Listen With Others

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Listener No 4462: Squares by Phi

Posted by Dave Hennings on 25 Aug 2017

Phi’s 2017 Listener puzzle faced us this week. You never know with him whether it’s going to be relatively easy, tricky or an outright toughie. My blog for last year’s A Bit Up in the Air (about the tossing of a coin) began “A much easier week from Phi”. Would this week’s be equally forgiving? I tossed a coin: it came down heads.

Here we had four sets of clues. Three were presented in alphabetical order of their answers, each relating to a square region of the grid. The fourth set of clues were in normal grid order and I decided to tackle them first.

The second clue in this group led to ORTOLAN and the third to KERMES. I took a chance and entered them in rows 3 and 4 respectively. OISE came next, but there were no 4-letter across entries so it looked as though that would go in the top right corner. MERCAT and ALUM were the only others I got in this group and, again, I took a guess that they were in the bottom half of the grid.

The clues under the ‘square’ headings were a bit slow coming, but I was happy when I got INOBSERVANT going down column 1 — the V almost certainly precluded it from column 12 (OLLAV seemed unlikely). The rest of the grid still took some time, especially since the top and bottom rows turned out to be the unclued entries.

These two rows turned out to be I PAINT MODERN and NO DIM PAINTER (rather than “Nod, I’m painter!”). It didn’t take too long to unscramble Dutch artist Piet Mondrian (1872–1944), he of the squares, rectangles and black lines. The Wiki article describes his later works as “almost cartographical in appearance”, which I guess could be called MAP RENDITION.

All that remained was to paint each of the regions as indicated by their hidden colours — RED, YELLOW, BLUE — and then draw in the thick black lines. Et voilà! Although it certainly AIN’T MIRO PEN’D.

Another enjoyable work of art from Phi, thanks. I’d pitch it about medium difficulty, unlike some of Mondrian’s works which remind me of what I drew as a kid! Now where’s my easel?


One Response to “Listener No 4462: Squares by Phi”

  1. Ilan Caron said

    I wondered about the RED cross in the upper right square. I thought that it would become thematic (i.e. yellow and blue following suit somehow). Oh well. Did I miss something?

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