Listen With Others

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Listener No 4599, Triumvirate: A Setter’s Blog by tnap

Posted by Listen With Others on 12 Apr 2020

When Shirley asked me to write this, the obligatory blog, I found it to be a real struggle. I wrote Triumvirate over 3 years ago in a fit of setting enthusiasm, so had to wait a year for my other submissions to get published and then 2 years in the Listener queue. When Roger asked me to test solve, it was like doing a Listener from scratch as I could only barely remember the theme.

Anyway, I recall coming across the quotation in ODQ. It seemed to me that ‘vexation’ was a sufficient indication of a jumble and that, being a bit of of student of military history, I could do something with ‘division’ too. With only one entry in ODQ starting with ‘multiplication’, I thought that it would be straightforward enough for solvers to find the quotation and hence the theme once they had solved enough of the clues.

As an occasional browser of Brewer’s, I was also familiar with the entry on regimental and divisional nicknames. I know this has caused some consternation in the setting community as it’s not easy to find if you don’t know it’s there. However, Brewer’s did at least provide an authoritiative list of US Army divisional nicknames (as opposed to the variety found on Wikipedia and other on-line sources).

I think I used Qxw for most the fill, but I put the jumbles in manually as I needed them to be at the appropriate entry numbers (matching the divisional numbers). I just put the jumbled letters in what I thought would be the easiest places to achieve a fill, obviously avoiding ambiguity by making sure the unchecked letters were duplicates. As it turned out, I managed to fill the grid quite easily that way.

I deliberately made the clueing on the easy side by my and Listener standards, as I felt a lot of letter checking would be taken up by the divisional jumbles.


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