Sad Neighbours by Chalicea
The Duke of WELLINGTON, said NEXT TO A BATTLE LOST THE SADDEST THING IS A BATTLE WON. A battle lost, SARATOGA, and a battle won, WATERLOO, are unclued neighbouring entries.
Over the years, as a lady setter, I have attempted to use famous ladies as crossword themes but some famous male figures have crept in too. We have a family liking for the engineering works of Brunel and husband, Charles, has worn out his books on H E F M the Duke of Wellington and quotes him in a variety of situations. “Any fool can march an army into Hyde Park but not many can get them out again.” “I shall get upon my horse and go and take a look.” “An extraordinary affair. I gave them their orders and they wanted to stay and discuss them.” (of his first cabinet meeting as Prime Minister.)
And, of course, “Next to a battle lost, the saddest thing is a battle won.” That one strikes me as particularly aware of the sad fact that battles may be lost or won, but both sides suffer dreadfully. (How true that is of the current on-going war.)
The quotation fitted nicely around the perimeter of the grid and my usual diagonal highlighting requirement (WELLINGTON, of course) gave the outline of the compilation. Luckily Wellington’s most famous ‘battle won’ (WATERLOO) could be squeezed in and I was left hunting for a ‘battle lost’ that would fit into the grid and maintain the symmetry. SARATOGA obliged (though it was slightly before Wellington’s military dominancy).
A few unusual words appeared as I filled the remainder of the grid but all were, luckily, in Chambers.
I am, as always, grateful to the test-solvers and to the editor for his tweaks.
A full review of this puzzle can be seen over on fifteensquared.