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V by Parsnip

Posted by shirleycurran on 14 October 2011

It isn’t until I am without my Big Red Book and my computer that I realize how essential they are to my attempts to solve a Listener Crossword.  I don’t go very far without Anne Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary and indeed, she gives GENTLE under MAGGOT and MAGGOT under GENTLE but Parsnip’s V posed a number of problems to anyone suffering from BRB withdrawal symptoms.

We were in Uppsala, admiring the Codex Argenteus and a copy of Newton’s Principia Mathematica, made in its year of creation, but that didn’t help me work out the reason for RAD at 32d ‘Clear a dumpster to hide a New York cop (3)’ One needs the Large Burgundy Brick to find out that one meaning of RAD is excellent (in NY).

In other words, for the numpties, this one was more than usually challenging. We had NOT? for ‘Short-haired fashion returned to thrive endlessly (4)’ It was all too easy to assume that we were dealing with the Eton crop, and enter NOTE, but that was clearly not quite fulfilling the clue’s requirements, even if  THRIVE was one of our words involved in the substitutions (as it turned out to be, so that we had to return TON and use T(o) endlessly in NOTT). I think that was a rather sneaky trap and wonder who else fell into it.

YAMA had us floundering in a similar way ‘According to pundit, divine one may take up acting (4)’. We had ?AMA, and RAMA seemed fairly convincing with the D removed from acting (drama), yet, again, that didn’t seem quite right. BRB later confirmed that we could reverse MAY, followed by A leaving us another of those words involved in the substitutions.

AROW was yet another deceptive one and even more difficult to resolve, since the substitution that we finally unraveled gave us ‘THEY (A) TAKE (R) ON (O) Wickets (W) to produce a word we could guess at (AROW = one following the other) but not confirm without that Bulky Vermilion Volume.

We struggled our way to an almost complete but very dubious fill with a putative WORTH at 4d and WAGGON at 4ac but what on earth had that to do with Dylan Thomas’ ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’? (Yes, the theme had appeared fairly early in our solving when we saw that our misprints were producing ‘Rage against the dying of the light’ – an old favourite.)

As usual, we worked backwards. ‘Old age should burn and rave at close of day’ suggested that the Y of daY was where we were to look for OLD AGE raving and burning. Sure enough, GAOLED* gave us our old age, and there was storm, right down the centre column, sitting on a Y. The initial letters of those ten extra clues had given us DYLAN HOMAS and we obviously needed a T, so back to where I began, MAGGOT had to be our GENTLE that went into HOW (that) and BYE (Good Night!) – with MORPH, of course, for the shape – but I still don’t know how ‘thanks to CGT’ gives us our I misprint.

Furthermore, I still have no idea at all why this was V, so I suppose I haven’t completely solved Parsnip’s very challenging crossword. Working backwards, I was able to pair off some of the DO and GO words to make reasonably convincing substitutions but that came after the discovery of the cryptic representation. In other words, for hit and miss solvers without their Massive Mulberry Lifeline, Parsnip set us a snorter, but thank you, anyway, Parsnip.


2 Responses to “V by Parsnip”

  1. Geoff said

    > I still don’t know how ‘thanks to CGT’ gives us our I misprint.

    Google CGI

  2. shirleycurran said

    Aaah! Thank you, Geoff

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