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Listener 4200 (and others): Shackleton’s Missing Vowels Round (and others)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 17 August 2012

This is my first blog at LWO for three weeks, the result of being totally snowed under by the trials and tribulations of moving house. For those of you who move house fairly frequently (say, every five years), this may seem to be a lame excuse. However, this was my first for just over 25 years, and it was depressing to realise how much accumulated … well, let’s just call it ‘stuff’ … had built up. In itself, this might not have been a problem, but my move was from a four-bedroom house to a two-bedroom cottage. A fair-sized living room, kitchen and garage exacerbated the problem. Put it this way, it’s not an experience that I look forward to repeating to soon.

So, to pick up where I left off, I need to make just a couple of comments about the two weeks that I missed. Firstly, there was Pilcrow’s 24 Across and his hero Arsène Wenger who transformed into Arsenal Manager. That was a very entertaining puzzle, despite football not being my favourite sport, and I made sure that my submission had a’s that looked like rotated e’s. For some reason, I had always thought that Wenger was Dutch and not French.

Following on from Pilcrow’s relatively straightforward offering, we had Kea’s Scattered. Well, with Kea you just know that you’re going to get something special, and I think we’re all agreed that we weren’t disappointed. The clues were typically tough, and it took me about six hours to solve the grid. I didn’t find the endgame too difficult, but that was made up for by admiration at the whole concept and implementation. I have to confess that it took me three attempts to make sure that I had identical letters to Hedge-sparrow’s grid three weeks previously (and what a nice, and essential, touch to use the puzzle whose solution was printed in the same paper).

And so on to puzzle 4200, and another setter whose puzzles I enjoy, Shackleton. For a start, the grid was a fair size, 19×11, and the clues had misprints in their definitions leading to two sets of words. I know Shackleton can be at the tricky end of the spectrum, but I thought that I might just get away with starting this puzzle on the Sunday before the deadline, which was also only three days before all my possessions would move house with me.

Although the clues weren’t as tricky as Kea’s had been the previous week, they were certainly taxing. I was chuffed that I got 1ac and 7ac straightaway, with the misprints of ‘lone’ for ‘love’ and ‘loved’ for ‘lived’ respectively. I was lucky to remember that Clinton had been governor of Arkansas before he became president. 14ac came next, with ARABA as a kind of carriage.

Like many a Listener, however, initial optimism gave way to reality and the rest of the grid took another five hours over a couple of sessions. But what lovely clues we were treated to on the way, my favourites being:

22ac BORNEO Site of Brunel’s tunnel, short dilapidated one
The definition is ‘Site of Brunei’ with BOR[E] (tunnel) + ONE*, and nothing to do with the funnel on Brunel’s SS Great Britain
1dn BARBARA Old sovereign aside from acting shy could be Windsor
Nothing to do with the Queen, but with Barbara Windsor of Carry On… and Eastenders fame: ‘shy’ becomes ‘she’ and BAR (a sovereign coin) + BAR (aside from) + A (acting)

It’s normal with misprints to be able to guess some letters that may be missing in a message and get help with the clues they represent. This was a little bit trickier here, as it turned out that some letters of the words were missing. Eventually we had, with the O’s being omitted, Victoria Circle Northern District Central colour Slower Deeper Shakier (although I initially had ‘colours’ and ‘lower’). It’s certainly true that the last three words can describe the first five, being London tube lines.

The colours of the tube lines in order are Blue Yellow Black Green Red, and I instantly recognised them as the colours of the rings on the Olympic flag. (Of course, when I say ‘instantly’, it actually took me about 40 minutes!) Looking up the motto of the Olympic Games, I found it to be Faster, Higher, Stronger, or in Latin Citius, Altius, Fortius.

All that remained was for me to find my colouring pencils that I had stupidly already packed away in a box labelled ‘Office’ (of which there were nine), and colour the five Olympic rings. As well as passing through the ten O’s in the diagram, they also passed through all the occurences of the other letters of OLYMPIC, each ring containing at least one of each letter.

As usual, another superb offering from Shackleton, and apologies for not making time to create an animation to go with this blog (and forgetting to scan my entry). And thanks also for not tripping me up … that would have to wait until Sabre’s puzzle the following week!!!


One Response to “Listener 4200 (and others): Shackleton’s Missing Vowels Round (and others)”

  1. shirleycurran said

    Amusing that as usual, we say the same – we both admired that wonderful Brunel clue (and were tripped up by Sabre a week later – doh!)

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