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A stereoselective strategy for the rapid acquisition of the complete framework (dideoxyottelione A) of the promising cytotoxic agent ottelione A, with four contiguous stereogenic centres on a hydrindane skeleton and a sensitive 4-methylenecyclohex-2-enone functionality, from the readily available Diels–Alder adduct of 1,2,3,4-tetrachloro-5,5-dimethoxycyclopentadiene and norbornadiene, is delineated.