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L4622: ‘Kew Knowledge’ by Brock

Posted by Encota on 18 Sep 2020

Thanks first of all to Brock for an entertaining puzzle! With hindsight I should have realised what was going on from the title. How many years was he at New College, Oxford? In the role of Dean, amongst several others – hence Dean’s appearance in both 15a and 6d.

The puzzle was of course a tribute to The Rev. William Archibald Spooner, who died on 29 August 1930.

The most challenging bit for me was interpreting the clues that had “been affected thematically, one way or another”. In practice we had these seven in the clues where a type of butterfly was the answer:

  • PEACOCK. The clue started ‘Principal pitting …’. To be parsed as KEY POCK, and hence PEACOCK in Spooner’s world. One down, six to go …
  • HAIRSTREAK. This began ‘Wondering band identifies one …’. Read that as UNDER WING BAND IDENTIFIES ONE and the reference to the white band on the hairstreak’s under-wing is sorted.
  • COMMA. The Spoonerism here was clued by ‘…coffee’. I could only assume that MOCHA with its consonant sounds swapped becomes COMMA, though I may have missed something!
  • GATEKEEPER. This starts ‘Done guarding …’. I can’t get that one yet! Ah, it’s ‘DONE GUARDING WAR’ -> ONE GUARDING DOOR. I never get those 3+ word ones!
  • JUNO. Seems to be Spoonerised (is that a word?) using ‘ONE RESEMBLING BUFFALO SOLDIER IN ALABAMA…’ I’m going with “GNU JOE” for JUNO, as I can see there’s a Dione Juno butterfly, which I hadn’t heard of.
  • ELFIN. That’s one of the easier ones: ‘Collapsed during …’ becomes FELL IN, and hence ELFIN
  • And that great anagram for RED ADMIRAL (Real Madrid) appears in 8d. Here ‘One’s marked with spite what’s …’ soon reveals its WHITE SPOTS and we are all done.


Tim / Encota


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