Enigmatic Variations 1451
The Beagle Has Landed by Chalicea
Solvers are required to COMPLETE SNOOPY’S NOVEL: IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT.
The idea for this crossword emerged partly when my test-solver suggested the title Dark and Stormy for my previous Enigmatic Variations crossword (which was about Florence Nightingale – ‘Night’ ‘In’ ‘Gale’). Of course, that reminded me of the ambitious little Beagle, Snoopy, sitting on his kennel furiously typing the words that have become his hallmark. Indeed, the enchanting little fellow occasionally manages to expand his sentence but never very much (‘Once upon a time it was a dark and stormy night’, for example), so I took the liberty of assuming that we could call it his complete novel.
‘The Peanuts comic strip character Snoopy, in his imagined persona as the World Famous Author, sometimes begins his novels with the phrase “It was a dark and stormy night.” Cartoonist Charles Schulz made Snoopy use this phrase because “it was a cliché, and had been one for a very long time”. A book by Schulz, titled It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, Snoopy, and credited to Snoopy as author, was published by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston in 1971.(Wikipedia)’
With 24 letters in the sentence, this would clearly fit into a symmetrical 12X12 grid and with only a handful of relatively obscure words (MORACEAE, PONZU and GUANAZOLO) I was able to easily meet the EV requirements for mean word length (over 5.5) and number of words in the puzzle (42 or fewer).
Setting the clues is always a challenge with limitations like ‘only one hidden word’, ‘not more than six anagrams’, ‘no device indicator – like ‘regularly’, ‘backward’, ‘in a muddle’, ‘initially’ – used more than once, but after a few days the puzzle was ready for testers. At that stage, it was called ‘Literary Debut’ but Ifor (many thanks as always) the final tester, suggested the lovely reference to Neil Armstrong’s famous comment when the Eagle landed on the moon – a far more illustrious landing than my little beagle’s achievement.
Snoopy has been a family favourite since I brought our first Snoopy toy back from the USA. He’s now a much repaired and patched little thing but I haven’t the heart to throw out a favourite plaything. He was the theme of the children’s bedding with more of his ingenuous responses to life.
I was delighted when this crossword was selected to be the first of the relatively gentle ones to welcome new solvers of the thematic EV barred cryptics, and this is the setter’s blog that will begin the series of EV setters’ blogs.
A full review of this puzzle can be seen over on fifteensquared.