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No 4146 What it Says by Waterloo (But what does it say?)

Posted by shirleycurran on 5 August 2011

There’s a very anxious numpty blogging today. It was magic when the grid appeared dense with bars (clearly the Listener powers-that-be had responded to grumbles and decided to give us the ones that have been forgotten or missing over the past few weeks) all stuffed into a strangely-shaped, non-symmetrical, 12 by 10 grid. Eighty-seven clue numbers as well as forty-eight indication of clue lengths. Now, with the preamble, that’s over a third of Waterloo’s total word allocation used up. Something fishy going on here!

(A complete non sequitur but X for ‘by’, as in 12 X 10 isn’t in Chambers. What is the consensus about using it in a crossword?)

This was no twenty-hour Sabre solve. With delight, I instantly spotted my first alcoholic clue. Yes, of course Waterloo is a member of the LOSS  (Listener Oenophile  Setters Society) they all are, even if now and again it is just that grid-filling Asti. ‘Out of the sun, holding new drink’,  though, of course, it was just boring old SHANDY.

SH and Y went in and we were off.  The grid filled steadily with an astonishing range of AND and OR words: C(or)I(and)ER, S(and)W(or)M, D(or)MIT(or)Y, M(and)AT(or)Y, SF(or)ZA. We were lucky in that OMNIV(or)OUS was an early find and we realized that the clue numbers were in conventional order (like Phi’s last week!) even if that wasn’t the order in which we were entering the solutions.

About three hours, with a meal cooked and eaten at the same time, and we had a complete grid fill with just some doubt about PANDORA. She had an AND and an OR. The P and A were already in place at 61 as parts of PORCELAIN but what had to go in 62d? We already had an A as part of TRANSF(or)MATION so we decided it had to obey the AND/OR rule twice; we put in PA. Not totally satisfactory, I know.

Why the anxiety? Erwin’s warning is always subliminally echoing – paraphrased roughly as ‘If you are not sure it is right, then it most probably isn’t!’ Where is the endgame? ‘What it says’ is the title, so it must say something. What is the reason for that strange sentence in the preamble, ‘Solvers are charged with entering what it says’?

Is there some secret message encoded into this grid? Cut along fault lines: fold into an exotic bird?

I’ve gazed at the completed grid for hours and spotted ‘TEDIUM’, ‘CREATION’, a whole gang of people (ALEX, TED, TIM, CLARA and even STING) but can’t see what else could be done – except thank Waterloo for (perhaps) giving us a break from the fearsome weekends of solving we have had recently.

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2 Responses to “No 4146 What it Says by Waterloo (But what does it say?)”

  1. erwinch said

    I had no doubts here – we were to enter into the grid just what the clue answers said.  Waterloo seems to have cornered the market with this type of Listener – no theme other than the method of grid entry.  I feel that this makes for a rather mundane puzzle.  It would have been more interesting had there been more options above AND and OR although the entry for Pandora also gave me pause for thought.  I note that most entries were real words or abbreviations.

    I would accept by = multiplied by = times = x (although strictly it is ×).

  2. shirleycurran said

    Many thanks, I asked that question on Derek’s message board and that seemed to be the consensus. Even the big names are willing to accept it. I hope it gets into Chambers to solve our problem, thanks.

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