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Listener 4267: German Serial Composition by Quinapalus

Posted by Dave Hennings on 29 November 2013

This week we have Quinapalus’s fifth Listener… and his second this year. Back in February we had Elm with its Pythagorean triple theme that required us to cut the grid and paste it back in a different shape. This week it looked like it was musical, having, as it did, some notes (very deep) on a stave below the grid. Clues were of two types: five needed treating in some way before solving, the rest, via misprints, provided an instruction, a title and a description of someone thematic.

Listener 4267My recollection was that Quinapalus’s clues were on the tough side, and, although I got 6ac SHAWM, most of the acrosses eluded me, mainly because of devious misprints. A few of these were fairly obvious: 24 ‘creature found in tea’ for ‘creature found in sea’; 26 ‘uses sad language’ instead of ‘bad language’; and 43 ‘seen in treks in SA’ for ‘trees in SA’. Although I solved 26 DARNS, the others would have to wait to be solved, but 26 CREPY (‘chimps’ for ‘crimps’) and 39 SEACOAL (‘full’ for ‘fuel’) gave me a start towards the bottom of the grid.

I had a bit more luck with the downs. I was off to a good start with 1 EDGER, 5 SEANCE and 6 SKREEN. I needed a bit of help with 13 Lacking charm somehow, fille de chambre replaced German gown (9): it was obviously an anagram of ‘fille de chambre’ minus the letters of charm, and eventually came out as BIELEFELD, a town in north Germany. 14 Initially maybe “alpha” uttered invitingly here (4) was MAUI, but seemed at first glance not to have a misprint. Eventually, I found that Maui was not only a Hawaiian island, but also a ‘hero’ in Polynesian mythology.

It was quite late in the day that I solved the first of the five non-misprint clues, 41dn. I had AN· for some time, but D[iana] ROSS at 45ac delayed my seeing that it was just AND, with In German, fund let off deposit (3) needing the ‘f’ moving from ‘fund’ to ‘left’. When I moved the f from ‘scarf golfer’ to the front of ‘other (regional)’ to give CARGO at 35dn, a quick scan of clues that I hadn’t solved revealed that 42ac, 46ac and 8dn also had potentially misplaced efs.

And so, Samson and Delilah and White Cargo were formed from the five effing clues! I googled the two titles, and was rewarded with Hedy Lamarr. I still had a few more clues to solve, so put off further research until later.

Eventually, the grid was complete, apart from two letters in the second row (I’ll call it 9a across). As I suspected, a lot of the clues were devious. For some time, I wondered what was Scottish about the Beggar at 11dn, before discovering that Biggar is a town in Lanarkshire. However, even now, I have no idea why the SYNTH at 38dn is ‘kit on an autobahn‘ as opposed to ‘with a rock band’. My favourite clues from a good bunch:

18ac UNECE Bordeaux’s one this club started in MCMXXVII
UNE CE (French for one & this) with the misprint of MCMXXVII for MCMXLVII (1947)
29ac PCAS Apple for study here? One used to PCs gaining top grade
PCS containing A (top grade); ‘Apple’ is misprint for ‘Apply’, and ‘One used to’ is part of the definition!
17dn HEH No dive letter, he takes on prime bit of housing (3)
HE + H (prime bit of Housing); misprint is ‘dive’ for ‘five’, heh being letter number 5 in the Hebrew alphabet
29dn PAS Dante‘s Paradiso (radio cut in two parts) (3)
PARADISO – RADI & O (ie radio in two parts); Dante becomes Dance

And so, the endgame. It was time to google ‘german serial composition two pianos electronics’, and who do I find? Karlheinz Stockhausen, a composer whose music I have never got to grips with… to put it mildly! A link in his Wiki article leads to Mantra which is the thirteen-note tone row below our grid. None of that seems to help at the moment, though.

Googling ‘Hedy Lamarr’, however, tells all. The second paragraph of her Wiki article says that she, together with George Antheil, invented an early technique for spread spectrum communications and frequency hopping. And this is, presumably, where the corrected misprints come in. These give (once I realise that the definition for 12ac GROWER is ‘I might tend rice’, not ‘I might tend vine’) Sort columns by frequency followed by Ecstasy and Bit of screen crumpet! Of course, the last two items take us back to Hedy Lamarr, and things are beginning to come together.

Now in hindsight, I guess there are three ways that you could proceed from this point. Firstly, the sequence of letters in row 5, RQEYUNECEUEE, look like a jumble of FREQUENCY, especially if one of the Es becomes an F. Secondly, you could take the letters in row 2, which look like they could be changed to give Hedy Lamarr’s real name, HEDWIG KIESLER.

Or, you could do it the way Quinapalus presumably intended. The preamble reads “follow the instruction with reference to the subject”. The subject is the tune given under the grid. Sorting the columns in order of ascending notes, ie frequency, and taking care of the duplicates and the E that needs changing to an F, we get FREQUENCY HOPPING SPREAD SPECTRUM in rows 5, 6, 7 and 8.

Listener 4267 My EntryI spent a bit of time wondering whether “sorting the columns” meant cutting them all up and then sticking them back together in the required order. I decided that a stronger hint would have been given if that were the way to go. And anyway, life’s too short if you’ve already made mistakes this year! So my entry was popped in the post and I was left feeling thankful for Hedy Lamarr and her contribution to modern day communications all those years ago.

So thanks, Quinapalus, for another fine puzzle, and I assume the title is a cryptic clue to “Seeing Lamarr”.

4 Responses to “Listener 4267: German Serial Composition by Quinapalus”

  1. David Mansell said

    38dn Is this not a reference to Kraftwerk, the German band who used synthesizers and one of whose more famous tracks is “Autobahn”?

  2. Gail Busza said

    14dn Isn’t the misprint in “alpha” which becomes “aloha”, which is uttered invitingly in Maui?

  3. Thanks, David, but I’m intrigued by your use of the words “more famous”!
    And Gail, as I wrote that part of the blog, I realised how strange “alpha” was in the clue but didn’t analyse it further. All becomes clear now. Is it a misprint &lit? “Hero”… doh!

  4. Jaguar said

    Looks like the misprint can be either “aloha” or hero. either works, which is unusual for a misprint clue with no ambiguity!

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