Listen With Others

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Listener 4045 : Admission by Kea

Posted by erwinch on 21 August 2009

A 25th Listener from Kea, a setter requiring no introduction from me.  Two times winner of The Ascot Gold Cup for puzzle of the year and the anticipation is such that this might well be number three.  I always thought that he lived in New Zealand but he seems to spend a lot of time in the UK now – perhaps he did a house swap with Phi.
 
Generally I found the clues in Admission to be on the straightforward side and with clashes in thematic entries involving three letters Kea had given himself a good bit of leeway to avoid any strain.  In this respect I initially thought that 17ac was weak with the Pope being associated only with unruly man I cut but then I looked up latrocinium in Chambers:
 
Latrocinium ejects unruly man; I cut the Pope associated with it (4, two words) Lro I (Leo I/Lwo I) – L(AT)RO(C)I(NIUM) (R + E + W = T)
 
Latrocinium was Pope Leo I’s name for the ‘Robber-Council’ at Ephesus in 449AD.
 
I was a bit concerned when six of the clashes appeared in unchecked cells, which is most unusual, but I needn’t have worried.
 
The theme was readily revealed when the part quotation emerged:
 
I can’t tell a lie …  I did cut it with my (hatchet).  Attributed to George Washington but widely believed to be an invention of the biographer Parson Weems.  It was a cherry tree, five examples of which appeared in the interim grid forming the shape of a tree and removing any doubt about the unchecked cells:
 
4045 Interim Solution Fig 1
 
It was clear that we would have to represent the tree having been cut down but how were we to do that?  Looking at the grid on paper made it very difficult to see what might happen so the grid was reproduced in Excel.  I considered placing the trunk diagonally with the branches leaning against the left edge of the grid but that looked untidy and unsatisfactory.  Eventually, starting with WIN overlaying LUR at 20ac, the solution was found and the hatchet placed (probably the nearest I will ever get to appearing in a crossword):
 
4045 Required Solution Fig 2

Well, that was the required solution but it cried out for some highlighting to really appreciate everything that went on in the grid: 

4045 Final Solution Fig 3
 
What an amazing construction and dénouement – Kea on top form!  I have no influence over the result but this would make a very worthy winner of his third Gold Cup.
 
Well, I am away tomorrow for a week’s walking in the Borders around Berwick and shall be offline.  Let’s see if I can get caught by the tide at Holy Island.
.

5 Responses to “Listener 4045 : Admission by Kea”

  1. Raich said

    Not gone back to check, but I think, when Kea won the Ascot Gold Cup as the best of the 2008 Listener puzzles, that already was his third Ascot Gold Cup!

  2. erwinch said

    I have just had a look on the Listener site and could only see two wins for Kea: Safe-cracking (2005) and Conflict Resolution (2008). Dimitry has won three times: 1994, 1997 and 2001.

  3. Raich said

    Yes, you’re quite right, I should have checked, I thought there was a third – would not argue with the Listener site in a matter like that!

  4. Roger Phillips said

    For the record, you’re both right. Kea has had the Cup twice but Dolos also had it for Playfair (2000).

  5. Raich said

    Which, if you do not know about that puzzle which I well remember doing, is that (Dolos Playfair)* = APRIL FOOLS DAY so a pseudonym chosen for the puzzle, which appeared on 1 April 2000!

    I should have checked this all out more carefully before making previous postings, but I was just so sure I’d heard when Kea won for 2008 that that was Kea’s third.

    Like others, I am totally in awe of the talent displayed.

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