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Heisenberg’s Hog aka ‘The Code Duello’ by Agricola

Posted by Encota on 29 Dec 2017

There are those that react to the word ‘Playfair’ in a Listener puzzle – and not in a good way!  Luckily, not me …

So it’s all about a duel, eh?  The gaps at Clues 1 and 10 are of lengths 12 and 10 letters respectively, so what could be simpler?  Read through any pages you can find covering Famous Duels and there are just bound to be a pair of duellists that match those lengths.

[2 hours reading later, I move on to reading about fictional duels …]

Hold on a moment, what’s this from the TV Series Blackadder?  WELLINGTON (Stephen Fry) duelling the PRINCE REGENT (Hugh Laurie) – they are (10) and (12).  Aha, it’s a another bit of Fry & Laurie …

[An hour later, having searched for possible code words that create the correct Playfair cipher text … and finding none …]

With my LOI providing the G of G’DAY below, I now have deciphered the wordplay for 10d to (probably) read:


and, at long last, think, “HI ZEN BERG”, i.e. ‘sounds like’ Heisenberg.

And all the Quantum Mechanical hints I’d been managing to miss – Planck’s constant, ‘uncertainty’ in the Preamble, ‘Copenhagen interpretation’ – suddenly become clear.  WAVE-PARTICLE duality – they are bound to be the two Codewords required; SCHROEDINGER (or similar spellings) and HEISENBERG  as the two thematic names.  Check that I haven’t made an error in my pencilled out squares by using Sympathy crossword software’s Gimmick feature (That’s ‘andy ‘arry) to confirm the encodings.  They all match up – and I’m almost done.

All that leaves is the Preamble’s mention of the appearance of a thematic animal.  Well, using one associated with Schroedinger would be far too obvious, so what else is hiding there?  Aah – found it, see grid below.  Clearly we all know the Cat associated with Schroedinger but have you heard of the lesser known (Errr…significantly lesser known!: Ed.] Heisenberg’s Hog?  The grid confirms this is the one to choose, through the other words defining such a creature: HOG DOES OVER-EAT.  The mysterious female Hares make a Yuletide appearance, as DOES, at 30 ac too.


If you’re not aware Heisenberg’s (Xmas) Hog was originally defined to explain the following fact*: ‘The more certain you are as to where the Xmas Roast is (the HOG, of Heisenberg’s Hog fame) the less certain you’ll know how quickly it’ll be eaten (i.e. how long it will last).  Developed from Planck’s earlier work – as an aside, his constant is actually h for hog (not hilfsgrosse, or the like).  And for experimental proof, I’ve seen its corollary in action over the past couple of days over Xmas: ‘The less certain I am as to where the chocolates in the family tin of Cadbury’s Roses are, then the more certain I am that they’ll go faster‘.  Now that explains the empty tin …

A Happy Thingummy & A Merry Doobrey-flip to all – or was it the other way round?

Tim / Encota

*Using the word ‘fact’ in the sense of something that rhymes with ‘rowlocks’.


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