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‘PQRST?’ by Yorick

Posted by Encota on 15 Sep 2017

What a super Title!  We have this list of four-sided planar figures:

  • Parallelogram
  • Quadrilateral
  • Rectangle, or Rhombus
  • Square
  • Trapezium

Perhaps the Title should be read as What Is Missing From This Set? PQRST _ , with the answer being R for Rhombus?  Or perhaps it means O to U, being short for Over To You, i.e. it is your turn, solver, to do the next bit? Anywise…

There were, for me, several delays along the way:

  • At 37a we needed an old / obsolete word for DENIES.  I incorrectly guessed NICKS instead of NILLS and then struggled with the parsing.  The clue read:
       No longer denies verse’s less literary style (5)
    I suspect seasoned Listener solvers (i.e. not me!) would spot ‘literary style’ and immediately know it as one of the definitions of the word PEN, then subtract it from the Welsh word for verse’s that is PENNILL’S, leaving the answer NILLS.  As an aside I liked the use of the apostrophe in this clue to avoid having to get involved with the plural of PENNILL, namely PENNILLION.
  • 32a was a reasonable and fair clue:
    Announced a Men’s Fashion in the post (6)
    Well, ‘post’ was a likely misprint for ‘past’, so the clue now read
    Announced a Men’s Fashion in the past (6)
    “A Men’s” sounded like “A GUYS’ “, so I needed an old word for ‘fashion’.  I guessed AGUISE, checked it in Chambers and there it was – sorted!  Or so I thought.  Only much later did I spot that the S clashed with a Z in a down clue, finally cottoning on that it should have been AGUIZE all along.
  • At 38d it took me seemingly forever to work out why Leah was a ‘cowgirl’.  Character from a musical, perhaps?  What was the name of that character in Toy Story??  It was only when checking the biblical Leah, the (well, a) wife of Jacob, that I spotted that the name claimed to be derived from the Akkadian for ‘cow’.
  • And in 24a, it looked like the answer might be ARTERY, but why?  The clue read:
    M4, perhaps, which if moving East to West would turn into attention test (6)
    proved at long last to be ARTERY – because if you moved E(ast) towards the West (i.e. left) you could end up with EAR TRY.  Sneaky!

With the mix of clue types, the well-hidden misprints (in most cases), not being exactly sure what to do with the ‘leave cells blank initially’ statement in the Preamble (it’s obvious after the event, I think!) and the six shapes to be found, this was time-consuming for me – such that it is now late on Saturday before I’ve got to the stage of writing this blog.

The final stage of adding a rhombus was easy – it had to be of base length 5 cells and 4 high, given the space available and the need to use a 3,4,5 triangle to create the sloping sides.

Finally, I had a feeling that Yorick may have added a few TRIANGLE red herrings to the puzzle, what with -IAN- on two separate rows each joining onto -GLE 🙂

Thanks Yorick – a great puzzle.

Tim / Encota


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