Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin

Nuts and Bolts by Mango

Posted by shirleycurran on 11 October 2013

Numpties were travelling again so we didn’t see this till Saturday and then could hardly believe our eyes. What a preamble! We read it – and reread it – and re- reread it then simply decided to mow the lawn, do the laundry and mull over whether this was our Waterloo. One of these days, we have to return to the easy clues coffee-break (‘Stripey horse (5) Z???A’) crossword that is our natural level. There was just one niggling problem – that word MANGO at the head of the crossword. Who can resist a mango?

William Tell first 001All day long, as we caught up with essential tasks, one or other of us dabbled hopelessly, solving the odd clue and finding some astonishingly generous and all, as usual with Mango, impeccably set (with, natually proof of Mango’s membership of the Listener tipplers’ club – ‘Visitor sustained by a tickler — a colourless liquid (5) – must be vodka? No it’s Poor ET getting a thorough drubbing with a CANE = CETANE).

IONOSPHERIC was the first clue that we solved. ‘Hot pecorino is lambasted from on high (11) (H + PECORINO + IS*) Dilemma! Which way do I enter it? Across comes naturally so I entered it that way. Thinking retrospectively, this had the advantage that the IIIIIV that joined up to make a reasonable image of an arrow was fairly evident when all those letters appeared one after the other. But, of course, it was the wrong grid orientation for the final submission.

A clever friend tells me he simply completed two parallel grids. Why, oh why, can’t I see the obvious short cuts like that? Well, maybe the next time we have a Listener that could clearly be oriented in either direction. Yet another clever friend has pointed out to me that there was a clue which told us unambiguously which orientation to adopt.  AVIATE ‘Raised cheers in a contest to fly a kite (6)’ (TA< in A VIE) was obviously a down clue (even I know that I can’t raise things in an across clue). However, in my defence, I have to say that CHYLDE and AVIATE were almost the last solutions that we entered, so the damage was done.

We had almost completed our grid, with a fairly sound inkling that clues A, I and L were the ones with wordplay only. ‘Things Roman go wrong’ didn’t seem to have much to do with IIIIiVAP?LE that had appeared in our grid and ‘Queen accepted two bishops? No good — people of fashion’, with my rather careless solving, seemed to point at QUARRINGTON, a type of red apple (though there was an I missing and apparently an extra B or RR) At this stage, I couldn’t make much of ‘Edward Lear’s ultimate couple, the owl and cat getting hitched (11) – and even when I had realized that all three wordplays led me to apples, I thought this was CHARLOTTE (THE O[w]L CAT with an extra R for the W misprint) when, of course, all three apples had 11 letters: LEATHER-COAT ([Le]AR THE O[w]L CAT with an extra E for the W misprint). This one, in typical Numpty style, we worked backwards to, when we had spotted WALTER TELL, found his father and seen that the apple had to sit neatly on his head, with that arrow piercing it.

William Tell finalOf course, GRANNY SMITH produced the missing O when we knew that the device to propel the arrow was likely to be a BOW (THINGSR[o]MAN with Y for that O*)

With a full grid but not much idea what we were doing, I fed my top row of letters into TEA and was delighted to be given two choices: GRAVITATION and WILLIAM TELL. Light dawned (Well, I lie, it was almost midnight!) A TEA search produced ISAAC NEWTON at the other end of my grid, so clearly that apple I had falling at this mis-oriented stage (how clever that the core P was missing – clearly years of work have gone into this!) was landing on his head.

There was WALTER TELL, lying prostrate alongside the apple. Oh dear! The whole thing had to be swivelled and WILLIAM TELL placed on the left. So that was what that curious display of the unch letters was telling me. W[illia]M Left, N[ewton] Right? HELP! (an instruction to consult the help line; something was awry, as we were clearly told that we must use the ALTERNATIVE CHOICES (my caps) depicting the earlier event).

The earlier event was the legendary Swiss event (on home ground here, though last time we were in the Grutli meadow, I was aggressively pushed out by the resident cows – fierce brutes that think they own the place!)  On the right side of my grid I now had ? [SE] [AR] ? [CH] [NE] [ER] ? [TA] [ON} ? and had to use the letters MNR and H to find some way of identifying the other ‘passive participant’. It had to be GESSLER, that dastardly Bailiff and a visit to Wikipedia confirmed that he was HERR HERMANN GESSLER.

What an amazing feat! No, I don’t mean Tell splitting that apple. Nuts and Bolts was a remarkable construction with every stage of the solving producing more gasps of amazement. I now know that Newton lived part of his life not far from Quarrington – that apple might even have been a Quarrington – at least the one that fell in the more recent event. Many thanks, Mango.

Advertisements

3 Responses to “Nuts and Bolts by Mango”

  1. Rod Harling said

    This puzzle was an absolute tour de force, staggeringly brilliant! Well worth the week it took me to solve it.

  2. Jaguar said

    Yes indeed, this was brilliant and is surely going to be a contestant for the Gold Cup.

  3. sethmould said

    Reblogged this on Seth Mould's Blog about QRanium.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: