Enigmatic Variations 1457
A Clear Law by Vismut
BIRD OF PARADISE
The title of the puzzle, A CLEAR LAW, is an anagram of AR WALLACE. Omitted letters give ORANG-UTAN from the title of THE MALAY ARCHIPELAGO by AR Wallace, along with BIRD OF PARADISE; DARWIN was his collaborator and WALLACE’S LINE was the result.
Extract from the Introduction to The Malay Archipelago – The Land of the Orang-utan and the Bird of Paradise.
“Alfred Russel Wallace described the eight years he spent exploring the islands of South-East Asia as the ‘central and controlling incident’ of his life. When he went out in 1854, he was an obscure naturalist-collector with limited scientific credentials; when he came back, he was an acclaimed scientist, the co-discoverer, with Charles Darwin, of the theory of evolution by natural selection…”
The theory of evolution was just Darwin wasn’t it? Well no, but I had never heard of A R Wallace until I watched a TV programme, where Bill Bailey followed in his footsteps, called Bill’s Jungle Hero. This programme prompted to me reading this book and it is still, at over 100 years old, a fascinating tale of determination, self-deprecation and discovery.
Although Wallace shared the rather unfortunate habit of so many Victorian explorers, including Darwin, of killing things to study them, (One rather imagines them looking round after a few years and wondering where all the birds, animals and insects have gone) I could only admire his fortitude during these travels while he overcame obstacles of ill health and lack of money. Happily, it is no longer felt necessary to kill so many animals to understand them or to finance such studies. Beautiful creatures like the Orang-utan and Birds of Paradise have other threats to their existence now of course.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the puzzle which has undergone an evolution of its own. This was the first EV I submitted a few years ago when I knew nothing about compiling crosswords. I had no idea what unching was and knew nothing about crossword grammar. I’m grateful that Chris Lancaster, who was the puzzle editor at the time, didn’t just tell me to go away and never come back. It then went through a couple of transformations before finishing up as, what I hope has been, a not too challenging, but informative puzzle.
I hope you enjoyed it.
A full review of this puzzle can be seen over on fifteensquared.