Listen With Others

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Listener No 4708, Diamond: A Setter’s Blog by Karla

Posted by Listen With Others on 16 May 2022

The room in which I do my setting I share with my piano. It also happens to be where the first glass of wine is consumed as Adele and I look out into the garden. One such evening I idly wondered whether I could represent a piece of music in a grid. (Of course, I thought that was terribly original at the time and since have realised that I am by no means the first). ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ seemed the natural fit as I figured non-musicians might be able to recognise the ‘pattern’ of the tune even if it were written down as a series of dots on paper.

So how to represent the tune in the grid. I could see three options:

  • Grid to represent keys on a piano: this it what I had in mind at first. But of course, the tune can be played on any instrument. And on a keyboard, the tune can be played on differing combinations of white and black keys depending on the key signature. More complicated than I thought.
  • Grid to represent a stave: but how would I represent lines and spaces? Maybe by cells and gridlines. That felt messy.
  • Grid to represent musical intervals: this felt better in that it removed the problems of different instruments and key signatures.

The third option ran the risk of being less obvious for non-musicians who may be less aware of semitones/tones (and I think that has come out in some online comments). Therefore, TWINKLE was selected as the thematic word in the grid and DIAMOND for the title: sufficient nudges in the right direction, I hoped.

The ‘music’ and ‘star’ themes for the extra words was suggested by Wan and I would like to thank him for his support and guidance in the development of this puzzle. And a big thanks to Mr E who helped me with fitting the pattern efficiently into the grid (I had been trying to put the first sequence in the upper half, the second in the lower) and for additional advice. And finally, I would like to acknowledge the help of Neil Shepherd (Alberich/ Klingsor) who looked through the puzzle in it’s final stages for me. News of his passing came yesterday. RIP Neil. You will be greatly missed.


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