It’s somehow a week since I set out the After Ravilious puzzle to annoy the righteous, so it’s surely time to round up the results.
An impressive, um, variety of solutions were offered. Honorable mentions start with Andy for a swarm of imaginative solutions, all of which were cleverer than mine (is there really a London pub called the Oscilloscope, Andy?). One idea — that the second halves of the words all have other meanings — was suggested by more than one person. Perhaps I’m the only one who can’t see how that works.
Another honorable mention goes to Dr B, for by far the cleverest solution; that this was a reverse alphabet in which the ‘A’ word contains a ‘z’, the ‘B’ word contains a ‘y’, and so on. I’ve never heard of this before, but I like it and only wish I’d thought of doing it. Dr B misses out on the winner’s podium only due to the evidence failing to back him up in any sense whatsoever.
And so to the one-and-three-quarters of you who got the correct solution. The Northern Professor wrote:
“Reading down, the second letters of the words from G to O, that is from GRYPHON to OSCILLOSCOPE give one R A V I L I O U S. SO we were after R A V I L I O U S all along.”
Absolutely. And if we read down the whole alphabet in this way, we get the full message:
“May old Ravilious rue my poor go”.
The one person who supplied the complete answer was Kevan of As Above. Even more impressively, he got it approximately two hours after I’d posted the puzzle. A match-winning performance, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Kevan was sharp enough to get the principle and hence the answer in true crossword fashion: before he’d worked out every last word. I’d rather thought this might happen, because one or two of the words were tricksy, to say the least.
‘Y’ was merely obscure; it was the Scandinavian tree of life, Yggdrasil. ‘F’, however, was an appalling cheat, for which I now publicly and unreservedly apologise. The answer was ‘F.D.’, for ‘Fidei Defensor’, as inscribed on all British coinage. It is the only entry in the dictionary that starts with FD, and so, unfortunately, fitted my needs.
I’ll post some further comments on what I learnt later, but for now, here’s the full alphabet:
Compare to the puzzle itself here.