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Posts Tagged ‘Lost in Translation’

‘Lost in Translation’ by Ottorino

Posted by Encota on 17 Aug 2018

The big hint this week was the pair of initials NT in Column 2: New Testament, perhaps?  And so it proved.  [Really??? Ed.]

The biblical theme was hinted at in 18a and 22a – ESAU and REBECCA – characters from the Old Testament – presumably to throw us off the scent.

Those with a strong knowledge of the New Testament will already know that it contains ~37 ‘books’.  Of these 37, there are 21 LETTERS, many written by Paul, to various parties.  These include two letters to the Romans (Rom.), two to Timothy (Tim.), one to Titus (Ti.), Colossians (Col.), Ephesians (Eph.), James (Jam.) and more.  These abbreviations all appear in the grid – I presume – I’ve highlighted a few here to show the principle, along with the answer to Clue 21: LETTERS. Simple, eh?  The hidden message had instructed us to INSERT ONE CLUE NUMBER – so I picked 21 to fit with this NT theme.

2018-08-01 14.46.56

[surreal mode off]

OK, the Italian language has only 21 letters, as it has no requirement, except in foreign words, for W, J, X, K & Y.  These were neatly stacked in Column 6.  Changing them to ITALY (a translation of ITALIA at 9d) allowed real across words to be maintained.  My finished puzzle actually looked like this.

2018-08-01 14.41.06

Great fun – thanks Ottorino 🙂

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota


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Lost in Translation by Ottorino

Posted by shirleycurran on 17 Aug 2018

It’s been a while since we heard from Ottorino. I had just printed my weekly fix in an Internet cafe opposite the station at Clapham Junction and was walking up to Lavender Hill in 35 degrees of heat, and had just time to read that very clear preamble before six weeks of drought finally broke and heavy raindrops began blur my copy. In the past Ottorino’s clues have been tough but fair so I expected quite a struggle tonight and raced indoors to begin solving.

Problem number one. Does he still earn his entry ticket to the bar at Listener dinners? Hmm – I have no doubt really as we have usually been at the same Rasputin, Ottorino, Shark table at the dinners and the wine flows respectably but “Oh dear!” I scan those clues and find jam, potatoes, sausages – but no alcohol – until, when we were searching our grid for the endgame, we spotted that GIN in ‘Start or middle of pains before massage of a t(W)Inge (9). We had already realised that the letters J,K,W,X and Y were being omitted from clues and that was speeding up our grid fill. Here we used OR (pa)I(ns)  + TINGE* to produce that (original)GIN(ate). Then we spotted those ‘Rooms for ordering shots. A number fired from Sten guns, mounted? (5)’ We took ten from the STEN GUNS* to give SNUGS. Well, Cheers, Ottorino, gin in the snug!

Solving progressed steadily with a number of smiles. A fine Scots’ word, STREEKING appeared with a comical Shakespearian mish-mash of a clue, ‘(J)ester dressed Lear perchance preparing for Macbeth’s burial (8)’ ESTER* + KING. We had inserted numbers into our working grid and were keeping a careful record of the message spelled out by the down clues when we put them into conventional order. INSERT ONE CLUE NUMBER, we were instructed, when we removed those five redundant thematic letters from the LETTERS clue and counted that as the one thematic down clue. (‘Eg. (J)ess and (K)en, Rub(Y) (W)a(X) off tele… star cast (7)’ an anagram of TELESTAR less the A.)

A couple of hours and a full grid then ‘What do we do now?’ There were those five thematic letters at the foot of column 6 and we scratched our heads for a while. Italian is my favourite language and I am well aware that it has a shorter alphabet than those of, say, the French, German and English languages but, even though ITALIA and LETTERS (below that clue number 21) were glaring at me from the grid, it took the other Numpty to Google ‘What is special about WJXKY?’ for the pennies to clang to the ground. We made four more thematic removals to produce an English form of ITALIA. Most enjoyable, thanks to Ottorino.

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Listener No 4513: Lost in Translation by Ottorino

Posted by Dave Hennings on 17 Aug 2018

Two years ago, Ottorino’s last puzzle had Alexandre Dumas’s Three Musketeers battling it out with Verdi’s La Traviata. Before that he took us into the far from uplifting world of Dorothy Parker’s Resumé.

Here we had across clues in conventional order and downs in alphabetical order of answers — is there a word answerbetical?! [No. Ed.] There were thematic removals from all across clues and one down plus a message from the initial letters of the downs in conventional order.

TOMTOM, ORIGINATE, BRIGADE and SEELS soon went in across the top half of the grid with the clues losing X, W, J and K respectively. Lots of lesser used letters there. Finally, a Y was dropped from Features devoid of iron[y] at being re-edited right for legalists (4) (FEATURES* – FE – AT) and another lesser used letter bit the dust.

A little while later, the downs were gradually revealing an instruction which eventually came out as Insert one cl•ue number. The • represents the one clue that had thematic removals, and what a great clue it was: Eg, Jess and Ken, Ruby Wax off tele… star cast! (7). This had loads of lesser used letters which needed to be dropped to give Eg, ess and en, rub a off tele… star cast! (7) resulting in LETTERS.

A quick check of missing clue numbers would have made that 21dn, and we were dealing with 21 letters after J, K, W, X and Y were ignored. But what was the theme? Scrabble was the first think that came to mind, but since Q wasn’t in our list of exclusions, that seemed unlikely. Next I thought of the old rotary telephone dials and the letter groupings on them. Again, no luck.

I think it fair to say that without Google, I’d have been lost. Yes, I could have jumped ahead and discovered the four letter changes required, but that would have deprived me of a lot of angst. Google revealed a fact that I hadn’t known, namely that the Italian alphabet only has 21 letters. My first thought then was that just labelling LETTERS with a 21 failed to show that the theme had been fully identified. But what was that in the next column? ITALIAN. Perhaps we would have to label that as 21 so that we had ITALIAN LETTERS!

Anyway, on with changing four letters “to form a word whose thematic form is a grid entry.” And so, some grid-staring began. My first thought was that we needed to swap four letters somewhere in the grid for other, perhaps thematic, ones to give a word which then lost thematic letters to give another grid entry. [Well, I’m confused. Ed.] Well, that was obviously (in hindsight) a hopeless task.

Even having seen the five rogue letters in column 6, it took me far too long to replace them to give new words across and ITALY down. So that showed that we knew what the theme was with its thematic form (ie without any Y) as ITALIA at 9dn. Meanwhile, it was just LETTERS that got labelled 21dn. Thank goodness I got there in the end.

A nice puzzle, thanks Ottorino, and I can’t stress enough how much I loved the rogue down clue!

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