Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Listener 4759: Uniform Uniform(ly numbered 42) by istenem

Posted by vaganslistener on 7 May 2023

Another new setter, to me at least! No wonder the wait-time in the queue is so long at the moment. But all in a good cause of course.

I was lax again in not doing my due diligence and checking the anniversaries etc, which quite often give a clue to where a puzzle is going. The publication date of 4759 was 15 April and that is Jackie Robinson Day in US baseball, when all major league players wear the same jersey number – 42 – that JR wore, he being the one who “broke the color line” in that sport. And that tells you just about everything you need to solve the puzzle. Needless to say, I did in fact only get to that point once I had worked out the extra words, though in my usual way I looked for them and manage to dolve that part of the puzzle before tackling the other clues. “Pioneering” in 1a was a give-away, and the message soon established itself as “Pioneering black baseball rookie retired jersey” (with the given word-lengths helping a lot: perhaps it would have been better to slow us down without them?). I wasn’t familiar with the phrase “retired jersey” for one that was withdrawn from use in honour of a wearer of its number, but Wikipedia as usual came to the rescue and gave the whole story.

Istenem did set a neat little trap though that I fell into for a while. The message just given is unambiguously singular, but the preamble suggests it describes two inspirational figures. And sure enough a much more recent player, Mariano Rivera, also wore the number and had it retired by the NY Yankees in his honour in 2013 (even though it was retired league-wide in 1997: there was a “grandfather clause”). And there in the grid were tantalising fragments of his name, which I suspect were put there deliberately to obscure the trail. Having the letter-count of the highlighting was essential at this point as it confirmed the double use of JR’s name plus the “42” cell as making the big “figures” 4 and 2 and meant I didn’t have to stay up all night wondering if I’d got the endgame right. (A humble pie is on back order in case I am wrong about that …)

Now that name “istenenem is intriguing me. “Listener” could be in there, or the end of “Enigmatist”; or … it actually means “Oh my go<odness>!” in Hungarian. Really. A good note to end an endgame on.

Thanks to the surprising istenem, and I hope you send us some more.


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