Who, Where and When by Ifor
Extra letters give CALCULATE PRODUCT OF CLUE NUMBERS, ORDER STRINGS leading to 1984 (WHEN) and THE NAPOLEON OF NOTTING HILL (WHO AND WHERE). Changing LAY to WAY reveals WHO (ADAM WAYNE, not WINSTON SMITH).
Apart from the Father Brown stories Chesterton is little read today, and of course his views and prejudices are very much of their time and often distinctly unpleasant. TNONH is one of his fantasies, published in 1904 and set in the London of 80 years in the future. As far as I know this had no bearing on Orwell’s choice of date but is simply a remarkable coincidence. Anyway, it seemed well worth exploiting, particularly when I found that 1984 has four distinct factors of the right sorts of sizes to be derived from clue numbers. The question then was whether TNONH could be broken into exactly four strings and these embedded unobtrusively into four clues. NOTTING seemed to be the main problem, so it was pleasing to find a synonym of “sheriff” that included H, A and M; and so, by deciding on the answers first, four clues were written and a grid built with these answers at the necessary numbers plus Winston Smith and Adam Wayne crossing and clashing and with a third, different, letter in the clash cell. The instruction’s wording could of course be adapted to fit whatever number of clues remained once the grid was built.
I’d like to think that at least some saw Smith emerging and jumped to the wrong conclusion initially; and that all solvers appreciated what’s probably a little-known coincidence. Compilers of quiz questions might note that asking for the “title of a dystopian novel set in the London of 39 years ago” and insisting on this one could see them struggling to escape with their life.
A full review of this puzzle can be seen over on fifteensquared.