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King’s Album by Stick Insect

Posted by shirleycurran on 4 November 2016

Bayeux Tapestry

Bayeux Tapestry

The unusual shape of the grid promised something different and we were initially misled into suspecting that we were going to finish our crossword with King George VI’s stamp album but it was not to be. What was to be, was of course renewal of Stick Insect’s membership of the Listener Toping club – indeed, he had ‘Aim: universal bar for lasting quality (9) (END + U + RANCE) and shortly afterwards must have been in that bar for his ‘blinder’ or ‘drinking spree’; ‘Race stage run off a blinder? (7, two words)’ (giving us TEAR GAS – I am not sure how the ‘stage run off’ produced the GAS and an additional R for the message but, as is often the case, that is what the definition and the letters in the grid told us was the ‘blinder’) So ‘Cheers Stick Insect, see you at the bar!’

‘In some clues a letter must be removed before solving’ … that was fairly generously handled and these clues were, on the whole, easier than the ones Sabre and Stan have treated us to in the past couple of weeks. Our grid filled steadily, working from east to west and we soon had the strange message NUMBER OF CLUES FOLLOWS NUMBER OF ROWS. In retrospect, nothing could

Tapisserie de Bayeux - Scène 57 : La mort d'Harold

Tapisserie de Bayeux – Scène 57 : La mort d’Harold

be easier to interpret. There were ten rows and sixty-six clues, giving 1066 but I shall not go into paragraphs of detail about the ways I attempted to calculate how the X at the end of FELIX, for example, in some way related clue 22 to row 6. Fortunately, we had honed in on the Bayeux tapestry and found another route to 1066 (which, of course, was being announced by the media, as we solved, since this was the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings).

The first wonderful hint to become evident was that Latin inscription so neatly imitating the original with the king’s head interrupting the name HAROLD on the second and third lines of our filled grid. HAROLD REX INTERFECTUS EST – so we knew which scene our six objects had to depict. The other Numpty pointed out that STRIA was present up above that inscription and could be referring to the streak of the comet of 1066, but that is in a different panel isn’t it?

We were, however, left with clues that had not produced an extra letter and were given the helpful information that the ‘entries for other clues contribute one or more letters to six objects placed according to a historic depiction’. First, we found our objects: ARROW, EYE, SHIELD, HORSE, SWORD, KING, AXE. Hmm, that makes seven! I know there is some doubt about whether Harold was actually killed by an arrow gouging out his eye, and over which of the figures in that illustration really is the massacred KING, however after a laborious check of which entries had letters included in the objects, those clues with no additional letter resolved which six objects we had to select and the KING, at the bottom of EWKING was deleted from my list, leaving the required 25 letters.

We highlighted  five objects and carefully drew our ARROW. This was the kind of visual endgame I really enjoy. Many thanks Stick Insect.

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