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Posts Tagged ‘Odd One Out’

Odd One Out by Sabre

Posted by shirleycurran on 2 Aug 2019

We are travelling in northern Germany with three and six-year-old grandchildren so it is with a lack of crossword resources and some trepidation that I download the Listener and, of course I find Sabre. What fearsome gimmick will he have in store for us? Jumbled knight’s moves to be converted using a Caesar cipher? Well, not quite but there are five words in the clues to be decoded before solving, and we have to find that code using just those five words, as five solutions have also been encoded – one of them the ‘Odd One Out’ of the title.

Solving begins and races ahead – that’s rather disturbing, as with such a gentle grid fill, Sabre must have a real shocker of an end game in store. Of course Sabre speedily confirms his position in the Oenophile outfit with a tasty SEKT appearing. ‘Start off imbibing Cambodia wine (4)’ “Cambodia is K, isn’t it?” I ask the other Numpty and we enter SET around K. Just five clues further on we find ‘Medals for a dill wine(11)’. By the time we get to that clue there is only one 11-letter wine that will fit into our grid and we enter SCUPPERNONG. We can explain the PER = for and NONG = dill but how do we convert the medals into SCUP? Clearly that must be one of our encoded words. It takes a while to work out that a SCUP is also a PORGIE – but at least we have six letters of our substitution code.

MODEMS gives us less of a problem since FOPPERY must be the solution of ‘Frequency modulation of modems is folly (7)’ The OPPERY has to be ‘modulated’ and the only word it anagrams to is PYROPE – just three more letters of our code (we had P,R and E already). To define WARMAN, we convert FIDDLED to WARRIOR – and so it goes. But what can we with that ‘buy’ at the end of ‘Colleagues in the army secure good buy (7)’? WINGERS fits our grid but how can ‘buy’ become ERS (WIN + G + ERS)? We can’t turn BUY into vetch but we decide we can turn it into UMS = ERS.

When we have a reasonable number of letters of our substitution code, what can we do to find words that we have entered that will decode to give us five words of a kind? BACON looks to be a likely candidate but I decide I have to complete a further grid with the decoded words to see what emerges. I wonder, at this stage what the poor solver who has only his newspaper copy of the puzzle can do.

There’s rather a lot of wind that emerges and four hurricanes are evident but I waste some time attempting to find a CADRON or a GECAN in some obscure language before opting for the most obvious word, a wind instrument, the OBOE.

Thank you, Sabre, that was a tough challenge.


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L4563 ‘Odd One Out’ by Sabre

Posted by Encota on 2 Aug 2019

What did we do before the existence of VLOOKUP in Excel?  Another of those ‘First World’ problems, I hear you say.

For those who don’t regularly use it, imagine having a built-in lookup table that can be used to automagically update the rest of your spreadsheet.

So, if after realising the answer to the disguised clue

Frequency modulation of modems is folly (7)

must be FOPPERY, and you (rightly) assume that Sabre has disguised an anagram of OPPERY* as modems, and that ‘modems’ should really have read ‘pyrope’, then …

… simply add M alongside P in a Lookup table, D alongside R etc. and have Excel do the heavy-lifting for you.  A bit like this:

L4563 Sabre example 2

I always love it when I see Sabre’s name at the top of a puzzle, as it means we are in for a treat.  And sometimes they appear to have been much harder than this one – he has let us off lightly, I think!  Some of his trademark encoding, which must have been fun to create!  No knight’s moves this week, though!

Anyway, back to the plot.   There were five clues with one word (such as MODEMS<->PYROPE, above) encoded.  How are we going to spot those?

After a few checkers were in place, then the clue

Medals for a dill wine (11)

looked almost certainly to be SCUPPERNONG, a wine.  I can see PER for ‘for a’, and NONG for ‘dill’ (an idiot), but how does SCUP derive from Medals?  Looking up SCUP in the BRB shows it to be a fish, the porgy.  And an alternative spelling for that is PORGIE.  We already have M<->P and D<->R and E<->O and S<->E, so this looks right.  We now have letters for MODESA and L in our lookup table.

18d’s Dye unevenly, in play, half of shirts (6) looks like the answer must be KAMELA, so the letters -ELA must come from ‘half of shirts’, thus SHIRTS must be the encode version of a word beginning ELA-.  Our list so far tells us the word must be ELA..E, so we now have two more letters, R&T to add to our list.

The fourth encoded word was hiding in

Fiddled with an arresting power (6)

This looked like wordplay for ARM in {W AN}, i.e. WARMAN, so how does the definition come from FIDDLED?  Previous decoded letters give us .ARRIOR, and WARRIOR it is.

Finally of the five, 22d’s Colleagues in the army secure good buy (7) was clearly going to be WINGERS.  I could see WIN+G(ood) in the wordplay, but how did ‘buy’ become ERS?  The BRB yielded that definition for ERS – the bitter vetch, which the dictionary helpfully tells you is a ‘vetch’, which isn’t hugely enlightening.  Er, so how does this work? Um, got it!  So BUY<->UMS – sneaky!

So chuck them all in one’s lookup table – or the pencil-and-paper equivalent, either is fine! – and attempt the second half of the Preamble, i.e. which of the Answers/Entries might successfully decode to other English words.  There were several blanks to fill in but a consistent set soon allowed the words TORNADO, TYPHOON, BAGUIO, CYCLONE and OBOE to be found.  All connected by Wind, and one a clear Odd One Out.  I wrote OBOE below the puzzle.

A bit like this (note the VLOOKUP syntax in the function field, for those of us that need reminding) …

L4563 Sabre example 1

I did like finding that, at one stage of solving, one five-letter word appeared like it might decode to BACON – I had BACO- in place, I think.  Googling Bacon and Wind, I found ‘History of the Winds‘ by Sir Francis Bacon, which diverted me for a bit!


Tim / Encota

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