Posted by petebiddlecombe on December 9th, 2006
This puzzle was obviously something out of the ordinary as soon as I looked at the grid and saw the ‘extended H’ shape made by black squares in the middle. Sure enough, 1/2/6/7 down are a single answer, which we may as well give here: Knick knack, paddy whack, give the dog a bone, this old man came rolling home. This is the chorus of a nursery rhyme which I’d otherwise forgotten. Apparently it’s used as a regular motif in Columbo and appears in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, the 1958 film about Gladys Aylward. The usual version seems to be “give a dog a bone”, but never mind.
Puzzles with long answers like this are often not my favourites – either you get the quote very quickly and the whole puzzle is a doddle, or you don’t, and it’s a slog. In this case I remembered “this old man came rolling home”, but it took a while to dig up the rest, and the other clues were mostly quite easy, so there was no long period of being stuck, and it worked out well for a Saturday puzzle in solving time terms, especially when the Times and Indie were both quite easy.
Solving time 13:53
|11||NO WONDER – an echo of a recent Araucaria Saturday puzzle!|
|15||VAINLY – ref. “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all”|
|17||SKA,T.E.S – ref. Christopher Dean, skating partner of Jayne Torvill.|
|18||THE DOWNS – the N and S Downs are two ranges of chalk hills facing each other across the Weald, formed from an ancient anticline – local knowledge and remnants of O-level Geography for you …|
|19||FAR,EWELL, ref. the Haydn symphony where the orchestra gradually leave until reduced to one desk of muted violins.|
|21||BUDD,HA(s) ref. Billy Budd, opera by Britten|
|23||Octopuses have lots of arms, so Octopussy = ARMY|
|3||PROP,HE,TESS of the d’Urbervilles|
|13||REVIEW BODY – nice bit of silly and black humour|
|20||ELBA = able|