Wednesday, March 08, 2006

(121) A clue for an answer

Chapters six and seven of R. Main’s thesis Synchronicity as a Form of Spiritual Experience are about my material.
I posted these to William Hartston on July 30th 1996, and he received them the following day.

When I spoke to him the next week he told me that on July 30th he had been compiling a crossword for The Mail On Sunday. I did not know that he set crosswords.
This particular one was No.465 and it appeared on 8th September 1996.

He performed the task with the assistance of a software package that helps the compiler to find words that will fit when he has already committed himself to a certain letter selection within them.
He needed to come up with an eight letter word where his previously chosen answers had left him with the skeletal outline _ _ _ S_ _ _ T.

Upon entering this into his computer sixty-three possible names (permissible, of course, as crossword answers) or words were proffered.
Amongst these were such as GUTSIEST, PRESCOTT, SANSKRIT… and PLASKETT.

It was a non-cryptic crossword, and he eventually decided upon the answer CRESCENT, and made up the clue –
"Shape of moon in its first quarter."

(See Entry 164 for this Hartston crossword providing an answer, one which intersects with CRESCENT, to a £250,000 question!)
Note also that my own £250,000 question was moon-related (see Entry 224).

In his thesis, Roderick Main detected twenty incidents related to the theme of celestial phenomena within my Narrative.

In choosing CRESCENT as his answer (and eschewing my name) Bill was not, of course, obliged to include anything pertaining to the moon in his clue.
He himself commented upon how he just happened to have so phrased it the day before my parcel containing Roderick’s material arrived.
... ... ...
To solve a cryptic crossword clue demands viewing it in an unusual way, otherwise you might never get it.
A crossword adept once explained to me that when you have two sets of clues the cryptic set is actually the easier because the compiler is giving you two clues encrypted within it.
("Two or three", as he commented to me on January 15th 2012, when he mentioned to me my book Coincidences and in response I cited its one reference to himself.)

For example the clue – "DRINK (4 letters)" could allow the answer Wine or Beer or Mead, etc.

But the two components of the cryptic clue come together with a specificity that leaves the only correct answer unmistakable.

There is a synergy to the convergent parts of the cryptic clue that is not present in simpler crosswords.

One of Main’s arguments is the necessity of looking at things from a different viewpoint to the everyday acceptance of simple causal connections.
He emphasises this repeatedly, as did Jung, whilst stressing that normal "vision", i.e. awareness, is still necessary.

But another aspect to reality, acausal meaningful paralleling, is just as valid.
He picked out this theme of different or corrected sight as one of the five expressing themselves in the clusters of coincidence from 1988.

And that is to be borne in mind when considering the profession of the man left in awe by his encounter in Entry 124.

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