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Listener 4260: Nuts and Bolts by Mango

Posted by Dave Hennings on 11 October 2013

I was staying in Norfolk on the day that Mango’s latest puzzle appeared. Although I’d be home that evening, the following day would be occupied by a trip to the British Museum for the Pompeii & Herculaneum exhibition. On the Thursday I would be off to Portugal for some golf, so that basically left me three days to complete a puzzle that would almost certainly be a tricky little blighter! (Remember Mango’s previous puzzle, 27, last December?)

Listener 4260At first glance, it looked worryingly odd: there were clue letters instead of numbers, and the symmetry was mirrored about the NW-SE main diagonal. Each clue was actually two clues, an across and a down, three clues had wordplay only, and a number of other answers would be too long for their entry length. Finally, two events would be revealed, and one would take preference for the entry submission.

I solved the first part of clue B Glum perhaps after one’s club throw away point after comeback (3). The break between the two clues was club/throw, and the answer was IRON. Although ‘Ron’ is given under Glum in Mrs B, I just don’t know how the clue could be solved without having heard of the old radio show Take It from Here or resorting to Google. Ron and Eth Glum were characters in the show, which was at its height when I was still in short trousers. As it was, I never heard the programme but had just ‘come across’ it. I hoped that not all clues this week would be that tricky.

I skipped over clue C as I’m not an expert on Bantu phallic symbols, but got the first part of D, a simple answer hidden in mISTLEtoe. E was next, with LOVE reversed plus VE and I was feeling quite positive that Mango may be solved before I had to pack golf clubs and suitcase. I entered EVOLVE horizontally although it could end up being a down in the finished grid.

Progress was steady but relatively slow, and I found myself working up from the bottom right, having got CHYLDE, SHEATHE and WHATEVER fairly quickly. It was, however, some time before I twigged that the extra letters were all appearing in the first and last columns. For you, that may have been the top and bottom rows! That bit of information certainly helped finish off those clues a bit more easily.

The other thing that was confusing was the weird entry appearing at horizontal I (although it could end up being a vertical). It seemed to begin with a load of Is and a V! The light began to dawn as I looked at the choice of extra letters in the right-hand column: ·SE  AR  ·  CH  NE  ER·TA  ON  ·. Although it doesn’t stand out here, seeing it running down the page in front of me, ISAAC NEWTON stood out, although it was a mystery who somebody HERMANN.

Looking to the left, GRAVITATION was in the first column, and it took only a few seconds to realise that the alternative was WILLIAM TELL. And what was the common theme? Apples! And so it was that APPLE could be slotted in at the end of I across to confirm the preamble…”a common definition will appear in the completed grid.” This enabled me to solve A1 as QUARRBNGTON (QU+A+RR+B+NG+TON), I1 as GRANNO SMITH (anagram of ROMAN NIGHT), and L2 LEATHWRCOAT (anagram of [LE]AR THE OWL CAT), none of which was to be entered anywhere in the grid. The misprints spelt BOW, the device to go under the grid.

Finally, the six characters to be reoriented were the first six of I across: I-I-I-I-I-I-V, which would become ——————> to represent the arrow piercing the APPLE on the head of WALTER TELL in column 10. On the right lurked HERR HERMANN better known to TV viewers of the 50s as Albrecht Gessler, played by the superb Willoughby Goddard. OK, so I watched the telly in the 50s rather than listened to the radio!

Listener 4260 My EntryOf course, the grid could be rotated about the NW-SE diagonal to represent the apple falling on Newton’s head, but we were told that the grid would depict the earlier event. In case we really weren’t sure, we were given the unchecked letters in the unclued entries of the finished grid. Although they weren’t really necessary, they confirmed the HERR HERMANN entry in the last column.

And so, after nearly five hours, another superb puzzle was complete. Thanks, Mango, especially the one of you who came up with the delightful title.


2 Responses to “Listener 4260: Nuts and Bolts by Mango”

  1. Dave Russell said

    Well I convinced myself that the surname was Gessler, in the belief that only the earlier event was to appear in the completed grid.

  2. Yes, Dave, you’re right. I just thought of the two passive participants vis-a-vis the apples as Newton and Walter Tell. Of course the correct solution makes more sense. This year is getting depressing!

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