Listen With Others

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Listener No 4454: Honest Grey Maker by Augeas

Posted by Dave Hennings on 30 Jun 2017

Army & Navy: Postscript

If you haven’t read Shackleton’s setter’s blog, then I highly recommend it. It shows a level of sophistication, cunning and expertise that I cannot recall in any recent puzzle.

I like to think that I can learn something from any Listener where I have completely failed, or have not fully appreciated when sending in my solution. With this one, it was only when writing last week’s blog that I pondered two elements of the preamble that might have helped.

Firstly, “letters in the first row must be replaced using code options” should have indicated to me that the individual letters had a significance and were to be encoded one by one.

Secondly, the position of that instruction in the preamble was strange. In hindsight, I wondered why it was so near the beginning, whereas my identification of Fram and all the subsequent internal wrestling came at the end. In effect, I think we were being told that “Dot and Dick dash to the pole” was all that was required to do the coding, well before identifying Arthur Ransome and Winter Holiday from rows 2 and 9.

Thanks again, Shackleton.

I can’t believe he won’t win the AGC… again!

Honest Grey Maker

Hopefully an easier puzzle from Augeas this week. His last was based on Mrs Campbell and her beds, and before that the Mallard (loco not bird).

Four clue types this week (although only three in terms of solving). At least they were in groups of four (one of each in each group) rather than being scattered willy-nilly throughout the clues. I couldn’t solve 1ac immediately, but 5ac GAPES enabled the top right corner to be completed fairly quickly, with PEROGI (Polish dash dish) being the last one in. Back to the top left corner, and 1dn STIGMA enabled that to be polished off quickly as well.

All this meant that two of the unclued entries read T•LIE•IN and •EST. I couldn’t fit anything that I knew into the first, whereas there were at least 13 that could fit the second. It is worth mentioning that I had already spotted the slightly unusual wording at the beginning of the preamble stating that the unclued entries accounted for (my italics) three of the subject’s works.

After about an hour and a quarter, I had a finished grid, apart from the unclued entries. The third of these was •A•LINGWA•E•, and FALLING WATER seemed distinctly possible. And so I had three unclued entries that meant nothing to me, but at least the message spelt out by the clues should help: Highlight the man and his main innovative style.

Still nothing! I examined all the diagonals. That’s normally where things lie, but I couldn’t see anything obvious. How about the rows… nope… and columns… not really. Yes, I saw FRANK in column 1, and wondered if there was a FRANK ANGLIA (from column 2). Why, oh why, did column 4 elude me for another half hour?!

Before I saw that, I wondered if the title was trying to tell me something. And of course it was: the man we were looking for was THE MASONRY GREEK! Not quite, but Honest confirmed FRANK, and a bit more grid staring finally revealed LLOYD WRIGHT. A check with Chambers appendix showed “Lloyd m (Welsh) grey” and Wright was obviously the Maker.

All that was needed now was a bit of background reading on the architect partly from Wiki but mostly from The latter was the real help with TALIESIN and TALIESIN WEST (hence the preamble wording) and confirmed FALLINGWATER, his “crowning achievement in organic architecture”. His PRAIRIE style was the last word to be highlighted.

Thanks for an entertaining puzzle, Augeas. What a treat to see some of Wright’s stunning architecture.

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