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Listener 4159: Crovvword by Pointer

Posted by erwinch on 4 November 2011

I have been making a conscious effort to spend more time reading these days and so was looking forward to getting back to my book as soon as possible.  Somewhat appropriately for this week, I was reading Lustrum by Robert Harris.  Things were looking good when in a single sitting I had completed the grid, discovered the theme, hidden message and the two thematic items to be highlighted.  This just left the third item, in the form of a curve, to find:
 
 
 
For the most part the clues were readily accessible with only a few requiring a little more thought to fathom the wordplay:
 
13ac These fruits may be pressed in glass – Extra old-fashioned (6) lemons – MO in LENS (semi & lit.)  The reason for the spurious capitalisation of the E in Extra became clear later.
 
21ac Depiction of ancestor in short broadcast may help you to recognise someone (9) identikit – TIKI in IDENT
 
35ac An explosive shot from sub, perhaps from the right, ends in the top corner, amidst excitement (7) torpedo – (E + P + R) (rev) in TO-DO
 
25dn Ordering this seafood meal could get you a starter of mussels and clam pies (6) scampi – A + M + C(LAM) PI(E)S (anag)
 
31dn Music maker gets watcher to turn up (4) lyre – ERYL (rev)  There has been some debate as to whether or not this clue will be allowed once the new edition of Chambers, now minus names section, becomes the recommended reference in January.  Personally I see no reason why it should not be.  I do not buy every edition and have no plans to buy the 12th but I cannot be alone in having kept all six copies bought since my first, a reprint of the 1972 Twentieth Century Dictionary.  As for new solvers of the Listener, who can’t get hold of a second-hand copy, then I am sure that they will resort to the Internet – googling Eryl watcher confirms lyre in an instant.  Incidentally, although it did not list Eryl the watcher, the names section of the 20th Century Dictionary was even more informative than latterly since it also included the foreign equivalents of many names.  I wonder if this was ever used as the theme for a puzzle (extract from the 1983 edition – note the apparent mistake under Ivy [EDIT: I really do need to look at Chambers more carefully.  If you look in the 11th edition you will see that Ivy is used as a diminutive of Ivor in Scotland]):
 
 
 
The four unclued entries were revealed as capitals, Corinthian, Doric and Ionic – defining the theme to be the capitals of three of the five familiar Orders of Architecture:
 
 
 
I was later told that these three were the original Greek Orders of Architecture that were refined by the Romans to give the five above.  So, the theme might better be defined as the capitals of the three Greek Orders of Architecture.
 
All capital letters appearing in the clues spelled out the hidden message:
 
CONSTRUCT EIGHT QUADRANT ARCS STARTING AT THE TOP CORNER OF COLUMN
 
And two thematic items were found in the grid: acanthus and echinus.
 
This was all well and good except that I had been unspeakably careless in not registering the fact that the acanthus belonged to the Corinthian and the echinus the Doric capital and yet there they were perched clearly on top of their respective columns.  This oversight and a misreading of the preamble put paid to any further Lustrum that day.  In the preamble we were instructed to draw the third thematic item as a single continuous curve in several segments.  How could a single curve not be continuous (unbroken)?  If it were drawn with a dashed line perhaps but unfortunately I took it to mean that it had no ends and so must therefore return to the origin.  The following couple of hours were utterly futile as I searched for an eight-letter something that might be found on the capital of a column.  By now I really should know better than to waste time on absurd flights of fancy but the search culminated with trying to hang a cymatium off the top corner of the Corinthian column:
 
 
 
To produce this ludicrous curve I had to use some quadrant arcs of ellipses and even then this is not a unique solution.
 
It was time to return to the beginning and looking in Chambers I now found that the third item must belong to the Ionic capital and could only be the volute except that this does not have the required eight letters.  The letters of volutoid are to be found around the Ionic column – I thought that this might have a nounal form (cf toroid) but no.  Verticil was another distinct possibility that may have side-tracked many solvers.  Volution was eventually revealed but not with the closed curve that I was expecting:
 
 
 
I doubt that volution would be used in this context, surely it would always be volute, but the title provided confirmation.  Just as crovvword becomes crossword so volution becomes solution.  I was also hampered by looking primarily for an item on top of the column.  Here the curve encompasses the entire column and almost the entire grid but I cannot deny that it makes for an impressive picture.
 
So, a straightforward puzzle until the very end where I learned a valuable lesson – when consulting Chambers you must always read the entry carefully.  Thank you for that Pointer.
 
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One Response to “Listener 4159: Crovvword by Pointer”

  1. jake said

    Judas is missing in the names seen here. Heb/Aramaic/Grk/Lat.

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