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4070: Salamanca’s Glady Marsh (or A Fair Kop)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 12 February 2010

Salamanca’s last four puzzles have been in the Enigmatic Variations series and relatively straightforward. His last Listener, Mazy from February last year, was quite tricky from what I recall, but then what Listener isn’t. It’s interesting how some setters adopt different types of theme, style, and level of difficulty, depending on the series they are submitting to (I think Phi is a prime example).

The first thought that crossed my mind when I looked at the title of this puzzle was ‘Sherlock Holmes’, reminding me immediately of the Grimpen Mire in THOTB. Little did I realise how prophetic this thought would be! I’m generally not good at deducing very much from a title. The preamble contained the somewhat daunting phrase “Solvers must show their understanding of the theme …” as if to say it really isn’t going to be obvious. Well, we’ll see about that, Mr S.

Only a couple of the acrosses came on the first pass, 24 SIERRAN and 29 AND. Very poor. Luckily I rattled off the down clues … well five of them anyway, and 3, 4 and 7 ran down from the top row, although nothing seemed obvious for 1ac 1dn yet. Three more acrosses, 10 ANGEL, 13 LIND and 15 LEASING-MAKER (a simple anagram, but a word I’d not heard of) came next, and the top left corner was beginning to take shape. Two of these words were also thematic, ANGEL and LIND; no link seemed apparent, but at least they fitted their entry length. 1ac 1dn also looked like it could be something ON THE WALL, perhaps SITTING … although that would have clashing first letters … but if I’ve learnt one thing from my Listener years, it is not to rule anything out too soon. However, 2dn would then have been TG…., and that didn’t seem likely. Aha! WRITING ON THE WALL, and I was reminded of Listener 3970, Wot, No Lines by Charybdis a couple of years ago with its grafitti theme.

Onwards and upwards, and 30ac RABBETING-SAW came next, another word I hadn’t come across (I haven’t done any woodwork since school, a few (?) years back), followed by 18dn ALIZARIN and 17ac LAR. And there was 17dn LESTRADE staring at me, together with, if I’m not mistaken, GREGSON at 5dn. I should learn to listen to my tuition more often … two Scotland Yard detectives from Sherlock Holmes. According to the preamble, they had a theory, revealed in the story in which they first appeared. A quick reference to my copy of Sir Arthur Wiki Doyle, and that seemed to be A Study in Scarlet, and we were even given a clue to that at 14ac. In this story, Lestrade and Gregson show Holmes a wall on which is wrtten RACHE, thought by the former two to be Rachel incomplete (but which Holmes finally identifies as the German word for “revenge”). It takes no time at all, luckily, to understand the theme, with ANGEL, LIND, LAR, etc, each being one letter short of a girl’s name.

The remainder of the puzzle fell into place quite quickly, and the title, also in the style of the theme, was revised and entered under the grid as THEA GLADYS MARSHA.

My final task was to understand the clues to 33dn WAND and 35dn KOP. Although Bradford’s gives SORRY under WAN, I really wasn’t happy with the clue: ‘wan’ (faint, dark, gloomy) isn’t really ‘sorry’ (poor, miserable, worthless); well, perhaps it is. As for KOP, I spent ages trying to find Mount Pok or the like in Scotland; and I have no idea how I finally stumbled upon KIP with O for I. Was this obvious to everyone else?!

So, thanks for a good puzzle, Salamanca. Sherlock Holmes themes always entertain, unless, that is, you were tripped up by Listener 3883, Olde Treasure Hunt by Merlin! Yes, I was!


One Response to “4070: Salamanca’s Glady Marsh (or A Fair Kop)”

  1. As I just commented to Gareth Rees, it was the KIP-KOP clue that held us up the longest,too. I wonder if this was so for most solvers.

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