Listen With Others

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Rules of Construction by Poat – ‘Eight by Eight’ and we failed!

Posted by shirleycurran on 11 September 2009

Rules of Construction by Poat This ‘8X8’ was way above the heads of the junior 8X8 solving team. Now we know what you are all talking about when you claim that you want something more difficult. There must be a deliberate policy of attrition at work to weed out lesser solvers. However, we have seen our able friend’s solution and are suitably humbled – will there be thirty of you left after this evil challenge?

Jumbles are my anathema. Clearly, there was no other way to compose that astonishing word square, but the jumbles defeated us. Moreover, the clues were fiendishly difficult. We solved just about a third of these fearsome clues and managed to work out that MERRY ENGLAND probably went in normally, intersecting with EIK, KACHERI, AMENDE and CAMPARI rev. We even had SENECA and CARIOGENIC – but CARIOGENIC obviously had to be jumbled. How? and Why?

There were some memorable clues here. 29d ‘Punish Wimbledon’s ten fools about this’ stands out, with TEN NITS round SCOUR, and 39ac CREPE SUZETTE with PET around an anagram of ZEUS inside CRETE where the Minotaur lived. However, the problem for me was that I was attempting to work our wordplay leading to totally unfamiliar words like ELAPHINE, CHARACIDAE and RHAPHE. I imagine the problem exists for seasoned solvers, as no-one can have digested all 1871 pages of Chambers (can they?), but you veterans probably have more confidence in your solving of the wordplay.

Ironically, it was the 8X8 that we (the so-called 8X8 junior coffee break solving team) could not see, though once it was shown to us, we were, as usual, amazed at Poat’s verbal agility and at the feat he has performed in making that central 8X8 tie in with two sets of marginal words. I wonder how many false starts there were before the grid finally fell into place!

The second little word square was relatively straightforward for us. This was normal Junior coffee break 8X8 solver level and most satisfying:
Y O U T H S
O S P R E Y
U P T U R N
T R U A N T
H E R N I A and that final word
S Y N T A X
had me rushing to Chambers to find the relevant definitions, ‘Systematic order or arrangement of elements; a set of rules for combining the elements of a programming language into permitted constructions’. Aaah!

Well, thank you, Poat, for showing us our limits. It was an impressive construction.

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