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Listener 4521: Translate into Spanish by Cagey

Posted by Jaguar on 12 October 2018

I can’t remember when my last blog was. A quick glance through the archives suggests that it was well over two years ago. In the intervening period I’ve barely touched Listeners, but readers may excuse me this lapse when I point out that I’ve been working on, and now almost completed, a PhD instead. Just a few minor corrections left and then it will be Dr. jim42078 or something.

But anyway. Cagey’s first-ever Listener brings me back to blogging, at least in part because I happen to know him personally — a fact that also explains why I even bothered attempting this one, which would mark my first attempt, let alone completion, of a Listener in months. Needless to say, a carte blanche is an ambitious puzzle to start off solving.

Thankfully, however, I’ve been keeping up with the Jumbo on the opposite page, and daily cryptics, just enough so that some level of cold-solving wasn’t quite beyond me. There was also a certain amount of luck, perhaps, that 1dn SAAMI (AAM in is<) and 35d SNIGS (signs*) were generous enough clues, with answers vital to start the grid fill off, even if the answers are fairly obscure. I’ve long-since lost track of how things proceeded from there, but certainly it was mainly the left-hand side of the grid that fell apart first, and at some point a few hours later I had finally decided that the unclued 1ac was SIXTEEN EIGHTY-EIGHT. “Isn’t that when the Glorious Revolution was?”, I thought, and sure enough that neatly explains the reference to William of Orange in 39dn. Oh, and look, there’s the event itself, stretched across the grid! The wonderful GLORIOUS, err, REVOLTUION. People in the 17th century probably didn’t know how to spell, to be fair to Cagey,  so I forgave him this obvious and shocking lapse* in construction and tried to finish the grid off.

But what of those instructions? I’d guessed early on that 29ac’s reference to “columns” was fairly blatantly nothing to do with the clue, but it took a good deal of searching to confirm that, say, “years” in 47ac and “180” in 42ac (a clue I still haven’t fully parsed, but it can be nothing else), were what was required to complete the instruction to pretend that Cagey actually meant 1868, and yet another silly lapse in setting** had led him to realise this only after putting 1688 across the top.

Grid completed, and brief trawl through “1868 in history” on Wikipedia later, I learned that the Spanish had stolen our idea of having a Glorious Revolution, throwing aside Isabella II for some reason (possibly because Glorious Revolutions sound so fun). How nice of them, at least, to wait until the year was so neatly related to 1686 by merely swapping a couple of digits.

In any case, now it was clear why Cagey couldn’t spell, and we had to rearrange the columns such that the seventh row read Glorious Revolution in the right order, whilst also ensuring that the first row had the right date for the Spanish edition.

When it comes to rearranging letters in large groups, Notepad is surprisingly handy, so one grid transfer later (and reflection to make the rows read as columns and vice versa), it was time to play around to get the right date. Not easy, because any fool could see that it’s going to be hard to get the “G” of Glorious to the start when it’s meant to be at the middle…

What happens next can best be described as sheer dumb luck. I stopped cursing at Cagey*** long enough to have another go, and then discovered that I could get “Glor” at the beginning in the seventh row after all. How weird. But never mind, following it through and at last the Glorious Revolution (Spain) is there in all its correctly-spelled glory, running proudly in the … eighth row?!

Yes, in a brilliant stroke of luck, flicking away from the grid of letters and then back, I’d managed to focus on the eighth column by accident — where, of course, hidden in fine style were the letters of “Glorious Revolution” all over again, jumbled up in just the right way so that you could spell it correctly this time. How nice! A “PACT” appears somewhere in the fifth row, too, just to resolve the ambiguity between a couple of Es in the E-heavy date.

A fine debut by Cagey, whose previous efforts have been hidden in the more niche publication of the Magpie, but at last he has reached the dizzying heights of Listener stardom. And, in the process, he has dragged this blogger out of his long slumber.



**more sarcasm

***See above notes.


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Translate Into Spanish by Cagey

Posted by shirleycurran on 12 October 2018

“Cagey”, I murmur. “We’ve been solving his in the Magpie for a few years but I believe this is his first Listener.” We print that most unusual grid and I scan the clues to see whether he merits entry to the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit and I don’t have to read far: ‘Cartel’s overcharge on whole barrel (4)’ The other Numpty assures me that a BLOC is a cartel so we have BL + OC, but why is the barrel ‘whole’? Maybe that is the first of our nine extra words. Whatsoever, it certainly admits Cagey to that exclusive set of cruciverbal tipplers. A whole barrel! Cheers!

A couple of lucky early solves give us the start of our grid fill: ‘Volunteers, then I go into obsolete nick (10)’ (TA + I TURN in CLY = TACITURNLY) and ‘Founder isn’t about to utter rubbish about head of high inquisition (10)’ (INST* + UTTER* round I(nquisition) = a founder INSTITUTER) and we have a second extra word ‘high’. There is a lot more fiddling with those four-letter words (Where do we put THUS, HYPE, NEEP, SAFE, EARL and TORI?) Those are the ones that always give problems in a carte blanche grid aren’t they?

However, TORI gives us another extra ‘item’ – 180 – and we now understand why ‘item’ and not ‘word’ was used in the preamble. We have the messages ‘Moving whole columns advance 180 years’ and ‘Highlight event’.  What’s more, we have spotted that the first row of the crossword gives us SIXTEEN EIGHTY-EIGHT and the other Numpty immediately says “That’s the Glorious Revolution”. Sure enough we have a rather convoluted GLORIOUS REVOLTUION in row seven of our grid.

It is a simple sum that takes us to 1868 and we know there was a glorious revolution in Spain in that year but we were instructed to ‘Translate Into Spanish’ in the title so I waste some time attempting to find the Spanish name of that revolution, LA GLORIOSA, in the reconstituted columns that I have chopped up. I do wonder, at this point, how solvers who work from the Times newspaper version of the crossword manage these final hoops that the Listener crossword sometimes asks us to leap through.

The other Numpty is the solver, I am the grid compiler and endgame expert, and he has thrown up his arms in despair and gone to bed with ‘Energy and Empire, A biographical study of Lord Kelvin’ (yes, honestly!) leaving me to fiddle with my bits of paper.

That hint about the PACT is a great help and I soon realize that I was trying to be too clever. Cagey has simply lowered the GLORIOUS REVOLUTION down one row in his grid and, either to give us a hint that columns had to be shifted, or because it was impossible to fit the words into his original grid (the second, I imagine) put the letters in the correct order this time. I find PACT in the version I opt for and see that the hint was there as there was a potential ambiguity with the seventh and fourteenth columns both beginning with E and having U in the key position.

So I highlight the revolution with thanks to Cagey for a most enjoyable puzzle.

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‘Translate into Spanish’ by Cagey

Posted by Encota on 12 October 2018

I loved the endgame on this one!  The phrase hidden in the clues told us solvers to move whole columns around.  By chance I’d spotted that Row 8 was also an anagram of GLORIOUS REVOLUTION, so that simplified things a bit, to result in the year in Row 1 moving forward by 180 years.

And what a great spot that the two entirely different occurrences named the GLORIOUS REVOLUTION just happened to occur on dates that were an anagram of each other!

But perhaps that was all too obvious and we, the solvers, were being led into a trap?  Perhaps other results could be achieved in different rows by rearranging the columns into different orders …

[add examples here]

Here is my real attempt:

[add image here]

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4521: Translate into Spanish by Cagey

Posted by Dave Hennings on 12 October 2018

Cagey was a new setter to me, but a check of the database revealed that there were a few Magpies to his credit. His first was a mathematical, but subsequent ones have all been word puzzles of B and C grading. What would his first Listener be like?

There were nine extra items to be removed in clues. Strangely, they were “delimited by spaces”. I assumed that one or more items would consist of two or more words. These items would give two instructions to be followed after the grid’s initial fill.

I started on the across clues but soon gave up because my brain obviously wasn’t in the right gear to solve more than a couple. Maybe Cagey would be more forgiving with the downs. Indeed he was, and SABMI, IDLE, TACITURNLY, EST and NAUNT were slotted in. 5dn Start off by appearing after scene in play — no longer heiress’s choice (6) failed me, mainly as I hdn’t heard of ESNECY (SCENE* after (b)Y) before.

So, the top left was looking good, and it seemed that 1ac, which was unclued, started SIXTEEN…. Ottorino’s Lost in Translation had told us that there were only 21 letters in the Italian alphabet. Given the title this week, it crossed my mind that Spanish might have a similarly strange number of letters. In fact, it has 27 — our 26 plus Ñ.

I guess my favourite clue was 10dn Trawler trailing frigate would catch such fish (5) which used a technique I’d not come across before where trawler after frigate would supply TETRA.

Eventually, 1ac was, with unchecked letters filled in, SIXTEEN EIGHTY EIGHT. A quick scan of Wiki for events in 1684 soon revealed GLORIOUS REVOLUTION, and we had GLORIOUS at 36ac. Moreover REVOLUTION almost followed on with 38ac REVOLT and then UION. Intriguing.

Of course, the extra words in nine clues gave us Moving whole columns, advance 180 years. Highlight event, and more Wikiness showed that there was another Glorious Revolution in 1868, this one in Spain — aha! — and resulted in the deposition of Queen Isabella II. I’m still not really sure why the “delimited by spaces” was in the preamble unless to ensure 180 was taken in full.

Careful rejigging of the columns so that 1ac read EIGHTEEN SIXTY EIGHT revealed another GLORIOUS REVOLUTION in row 8. Two columns began with an E and had a U in row 8, so the PACT in row 5 ensured a unique solution.

An entertaining and original endgame to finish with. Great fun. Thanks, Cagey.

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‘My Retirement Plan’ by Artix

Posted by Encota on 5 October 2018

What a clever construction this was.  Once the letters DONNE started to appear around the border, and the misprints backed it up by being corrected from DONNE (to HANDS), then the poet hinted at in the Preamble was clear.  But which poem?  My knowledge of John Donne’s poetry being pretty much non-existent I resorted to that ‘font of all wisdom and knowledge’ that is Wikipedia.

2018-09-16 15.41.46 copy

Soon to appear was the poem, On His Mistriss Retiring To Bed, or something similar, with the lines requested from the Preamble being:

License my roving hands and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new-found-land

I guess ‘roving hands’ is a reasonable instruction to swap all letters L and R in the grid – the result appearing as per the diagram above.  This change allowed LICENSE, ROVING, O MY AMERICA and NEWFOUNDLAND all to appear in the grid, as well as MISTRESS from the Title.  The Preamble said to highlight only O MY AMERICA, if I am reading ti correctly, so that’s what I did!

I loved the gloriously OTT Scottish indicator Captain Kidd’s in 27d and 18a’s
With 8, this might make Italians drunk (4)
The answer to 8d was NAIL, so {NAIL+ASTI}* could give ITALIANS, so Asti it was!

Many thanks to Artix for another enjoyable Listener solve.

And why ‘font’, I hear you ask [Really? Ed.]  The Title’s jumbling MEANT MERELY PRINT, “MEN TRY PLAIN METRE”, providing MERRIMENT-A-PLENTY.

Or something …

Tim / Encota

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