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L4616: ‘Disco Lovers’ by The Ace of Hearts

Posted by Encota on 7 August 2020

I found this puzzle a slightly strange one, in that I had pretty much all the endgame sorted with only a third of the clues solved.

The five perimeter clues were generous in their wordplay, resulting in five synonyms for the word ‘friend’:

  • COMRADE, and
  • MATE

The spacing given in Ring 3 was very helpful, where I think I had .OGAN fairly early on as the character’s surname, and a message that looked much like BLESS ME FATHER FOR I HAVE SINNED. A quick bit of help from Google and this gave me MAEVE BINCHY for the central Author and BENNY HOGAN the Character. I liked the longer version of the quote, which was hiding a letter at a time in the Clues and which, according to, reads:

Bernadette ‘Benny’ Hogan:
Have… have you ever gone all the way with a girl?
Jack Foley:
No. Not quite.
Bernadette ‘Benny’ Hogan:
Would you like to?
Jack Foley:
Bernadette ‘Benny’ Hogan:
No. It wasn’t an invitation – just a request for information.

Having got these thematic bits sorted this early (to be honest it took until near the end to confirm where the last pair of consonants from the Author’s name fitted in the asterisked cells), it still took until late Friday evening to polish it off!

And the Title? Are we to read that as Disc O’ Lovers? That’d seem a reasonable interpretation given the Dublin setting. Maybe?

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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Disco Lovers by The Ace of Hearts

Posted by shirleycurran on 7 August 2020

Another circular crossword from the Ace of Hearts. Last time it was the circle of wagons: the preamble sems to tell us that there are similar devices here so we expect something circular to go around the perimeter and, of course, find a Circle of Friends – that was our first penny-drop moment when those five clues yielded ASSOCIATE, CATER-COUSIN, BELAMY, COMRADE and MATE.

Circular crosswords can be difficult to compile when the last cells produce no possible words, but The Ace of Hearts has solved that problem by off-setting the two centre rings and by his device of having 27 clues heading inwards with 15 of them ‘starting in a non-perimeter ring to be determined and continuing from the outer edge when they reach the inner edge’. We groan! That is going to add a difficulty to the solve with that additional twist that we need to extract an extra letter from each solution wherever it occurs.

Does The Ace of Hearts renew his access to the Listener setter’s Oenophile Elite? – well, barely. There’s just one hope for him, ‘Pigment that is added to rose madder (8)’ I suppose that coud be the rosė that the locals here drink when the weather is hot. We add i.e. to the rosé, and since, by the time we get to that clue, we have our second quotation and know tha L has to come out, we give a ‘madder’ version of ROSE IE LL and get ORSEILLE. Well, cheers, anyway, Ace of Hearts.

BLESS ME FATHER I HAVE SINNED was our second p.d.m. but we still needed the Internet to tell us that Circle of Friends is a novel by MAEVE BINCHY that has been made into a film, and that BENNY HOGAN spoke the words. The Internet. gave me the second quotation, too, and filled our gaps, making the rest of the solve easier: HAVE – HAVE YOU EVER GONE ALL THE WAY WITH A GIRL?

‘Easier’, I said but there were a couple of unusual words that left us head-scratching. ‘Square on right hand X axis (7)’ finally led us to RH + CHI + S with an extra A coming out. RHACHIS! I wonder how friends will react when I produce that during dinnertime conversation – or, if we are enjoying the delicious local dish ‘Filets de perche’, I talk about SAUGERS. We have to change the A(afternoon) of AUGERS to S (spades) and enter SUGERS.

An impressive compilation. Thank you The Ace of Hearts.


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L4615: ‘Ancient Mariner’ by Tringa

Posted by Encota on 31 July 2020

Eight entries to entered where they fit. Twelve clues each with a hidden word. Five unnumbered entries. And some asterisked cells. And four pertinent words to be found in the grid. Simple, eh?

This puzzle included my favourite clue in quite a while:

Romanticist’s prelude, composition for piano involving distinctive repetition at outset (8)

When I first parsed it, with very little personal classical music knowledge, I saw it as R + DR in PIANO* to form RAINDROP. I even wrote in the margin “Where is def.?”

I then mentioned it to a piano-playing son, who said, “But I’ve been playing this one on and off for years – I’ll play it for you” – and, sure enough, the clue’s description of this Raindrop Prelude by Chopin was perfect. When I showed him the clue afterwards, he asked, “But where’s the cryptic bit?” A pretty-much perfect clue – congratulations!

First and last letters of the twelve words provided one message and one author, thus:

All of which led quickly to the GK CHESTERTON quote, “I don’t care where the water goes if it doesn’t get into the wine”.

And, positioned without any overlap of the 8 types of water, the unnumbered entries can be added to create MADEIRA/ ARNEIS/ MALBEC/ CHABLIS neatly at the puzzle’s centre.

For completeness, the Ancient Mariner was NOAH and the eight forms of water: SNOWBALL, PERRIER, NILE, BROOKS, RAINDROP, PACIFIC, AMAZON and LAKE.


Tim / Encota

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Ancient Mariner by Tringa

Posted by shirleycurran on 31 July 2020

An apparently new setter always poses a challenge as we don’t know what to expect. Tringa’s preamble warned us that twelve clues contained an extra word, and suggested that it was the final letters of those extra words that were going to  identify a source. Asterisked letters in what turned out to be all of the five unnumbered entries were jumbled to give us the name of a person to whom a statement was attributed (the Ancient Mariner, NOAH, it turned out to be)and eight other entries were to go into the ‘wrong place’. Finally, we were to highlight four pertinent words. “Quite a lot going on!” we said.

Of course, I had to see whether Tringa earns admission to the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit and my initial run through the clues produced a convincing ‘Take from small cask used on board vessel for drink (6)’. We removed R from BREAKER and had a BEAKER. Well, that was a promising start – little did I know that by the end of our solve we would be toasting Tringa in MADEIRA, CHABLIS, MALBEC and ARNEIS – rather a multi-coloured mixture but hearty cheers, Tringa!

There were some lovely clues here. ‘Letter in India ink, along with all previous letters retuned (4)’ suggested an extra K on the end of ‘ink’ and I, then A to I reversed, giving IOTA. ‘Eighteenth century is encapsulated by this moving line of verse (5)’ produced an anagram of ‘THIS’ around C(entury) – STICH, and produced an extra H at the end of ‘eighteenth’.  ‘Scathingly attack minor Aussie celebrity (7)’ gave us a double definition B-LISTER and BLISTER and the extra Aussie produced an extra E. Slowly but surely, G K CHESTERTON appeared and when LUSH, TEEN, ARNA, HOOD and CHAMADE (sexy, young, beast, covering, conference call) had filled the unnumbered entries, we had the asterisked letters to give us NOAH.

Time for an Internet visit where I found the whole poem, but meanwhile, the other Numpty had found the relevant lines in the ODQ.:

‘And Noah, he often said to his wife when he sat down to dine,

I don’t care where the water goes if it doesn’t get into the wine.’ ‘Wine and Water’ (1914)

Now we understood why we had been switching around all those watery entries. Tringa’s beautifully thematic explanation was that the water could go just about anywhere in the grid as long as it left that little boozy area in the grid centre intact. We had swapped SNOWBALL and RAINDROP, BROOKS and AMAZON, LAKE and NILE. and PERRIER and PACIFIC, all of them cleverly clued by their other definition, so that we hadn’t, at first, spotted that they were various forms of water.

All that was left to do was to find the four symmetrically placed wines, safely isolated from the surrounding waters. What a delightful first Listener. Thank you, Tringa.

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Listener No 4615: Ancient Mariner by Tringa

Posted by Dave Hennings on 31 July 2020

Another new setter this week with a possible Coleridge theme. [Not to be. Ed.] Extra words in a dozen clues, five entries defined in the preamble and eight entries going in the wrong place. A bit of highlightging would finish it off.

Progress was fairly quick this week, although nothing could firmly go into the grid at first since entry relocation may be required. We weren’t told whether the movements would be straight swaps or indeed whether of the same length. My way in began in the top right where AMLA and THROBS across vied with BROOKS and ARAR down.

There were some nice extra words here, especially 15ac Letter in India ink, along with all previous letters, returned (4) which didn’t need ink to give IOTA, and 30ac Eighteenth century is encapsulated by this moving line of verse (5) where Eighteenth was superfluous for STICH.

Two clues deserve special mention. 5ac Romanticist’s prelude, composition for piano involving distinctive repetition at outset (8) led to RAINDROP [R(omanticist) + PIANO around D(istinctive) R(epetition)] being an &lit. clue referencing a Chopin Prelude. 37ac Sooty’s opening delivery containing present for Sweep, ironically (8) gave SNOWBALL [S(ooty) + BALL around NOW] which Chambers gives “ironically” for chimney-sweep. (As an aside, I hated Sooty, who never spoke, and Sweep, who just buzzed!)

With the grid filled, it was obvious that the moving words all had a watery theme: SNOWBALL, PERRIER, NILE, CHAMADE, BROOKS, RAINDROP, AMAZON & PACIFIC. The extra words identified the thematic source for the puzzle in an “extremely” straightforward way: the last letters gave GK Chesterton and the first Wine and Water. Out came my ODQ to reveal that NOAH (the Ancient Mariner in the asterisked cells) often said to his wife “I don’t care where the water goes if it doesn’t get into the wine.”

Well that was all the water, where was the wine? It didn’t take long to find that MADEIRA and CHABLIS were in rows 4 and 9, with MALBEC and ARNEIS in columns 4 and 10. As it should be, the water was in the outer rows and columns with all the wine inside.

Good fun thanks, Tringa. [Shirley seems to have fainted! Ed.]

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