Listener No. 4382: Migration by Malva
Posted by Dave Hennings on 12 February 2016
A new pseudonym this week in the shape of Malva (a plant of the Mallow genus, for those of you not of a horticultural bent). We were faced with a nice simple 12×12 grid, and with acrosses having a letter moving to the left or right in their clues, while downs had a letter moving up or down in their entries. What could be simpler?
I decided to tackle the downs first, and 1 HARP (thanks to Mrs B), 3 SUMAC (Camus is one of the few French writers I know), 5 OVARIES, 6 ENSATE and 7 ECLOSION were all solved within ten minutes. I pencilled them in lightly since at least two letters, and possibly all of them, would be in the wrong place.
Sadly the flurry of solving didn’t continue and the bottom half of the grid looked quite sparse after my first pass through. BOSKAGE, BROILER and TROMMEL were three of them, so I was progressing reasonably well.
On trying the acrosses, 1 Losing half of tread in hail is wrong (7) looked like the H of ‘hail’ needed moving to ‘give ‘thread’, but alas that didn’t help. Luckily 14 Seven deign to include one (5) became Even design to include one (5) and PLAIN was, well, plain.
As expected, solving the acrosses was tough, and after an hour I had only ten in place. It took me some time to twig that a moving letter could just be within a single word, eg 1ac was in fact ‘tread’ becoming ‘trade’ rather than ‘thread’. I decided to make a note of the moving letters that moved in each clue. Sometimes that could be one of two (‘tsar’ in 15 could have the S or T moving to give ‘star’), but at this point I was staring at ten clues where the letter S was the mover! Coincidence? I think not! [Ed: I think so!]
Two sessions, each of about 90 minutes, saw the puzzle finished with MINSMERE highlighted in the leading NW–SE diagonal (and a fair few non-S letters having moved in the across clues). The clues, especially the acrosses, were excellent, and I wondered whether Malva was another setter in disguise. These were some of my favourites:
|13ac||MEROSOME||More wary confronted by a certain body part (8)
‘More wary’ became ‘More awry’ rather than the ‘More warty’ that I originally suspected!
O (of) + MANGO (fruit) – GO (in perfect condition)
R ( heart of gabRiel) replacing first letter of WAKE
|17dn||ABOITEAU||Ignoring onset of deluge, develop idea about water control (8)|
|21dn||BROILER||Old chicken biting head of really young chicken (7)|
|32dn||AFAR||Nadal’s return from way behind the baseline? (4)|
A fine puzzle this week from Malva and I look forward to more from him.
For those of you who missed Roger’s comment on my post last week, the revised 13th edition of Chambers (with the missing words restored) is due out on 15 February: https://www.facebook.com/wordlovers/photos/a.437858926258001.89056.176162209094342/1008472379196650/?type=3&theater