Getting There is Half the Fun (solution)

by Michael Colao; cryptic clues by Michael Colao and Francis Heaney

Identify or solve each list of clues. You should discover that each list actually clues a particular type of transportation.

A Numbers Game

There are thirteen clues for people. There is an obvious question here in that the title suggests that we are looking for numbers, and yet, we have identified names. The key aha here is that these are all names of trains or train services. However, the Wolverine and Lincoln services have multiple trains per day. The requirement to travel as early as possible on any given day identifies a unique train for each person.

Train nameRouteNumber
Ivo AndrićBudapest-Belgrade343
Lev TolstoiHelsinki-Moscow31
LincolnChicago-St. Louis301
Karel ČapekNuremburg-Prague353
Hans AlbersHamburg-Vienna491
Salvador DalíBarcelona-Milan11273
Don GiovanniPrague-Vienna-Venice237
Kálmán ImreMunich-Budapest463

Go to the Head of the Class

The obvious first step is solving the clues.

Cryptic clueSolution
[N.] Wear out German agreement before the first and second of December[N.] Jade (Ja+de)
[N.] Programming language incorporates a valuable piece of wisdom, perhaps[N.] Pearl (Pe(a)rl)
[N.] Margaret returns with precious item[N.] Gem (Meg backwards)
Final profit extracted from alluring trickeryMagic (Magnetic – net)
Draft beer spilled on ultimate British character, unfinishedBreeze (Beer*+Ze(d))
Amazing story’s finish follows part of a raceLegend (Leg+end)
Car going backwards mid-mile is a phenomenonMiracle (car< in Mile)
Quiet conveyance to Simba’s rockPride (P+ride)
Genius of brain cell I mixed up [otS]Brilliance [otS] ((Brain cell I)*)
Outdoor musical performance is dry and inordinately electronic [otS]Serenade [otS] (sere + and* + e)
Initially justice evolved when everyone lusted for a precious ornament [otS]Jewel [otS] (initials)
Taking time off, expert embraces unfulfilled Lord Cook, for one [otS]Explorer [otS] (EXP(LORd)ERt)
Exploit tavern due to be renovated [otS]Adventure [otS] ((tavern due)*)
One finding a way for Pandora’s people to meet swamp resident [otS]Navigator [otS] (Navi + Gator)
Remain unhappy before resistance of seaman [otS]Mariner [otS] (remain*+R)
Rump hit harshly in coupTriumph ((Rump Hit)*)
Six against a hundred: a Conservative win!Victory (VI + C +Tory)
Adding cesium to active yeast yields illegal drugEcstasy (Cs  in Yeast*)
Southeast nation’s troubled feelingSensation (SE + nations*)
Disturbing satanic info provides captivationFascination ((satanic info)*)
Creativity from one country containing wizardsImagination (I+magi+nation)
Muse on pain I stir aroundInspiration ((on pain I stir)*)
Euphoria from boundless intercourseElation (r elation s)
Elysium exists in processionParadise (is in Parade)
Stellar assemblage of battered colonial tentsConstellation ((colonial tents)*)
Lack of boundaries for one in nifty convertibleInfinity (I + (in nifty)*)
Two thousand in business attire at meeting of government headsSummit (MM in Suit)
Removing “ass-backwards” from list of defined terms provides acclaimGlory (Glossary – ass<)
Primeval organism displays courageValor (primeVAL ORganism)
Terribly wrong to lose right of independenceLiberty (Terribly* - R)
Autonomy comes from more Fed activityFreedom ((more Fed)*)
Tailless equine and bovine start to fallEquinox (Equin(e)+ Ox)
Overshadow movie excerpts with something transcendental before and afterEclipse (E + Clips + E)
Outline renovation of hotel suiteSilhouette ((hotel suite)*)
Act of contemplating relic, often, is stirringReflection ((Relic often)*)
Buzz Lightyear’s enemy returns with one young adult to Georgia, as the neighbors sayGruziya (Zurg< + I +YA)
Hear “banzai” translated on the outskirts of Zaire’s capital, or alternatively, a country in the CaucasusAzerbaizhan (Z in (hear banzai)*)
Infielder Matsui has tank travelling to the largest landlocked countryKazakhstan(Kaz + (has tank)*)
Yes, penetrating air leak damaged Russian republicKareliya (Y in (air leak)*)
[MS] I unfortunately gain sin as a badge of honor[MS] Insignia (I + (gain sin)*)
[MS] New gold tee by one California clothing company[MS] Nautica (N+Au+T+I+Ca)
Lend clothing, for example, to someone larger than life [otS]Legend [otS] (L (EG) end)
Don’t be thrifty having left our majesty [otS]Splendour [otS] (SP(L)END + OUR)
Regretted northern Argentina’s revolution leading to glory [otS]Grandeur [otS] (RUED+N+ARG reversed)
Overwhelming pleasure disturbed shady pro [otS]Rhapsody [otS] ((shady pro)*)
Slovenly men can’t then charm [otS]Enchantment [otS] ((men can’t then)*)

When cruise ships are ordered and manufactured, it is common to order several identical (or near identical) ships to reduce costs. These are known as a class of cruise ships and the class is normally named for the first ship to roll off of the line and into service. So if I ordered the Strawberry, Blackberry, Blueberry, and Gooseberry ships and the Strawberry was made first, then these would collectively be the Strawberry class of ships. Each of the thirteen boxes lists all of the ships in a class, apart from the first ship which gave its name to the class. It is now relatively easy to identify the missing head of the class.

Other ships in classCruise lineClass
[Norwegian] Jade, [Norwegian] Pearl, [Norwegain] GemNorwegian Cruise Lines[N] Jewel
Magic, BreezeCarnival Cruise LinesDream
Legend, Miracle, PrideCarnival Cruise LinesSpirit
Brilliance [of the Seas], Serenade [of the Seas], Jewel [of the Seas]Royal CaribbeanRadiance [otS]
Explorer [of the Seas], Adventure [of the Seas], Navigator [of the Seas], Mariner [of the Seas]Royal CaribbeanVoyager [otS]
Triumph, VictoryCarnival Cruise LinesDestiny
Ecstasy, Sensation, Fascination, Imagination, Inspiration, Elation, ParadiseCarnival Cruise LinesFantasy
Constellation, Infinity, SummitCelebrity CruisesMillennium
Glory, Valor, Liberty, FreedomCarnival Cruise LinesConquest
Equinox, Eclipse, Silhouette, ReflectionCelebrity CruisesSolstice
Gruziya, Azerbaizhan, Kazakhstan, KareliyaBlack Sea ShippingBelorussiya
[MS] Insignia, [MS] NauticaOceania Cruises[MS] Regatta
Legend [of the Seas], Splendour [of the Seas], Grandeur [of the Seas], Rhapsody [of the Seas], Enchantment [of the Seas]Royal CaribbeanVision [otS]

Combining the Trains and Ships

We now have 13 rows of trains and cruise ships. We can put them together. We now use the train number as an index into the ship name. If the train were number 142 and the ship were called the Cypress, then we would extract the 1st, 4th and 2nd characters to get “CRY”.

Ivo Andrić343JewelWEW
Lev Tolstoi31DreamED
Hans Albers491MillenniumLUM
Don Giovanni237RegattaEGA

This makes the 37-character nonsense phrase “We wed. Is dad agreed? An alumnus, so close, gains.” This is less elegant than I was trying for, but it was seriously constrained. Hopefully the fact the the first sentences of the flavor text convey the same meaning should give adequate reinforcement that we are on the right track.

Isn’t Air Travel Amazing

For the third part, Isn’t Air Travel Amazing, it is pretty clearly an airline identification exercise. For airlines, there are really only two codings possible: the International Air Transport Association (IATA) codes, which are two letters, or the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) codes, which are three letters. IATA codings are more commonly used and likely to be the default choice, but for the avoidance of doubt, the initials of the section title spell out IATA.

Mandarin AirlinesAE
Skyway Airlines/Midwest ConnectAL
Air CanadaAC
Alaska AirlinesAS
Azul Linhas Aéreas BrasileirasAD
China AirlinesCI
Air GeorgiaDA
Thomas Cook Airlines ScandinaviaDK
Delta Air LinesDL
Condor FlugdienstDE
Eastern SkyJetsEE
Japan Asia AirwaysEG
Aer LingusEI
Astar Air CargoER
Gabon AirlinesGY
ULS Airlines CargoGO
Iran AirIR
Solomon AirlinesIE
LTU International AirwaysLT
Binter CanariasNT
Hebei AirlinesNS
Northwest AirlinesNW
MIAT Mongolian AirlineOM
Aeropelican Air ServicesOT
Avianova (Italy)RD
MN Airlines (Trading as Sun Country)SY
Blue Islands LimitedSI
South African AirwaysSA
Brussels AirlinesSN
US HelicopterUH
UM (Ukraine Mediterranean) AirUF
Islena AirlinesWC
World AirwaysWO

Putting It All Together

The key observations here are that there are 37 of these airlines and that they are almost, but not quite, in alphabetical order.

We already have the phrase “We wed. Is dad agreed? An alumnus, so close, gains.” Now we just have to turn that phrase into an answer. This is a simple substitution using the key provided by the airline IATA codes. We should note that there are exactly as many airlines as letters in the phrase, and indeed the distribution of first letters of the airlines is exactly that in the odd phrase. We can substitute directly.

Rearranging our airlines so that the first column reads “We wed. Is dad agreed? An alumnus, so close, gains.”, the second column of the airlines now reads:



   CEO Gary Kelly directs this firm IATA code “WN”.

Gary Kelly is the CEO of Southwest Airlines, which has the IATA code of “WN”.