Listener 4231: Vera by Elfman (or Lies, Lies and Yet More Lies)
Posted by Dave Hennings on 22 March 2013
Five weeks before we had Kea’s Polar with its opposites. This week we had clues that were either true or contained a lie. I guessed that lies here would not be the same as Kea’s opposites. I was intrigued (but also annoyed that the clues weren’t numbered … again). I decided to colour the start of each clue with green for those that were true, red for those that lied and orange for those alternating. Unfortunately, and somewhat predictably, orange and red turned out to be annoyingly hard to distinguish. It looked like I was on course for getting quite annoyed this week.
I looked at clue 1: You formally heard old buck’s second to last in dog race (7, two words). Well, it seemed to me that a lie could be ‘you’ instead of ‘I’, ‘second to first’ instead of ‘first to last’ or ‘last to first’, or ‘dog race’ instead of ‘horse race’. Aha, horse race, two words, could be THE OAKS, and so it was, with THE (sounds like thee) + SOAK with S (second) moved to the end. I chose to put it in the right hand grid; this would be for all false clues or for the mixtures.
Clue 2 contained ‘75%’ so that could be ‘25%’ or ‘50%’, or indeed anything in between. Moving to clue 3 and that was ANNULET and could go under THE OAKS to give down entries beginning TA, EN, OU, KE and ST, all of which were common enough starts of words. I pencilled it in.
Clue 4 Likewise Elfman: a nobody and the opposite of ‘nobody’ could be ‘somebody’ or SOMEONE (SO + ME + ONE). I guessed at the left hand grid for this one, although whether it was in the top row or the second would only manifest itself a bit later. BELT, ETAL and GHEE came next, and then 15 Title of respect to glorify and then elevate (6). UPRAISE didn’t take long, and the lie here was the clue length.
18 was AMULET and the first true 6-letter entry which had to run down from the top row and probably fixed SOMEONE in row 2. TABANUS, possibly running down from THE OAKS and through BELT was followed by EN L’AIR, LEFTIE, ODEA and HAPU. Lot’s of great clues and neat little lies.
Across the bottom of my right-hand grid, I could see SUSPECT, representing the alternate clues, and a short time later, the central row emerged as A HALF TRUTH IS A WHOLE LIE, and my grids proved to be back to front.
A short while later and the puzzle was complete. UPRIGHT was in the central column of the correct clues’ grid with ANANIAS across the top of the lies’ grid. Ananias of Damascus appears in The Acts of the Apostles. He lied about the price he paid for a tribute to God, a crime for which both he and his wife were, rather extremely in my view, struck down dead. OK, so he lied to the Holy Ghost, but still!
And so, thanks to Elfman for a fine little puzzle, no word of a lie … honest!
PS: Those eagle-eyed among you will find the cause of a final bit of annoyance hidden in this week’s animation!
PPS: Hello to all those I met at last week’s Listener Setters’ Dinner. Thanks to everyone for making it great fun, and especially to Jim and Jan for another feat of organisation.