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Posts Tagged ‘Red herrings’

Two Names by Verbascum

Posted by shirleycurran on 25 Jan 2013

Red herring 001One thing you could always be sure of finding in a Numpty blog has, for the last two years, been at least one stinky red herring. We are very good at pursuing a false trail. BRB has just taught me that the red herring is connected with drawing a herring across the track to put the dogs off the scent. We very easily lose the scent.

Listener setters have been rather clever at producing red herrings. I have only to go back to Gos’s Murder Mystery of last August, where he had us almost misled into highlighting Dr Fell, rather than HM, and Dysart led us a fine dance hunting for Kafka works rather than those of Haruki Murakami, last April.

However, this must be the first time the RED HERRING has actually turned up in the grid. (And has it? As usual, I am struck by doubt as there is a convincing herring swimming down diagonally across my grid, and if I suitably colour him RED, that will surely satisfy the rubric. But those corrected letters spelled out CLUPEA RUFA and if I translate those two names, I get RED HERRING – two words. Should I then also highlight the RED that appears at the end of PALISANDER? Perhaps this is just a red herring!)

We started our solve rather dubiously, as the preamble seemed complicated. Clearly solutions needed to be entered to lead us towards those two names. However, we were lucky again and within minutes had our TRACE ELEMENT (with a bit of Numpty discussion about whether they can be found in wood – Chambers finally convinced us that this was one of the misprints – WOOD for FOOD), TURN UP TRUMPS, PROCREATIONAL, PALISANDER and BINOMINAL. There were plenty of generous anagrams and hidden words in this one. Perhaps it is editorial policy to give us a gentle lead in to the year.

Of course, though, Verbascum indulged in the compulsory Listener compiler alcoholic tipple with his ‘Wine from GreeN/Ce King sale ultimately isn’t a hit (7)’ (Giving R = king, salE + ISNT A* = RETSINA), even if he didn’t find that resin-tasting Greek stuff much of a hit.

BINOMINAL led us to LINNAEUS and we removed one N(ame) from it producing BINOMIAL. We didn’t instantly link that term with NEWTON (the other Numpty claimed that ‘everybody did binomials, Laplace, Gauss, Euler, Poisson to name but a few’) but Wikipedia did and, naturally, that led us to the apple tree. By this time, we had GOYA in place ‘Artist regularly dipped into goody bag (4)’ (GoOdY bAg) and the PY led us to PYRUS MALUS.
Red Herrings

Red Herrings

We had a full grid and CLUPEA RFA G appearing from our extra letters. It wasn’t difficult to work out that CLUPEA was a generic name for herrings and there was our herring, swimming down our grid. G and g were clearly both Newton’s concerns, so we suspected that we needed a U to turn our herring into a red one. Finding that from 7, 8 or 9 down took us a minute or two.

‘Fine rogue for pinching body part (4)’ (Fine* = NEIF) We had opted for the Shakespearian word NEIF with Dickens’ Oliver Twist in mind. What else would he use his fist for but ‘pinching’? But it was not to be – we needed a more pugnacious interpretation, perhaps a Scottish Robert Burns’ NAVE version of the obscure word to produce that necessary U for our CLUPEA RUFA and ‘punching’ it had to be.
So there it was. A couple of hours’ enjoyment that all fitted together thematically giving me an excuse to decorate the grid with at least one red herring (and maybe two!) Many thanks to Verbascum for an entertaining start to the Listener year.

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