Listener 4792 initial grid

Doing The Lord’s Work? by Craft

Puzzle explanation

The puzzle celebrated the 50th anniversary of the horror film The Wicker Man, which was released 6 December 1973. Solvers played the role of the population of Summerisle, doing the bidding of Lord Summerisle. In the film, a girl called ROWAN MORRISON (given by the clues’ extra letters) was reported missing, in order to lure Sergeant Neil Howie to the island. The corrections to clue misprints spelt HOWIE, NEIL and the wrong letters spelt PUNCH MASK, the disguise he wore later in the film. He had been chosen as a sacrificial victim because he met the four criteria given by clues’ extra words: he made a FREE choice to come to the island, he had a KING’S POWER (as a police officer), and he was a VIRGIN and a FOOL (wearing the Punch costume). The final grid showed Howie trapped in the Wicker Man, with the letters of NEIL HOWIE in the 3×3 area making new words as shown in the grid here. Entering only the vertical bars and their mirror opposites formed boundaries of the Wicker Man, standing on (the green grass of) SUMMERISLE. Finally, the structure was set alight (when “a match has been found” as the preamble said), indicated by orange shading in the cells containing FIRE.

Clue explanations

Conventions: * = anagram, < = reversal

No Misprint/extra [letter]/+extra word Answer Explanation
1 dea[R]th EPITAPHED EHED around (PIT + AP)
3 B[O]ar OCA (l)OCA(l)
6 se[W]er IRIDAL I + RID + AL
7 s(H)ort → P TRACTATOR (ROTAT(e) + CART) <
10 +Free CRU (e)CRU
14   TYED TED around Y
16   BLAG BAG around (stea)L
17   TRIES TRIESTE with no letters repeated
18 (W)ear → N ANADEMS (AND SAME) *
20 [N]utters SEZ ZEST < − T
22 Scar(I)est → C ANGSTS GS in ANTS
24 +king’s ASP (r)ASP(y)
26 +power WEEVIL WE + EVIL
28 Hug(E) → H FIB 2 meanings
29 pa[M]per REWRAP REP around RAW *
2 c[O]urt LATITAT LA + TIT + AT(e)
4   CORN COR + N
5 [R]are ARUM A + RUM
8 Ma[R]king RENEWING WING after RENÉ; ref. ’Allo ’Allo character
9 Ski(N) → M SCABS S(olving) C(arelessly) + ABS
10   CODE COD + E
12 M(E)rlin’s → A TALONS ALON(e) in T(urtle)S
13 va[I]n ADVERSE (b)AD + VERSE
15   MAS MA’S
18 po(I)se → S AT EASE TEAS in A,E
19 +virgin AS IF (F + IS + A) <
21 boa[S]t ZABRA ZEBRA with A for E
23 stal(L) → K LIE TO LEO alternating with IT
25 [O]pen PESHITTA P(en) + ATHEIST *
27 +fool PUPATE PUP + ATE
30 i[N] REDIA (cove)RED I A(ir)
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