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Posts Tagged ‘Kew Knowledge’

L4622: ‘Kew Knowledge’ by Brock

Posted by Encota on 18 Sep 2020

Thanks first of all to Brock for an entertaining puzzle! With hindsight I should have realised what was going on from the title. How many years was he at New College, Oxford? In the role of Dean, amongst several others – hence Dean’s appearance in both 15a and 6d.

The puzzle was of course a tribute to The Rev. William Archibald Spooner, who died on 29 August 1930.

The most challenging bit for me was interpreting the clues that had “been affected thematically, one way or another”. In practice we had these seven in the clues where a type of butterfly was the answer:

  • PEACOCK. The clue started ‘Principal pitting …’. To be parsed as KEY POCK, and hence PEACOCK in Spooner’s world. One down, six to go …
  • HAIRSTREAK. This began ‘Wondering band identifies one …’. Read that as UNDER WING BAND IDENTIFIES ONE and the reference to the white band on the hairstreak’s under-wing is sorted.
  • COMMA. The Spoonerism here was clued by ‘…coffee’. I could only assume that MOCHA with its consonant sounds swapped becomes COMMA, though I may have missed something!
  • GATEKEEPER. This starts ‘Done guarding …’. I can’t get that one yet! Ah, it’s ‘DONE GUARDING WAR’ -> ONE GUARDING DOOR. I never get those 3+ word ones!
  • JUNO. Seems to be Spoonerised (is that a word?) using ‘ONE RESEMBLING BUFFALO SOLDIER IN ALABAMA…’ I’m going with “GNU JOE” for JUNO, as I can see there’s a Dione Juno butterfly, which I hadn’t heard of.
  • ELFIN. That’s one of the easier ones: ‘Collapsed during …’ becomes FELL IN, and hence ELFIN
  • And that great anagram for RED ADMIRAL (Real Madrid) appears in 8d. Here ‘One’s marked with spite what’s …’ soon reveals its WHITE SPOTS and we are all done.

Cheers,

Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4622: Kew Knowledge by Brock

Posted by Dave Hennings on 18 Sep 2020

OK, how long since Brock’s last Listener? Less than six months by my reckoning since No 4597, Bunch of Fives with its starfish grid and piscine theme. That probably means that we were looking at a last-minute date-related theme this week. [Smart arse. Ed.]

The preamble tells us that seven answers are, thematically speaking, 21 3. That didn’t help much since both were unclued. Definitions in these clues were thematically affected, one way or another. Remaining clues had an extra letter in the wordplay and would spell out a thematically posed question. It sounded as though we were going to be stymied until we got the theme!

The clues were a mixture of straightforward and tricky with the seven thematically affected answers generally being tricky. 9ac Hardly long-lived, half-blinded king at Hastings losing life ultimately? (10) was probably the most fun, leading to ONE-YEAR-OLD (ONE-EYE + (H)AROLD – (lif)E).

With most of the top-left and bottom-right complete, it looked as though 21 3 was FLUTTER BYES. Moreover, 1dn looked like COMMA which was a butterfly, so I was on the right track. Mind you, its clue looked odd, Stupor broken by am coffee (5) until you realised than “‘m” was a variant of “am” and we had M in COMA leading to… well, not a type of coffee that was certain. MOCHA, however, was and we seemed to be dealing with Spoonerisms. (If I’d looked at the title again, I’d have been certain.)

Eventually, all came good with the thematic clues which were either spoonerisms of the entry or had a spoonerism in the definition:

19ac Principal pitting gym associate against Rick (7)
KEY POCK → PEACOCK
34ac Wondering band identifies one task re working on hard tune (10)
Underwing band identifies one → HAIRSTREAK
1dn Stupor broken by am coffee (5)
MOCHA → COMMA
8dn One’s marked with spite what’s scuppered Real Madrid (10, two words)
One’s marked with white spots → RED ADMIRAL
11dn Done guarding war fortress with gun, always circling (10)
One guarding door → GATEKEEPER
22dn One resembling Buffalo Soldier in Alabama is tense leaving Confederacy (4)
GNU JOE → JUNO
25dn Collapsed during cycling, fine going around lake (5)
FELL IN → ELFIN

 
The one that caused me most grief (don’t laugh!) was GNU JOE — I’m so use to pronouncing it à la Flanders and Swann, “I’m a g-nu”, especially since it’s not a word that crops up often in casual conversation! My favourite was probably the “wondering band” that became “underwing band”.

And so the extra letters in the wordplay of most clues told us who needed highlighting: Do hide on this day in nineteen thirty needing to be thematically adjusted to ask Who died on this day in thirteen ninety?. Well, not quite!

W(illiam) A(rchibald) SPOONER (1844–1930) was there in column 9. I wondered whether the REV at the beginning of 24ac was also originally meant to be highlighted. He was, of course, a fellow at New College, Oxford.

Thanks for some good entertainment, Brock.
 

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