Listener 4247: Yod Jsyv Dox by Ottorino (or Eua Higshih Drsc?!)
Posted by Dave Hennings on 12 July 2013
Ottorino is another new setter Listener-wise but has set three Magpies. One of these was called Two Codes, and we have codes this week as well. Two Codes was difficulty C (about average Listener level, I think), and thirty clues were entirely in code. Here one word in each of 18 clues was in code and ten others (Misprint clues) had to be entered in code, three different codes being used in almost equal numbers. Just when I thought I’d seen all the ways of messing around with clues, somebody comes up with a new one!
So where to start? As usual, I started with a quick scan of the clues, and even though there were, by my reckoning, 18 normal clues which were to be entered normally, I didn’t hold out much hope for a high solving rate. 5ac Turn unfinished, taking rook and two queens in historic board game (8) looked as though it should be SCRABBLE. Perhaps the the two queens had to be changed into two bishops R and two Bs in SCALE?) with some sort of chess piece substitution being called for. [I assume you know by now how wide of the mark that was!]
10ac was a relatively straightforward Misprint clue with ‘mosh’ for ‘moth’ and BOMB (flop on Broadway) + YX (two unknowns). Unfortunately Misprint clues had to be entered in code, so I hadn’t really made much progress. Luckily. 13ac REFT was normal and could be slotted in, and 16 REGREDE looked like it had ‘we’ as code for ‘to’ but I wasn’t sure. 21 was almost certainly SAMBUR, but that meant that something in ‘pecan meal’ was encoded which seemed less certain. 32ac Open toes rub more round at tip was probably OBTUSER with ‘open’ needing to be changed into an anagram indicator. 37, courtesy of Mrs B and cyclops, was ARIMASP with ‘oafs’ to be encoded, and 39 Position, to start with, alongside hooker? (4) was the lovely clue to PROP. 40 looked like ‘tho’ had to be encoded, although SEREST didn’t seem quite right, unless ‘scalds’ could mean, in some way, poetic … which it does, but I needed to look under skalds for that. There was quite a bit of sneakiness in Ottarino’s clues.
Finally, SYMAR at 43 finish my pass through the acrosses and I felt as though I had been mauled by a
pecan tiger. I had a few potential codings, but decided to go onto the down clues before getting too wound up in all the possibilities.Apart from anything else, it was enjoying trying to decipher some of the clues.
3dn ESTRO was normal, as was VEADAR at 5. I decided to get help with 15 and its ‘rail user m[eets]’, and SEMIRURAL went in with ‘bulls’ needing to change into an anagram indicator. I proceeded with the down clues much more quickly than with the acrosses, and EGOLESS, URBANE, AROINTS, EMPTY, PSORA and JULY were duly solved. Of these, only JULY couldn’t be entered, with 31 rays of ultraviolet light initially received by Jansky being fixed to read ’31 days…’.
All in all, not too bad, and I turned my attention to the title … for half a minute, and then went back to some clues. I couldn’t believe that I’d missed the simple hidden ANOA at 8dn, but was pleased when I could finally resolve 2dn Dawn to dread old mate PHEER and with ‘dawn’ homophone indicator.
And finally, H•S•E• as the entry for BOMBYX enabled me to see what was going on, with all the clue answer’s letters having to move forward by 6 places in the alphabet to give HASHED. Although it wasn’t explicitly stated in the preamble, it turned out that everything that was decoded ended up as real words. Examination of the other codings in a similar way revealed that they had to go forward 4 and 10 letters. So ‘dawn’ became ‘hear’, ‘oafs’ was ‘ugly’, ‘mills’ was ‘sorry’, and so on. The title was obviously Six Four Ten encoded by the 6-, 4- and 10-letter codes respectively, and the misprints in the clues spelt out Six and four … giving ten, I think. By the way, I’m perplexed as to where SEMI-RURAL may be lurking — we were told in the preamble that Chambers didn’t have it as a headword.
It didn’t take long to finish off the clues, but the whole puzzle probably took me four hours. However, it was great fun, and some of the translations were hugely enjoyable, not least of which was 22ac In Hawaii this will loosely fix enunciation of “low low” (6), where MUU-MUU ended up being entered as WEE-WEE!!