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Posts Tagged ‘Symbols’

Listener No 4644: Symbols by Aedites

Posted by Dave Hennings on 19 February 2021

I think it fair to say that a lot of Aedites puzzles have had a literary theme: last year we had Brooke’s Old Vicarage Clock, before that there were Kingsley’s Water Babies and even more before that, Hamlet’s existence dilemma! This week, alphabetical clues and clashes.

It didn’t take long to discover that answer lengths and entry lengths didn’t agree. Four clue answers had 10 or more letters but there were none in the grid. In fact, the number of every answer length disagreed with the number available in the grid. What’s more, there were 52 clues, which struck me as an awful lot.

Onwards and upwards. Onwards covered my first pass through the clues with about 40% solved. Then came the upwards bit as the remaining clues were teased out. Of course, I couldn’t even think about trying to enter anything in the grid.

About three-quarters of the way through the clues, I decided to have a stab at entering some. I’m afraid I don’t remember my reasoning, for where I started, but I thought the 3-letter answers might help me position the top and bottom rows. I tried SANNYASI along the bottom crossing with VAN and APIARY. Next came STEMLESS along the top with LAP and STEEPENED crossing. PORTIERTES next and I seemed to be on a roll.

In hindsight, it was fortunate that the two 3-letter words that helped me, LAP and VAN, although being clashing entries, it was only the P and V contributed to their respective clash. And so the grid was finished, and not particularly quickly I may add.

The first sets of clashes I tried to unravel were SERAI, PCESSI and STURAU and the signs of the zodiac soon popped out. Of course, my first port of call was Wiki and I tried to get an approximation of the symbols in the little squares. It was only while writing this blog, long after my grid would have reached St Albans, that I discovered that the entry for zodiac in Chambers had the symbols as well. My symbol for Capricorn didn’t actually agree, but the wording of the preamble “…replaced by its usual symbol” could open up a can of worms and I don’t think The Times carries a horoscope. Good luck, JEG. (Personally, I’d have allowed any squiggle that didn’t look like a letter in the English alphabet!!)

Highlighting E for Earth in the centre finished everything off. A fairly tough little cookie here, I thought. Thanks, Aedites.

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L4644: ‘Symbols’ by Aedites

Posted by Encota on 19 February 2021

“Sir, I’ve a circuitous question / poser re. a lion, scales, a crab rising, … . Is it para-magic or guru crap?” *

My thanks to Aedites for the toughest puzzle of 2021 so far!  Very enjoyable, especially trying to make sense of the endgame.  There will be some who guessed this way, way, way faster than me! It’s the first one in 2021 that took until Sunday to sort finally.

I had cold-solved all but five of the clues, I think it was, before I could make even a guess at what was going on.  With hindsight I can see that I had managed to slow myself down in two places:

  1. For the clue, “Go round castle with licence for development (8)”, where the answer was actually ENCIRCLE, I had bizarrely convinced myself that it parsed as R in GO + W(ith) + ABLE, somehow telling myself that GROWABLE meant ‘for development’.  This convinced me for ages that the answer for ENCORES had to begin with one of G or H;
  2. For the clue, “Pre-Union title to injure anybody in ancient Rome”, where I should have more quickly found MAR+QUIS, I could only think that ‘Pre-Union title’ referred to an ‘unmarried name’, so was trying to shoehorn a word beginning with MISS or similar in for far too long!  And so it took me into overtime to find the Q necessary for forming part of AQUARIUS! And I am still faintly wondering which ‘Pre-Union’ the BRB has in mind.

Once one of the ‘signs/houses’ were found, then it was fairly straightforward to complete the grid, especially with that 90 degree symmetry so kindly offered.  One area of doubt remaining was whether one was supposed to position oneself in one’s own star-sign (a nice idea but too hard to mark!) or view this all from E=Earth in the centre.  I opted for the latter.  The other was in the precise choice of symbol to be used.  With them now standardised as Unicode symbols on computers, it seemed reasonable to assume that these are now the ‘usual’ symbols.  What the solver should have used before now I am much less certain!  Though I think, given the minor variations, it would be hard to mark either sort wrong.

Cheers & stay safe,

Tim / Encota

*And if you have a better anagram for the 12 signs used: LIBRA, VIRGO, LEO, CANCER, GEMINI, TAURUS, ARIES, PISCES, AQUARIUS, CAPRICORN, SAGITTARIUS, SCORPIO – then I’d love to hear about it!

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