Listen With Others

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Listener No 4644: Symbols by Aedites

Posted by Dave Hennings on 19 Feb 2021

I think it fair to say that a lot of Aedites puzzles have had a literary theme: last year we had Brooke’s Old Vicarage Clock, before that there were Kingsley’s Water Babies and even more before that, Hamlet’s existence dilemma! This week, alphabetical clues and clashes.

It didn’t take long to discover that answer lengths and entry lengths didn’t agree. Four clue answers had 10 or more letters but there were none in the grid. In fact, the number of every answer length disagreed with the number available in the grid. What’s more, there were 52 clues, which struck me as an awful lot.

Onwards and upwards. Onwards covered my first pass through the clues with about 40% solved. Then came the upwards bit as the remaining clues were teased out. Of course, I couldn’t even think about trying to enter anything in the grid.

About three-quarters of the way through the clues, I decided to have a stab at entering some. I’m afraid I don’t remember my reasoning, for where I started, but I thought the 3-letter answers might help me position the top and bottom rows. I tried SANNYASI along the bottom crossing with VAN and APIARY. Next came STEMLESS along the top with LAP and STEEPENED crossing. PORTIERTES next and I seemed to be on a roll.

In hindsight, it was fortunate that the two 3-letter words that helped me, LAP and VAN, although being clashing entries, it was only the P and V contributed to their respective clash. And so the grid was finished, and not particularly quickly I may add.

The first sets of clashes I tried to unravel were SERAI, PCESSI and STURAU and the signs of the zodiac soon popped out. Of course, my first port of call was Wiki and I tried to get an approximation of the symbols in the little squares. It was only while writing this blog, long after my grid would have reached St Albans, that I discovered that the entry for zodiac in Chambers had the symbols as well. My symbol for Capricorn didn’t actually agree, but the wording of the preamble “…replaced by its usual symbol” could open up a can of worms and I don’t think The Times carries a horoscope. Good luck, JEG. (Personally, I’d have allowed any squiggle that didn’t look like a letter in the English alphabet!!)

Highlighting E for Earth in the centre finished everything off. A fairly tough little cookie here, I thought. Thanks, Aedites.


One Response to “Listener No 4644: Symbols by Aedites”

  1. Jonathan Broad said

    I too went to Wikipedia for the symbols, not thinking to look under Zodiac in Chambers, but the App version of Chambers (the only version I have) uses identical Unicode symbols to those that appear on Wikipedia so it should be acceptable.

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