Listen With Others

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‘Never-ending?’ by KevGar

Posted by Encota on 1 June 2018

I love Treasure Hunts, especially those involving puzzle-solving!  You may know the type, where you have to unlock something before another feature will work.

Question. But first, how could a puzzle be Never-ending, I hear you ask?

Answer. Why not put something sneaky in it – like that cryptic many years ago where about five clues were normal but all the rest contained crosswordese-sounding rubbish (you may recall what I mean, such as “Reservists confused by top-class uprising“, that sort of thing), leaving solvers perplexed and unable to reach its end?  Now that’d be Never-ending!

In Listener-speak (i.e. theme-based puzzles) this could also happen nearer the puzzle’s overall completion – we could perhaps refer to it as the NeverEndGame – where it appears there’s a way to complete it but actually there isn’t.  If one was to do this, it would be only be fair if one gave a hint that something bizarre was happening – maybe a synonym for ‘bizarre’ on Row 1, for example?  But wait a MINUTE, what’s this I see at the top of the Grid below?

2018-05-12 16.40.44

In this week’s puzzle there were ten hidden words in clues and ten synonyms for them appearing  in the Grid.  For me the ten were (in no specific order):

  • 16a Female – SHE 6d
  • 10a Marijuana – POT 32d
  • 19a Sister – CLARE 23a
  • 35a Urine – PEE 33d
  • 36a Later – AFTER 26a
  • 15d Port* – RIO 13a   *more later…
  • 1d Elves – PERIS 32a
  • 9d Referee – HEAR 12a
  • 18d House – QUINTA 11d
  • 24d Foot – PES 33a

Twenty other letters were hidden in twenty clues, as an extra letter in each wordplay.  After a while it became clear these spelt out six words:

MUSIC IS LIFE AND LIKE IT …

I didn’t recognise it but soon looked it up and found the phrase

MUSIC IS LIFE AND LIKE IT INEXTINGUISHABLE,

associated with the Danish composer Carl Nielsen.  And there he was (after a couple of minor changes, to an R and an E), hiding on the trailing diagonal in the grid.  So far, so good.  The Preamble even told us that these letters (R & E) would be the first and last of one of the ten left-hand words in the Bulleted list above and there, sure enough, was RefereE.  That only leaves nine of the words! Excellent!!

The Preamble then told us to combine a list of ten letters (obtained elsewhere in the puzzle) with the first or last of the other nine words on the left-hand side above – FemalE, MarijuanA etc.  The ten letters obtained elsewhere were: A,E,T,P,S,T,H,T,N,O.  So, using [AB] to mean A or B (but not both), we had to find an appropriate work by Nielsen that used, in any order, 19 characters from:

A,E,T,P,S,T,H,T,N,O,[FE],[MA],[SR],[UE],[LR],[PT],[ES],[HE],[FT]

Now, you might think that is where the answer would just pop out but no, this is The Listener, that’d be far too easy!  One might at this stage have checked the completion date of Nielsen’s ‘Inextinguishable’ 4th Symphony (1916, if you are asking), and then spend hours scanning the Titles of all his earlier works (there are lots, trust me 😉  ) for a 19-letter title using the above.  You might also initially have been quickly drawn to his 2nd Symphony – DE FIRE TEMPERAMENTER, or (in English) THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS – but, on closer inspection would find it wasn’t quite all present in the letters above.  Darn!  So you’d then scan all his earlier songs, and then his earlier string quartets for obscure subtitles and then repeat all the above in any other languages you felt might be relevant – but to no avail.

So the NeverEndGame would appear to have succeeded in achieving its (lack of) end.  Now what?

But, wait a moment, let’s have a closer look at
A,E,T,P,S,T,H,T,N,O,[FE],[MA],[SR],[UE],[LR],[PT],[ES],[HE],[FT].  [Really? Ed.]

If you carefully untangle this one gets:

  ENTER PROTEST AT THEME !

Clearly that was the Hidden Message all along!  Apparently the first solver to email the Editor with this phrase wins – what a fantastic Treasure Hunt!  [Well, that’s my interpretation of what happened, anyway]  And only on receipt of such an email does an Automated ‘correction’ get issued.  So, soon after, this appeared on the Listener website:

Listener No 4502 Correction

A correction has been added to Listener No 4502 as follows:

CORRECTION: In Listener 4502, the clue for 15dn should read “Tree debarked and chopped down around university metropolis filled up again”.

A new PDF will be made available as soon as possible. We apologise for the error.

And in the Bulleted list above, ‘Port’ was now changed by this to ‘Metropolis’ and the possible pair [MS] replaced [PT] in the search above, now becoming
A,E,T,P,S,T,H,T,N,O,[FE],[MA],[SR],[UE],[LR],[MS],[ES],[HE],[FT].
Once that had been unlocked/established, the Treasure Hunt was easy to complete and Nielsen’s Symphony #2 ‘The Four Temperaments‘ at long last came into view.  And, fortunately for us successful solvers, the QM in the Title, ‘Never-Ending?’ was justified after all.

Perhaps.

Cheers,

Tim /Encota

 

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