Listener No. 4383: Display by Aedites
Posted by Dave Hennings on 19 February 2016
The last puzzle from Aedites was last March (no. 4337 Relationship) and required us to draw a circle in the grid with a radius of one. This week we had to grapple with a misprint in every clue. These were misprints which could appear anywhere in the clue (rather than just in the definition part), and they can be tricky blighters.
Little did I know how tricky! After a pass through the acrosses, I had a grand total of seven… not clues solved, but squares filled! 23 GHI and 32 RAKI were all that I could muster. It seemed that the numbers in brackets were, in fact, answer lengths rather than entry lengths as stated in the preamble since five numbers didn’t agree. That left another three thematic clues lurking elsewhere incognito.
Onto the downs, and it was obvious that Aedites hadn’t intended to make them any easier, at least not for me. However, the square-filled count was a significant improvement at 17, albeit from only three clues. (In hindsight, I don’t think I spent enough time on each clue, probably only 15 seconds, hence the low clue-solved count.)
After about an hour, I still had only about a dozen clues solved, although the grid was beginning to look half-decent. I finally had one of the thematic clues when 12ac Best
mare mark beginning to tire after more than one tree (5) resulted in FIRST. 17ac also had my attention, being •EVA•A, and NEVADA seemed likely. Meanwhile, 12ac •E•A•••E looked like DELAWARE and I suspected that I was onto a winner since I knew that was the FIRST state to ratify the constitution.
So were we looking for American states with their order of entry into the union as the clue? That seemed unlikely, since Nevada was number 36 and Honey left in Glasgow drain (6) didn’t give THIRTY-SIX with any misprint. From my time in the US, I knew that The First State was also the nickname of Delaware, appearing on car licence plates.
I checked the nickname for Nevada and SILVER fitted its clue, so I was home and dry. I managed to slot six more states into the grid with help from existing letters. I then used Google to find out what the answers to the clues were… probably not how Aedites had planned my solve, but it worked for me.
So I was 90 minutes into the puzzle and the grid was just over half full. It took me almost as long again to tease out the other misprints and their answers. In order, the correct letters spelt out Nicknames are to be replaced by American states. Well I knew that!
And so to the endgame. We had to highlight an instruction and put the corresponding thematic word below the grid which, presumably, was another state. I scanned the grid quickly, but only found SHOW in, to use Alistair Cooke’s reference scheme, the California corner. I needed to look down the full list of Wiki state nicknames and was delighted to see that MISSOURI is the SHOW-ME state. I hadn’t seen it at first, but the ME could indeed be found in New Mexico. Thus Aedites was, I hoped, asking us to show him the corresponding state name.
So thanks to Aedites for an entertaining romp through some of the states of the USA. I was surprised at how many different nicknames some of them have — Colorado has twelve!