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Posts Tagged ‘six-pack’

Listener No 4620: Six-pack by Hedge-sparrow

Posted by Dave Hennings on 4 Sep 2020

As one might expect from his pseudonym, most of Hedge-sparrow’s Listeners have had a flora or fauna theme. I wondered what environmental bent this puzzle would have. [Ha! Ed.]

Here we had a group of six with double clues, only one of which was given a clue number. The entry method for each pair of clues was that suggested by the group they belonged to. Well… I’m not exactly a physicist (in fact, I’m not even vaguely one), but I felt smug when, after a few minutes thought, the theme popped into my head. I knew that quarks came in pairs and remembered there was up/down and bottom/top but needed a google to discover strange/charm.

Alll that was left was to solve the clues and slot them into their correct entries in the grid. I identified the quarks associated with each set fairly quickly but even so, exactly what went where provided some nice entertainment with some good clueing from H-s.

Having got my smug hat on fairly early, I was woeful in not spotting the TOP in STOPWATCHES as I entered 1ac after 2dn TAIL and 2probably-up VIOLONCELLO. All came together very neatly although I wondered why Auguste Escoffier was chosen as the French chef in 11dn/25dn Heating vessel used for Vietnamese dish of duck meat, about to be replaced by Escoffierian article (4;6) ANTE/OMELET. I’d also not heard of FOGGY BOTTOM and PYCNON before.

Among some entertaining clues, my favourite was probably 31set1 UK zoo’s keeper initially replacing dead reptile is returning with migratory quail’s dry fruit (9, two words; 7) with its somewhat bizarre surface reading, but leading to WHIP SNAKE [WHIPSNADE with K(eeper) for D] and SILIQUA [IS< + QUAIL*, migratory=wandering].

I forgot to mention that the clues that had to be jumbled — set 3, strange/charm — had a misprint in one letter in the definition of one of the clues. This spelt out raluvof which unjumbled to give flavour, which Chambers gives as “(in particle physics) any of the five, or probably six, types of quark”. That’s quantum physics for you! The origin of Quark itself is given as “From word coined by James Joyce in Finnegans Wake (1939)”. And what a stroke of luck that the STRANGE and CHARM could be anagrammed to GARNETS and MARCH, although they were part of the up/down set.

Identifying the six types of quark in the grid, together with QUARKS itself, was a pleasing end to the puzzle with (Murray) GELL-MANN and (George) ZWEIG (who separately proposed the quark model) from the circled letters going under the grid.

Thanks for an enjoyable puzzle, Hedge-sparrow.


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L4620: Six-pack by Hedge-sparrow

Posted by Encota on 4 Sep 2020

What a lot is going on in this delightful puzzle from Hedge-sparrow!

A Physics-teaching friend gave me, a couple of years back, a copy of “Particle Physics Brick by Brick” by Dr. Ben Still, which is subtitled “Atomic and Sub-atomic physics explained in Lego” – and I still refer to the diagrams in it to remind me the precise differences between quarks, fermions, leptons & related particles …

I loved how this puzzle gave you just enough – e.g. by giving the entry positions at least of half of the answers, even if you weren’t sure of the entry techniques to begin with. I started off pencilling in the first half of each double-clue where I knew them, until some clashed. Then I needed to make some sense of those clashes!

The TOP and BOTTOM of sTOPwatches and foggyBOTTOM in place were good hints. What are there six of, that include Top & Bottom? So QUARKS it was. The construction is very clever:

  • seven of each set of 14 are entered in the TOP half of the grid, the other seven in the BOTTOM half
  • seven are entered in the grid DOWNwards and seven UPwards
  • and can one tell the other entries that have been ‘charmed’ or made ‘strange’ from each other? Not sure! Jumbles for the remaining 14, anyway!

And then QUARKS appearing symmetrically across. A very nice grid 🙂

We then had the addition of those characters Gell-Mann and Zweig, plus misprints corrected to FLAVOUR in Set 3 to help us know which was the jumbled set. Loads of thematic material – very, very good.

As an aside, I was astounded to hear that SIDELOBE didn’t exist in the usual crossword dictionaries, as it has been in common use in communication systems design all my life! Surely a serious omission from the BRB and similar?

And was I the only one to work out the Total Charge of all the clues? [Erm, yes. Ed.] Each one combined an up-type quark (charge: +2/3) with a down-type quark (charge: -1/3). That makes +1/3 per double-clue, times 21 clues, making the Total Charge on all clues a healthy +7. Now how many crossword-related blogs have you read that ever give you such an interesting stat as that?

Tim / Encota

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