Listener 4142: Noye by Samuel (or Don’t Expect this Blog to be Written in the Style of the Puzzle)
Posted by Dave Hennings on 8 July 2011
It has only been six months since Samuel’s last Listener outing, and that was the wonderful advent calendar at Christmas. In that case we had two grids to fill, and then paste one on top of the other. Here it’s just a single grid, but two squares in the central column are completely barred off. “Across answers suffer from being penned in”, whatever that means, and downs have a similar change. Plus there looks like a lot of highlighting to look forward.
I started on the acrosses, but failing to get 2 or 6, I realised I was being dumb, and switched tack to the down clues since they would be entered as is. 1dn, nothing, 2dn nothing, 3dn … now don’t ask me why I looked at Lain aside, roll is excessive and thought Lain could be Latin! I hadn’t seen anything fishy with Hear or Miser, even though they started their respective clues. And they too could have a T added, as could plans, Pi, Seer, etc. Well that took all of 90 seconds, and I guessed that the across entries all had one or more Ts removed.
1dn was ORDEAL, and 2dn was an anagram of M (French Monsieur) + FIRSAROMA but I refused to use an anagram finder to solve it; this meant that SAMARIFORM had to wait quite a while to be solved. I decided to concentrate on the top left quadrant to see where that led, and got 11ac [T]RANSFIX, 17ac AR[T]EFAC[T] and 20ac LI[T]HE, all of which confirmed my idea of how the acrosses had to be entered. 6dn OXIC had me worried for a bit, since I couldn’t find it in Chambers, but I finally reread the preamble to find that it was only in the Oxford Dictionary of English.
I finished the grid in about 2½ hours. I’m sure I should have been quicker. Perhaps the feeling of dèja vu over Vessel following slow away from borders is bluish-green (7) and Vessel following slow away from borders is bluish-green (5) was the culprit this week. This was either (S)LAC(K) + TEAL = LACTEAL (vessel) or (S)LO(W) + VAT = LOVAT (bluish-green). Lovely stuff! How premediated was this, I wonder?
However, my favourite clue had to be 35 Delia’s closing, overcome by schedule for baking day (7): ROASTER, with its superb misdirection of baking day.
Now for the highlighting. I read the preamble again (you can’t read a Listener preamble too many times): “Nine cells require shading, which reveals a germane warning phrase; a pair of words also modified as across answers are.” Reading across the rows, PROCRAS was soon found, and TINATION dropping down the centre to form a large T; very pleasing to see the only two Ts in the grid in the barred off squares. And so we had PROCRASTINATION IS THE THIEF OF TIME, and although this has appeared elsewhere in the not-too-distant past, this was an excellent implementation of the theme.
It took me some time to decipher “a pair of words also modified as across answers are”! Are what?! Perhaps it was referring to the two identically worded clues to LACTEAL and LOVAT. Of course what I had done was to read the colon between “… warning phrase” and “a pair of words …” as a semi-colon, and thus two loosely connected phrases! In fact, the second part was an explanation of how the phrase was to be found in the grid, and then it wasn’t too hard to see in the bottom left and bottom right corners diagonally: [T]EMPUS FUGI[T]. The title of the puzzle was NO[T] YE[T].
I must confess that it was only after I’d put my pencil and highlighter down that I realised that the letter T was totally missing in the preamble and all the clues. (It would perhaps have been too much of a giveaway to have “Primary reference is Chambers; 6dn is in ODE.”)
A fine puzzle, as we have come to expect from Samuel. I guess it was somewhat on the easy side, but after recent trials that was quite welcome. And lastly, apologies for not having the time or patience to write this blog without the letter T … it did cross my mind for about a nanosecond!