Listen With Others

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‘Cordon’ by Colleague

Posted by Encota on 24 Aug 2018

Any puzzle that entices one to re-read the first sentence of ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy gets my vote!  You know the one:

When Farmer Oak smiled, the corners of his mouth spread till they were within an unimportant distance of his ears, his eyes were reduced to chinks, and diverging wrinkles appeared round them, extending upon his countenance like the rays in a rudimentary sketch of the rising sun.

But this puzzle was hard!  MOPSA or MOUSA?  DELIO or DELIS?  Decisions, decisions!  More about that later.

I loved the mixture of JS Bach and his “Schafe konnen sicher weiden” (Sheep may safely graze) in Ring 5, with the Sheep themselves at Ring 3 and a Ring of largely obscure Shepherds ‘protecting them’ around the edge at Ring 1.  Very neat.  And with a wolf thrown in amongst them (the sheep, that is), too.

The animals were largely sheep: AMMON, MOUFFLON, DOLLY, SOAY, SOUTHDOWN, MERINO and one WOLF.  Aside: were they interspersed with the characters ‘or musik’?  Not sure.

However it wasn’t the obscurity of the shepherds at ring 1 that threw me.  I already found DORCAS, GABRIEL OAK, CORIN, ABEL, SILVIUS and OLD NOD.  That left me with two to tie down.  The options, given everything else in place, appeared to be DELIO or DELIS for one and MOPSA or MOUSA for the other.  That’ll be easy to double check in these days of the Internet, or so I thought …

  • DELIO: in ‘Revival: A History of Spanish Literature (1930)’ there are two mentions of a shepherd DELIO
  • DELIS: in ‘The Foundation of the Ottoman Empire’ there is mention of ‘the madman DELIS, a shepherd
  • MOPSA: a shepherdess from The Winter’s Tale, seen with DORCAS
  • MOUSA: an obscure alternative form of Moses, also a shepherd

If you had to pick and nothing else to go on, what would you do?  What did you do?  I decided MOUSA really was too obscure, so went with MOPSA.  That one was easy!

With DELIO or DELIS, that was harder to pick!  I eventually decided that two mentions are better than one – and picked DELIO.  What have I missed?  No help from the BRB or Chambers Crossword Dictionary or Bradford or the ODE or Brewer’s.  Hmm …

I’ve clearly missed something – but I’ve no idea what!

Puzzled 🙂

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota



One Response to “‘Cordon’ by Colleague”

  1. Steve said

    I had exactly the same issue with DELIO / DELIS and decided that DELIO was the more likely as none of the others were strictly historical. I wrote a long note on the back of my submission explaining the difficulty in the hope that either would be accepted; I imagine either the other possible names were overlooked, or there was more specificity to the shepherds than we realised.

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