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Posts Tagged ‘Reductio ad Absurdum’

Listener No. 4328: Reductio ad Absurdum by Stick Insect

Posted by Dave Hennings on 30 Jan 2015

It had only been six months since Stick Insect’s last Listener, the wonderful Godly Mix-up where the grid spelt out PI IS 3 POINT 14159…20900 TO 80 PLACES. I wondered what he had in store for us this week, perhaps ZERO IS 0 POINT 00000…00000 TO 146 PLACES. That seemed unlikely.

Listener 4328I started this early in the evening on Saturday, the day of publication. I had promised JEG that I would try and post my entries well ahead of the closing date; I had been running very late with all my crossword activities over the two months leading up to Christmas. In this week’s puzzle, the perimeter would spell out a message, and its unchecked squares would be provided by the extra wordplay letters in 18 clues… how thoughtful.

I started on the acrosses. 8 passed me by, but 9 REMANET, 10 MUDS, 14 ETTLE and 16 SINCLAIR gave me a head start on the top right corner. It seemed perverse not to try the corresponding down clues, and 4 PEENGE, 5 EME, 6 RATLNE and 7 MELIKS proved that to be a wise move. So far, I had four extra letters, all vowels… perhaps they all would be.

I dropped down the right hand side of the grid. The lack of any clueing for the right-hand column didn’t seem to be a hindrance, and as I turned the corner and tackled the bottom of the grid, the lack of clueing for the bottom row didn’t hold me up either. This was proving remarkable easy.

It wasn’t long before I had made a complete circuit of the grid, and with just a few clues to tidy up, it was done in under an hour. Did this mean the endgame would be tricky? The unchecked letters weren’t all to be vowels as I had initially surmised. However, they were all in the correct order going clockwise, and it was only a few seconds until the message was to be seen: DELETE PERIMETER MESSAGE AND ALTERNATE ROWS AND COLUMNS.

Listener 4328 My EntryI mentally deleted the perimeter and rows and columns 2, 4, 6, etc. OASEAE TESNLI DUKENS and more rubbish seemed to be a strange instruction that we were told would appear. I mentally reinstated the rows and columns, and deleted those numbered 3, 5, 7, etc. I was much happier with DELETE ALL, SEND UNFILLED GRID, and mentally deleted those words as well.

I suppose that explains why the clues were pretty straightforward. Spending 10 hours solving a puzzle, only to rub it all out again might be considered perverse.

So thanks to Stick Insect for providing a fun puzzle, and then taking it away again. What an easy week for JEG!

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Reductio ad Absurdum by Stick Insect

Posted by shirleycurran on 30 Jan 2015

Reductio ad AbsurdumDilemma: what shall I use as my illustration. I usually start with the submission grid but that was a rather horrid unsymmetrical grid with a double unch in the very first row, so I’d be ashamed to use that. (Actually that was a very fine hint that something unusual was going to happen as the endgame – as it did, to our great glee). I wonder if the editors have decided that Mr Green had at last earned a holiday. I don’t think he is going to have to pore over lots of mis-spelled grids this week.

I did the usual Numpty scan to confirm that Stick Insect has renewed his membership of the Listener Oenophile club and, of course, he is a stalwart member, even if there are ‘Pains in North Carolina: end of alcohol in houses (6)’ (alcoho)L in DOORS giving DOLORS). We find ‘Ales brewed to be suitable for light use (4)’ (Ales* = LASE) and ‘Remain  liberal about Scots drunk in soil (6)’ (FOU in BE L(iberal) = BEFOUL) so all is well.

Reductio ad Absurdum2The rest of our solve goes just as quickly as those boozy clues and within an hour, we have a complete grid. This, of course, is because of some lucky guessing with those extra letters. PERIMETER MESSAGE appeared first, and was soon complemented by AND ALTERNATE ROWS AND COLUMNS. Finally, the word DELETE appeared and we chortled with glee.

Making a fine little tartan grid of all those columns and rows I have to delete leaves me with the message DELETE ALL: SEND UNFILLED GRID.

I laugh with amused reminiscence as the very first crossword the Rasputin team compiled as a group (compiled long before our first joint Listener crossword) was an entertaining thing about cricket, where solvers were invited to ‘burn the grid and send the ashes!’ The late-lamented Radix advised us that the requirement could be rather a suspicious and smelly affair and he suggested that our hidden message should read ‘Only joking: submit as normal!’ That was what finally appeared in the Sunday Telegraph Enigmatic Variations series.

Indeed, I was alerted to the fact that there might be a second, contradictory instruction here too, but it seemed not, so an empty grid it is (what a waste of a postage stamp!) but thanks all the same, Stick Insect, for a bit of fun which will, I hope, encourage a few more people to enjoy the weekly Listener as we do.


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