Enigmatic Variations 1527
Point of View by Karla
Letters omitted in wordplay give DOPPLER SHIFT; eight superfluous words and ANDROMEDA (blue-shifting) are galaxies; clashing letters give SPIRAL GALAXY with symmetrically disposed cells giving HUBBLE.
The idea for ‘Point of View’ came from watching Carl Sagan’s explanation of the Doppler Effect using a clanging steam train. We were in the middle of lockdown last year, so an ideal opportunity to revisit the (original) Cosmos series. The episode reminded me of the effect in relation to electromagnetic waves, as opposed to sound waves, that I had been taught in A-level physics. Galaxies moving away from an observer (the HUBBLE Space Telescope, say) will exhibit a ‘red shift’ (longer wavelengths), those moving towards a ‘blue shift’ (shorter wavelengths).
The red and blue motif felt suitable for an endgame. There were many iterations of the puzzle: my A4 scribble book has eighteen pages of diagrams and notes as I struggled to get a suitable set of devices. The names of some galaxies were pleasingly general such as CIGAR, BUTTERFLY etc so as not to give the game away too quickly. I had wanted to have them hidden in the grid and coloured red or blue as part of the endgame. However, that proved too demanding for the grid and I realised that most galaxies red shift so that wasn’t going to work either. So, the galaxy names went into the clues instead. A better idea was to have a spiral shape in the grid using clashing letters to reinforce the ‘galaxy’ theme. I had noted that SPIRAL, GALAXY and HUBBLE all had 6 letters so that worked very nicely for the clashes to arrive at the graphic and for using symmetry as part of the endgame. (In earlier iterations, I tried to make something of the fact that the letters of BLUE were in HUBBLE and RED in DOPPLER … but that ended up being more of a black hole). As ANDROMEDA is a blue shifter, that worked for the colouring motif.
I would like to acknowledge the stellar support from Wan in getting the concept launched and for test-solving and Neil Shepherd (Alberich/ Klingsor) for test-solving and advice.
A full review of this puzzle can be seen over on fifteensquared.