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Listener No 4522: August Break by Aedites

Posted by Dave Hennings on 19 Oct 2018

Last year, Aedites used a slightly well-known quotation as his theme — you know, that one from Hamlet! I wondered if this week’s theme would be equally famous.

Every clue contained a misprint, and 1, 6, 8 and 12 down were all top-to-bottom 11-letter entries. 1 Taunton dean comes to farm form, without any comments (11) was a straightforward anagram leading to UNANNOTATED. It was only when it went in that I found that no across entry started in that column. However, I did notice that the entries on the other side of the grid had entry lengths that were double what was available.

I wondered if the instruction to be revealed by the misprints would require us to wrap the grid around into the form of a cylinder with entries on the right of the grid wrapping round to the left. NUMNAH at 20ac put paid to that since it didn’t meet with an N at the beginning of its row.

5 Wasp Wash underground for all to see involved in Italian police scandal? (11) was another easy down entry with those nice Italian police beginning SB… and leading to SUBIRRIGATE. 8dn and 12dn, the other 11-letter entries weren’t solved particularly quickly — ELECTROTYPE and THRASH METAL. 21ac ORNITHOSAURS across the middle (right then left) did help.

It was only when I got to UNPLUMBS at 35ac that I sussed what was actually happening. Entries on the right continued in their diagonally opposite spaces. In the case of 35ac, that was at 1ac. That sorted, the grid came together reasonably quickly.

There was still a bit of a hiccup for me though. I had guessed that the first part of the instruction from the misprints read Enter in the grid. Of course, this bore little relationship to the corrections that were actually required in the clues, and anyway it seemed a somewhat trite thing to say. It took a bit of time for me to see that we needed Explain the grid followed by highlight eleven letters.

Thus the grid represented a MOBIUS STRIP opened up. This is (à la Wiki) “a surface with only one side (when embedded in three-dimensional Euclidean space) and only one boundary”, a discovery attributed to August Ferdinand Möbius (1790–1868).

Thanks, Aedites. Good fun.


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