Listen With Others

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Listener No 4550, Moving Up and Down: A Setter’s Blog by Ferret

Posted by Listen With Others on 5 May 2019

Last year I compiled a puzzle for Magpie magazine called Up and Down for which I used the up/down word exchange device in the clues. There were a lot of clues and I was struggling with some of them so I put it to one side for a while. Shortly afterwards I was listening to CLASSIC fM in the car when ‘Funiculi Funicula’ was broadcast. I suspect my brain was mentally attuned to the Up/Down concept and I thought it might make a good puzzle with the tracks of a funicular running up and down in the grid. When I got home I googled the song and was surprised to find, like most solvers I suspect, that it was written to commemorate the opening of a funicular on an active volcano. So… now I thought I must have the tracks going up and down Mount Vesuvius; maybe being destroyed in an eruption.

Denza and Turco each have 5 letters and Funiculi and Funicula each have 8 letters so it made sense to put them into adjacent columns to represent the tracks. Fitting the thematic elements together and coming up with a grid happened in tandem. I settled on the grid that was used in the puzzle because of the high average length of entries. It allowed solvers good checking in the unclued thematic columns and incorporated (the clued) Vesuvius crossing them. I needed an even number of horizontal clues and fortunately INSTALLATION fitted across the middle row, so, it became unclued and referenced it in the preamble.

Hopefully you solved it and like me, enjoyed finding out about this bizarre installation and the subsequent use/misuse of the music. Finally, very many apologies if you who couldn’t get the song out of your head for some time afterwards.


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