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Listener 4150: Colleague’s Garden Scraps (or Respectively Yours)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 2 Sep 2011

This is Colleague’s third Listener. His first was way back in 2002, but the last one, in July last year, was on the theme of the fifteen meditations beginning with O by St Bridget and was very enjoyable. So this week it looked like Colleague was taking over gardening duties from Dipper. Oh dear, and I hate gardening!

Never mind. Although the preamble was quite lengthy, we basically had a couple of protagonists to find (wound up) and some clashes … no idea how many, so hopefully only a few, otherwise the grid could become a bit messy.

Although I was tempted to look first at the clues for the three long entries (at 1dn, 10dn and 25ac), I decided to carry on with my standard trawl through the acrosses and downs in sequence. Perhaps not a good idea: only four across entries revealed themselves (6 DAY ONE, 11 COERCE, 20 TEAN and 33 RANEE). However the down clues were a bit more forgiving, and eight were slotted in fairly quickly. These included 1dn SCOUTED AROUND, 10dn UNTRANSMITTED, followed a few minutes later by 25ac DREAMLESSNESS. At first, I couldn’t confirm scout around as an idiom in Chambers, but it was there under the main heading with “often with about or around” in brackets.

45 minutes later, and I had a whole slew of clues solved. Surprisingly, nearly all of them were in the left side of the diagram; only ORAL, AILS and UNTRANSMITTED were on the right. Luckily, another 45
minutes saw the right side of the grid polished off. SNIDE and ENPLANES at 6dn in the central column basically needed cold-solving unless a guess at DALES and PENNINES for the anagrammed words came first … which it did for me.

Care was needed with 12ac Inert gas found in recognised stone partition (6), which I originally assumed would be SCREEN, despite Chromium (Cr) not being an inert gas but a metallic element! It wasn’t until I got 13dn KROONS that I realised my mistake, and realised that Krypton (Kr) was the inert gas, giving SKREEN as the entry. I was also a bit perplexed by 18ac Full organ fabricator concerned with blades, perhaps (6) giving FOLIAR. FO is not an abbreviation I come across very often!

Listener 4150So the grid was finished, and time to read the preamble again. … there are clashes!! Well not in my grid there weren’t! However, I spotted SBURY in the main NW-SE diagonal and it looked as though we were in for some fighting and the Marquess of Queensbury rules!? Except that Wikipedia tels me that it’s spelt Queensberry, so that’s not right. Stupidly, I didn’t follow the diagonal north-westwards, but saw BLORE HEATH in the main NE-SW diagonal first, and finally saw TEWKESBURY in the other diagonal, both battles in the English Civil War, I thought. Well, close … the Wars of the Roses actually! And they were the clashes … battles, not letters.

Presumably the protagonists would be Lancaster and York, and it didn’t take more than a few seconds to see them wound up clockwise in the top few lines of the grid. DALES and PENNINES at 6dn now showed themselves to be appropriately positioned.

Listener 4150 My EntryThe home run was at hand, and we had to rotate two letters in the same direction as the protagonists (by 225 and 315 degrees, respectively). Well, I’ve used the word ‘respectively’ many times in my life (and perhaps even a couple of times in these blogs). So what are those two rotations respective to? Both protagonists had been rotated clockwise. If I say “John and Jane are 4 and 6 respectively”, I mean that John is 4 and Jane is 6. The word is necessary because John and Jane are different ages and I want to say that the first age goes with the first name, and the second with the second. Here, both protagonists were rotated in the same direction. Perhaps the degrees specified were relative to the positions of Lancaster and York in the grid, ie one is north-west, the other north-east.

It was actually this consideration that enabled me to spot the two Ds in the lower left and right corners and rotate them accordingly … or is that an incorrect use as well? I’m not going to labour the point, but surely the preamble should just have read (one by 225 degrees, the other by 315). Oh well, I got there in the end, with the crossed swords symbolising the war between the reds and the whites.

A final bit of care was needed to ensure that the two rotated Ds formed the symbol in connection with two straight lines drawn through the clashes. Just leaving the Ds isolated would, I presume, be marked wrong. Oooh, harsh!

A couple of hours in total, so par for the course this year. A good puzzle from Colleague, thanks, despite getting me just a little bit animated!

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