Listener 4255: On the Rocks by Dipper
Posted by Dave Hennings on 6 September 2013
It looked as though another one of Dipper’s trips into his garden was on the cards this week. His last puzzle was at the beginning of last year and was about Richard Gardiner’s 16th century book on tending kitchen gardens. As I have mentioned before, horticulture isn’t something at which I am proficient, but a quick read of the preamble seemed to indicate that it was just some decorative rocks that we had to locate.
There were only a few bars in the grid, and a single list of clues that were presented in alphabetical order of their answers. All that I do in these cases is to make a list of the numbers 1–38 in my workbook and write the answers against each one as they are solved. Their initial letters would give limited possibilities for the initial letters of the trickier answers that couldn’t be cold-solved. There were some long answers that would provide a way into entry placement later, but I just tackled the clues in order.
There didn’t seem anything too difficult with the left hand column of clues. All but five of the nineteen were solved, although none could be slotted in the grid yet. The right-hand column, however, proved a lot more obstinate: there were twelve gaps staring at me when I had finished. Luckily 21 INHARMONIOUS and 25 NOCTILUCENT (clued with ‘flowing’ misprinted for ‘glowing’) were solved, the latter courtesy of Chambers Crossword Dictionary. CCD also helped me with the ism at 28, having ‘personality’ under the headword character. Mrs B, however, was needed to find the missionary REDEMPTORIST at 32.
It was time to have a stab at fitting the long entries into the grid, and it seemed a strong possibility that NOCTILUCENT and PERSONALISM would fit into the 11-letter spaces in columns 5 and 8, especially as they would enable INHARMONIOUS and REDEMPTORIST to go, respectively, across the top and bottom of the grid. This exercise enabled all my solved answers to be fitted in, and the last few answers to be identified.
The clues were fine with good surface readings. I particularly liked 13 A Lendl shot—and it’s game, set and match (6) (END-ALL), and 26 Heads of province and government number crunchers (6), leading to ONIONS made from O (of) NI (Northern Ireland) and ONS (Office of National Statistics)!
I must admit that, although it was a relatively simple exercise, I did enjoy trying to fit the words in the grid and thus locate the four rocks, each of four squares of different shapes. They transformed the diagram into something quite unsymmetrical, but nonetheless well-constructed. The rocks had to be indicated with any degree of artistic creativity, and I chose zero, shading them a boring grey! I left it to Shirley to be at the other end of the artistic scale.
The misprints in the clues were: 1 expect for expert, 5 park for pare (not mark, as I originally had), 12 mouth for month, 18 tick for sick, 24 marry for merry, 25 flowing for glowing, and 33 corn for coin. The correct letters provided an anagram of GREISEN which needed to be entered in the space beneath the grid.
Thanks to Dipper for an enjoyable, if easy, tour of his rockery, which required only the minimum of gardening knowledge.