Listen With Others

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L4585 “In this world of sin” by Pointer

Posted by Encota on 3 January 2020

What an excellent grid that was! Though after now solving a few Pointers over the years, I am beginning to realise that that maybe the norm!

Perhaps I was not the only solver who had also been grappling with another – tricky – Pointer in December’s excellent Magpie magazine. That one took me a little while to fill the grid – and a week after that I still haven’t finished the endgame. So when this week’s L appeared with Pointer’s name at the top, and it didn’t take too long to fill the grid, I was worrying that I might have been here before! What next?

And having said the grid filled quickly, I did manage to hold myself up for a while in 1 across, where I had converted ‘noodles’ (the verb) into BOPS, as creating a certain sort of music. However, when it didn’t fit with ZEBRAS as ‘African animals’ at 8 down and I had double-checked that there wasn’t a cross called a ZEPRA first (well, it might have been a cross between a ZEBRA and part of a coconut, mightn’t it?), then I realised my mistake and SOBA for noodles went in.

My solving route then went a bit like this:

  • spot TIARA over HOLLY as a representation of ‘the holly bears the crown’. That’s the highlighted bit found …
  • double check the extra four words from the Down clues: STAR< as ‘the rising of the Sun’; FREE REIN as ‘the running of the (rein)deer’; GROAN as ‘the playing of the (merry) organ’, and ‘sweet singing in thE CHOir’ for ECHO. Good carol chorus. Not bad at all 🙂
  • try and guess what path the Decagon might take in practice. Get nowhere
  • spot a few more trees to go with HOLLY: LEMON, ACER, ASH, BAY jumped out easily. At this stage I wasn’t sure why trees!
  • use reference book to try and find more: there are two SALs, two RATA, a TAWA and an ANTIAR. That makes eleven – and we only wanted nine! Check the Preamble to see if repeats are allowed or not. Seems ambiguous to me.
  • Look again for the Definition to form the Decagon. Finally spot STORAGE FOR WINE ETC. Trace it back to find ‘THE CASK OR BARREL AS STORAGE FOR WINE ETC.’ Ah, that’s a definition of WOOD!
  • See if that helps eliminate two trees. One can draw the decagon through the edge of Column two so that the left-hand SAL still remains within it. Is that required? Re-check that ‘in nine distinct rows and columns’ part of the Preamble and decide that only one of the RATA/TAWA pair on Row 7 can be used.
  • Finally decide that Pointer must have been thinking of nine different trees and opt for ignoring Column 3’s SAL and Row 7’s RATA. Triple-check that PAN isn’t a tree, given the upper part of the Decagon makes its way round those letters so clearly. No – betel or betel leaf, not a tree. Hope that I haven’t fallen into a trap
  • Take a step back and finally cotton on to it being a representation of ‘for all the TREES that are in the WOOD … the holly bears the crown’.

And relax! Many thanks, Pointer! Now back to the seaside to solve that other puzzle ….

I hope you’ve all had a decent Christmas and I wish you all the very best for this New Year.

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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