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Listener 4100: Kea’s Table-turning (or Cut and Paste)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 17 September 2010

I guess we all remember Kea’s puzzle from last year about George Washington cutting down his father’s apple tree. Quite rightly, that won the Ascot Gold Cup for 2009. It must be hard to live up to such a wonderful puzzle, but I was sure Kea wouldn’t disappoint. So …

First of all, I spied a little hint in the form of the extra bars on the top and bottom edges of the grid. I won’t say they were a giveaway as to what was likely to be happening later on, but they were obviously going to be relevant. Secondly, the seemingly random order of the clues meant that there was likely to be a lot of scanning to try and find a particular clue that needed solving. I decided to snip all the clues into individual pieces and glue them to another piece of paper in the correct order. Much more efficient and one up on Kea for me. Excellent … off to a flying start.

A pity that two thirds of the answers needed jumbling on entry, but hopefully the entries which didn’t need an extra letter added or taken away would be fairly easy. Yeah, right! At this point, I reread the preamble and noticed the extra hint that no two adjacent clues were of the same type. That would obviously be important or at least useful, so I decided to cut up all the clues again, and glue them to another piece of paper in their original order.

Two hours into the puzzle and I hadn’t even looked at a clue. What’s more, I was due to go on holiday for some golf in Portugal the following day, so mild panic started setting in. As I looked at 16ac (the first clue) I realised that having the wordplay refer to the grid entry with the possible jumbling and extra/missing letters would probably make the clues more difficult to solve rather than easier. I raelised that reiliance on the definition jumping off the page would be the only way to solve them. Back to my hope that the normal clues would be easier than normal.

My first answer was 4dn, which was probably WEIMAR, with 1AM in WR. Well that could be IWRAM or IAWRM, with amissing E. Next came TROWS at 1dn, 27ac STROMB and IDOLS at 15dn, two out of three normal clues. 19dn TICKS or TOCKS probably, but the wordplay escaped me, and 27dn UTEOA. That was it for the first pass, and I decided that I would concentrate on the top left of the diagram, since that had a three definite entries.

1ac was probably (I think that word is going to crop up a lot in this blog!) TGOEMI or TIGEMI, but I wan’t sure which. It was only later that I got the significance of It’s game. 17ac WHEY, 3dn KEY and 14ac OZEKI, which I’d come across somewhere else fairly recently … strange how often that happens with a new word. I felt everything was going well. Luckily I had done most of my packing for the golf trip, so I began to relax a bit. Not a good idea, as the answers came fairly slowly. Getting 27dn wrong didn’t help, but solving 31ac UTU fixed that.

Clues like 12ac What industry produces train? took an age to unravel (train referring to a type of whale oil), and 36ac ON THE DOLE was also tricky for me. Eventually, the grid was complete, and the instruction was revealed as CUT IN THREE ALONG GRID LINES; CONNECT AS NEW OBLONG. Now where the hell are my scissors?!
I found WORDSWORTH and MIS-SHAPES pretty easily, and started snipping … and snipping … and snipping. Consequently, I ended up with more than three pieces:

A quick look through the index of my ODQ under Misshapes, Beauteous, Forms and Things revealed nothing, so I scanned the entries under Wordsworth:
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:—
We murder to dissect.

This enabled the perimeter of the grid to be set in place and, after a bit of fiddling around with the remaining pieces, the finished grid was in front of me.
My final thought about my submission was how I should construct it. Would I get marked down half a point if I just keyed the final solution into Sympathy and printed that out. I decided on a different approach, and completed my diagram as printed in the paper and then cut it into the three pieces and stuck them back in the new shape. I must say that I was rather pleased with the result:

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