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Listener No 4512: Putting the World to Rights by Charybdis

Posted by Dave Hennings on 10 Aug 2018

When I saw that we had a Charybdis puzzle this week, I knew we were (or, at least, I was) in for a challenge. Last year, we had Mark Twain, Josephine Tey and Robert Wyatt all jumbled together to reveal the discovery of Richard III’s bones under a Leicester carpark.

And talking of jumbles, that’s what we had this week — in droves! Every answer had to be jumbled before entry as described by 1dn which was unclued — obviously. Eventually an instruction would be revealed by the second letter of extra words in the across clues. A poet would be revealed by the wordplay provided by the second letters of extra words in 20 down clues and that would include a phrase from one of his poems. (Note that choosing the second letter wasn’t just a whim of Charybdis, but actually thematic.)

As expected, solving the clues was slow and painstaking, partly because of all those extra words, partly from some obscure meanings of words, and partly because of Charybdis’s excellent clueing. For example, it took me ages to look up ‘spiky’ to discover that 32ac High [Swiss] Church having a sharp point (5) was just a clue consisting of two meanings. 8dn One smelly [abelia] shrub that’s good in row (5) had me racking my brains for a 5-letter smelly shrub that turned out to be a 3-letter one RUE with row being the definition for ARGUE.

I guess my favourite clue was 42ac Fifty [kronor], the Swede’s part in church taxes (6) which was a simple, if craftily disguised, hidden for TYTHES. I also liked 9dn Château giving away [beery] brew right before noon — from this? (6, two words) for TEA URN, partly because I could see Shirley having another fainting fit with all that alcohol. I must say that the possibilities in the top right corner were manifest, but nowhere near as manifest as in the bottom right where I had 4 or 5 letter options crammed into some squares.

Eventually, we had the across message reading Unjumble down entries and the wordplay for the poet Rough beast, why no heart leading to WB YEATS, with ‘rough beast’ being the phrase from near the end of the poem. So, having gone through all the agony of jumbling the down entries, we had to undo all that good work and enter the original answers! The across entries that still had options could then be completed fairly easily.

Here we were dealing with Yeats’s Second Coming. This brought back memories of Poat’s puzzle back in 2008. (OK, I needed the Crossword Database to track it down.) That linked Yeats with Chinua Achebe, author of the novel, Things Fall Apart.

1dn was thus revealed as MERE ANARCHY (not ‘more anarchy’ which I originally guessed at) from line 4 of the poem. Although CENTRE had to go into the isolated area at the heart of the grid, it soon got changed, initially the C to G, and finally the R to L thus revealing the falcon or GENTLE (thanks, Malva).

A bit of fiddly line drawing, which was only marginally better than in the animation, wended its way from the centre of the grid to the north-east corner, and the puzzle was done and dusted. Of course, such a complex solution process then required me to double-check everything and make sure that I hadn’t made a silly error somewhere along the line. (Even that can be no guarantee of success!)

Thanks for a superb puzzle, Charybdis. I suspect it took more than a couple of hours to construct!


One Response to “Listener No 4512: Putting the World to Rights by Charybdis”

  1. charybdis said

    Thanks, Dave. I love the animation of the falcon, which was exactly like I’d imagined it. 🙂

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