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Special Protection by Dysart

Posted by shirleycurran on 22 November 2013

Dysart 002The Numpties were mildly concerned when we read the preamble and found that we were looking for clashes, unclued lights (some of them ‘thematically treated’) and another unchecked letter to change in an endgame that sounded unusually complex. In fact I have just read that last part three times to make sure that I have performed the necessary final steps.

I did my customary scan and was reassured that Dysart was confirming his entry ticket for the Listener Setters’ tipsy club with ‘Old king supplied with drink promoting English duke’ (WINED with the ED ‘promoted’ to EDWIN). An intriguing common factor for the surface readings of Dysart’s clues is the presence of people in one form or another in so many of them: guerillas, church members, magistrate, footballer, sailors, the Bard, a cruel person – those seven came from the first seven clues!

The same continued through most of the clues, almost flooring us on one occasion when we were looking for ‘Chinese mountain dwellers yielding half of fermented milk product’. My ODE didn’t have YAO (YAOORT yielding half) but fortunately the intersecting words gave us the word that was confirmed by Wikipedia. There were no other hitches and solving progressed steadily with it becoming clear very quickly that the clashes were along the secondary diagonal. I fed them into TEA while the other Numpty continued to fill our remaining empty cells.

Oh the sneaky trick. I had to feed the diagonal in upwards to be given STANLEY BALDWIN and, of course, it was a gentle coast downhill to the conclusion after that. What did the ODQ give me? “There are three classes which need sanctuary more than others – birds, wild flowers, and Prime ministers.” Well, birds and flowers maybe – but Prime Ministers? (Or is it a question of sectioning one we have particularly objected to – I could offer a candidate or two!) The flowers are ‘wild’ so that explains why we found anagrams of them.

TANAGER and CANARY were evident, but we had to search for SULTAN and we nearly came a cropper attempting to put LILAC in as an anagram to complete our trio of flowers (with PINK and LUPIN) until Mrs Bradford’s Crossword Lists nudged us into CALLA. Three prime ministers were easy to find: HEATH, CANNING and PEEL and, of course, those extra letters N,O,I,L,S and W gave us WILSON. ILLY was obviously an anagrammed LILY and all that remained was to find an unchecked first letter that could be changed to give us our final bird.

I hunted for a while, attempting to find a GRAHMI, a ZADIST a FRAMA or a BATATONIA – some new-fangled exotic flying thing, but luckily hit upon a bird I have never heard of, a LANNER, ‘a kind of falcon native to regions of Africa’, and happily, in just under three hours, was able to add the final touch, with thanks to Dysart for a most enjoyable solve.

It was only when I was copying out an entry to send to Mr Green that I realised that the final grid consisted of almost entirely real words (with, of course, the anagrams that had been indicated). BANIAS seemed to be the only offender and perhaps that is a real word too?

6 Responses to “Special Protection by Dysart”

  1. Andy Stewart said

    Shirley, as a solver I always enjoy reading your blogs (and Dave’s), especially as there’s so little sharing of solving experiences on the Crossword Centre’s Message Board these days.
    In response to your last paragraph I should point out that BANIAS is a word (alternative to BANYANS). I would not have been at all happy to have one non-word resulting from resolved clashes when I’d taken care to see that all the others were real words.

    Dysart (Andy Stewart)

  2. shirleycurran said

    Thank you so much for that confirmation, Andy. Indeed, I have just looked up BANYAN in Chambers and, of course, found BANIA there. I did suspect that you were not going to let one ‘non word’ sneak in.

  3. Gail Busza said

    A bania is an Indian fig tree, so banias is a real word!

  4. shirleycurran said

    Yes, Dysart already made that comment. I don’t know what has happened to his comment but perhaps all comments have been deleted as we have been receiving quite a lot of spam. Indeed, all his words were real words (of course!)

  5. I’ve just found about 20 valid comments for some recent puzzles in the trash folder. I don’t know what happened, but I’ve now restored them and will try to keep an eye open for any future unwarranted deletions.

  6. Gail Busza said

    I’m sorry Shirley – when I left that comment there were no others listed or I would not have repeated what Dysart had already confirmed.

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