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Listener No 4599: Triumvirate by tnap

Posted by Dave Hennings on 10 Apr 2020

Here we had tnap’s third Listener, following on from Catechism two years ago with Einstein’s “Raffiniert ist der Herrgott”, and before that Right and Wrong with the unikely theme of Scott and Liddell’s Greek-English Lexicon. I wondered if tnap’s polyglottal streak would continue.

Nothing too difficult faced us clue-wise, with fourteen clues requiring a letter to be restored plus six unclued entries. A lot of the clues were fairly gentle, with 12ac (abundan)CEP(erhaps), 15ac (c)OURS(e) and 16ac NANNA getting things going quickly. Of course, we weren’t helped by two of the unclued entries being in the top and bottom rows with another two fairly near the left and right edges. It became clear fairly quickly that they weren’t going to be real words.

There were some entertaining clues along the way, such as 42ac Some castrati never s[l]ang for money (3) for TIN, and 6dn German Monopoly department set up for Hans who worked on counter (6) leading to GEIGER (G + RÉGIE<). I felt sorry (not a lot) for foreign solvers who may have been stumped by 35dn It’s nearly goodbye for the war reporter (4) giving ADIE(u) referring to Kate Adie, the BBC News correspondent.

Now, having finished the grid, I had letters omitted from clues giving me IIATPLTICOLNM. Oh dear! Only thirteen letters, so a bit of re-examination of the clues was required. Luckily, 9ac Ling’s “super” food, good for energy in return of the shivers (4) jumped out at me because I hadn’t really understood the definition of GUGA as Ling’s “super” food. Obviously (?), Ling had to become Luing, that well-known Scottish island that is all of 5½ square miles.

And so I had UIIATPLTICOLNM and a bit of doodling with -ATION endings gave MULTIPLICATION and the ODQ revealed:

Multiplication is vexation,
Division is as bad;
The Rule of Three doth puzzle me,
AndPractice drives me mad.

With the circled letters giving US Army, we were obviously looking for US Army divisions. There was no entry under Division, and nothing under Army either. Unfortunately, and unintentionally, I was looking in my 16th Edition of Brewer’s which didn’t have what was in my newer 19th Edition, namely “See also REGIMENTAL AND DIVISIONAL NICKNAMES”.

I was in luck though. I could see that the unclued entry at 37ac C-EEKBU could give BUCKEYE. Although that was fruitless, my eye roved to the adjacent column where Buckmaster’s Light Infantry gave the necessary cross-reference to the Regimental and Divisional names.

Voilà! Having to be entered jumbled, we had: 1st (going at 1ac) was The BIG RED ONE, 2nd (2dn) INDIANHEAD, 5th (5dn) The RED DIAMOND, 10th (10dn) The MOUNTAINEERS, 23rd (23ac) The AMERICA Division, 37th (37ac) BUCKEYE.

It turned out to be a slightly more roundabout endgame for me than it should have. Thanks, tnap.


One Response to “Listener No 4599: Triumvirate by tnap”

  1. Alan B said

    I also had the 13 letters that you had, Dave, but I failed to notice my pencilled ‘?’ against 9a (GUGA) and completely forgot to try and winkle out the last letter (U) from that clue. I thought the letters of IMPLICITATION were the complete set and had to give up trying to get the anagram. That spectacular own goal put paid to the endgame. I got US Army and Buckeye (the nickname of Ohio state) but obviously nothing more.
    I enjoyed solving the clues and was impressed with the grid design and the way the six themed entries were incorporated. I guess that the setter considered it would have been too easy to have the fourteen letters coming out of the clues in the right sequence, but I did wonder (in spite of my near-success) whether it was too demanding to require the solver to extract every letter (all except one at a pinch) and have to unjumble them to make the 14-letter key. In puzzles using a similar device I am used to having to extract most of the letters, work out the message and finally go back to the stickier clues to solve them. Perhaps a 100% success rate with the clues without such help is expected here!

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