Listen With Others

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L4644: ‘Symbols’ by Aedites

Posted by Encota on 19 February 2021

“Sir, I’ve a circuitous question / poser re. a lion, scales, a crab rising, … . Is it para-magic or guru crap?” *

My thanks to Aedites for the toughest puzzle of 2021 so far!  Very enjoyable, especially trying to make sense of the endgame.  There will be some who guessed this way, way, way faster than me! It’s the first one in 2021 that took until Sunday to sort finally.

I had cold-solved all but five of the clues, I think it was, before I could make even a guess at what was going on.  With hindsight I can see that I had managed to slow myself down in two places:

  1. For the clue, “Go round castle with licence for development (8)”, where the answer was actually ENCIRCLE, I had bizarrely convinced myself that it parsed as R in GO + W(ith) + ABLE, somehow telling myself that GROWABLE meant ‘for development’.  This convinced me for ages that the answer for ENCORES had to begin with one of G or H;
  2. For the clue, “Pre-Union title to injure anybody in ancient Rome”, where I should have more quickly found MAR+QUIS, I could only think that ‘Pre-Union title’ referred to an ‘unmarried name’, so was trying to shoehorn a word beginning with MISS or similar in for far too long!  And so it took me into overtime to find the Q necessary for forming part of AQUARIUS! And I am still faintly wondering which ‘Pre-Union’ the BRB has in mind.

Once one of the ‘signs/houses’ were found, then it was fairly straightforward to complete the grid, especially with that 90 degree symmetry so kindly offered.  One area of doubt remaining was whether one was supposed to position oneself in one’s own star-sign (a nice idea but too hard to mark!) or view this all from E=Earth in the centre.  I opted for the latter.  The other was in the precise choice of symbol to be used.  With them now standardised as Unicode symbols on computers, it seemed reasonable to assume that these are now the ‘usual’ symbols.  What the solver should have used before now I am much less certain!  Though I think, given the minor variations, it would be hard to mark either sort wrong.

Cheers & stay safe,

Tim / Encota

*And if you have a better anagram for the 12 signs used: LIBRA, VIRGO, LEO, CANCER, GEMINI, TAURUS, ARIES, PISCES, AQUARIUS, CAPRICORN, SAGITTARIUS, SCORPIO – then I’d love to hear about it!

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