‘Where falls the axe?’ by Hedge-sparrow
Posted by Encota on 17 March 2017
What a clever puzzle!
As the theme began to surface, combined with a Title like that, there had to be a chance of Dr. Beeching making an appearance – but if he did, I couldn’t find him.
The Down clues each contained an extra word, the first letters of which appeared to spell out:
- ENTER PROPOSED RAILWAY NW-TO-SE,
and the fourth letters in order seemed to spell:
- REMOVE SIX TREES BUT KEEP HS-TWO.
But of course they didn’t mean these at all – but really were some 26-letter hidden anagram-based slogans. From the ‘For The Trees’ camp:
- Turn yew and poplar trees into worse
And from the Pro-Training camp:
- Different view: must book ‘The Tree Express’
Well, perhaps 😉
Slightly more seriously for a moment, one of the clever parts about this puzzle was that, to add HIGH SPEED TWO onto the leading diagonal required six letter changes to the initially-filled grid. And each of these six changes created a tree in its row: HOLLY, GARDENIA, SYCAMORE, YEW, ELDER and SALLOW. (Of course that Cometary* anagram entered at 19a as TYCAMORE was a pretty big hint!)
That left the final instruction: REMOVE SIX TREES BUT KEEP HS-TWO.
I’ve read that to mean delete all the characters of the letters in the six Trees apart from those on the leading diagonal, so that the -OLLY of HOLLY is deleted, for example. Seems to meet the Preamble’s requirements, anyway!
And the phrase in the circles reads CAN’T SEE THE WOOD, so Hedge-sparrow is clearly FOR THE TREES (I’d expect nothing else from someone with such a pseudonym, of course).
Great fun – thanks Hedge-sparrow!
Tim / Encota