Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin

Rattle by Augeas – Partlet

Posted by shirleycurran on 15 April 2011

The numpties’ first reaction to Augeas ‘Rattle’ was gloom when we saw that we had only 26 clues for the 38 entries. What’s more, we were going to find extra words and have a final ambiguity to resolve.

However, our spirits were lifted as the grid filled with astonishing speed, especially the down clues, and republic ?? appeared. For once, it was an advantage to possess an outdated copy of the ODQ. Nancy Mitford’s “An aristocracy in a republic is like a chicken whose head has been cut off. It may run about in a lively way but in fact it is dead” was clearly what we needed, (does a headless chicken really run about in a lively way? I recall something about the first step being the one that counts!)

We had two missing entries and the daunting prospect of filling all those empty lights with beheaded chickens, clearly running about all over our grid.

I can’t say it often enough, “Thank you Mrs Bradford!” She didn’t give us much in the way of chickens, but the hens were invaluable. (I come from a poultry-farming family but some of those were new to me!)

Yet again, the endgame was far more challenging than the grid fill, especially as we had a few candidates for the six-letter chickens. We had the added problem of needing two elusive clues, 33ac ‘Edmund’s bird’s breast … unique activity in chine follows (7)’ It sounded rather naughty, and, indeed, was mildly so, when we found TIT … MOSE. We had to look up the ‘mose’ bit to be sure.

D-Mark should have been obvious, ‘Country loses unit — it used to circulate in its southern neighbour (5)’ Clearly we were looking for a currency, but it wasn’t until we had fitted in and sorted out our SULTAN that we saw it (Denmark, losing EN).

We had initially attempted to simply fit birds into the grid, as ?NDO? suggested a headless condor, and a manx shearwater fitted those letters in the central column. That was the habitual numpty red herring. Chickens proved to be far more palatable and we struggled until we had only odd bags of letters left after ticking off the letters of A RUN ON GUINEA (fowl, I presume). There was a bit of juggling of the final N, N, O and I and we had a happy grid – but such potential for error!

We opted for ORPINGTON, DORKING, SULTAN, PLYMOUTH ROCK, HOUDAN, LEGHORN, WYANDOTTE, ANDALUSIAN, COCHIN, RHODE ISLAND RED, and ANCONA, all headless and running wild, of course.

So our Rattle was not Shakespeare’s ‘temple-haunting martlet’ but a ‘partlet’.

Thank you, Augeas, for a fine challenge.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: