Listener 4124: Aedites’ Circle Line (or At Least It’s Part of the UK)
Posted by Dave Hennings on 4 March 2011
Aedites is one of those rare beasts, a Listener setter who is equally at home in the world of numbers as he is with words. His last appearance was with a word puzzle that caused a bit of controversy, 4052 Question, back in September 2009. The answer was “(a) tall building, with a tower and bells”, and the desired question was “What is a CHURCH” from George Crabbe’s The Borough (1810). The solution notes included the following: “Entries with campanile, bell tower or belfry, in place of church, were also accepted.” I was one of those who put campanile, but having seen the rationale that made most/many/some people look in the ODQ, I think it should have been marked wrong! Unfortunately John Green’s annual statistics did not give the number of entries for each (incorrect) variation. Hopefully there would be no such delicate final step in this puzzle.
Thirty clues contained one or two extra words, the rest contained a misprint with the misprints spelling out a useful hint. Plus there was a word in the seven squares labelled with an X. 1ac spanned the top row of the puzzle, and was obviously an anagram: I curve ball too wildly, helping opponent. Nothing sprang to mind, but I thought I’d try and get some of the downs to help. 1dn [Care of mane is convincing (6)] was COGENT with mane for male; 2dn was OZONE, easy once I found that impedance was Z, and this gave my first extra word, rick. Then came 4dn [Topless Spanish dance’s no good, collecting medal for slow movement], which looked as though it should be ADAGIO or ANDANTE, but neither were long enough for the 8 spaces. Luckily ANDANTE and Spanish dance made me think of fandango and from there ANDANTINO. 6dn REALM and 9dn EMPEROR, and COLLABORATIVE was there for the taking at 1ac, with curve as the misprint for carve.
Unfortunately, as is often the case with a Listener, the opening allegro was punished with a second movement that was an adagio! Progress slowed down for a bit once I left the top third of the grid, with some tricky clues like Cows rush for a small cavity (TEAR, extra word cows) and Familiar slang of Munro etc (VERSANT, misprint slang for slant, I think) interspersed with easier ones like Chiefs of Olive Hill ran in circles about resistance (OHMIC, with ran for man). It was a shame that I didn’t find the 13-letter entry at 45ac as easy to get as 1ac had been [Inhabitant in poker’s rout makes game with captives], which was PRISONER’S BASE, a game I hadn’t heard of before.
Overall I didn’t find the solving process particularly quick, nearly 3 hours I think, but finally the grid was complete and the misprints spelt out UNDERGROUND CIRCLE. At last, on home territory, and I tried to make the extra letters in the top left corner of the grid, HALL KELVIN TAP RICK ILL HE HAD, make EDGWARE ROAD or PADDINGTON. Hold on though, what about those squares with an X in them? GLASGOW! Oh dear, wrong city, and not really on home turf at all. Before the days of the Internet, I don’t know how I would have verified the station names. Perhaps the editors would have not sought fit to use the puzzle way back then.
So, for completeness, here they all are:
|41ac||RANK||+||35dn||PINK GIN||=||KINNING PARK|
|42ac||WE TEST||+||28dn||REST||=||WEST STREET|
|18ac||GORES||+||7dn||GETS CROSS||=||ST GEORGE’S CROSS|
All that remained was to enter the first and last letters of each station name in the appropriate square, and to draw a straight line through 13 squares to trace a significant geographical feature. Even someone like me who has never been to Glasgow should have found that final step straightforward, with a line through THE RIVER CLYDE slightly askew across the middle of the grid. I pondered some time on what colour to use.
So, a very enjoyable puzzle from Aedites with a fantastic representation of the Glasgow subway system in such a tight grid.