Listen With Others

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Listener 4128, Ringtone: Setter’s Blog by Trev

Posted by Listen With Others on 2 April 2011

I’d asked Jago at the 2010 Dinner to aim for 12th March this year, as it would coincide with no 4128, the 1,300th (25 years) puzzle check since Mike Rich handed over the reins in 1986. Nobody else would have been aware of the milestone if I didn’t mention it, so I did.

It was only later in the year that I thought it would be nice if 4128 were a Trev. I’m not sure when or how the idea of anagrammed elements came up – probably seeing an example in some puzzle.

I’m not a techie, so the preparation was all manual, first checking for all possibilities via Chambers Anagrams. Next came the grid. It is beyond me to produce a grid as I go along; I have to construct it first, in this case including several 8-letter entries (the largest anagrams) to give maximum scope. Then it was just a slog, with Chambers Words and Crossword Completer to help. I would have liked to get a tenth element in, but a satisfactory grid emerged with nine. I had really tried hard to include SEMILUNE (selenium) but couldn’t. The final total of the atomic numbers was never going to be a significant figure, and I rather enjoyed the prospect of solvers wondering if they’d missed one (or more) and crossing their fingers until the solution was published.

In writing clues my equal priorities are accuracy, soundness and surface reading. I hope all were achieved (with thanks to the editors for ironing out a few faults).

With my checker’s hat on, my favourite puzzles are those which ‘Give ‘Em A Chance To Go Wrong’ (FAIRLY!). Here my schadenfreude was rewarded with several dozen solvers producing 40 different incorrect totals (by no means all of them under 489; the highest was 1,522). In addition, a few dozen fell into the deliberate trap (but with a watertight clue) of ADIEUS for ADIEUX.

I hope the puzzle was enjoyed, at least by those who got it right.


One Response to “Listener 4128, Ringtone: Setter’s Blog by Trev”

  1. Bannsider said

    As I mentioned in my note to Trev, the clue to ADIEUX was not only watertight, it was brilliant, as were quite a few others.
    I totted up the elements several times and made 488. Only at about the 4th attempt did I hit on the right total (!)

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