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Posts Tagged ‘Migratory Birds’

L4543: ‘Migratory Birds’ by Malva

Posted by Encota on 15 March 2019

Warm wishes from Sunny Suffolk, the home of RSPB Minsmere where numerous fans of this puzzle most likely congregate before heading off to warmer climes for the winter.

2019-02-23 21.54.56 copy

I greatly enjoyed the moment when it became clear that birds, one of which featured in every clue, ‘migrated’ from one clue to another before solving could finally take place.  Of course half the fun was finding that the wordplay nearly worked in some cases before the move but was in error – and it was that which allowed me at least to see what was actually going on.

There were 38 clues/birds to migrate: I sorted the first 25 of them, then resorted to a small checklist (see right hand side of diagram above) to compare the remaining (13) birds at that time with no new home with their potential wordplay ‘nests’ [I think this analogy has gone way too far: Ed.]

I particularly liked the subtlety in the clue,

  Idiot putting any odd bit of heron under beetle (4):

Now we’ve seen DOR for beetle before (and I’ve forgotten it several times, too!), so the idiot looks like it may well be DORK.  But how does the final K come from the rest of the wordplay?  Well, one of the birds still looking for a new home is the ‘KoKaKo’: and ‘any odd bit of KOKAKO’ is the letter K, so all is sorted.  That also used up one of the two remaining birds beginning with a K, allowing me to be certain that the one left, KINGFISHER, moved to 28d’s,

At the start, prion to roll up wooden ball 
(4)

The wooden ball was a KNUR, made up of K+RUN<, so replacing ‘prion’ with ‘kingfisher’ sorted that one out too.

The correct repositioning of the birds in the clues was for me the most fun part.  There were three jumbled birds also hidden in the grid, in vertical lines.  I think I went through all of Mrs. Bradford’s 5-letter birds in all the columns and could only find – jumbled in contiguous cells – VIREO, TEREK and CRAKE, which I’ve highlighted.  I’m not sure I haven’t missed something far more subtle hiding there, but what I’ve done meets the spec of the Preamble, so I called it a day at that point.

Prior to that I had hunted out as many 5-letter birds as I could find in each vertical, in case that was going to give me further enlightenment – you may detect their faint tracks in the image above.  And when I was reminded by Mrs B that ‘Wonga’ was a bird then I did try, naturally with a very high level of interest, to find it in the grid.  However, it appears that bird has flown.

Finally, I did quite like the Sarf London description of birdsong at 32a, pronounced TWI’ER.  I’ll get my coat …

Cheers,

Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4543: Migratory Birds by Malva

Posted by Dave Hennings on 15 March 2019

Ah, it’s nature week again with Malva (formerly Dipper). Last year’s puzzle was based around alternative names for birds. This week gave us the shortest preamble for a very long time, and just explained what we had to do once the grid was filled — highlight three muddled birds.

As I read through the across clues, I marvelled at Malva’s ability to incorporate a bird in each one. However, my solving was not so marvellous, and after 7 or 8 across clues, I decided to try some downs. No luck!

I then wondered if the birds were just extra words that needed to be removed before clues could be solved. Going back to 1ac, that idea failed to fly — pardon the pun! Finally getting my brain into gear, 15ac Elegise nandoos creatively in cast iron (12) seemed to be a likely anagram, but just a couple of letters too many. “SPIEGELEISEN”, I said out loud, but not until I’d read “spiegeleisen” in Mrs B under iron! I must admit that I didn’t really expect to find that there. Disentangling elegise from it, I found that the clue should have read Elegise snipe creatively in cast iron (12), the snipe coming from 8dn.

How cunning, and how obvious from the title! So, for the next couple of hours (actually, a bit more, I think) all these birds had to migrate to different clues before they could be solved. Very enjoyable. My favourite clue, primarily because of its novelty, was 9dn. Once the heron and been replaced by the kokako, we had Idiot putting any odd bit of kokako under beetle (4) — DOR + (K(okako) or (ko)K(ako) or (koka)K(o))!

Finding the three birds in the grid that were muddled was relatively straightforward, helped by the preamble: “each 5 letters, in a vertical line.” CRAKE was the first to pop up, in column 11. TEREK took a bit of time (column 6), followed by VIREO (column 4).

Thanks, Malva, for a nicely thematic and entertaining puzzle.
 

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