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Revelations of John by Elfman

Posted by shirleycurran on 3 July 2015

I usually write my blog on the Saturday morning after the appearance of the crossword but I am a day late today. Why? Because Rocket Man by Elfman2Elfman’s Revelations of John was not revealing anything much until very late yesterday and a blog seemed rather premature, even if we had had a speedy grid fill (about sixty minutes) on Friday. Yes, that is a whinge as I hate spending about ten times as long grid-staring as we spent grid-filling and, on this occasion, feel that we needed more than a rather tenuous link of Elton John to take us from what we originally found in the grid to what we had to highlight. But perhaps we missed something?

The first thing I missed was Elfman’s application for renewed membership of the Listener Setters Tipsy Club; a run through his clues produced quite a bit of drug use, corruption and sex, starting with ‘Perhaps a valentine from girl, Elfman’s (7)’ MISS + I’VE, then ‘Conflicts reflected when withholding a kiss (4)’ (a)GONS<

Next came ‘A small amount of cocaine found in unruly patient (8)’ PATIENT + C(ocaine)*, then BETEL, ‘Stupid lecturer’s stimulating stuff (5) BETE + L,  and ‘Sexual intercourse involving strain no longer was appropriate (8)’ (was it ever Elfman?) BED round FITTE = BEFITTED, and finally Elfman had recourse to SLUTS – ‘Who’ll exhibit sexual desires, leading with the heart (5)’ A bit risque but what a fine clue! LUSTS with the S(heart) leading. Alcohol? Not a drop!

I had my moan earlier so must say, here, what a pleasure it was to be entering the solutions to clues in the grid with none of those tedious gimmicks of extra letters, misprints, missing letters and so on, that are such bread and butter to setters. That, of course, led to the speedy grid fill.

We were, however, given a fiddly task now. ‘For answers not starting with one of the vowels in the puzzle’s title, the nth character in the clue (using a broad definition of character) (my italics) must be found, where n is the answer’s initial letter converted to a number (A = 1, B = 2 etc).’ How broad a definition? I am sure I was not the only solver to include the punctuation but ignore the spaces as we did this calculation during our solve – producing gobbledygook.

A second run through, (prompted by the other Numpty’s explanation that a space is a character in printing and thus including the spaces) produced USE HIGHLIGHTED CELLS ON OTHER CLUES. Great, except that we had now begun our grid-stare and hadn’t a clue what to highlight. I even read right through Revelations, before putting this aside in frustration and taking a long, refreshing walk to see a North Yorkshire isolated colony of red squirrels that has survived the squirrel pox imported with the greys). Then back to grid staring.

Of course, that hint about the axis had to be understood and applied. I thought there were four potential axes of symmetry – horizontal, vertical and two diagonals. We might have seen TEN, NINE, EIGHT and so on far sooner had there been a symmetrical word spread out on the top line leading us to the vertical one. In our hunt, we spotted ELTON, but he is a living person and the crossword was not likely to be centered round him.

Rocket ManOf course, when we ultimately closed in on LAUNCHPAD and those numbers, we were able to apply them to the ten remaining clues and got ROCKET MAN. It took the Internet to educate me about that. I remembered only his rather moving singing of ‘Candle in the Wind‘ at the funeral of Princess Diana. He was revealed in the grid so that must be the ‘Revelation of John’ (or did he sing something about ‘Revelation’ too? Not my field of expertise).

I suppose a Rocket Man takes off from a LAUNCHPAD and, anyway, ELTON was not an entry but a lucky  find and a prompt in the grid, so we count our 39 cells, highlight them and LAUNCHPAD and sigh with relief and thanks to Elfman for a longer than usual challenge.

 

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One Response to “Revelations of John by Elfman”

  1. Glad you appreciated the rocket, Shirley. I think the animation took me longer than the endgame. And congratulations on making it all the way through Revelations… I didn’t!

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