Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin


Posted by Encota on 10 Feb 2023

1. SPANISH INTERCEPTORS. We all remember that Spanish poem, right? The one that was supposedly somehow initially received via eavesdropping? As an aside, perhaps that is why it appears slightly garbled. I was sent a translation of it by Twitter this morning – though it seems a very poor one. That translation read thus:

The sea I will go
Fun it will be

Neither was nor tea?
All laughed
– Cease –

What kind of rubbish translation-by-Yoda is that?

2. CENSORSHIP PATTERNS I. And then, soon after, I first received a pattern of redacted words – a bit in the style of those Have I Got News For You joke clips with the words deleted using black rectangles by the censors. This was the pattern of those blacked out words:

3. So what is going on in this puzzle? There’s no puzzle name and no setter name. Weird!
But there are 28 letters in a central 4×7 box. These ones, in fact:

They are enciphered somehow – how though? Let’s try some anagrams of all 28 letters and try and break it that way. Can we guess who the setter is? Who writes this sort of cipher-based puzzle? Sabre perhaps?? But there is only one B, so it couldn’t read “by Sabre”. Hmm. Shark sometimes includes ciphers in his puzzles – but there is no K. Try again!

Well, who is it that creates some of the (for me at least) toughest and convoluted endgames? After all, this does seem like one of those. Aha – Pointer! Maybe it reads “by Pointer”!? What letters would that leave?

And here is where the brilliance of this puzzle continues. It is “by Pointer” but it has TWO Alternative and equally correct Titles! Title 1: SPANISH INTERCEPTORS BY POINTER – for the poem. And Title 2: CENSORSHIP PATTERNS: I BY POINTER – for the pattern of redaction. Check the anagrams if you don’t believe me!

For the endgame, ‘all’ you then have to do is overlay the results from 1 and 2 above and you get the original Spanish version of the poem.

MAR=the sea, IRE=I will go, DIVER=fun, SERA=it will be. And so on – you’ll have already translated the rest. Job done. Quite, quite brilliant!!

Well, that’s what I did, anyway*.

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

PS Did I really spot SERPENTINE and GRID/MESH as answers in the Times2 crossword alongside the initially setter-less L4747? Or perhaps I dreamt it …


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