine.) Are you quite sure that all the down clues are modified in accordance with the title? I see two that need not be, and at least one of those (I think) could be modified in at least two different ways and there is no apparent way to tell which. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Jan 4 at 23:15
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan Yes, all of the Down clues should be modified. (The two that "need not be" should be modified anyway - they should be reasonably unambiguous. Some of the remaining clues may need to be disambiguated through other means.) $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Jan 4 at 23:51
  • $\begingroup$ I picked the most obvious modifications, but at least for 10d there are others that so far as I can tell would work equally well. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Jan 4 at 23:53
  • $\begingroup$ It was a fun solve. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Jan 4 at 23:53
10
$\begingroup$

Grid:

enter image description here

Explanations of clues:

1a. (see instructions)
12a. ERIN substring Shannon's location is "engaged in wandering" (4)
13a. DUMA (A MUD)< First-class defamation backfiring in Russian parliament (4)
14a. DELI homophone of DELHI Called southern Asian city restaurant (4)
15a. LOCO C in LOO; biSECting Psychotic Charlie is biting John (4)
16a. NOT I NOTICE, stopping 2/3 (ratio 2:1!!) of the way through Observe "quitting at 02:01" in declaration of innocence (3, 1)
18a. TONYS TYSON* Medals of doctor Tyson (5)
20a. NEATO EATON*; tHRown Radical town around Eaton (5)
21a. IMBUE I'M B(-l)UE Riddle: "I'm a Democrat, but not liberal..." (5)
23a. VANDAL substring but def is weird Evan Dalton's secretly an anonymous artist (6)
24a. REREAD (RED EAR)*; aWKward Once again, look at red ear, award (6)
25a. SEE TO StEvEsToOl Ensure Steve's tool is not even taken (3, 2)
26a. EPOCH homophone of EPIC, though it really isn't for me 1970 maybe was amazing, as I hear (5)
28a. THIGH T(-ribal) + HIGH; proMINent A member of tribal pro-ent flank (5)
32a. ROWS ddef Falls out of the ranks (4)
35a. DATE (SATED - S)*; sunDAY Tropical fruit sated poorly when sun was out (4)
38a. OAHU initial letters; foreMOst Near Kauai, island's oppressive authoritarian has uprooted forest areas (4)
39a. SEMI (TIMES - T)< A bit cross after being flipped (having had no temper initially) (4)
40a. ODES MODES without (-tediu)M; lYRist End to tedium not found in methods of operating things written by a list (4)
41a. (see instructions)

1d. BELT:L ddef Rush is a band
2d. ARGH:O RAG* + H Expression of discontent with rag edited by Henry
3d. DISCS:O DISC(-us)S Talk about concealing American records
4d. ENDOW:N END + OW Grace's death -- that hurts
5d. NOUS:N NO US Word to deny the writer and reader's intellect
6d. DEMON:S D(-emonic) + NOME< Character from dogmatic Alaskan city brought up evil spirit
7d. NEAR:T NE(-wc)AR Close on new car, disheartened
8d. INDIA:E substring; def is NATO I find I am cut
9d. GRENADA:E G(-litch) RE NADA Source of glitch about Null Island
10d. HILL:T (-c)HILL(-y) Small mountain is not extremely cold
11d. TRICOLOR:N (ORC IN LOTR - N)* Orc in LOTR violently struck nationalist symbol looking like the flag of Egypt
17d. FIREWORM:K FROMWEIR* Small marine predator from weir that's been damaged
19d. YEAS:H YE AS In olden times, you like votes in favor
20d. NASA:H NASA(-l) Houston group's detailed piercing
22d. BROTHER:L (broth=stock, ewwww) Stocker pal?
27d. CRUET:L RUE in CT In court, regret having created small jar
28d. TWEED:N TWEE+D Kitschy down fabric
29d. IDIOM:T ID + IO + M(-enu) Saw card with moon sitting on top of menu
30d. GAUDY:I G-U-Y -A-D-; Loud guy to be braided in ad
31d. TAXA:I A after TAX Types answer after stress
33d. OSSA:I first letters Mountain in Greece obscuring some smaller adjacent peaks
34d. SMUT:G substring Clandestinely transmute something erotic
36d. THEN:M (-a)THEN(-a) Greek goddess is discovered to be back
37d. ERST:E E(-xete)R ST What once was vacant Exeter Street

Explanation of other stuff:

The top row reads BAD END NIGHT, which appears to be the name of a number of different things involving Hatsune Miku: a song, a manga series, and an anime series. I have been unable to find good summaries of the plots of any of them, and therefore have no idea just what gruesome discovery Hatsune Miku makes or (except as revealed here) how she reacts. Anyway: All the Down lights have bad ends and therefore need their final letters changing to fit with the intersecting Across lights. The bottom row reads KILLING TIME; some sort of temporal shenanigans are apparently involved. The seven "affected" Across clues have accordingly each lost some letters signifying periods of time. Arranging them in ascending order of length -- sec, min, hr, day, wk, mo, yr -- we find the initial letters read PART ONE, a terrifying thought indeed.

Remaining minor gaps and gripes:

I assume (since Deusovi has kindly told me that my original answer for 20a is wrong) that it is NEATO with "Radical" as def. Although both of those can be used as informal terms of approval, I have some trouble seeing either as a definition for the other...
23a seems kinda wrong. A vandal isn't, generally, an "anonymous artist", nor is an anonymous artist generally a vandal. Even though e.g. Banksy is arguably both.
In 26a, for me EPIC and EPOCH are nowhere near to being homophones. Of course the clue does say "as I hear", and that I is Deusovi rather than me :-).
Not very convinced by "piercing" defining "nasal" for 20d.
22d: Stocker = brother? Owwwwwwww.

(Lest there be any doubt, I still think this crossword is a wonderful achievement, despite the gripes above.)

Credit where due: Deusovi kindly pointed out an error in my original submission, and has given me what seems like it should be a huge hint for the one bit of wordplay I haven't figured out yet, though I, er, still haven't figured it out yet. (And it will be some hours from the time of writing before I do, because I need to go to bed.)

$\endgroup$
10
  • $\begingroup$ Your answer to 20A is incorrect - figuring out the correct answer may help with 20D. Everything else seems correct! The song and associated video is what I was referring to with the title; at the end, the main character goes mad and kills all the other inhabitants. Other than that (and that the events line up with Bluebeard's Castle, as I described it), the exact nature of the plot is not necessary to understand. (Nor is it very clear, even with translation.) $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Jan 4 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ Ah! I was kinda suspicious about 20a. Hang on a mo and I'm sure I can fix it :-). $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Jan 5 at 0:01
  • $\begingroup$ (I mean, there's an obvious guess at the other possible answer, but it seems a bit of a loose def.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Jan 5 at 0:01
  • $\begingroup$ 16A is one of the toughest clues - "02:01" should be interpreted as a ratio. And I've just realized I forgot to update 25A after it was replaced with an easier clue in testsolving; will make that change now. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Jan 5 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ My guess for 20D was rot13(qqrs QNFU, Ubhfgba Qnfu orvat fbzr fcbegf grnz) $\endgroup$
    – user39583
    Jan 5 at 0:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.