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Listener 4113: Liberty Bell by Pieman (or Feat of Engineering)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 10 December 2010

This is Pieman’s fourth Listener. His last one, Digonal, was just over two years ago and attracted (if that’s the right word!) the lowest number of entries for that year. Among many, I had to admit defeat. A challenge was sure to lay ahead with this puzzle.

And that challenge started with the grid and preamble: hardly any bars and one of the strangest preambles for a long time. We had to add missing bars, anagram some entries (although we weren’t told which ones), then get rid of some of the newly-added bars, and then make changes to the anagrammed answers (but we weren’t told exactly how). Oh deary me! The great thing about so many Listeners is that a preamble that seems almost like gobbledygook on first reading can be looked back on as a master-class in precision. Hmmm …. I felt that the jury was out on this one!

Onward and upwards? Not really! This was one of the toughest set of Listener clues for many a year (IMHO), and had me making quite slow progress. Here are some of the clues that I had to think about:

11ac Civil War general issues message directly: FAIR (civil) = FAIRFAX (war general) – FAX (message directly, verb)
19ac What’s power to lose height: MIG (&lit) = MIGHT (power) – HT (height)
37ac Take this sponsorship and go make a record: EGIS (sponsorship) = R (take) + EGIS (this sponsorship) + TRY (go) makes REGISTRY (record)
54ac Pass swimmers shedding weight: NEK (pass) = NEKTON (swimmers) – TON (weight)
64ac Court scraps second dwelling: PLACE (dwelling) = PALACE (court) – A (second letter); not S!
2dn Local in charge of wine boxes: VICINAL (loacl) = IC (in charge) boxed by VINAL (of wine)
38dn At school, English play Tetris?: GAME (play Tetris) = GAM (school) + E (English); although I’m not quite sure why Tetris apart from surface reading
… and of course …
27dn Irritation as flushed from bad anaesthetics: TETCHINESS (irritation) = anag of ANASTHETICS – AA (ie the two letter As)
42dn Is welcoming neighbour aboard with vessel: CIBORIUM (vessel) = II (ie the two letter Is) welcoming (admitting) BOR (neighbour) aboard (ie in) CUM (with)

Listener 4113
And then the removal of many added bars to maximise word-length, those removed being shown in red in the diagram to the right. This turned the grid into a masterpiece of word content with only 16 unchecked squares, and only 70 words. Unchecked letters becoming checked revealed EVI MADE HA A R. I had marked these at the end of the row or column in which they appeared. Luckily, the R and MADE were near each other in the bottom right corner, and DREAM soon popped out, helping to give I HAVE A DREAM as the quotation. I suppose in hindsight, there can be few such well-known four-word quotations.

Finally, some changes to the anagrammed entries to make a representation of something from another source … a bit vague. I think it was ANISCROTAL that looked suspicious, although it turned out that there was no such word. ANI and SCROTAL are though, so a bar had to be moved from one anagrammed entry to another. Then FLUKE TOSE became FLU and KETOSE. At this point my remaining bars spelt out L F T F h E E squiggle u m!! After about 15 minutes, I realised that, in creating a new grid from which to remove the bars, I had forgotton to shade BONO as an anagrammed entry, and the F became another E. I then realised that three of these entries needed one of their letters to be boxed in completely, and the quick addition of a few more bars … L E T F R E E d o m suddenly appeared in the grid. Superb! A quick check in my Oxford Dictionary of Quotations revealed “Let freedom ring” from America by Samuel Francis Smith. This is an American patriotic song which shares the same melody as our national anthem (and other hymns I believe).

Out came my felt-tipped pen to mark in those bars, and a truly superb piece of grid construction was completed. A tour de force from Pieman, and a preamble that made complete sense … in a “think outside the box” sort of way!

My only query: why the requirement to mark the bars in red?

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One Response to “Listener 4113: Liberty Bell by Pieman (or Feat of Engineering)”

  1. shirley curran said

    Don’t you think, Dave, that marking the bars in red actually helped the solver to spot that refrain, “Let freedom …”? I imagine it was a requirement that had the solver in mind – and perhaps Mr Green, too.

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