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Archive for Aug, 2013

Listener 4254: PC Gone Mad by Waterloo (or Listen With Whom?)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 30 Aug 2013

We know we’re in for a bit of fun with Waterloo. Nearly all of his puzzles involve some sort of jiggery-pokery. Remember fiDlEDE four years ago and OO! Spectacles? in 2005? I was amazed to see from The Listener website that his first puzzle, Cordial Entente dates back 50 years to 1963. That was, I think, before I bought my very first Listener. Lawks! Since then he has entertained his audience with over twenty more.

Listener 4254So this week a bit of gender-bending, with male references in answers and clues being replaced by their female equivalent. It would be good to get 1ac, a 13-letter word, but that was not to be. Instead 9ac Study Glaswegian grandchild swallowing most of a pint (5) had me wondering what the female equivalent of ‘stud’ was. Of course I was changing sex the wrong way round (!), and the answer was OLOGY, a log being a Hebrew liquid measure. I took a quick detour to 2, 3 and 4 down which gave ELF, BUCKET and AGMAS, Google being required to discover Dickens’s Inspector Bucket, entered as DOEET. 13ac A frame altered colouring (6) also showed the way that wordplay and entries were to be transformed, leading to FEMARA instead of MASCARA. I could see lots of fun ahead.

And so it proved, although not in the acrosses at first, being reluctant to give up their secrets. The downs were slightly better with ten more than the initial three being slotted in. These included 39dn It can remove main source of grain and sugar (3) which showed how sneaky Waterloo could be: it required ‘ma’ to be replaced by ‘pa’ to lead to GAS, a pain reliever. 29dn had me confused a bit, trying as I was to guess what the male equivalent of ‘Maryland’ could be; in fact, it was just the indicator for an American word.

All in all, some good clues and substitutions. In 19ac we had to replace ‘tip of pen’ with ‘tip of cob’; 27ac required ‘damn’ to change back into ‘siren’; and in 17dn, the ‘goose’ became a ‘gander’. 12dn Für Elise once played, hard instead of loud, with sexy implications (12) refused to disclose its male HERO to me for a long time, needing to be entered as LECHEROINEUS. I also liked 14dn Run in shapeless mass and finally make steadier (8) leading to GUY-ROPE/DOLL-ROPE (R in DOLLOP + E), with the definition, ‘steadier’, to be read as a noun.

Listener 4254 My EntryIn the end I was left with one clue unresolved: 30ac Regressive urges to keep Her Majesty constantly queening (6). The wordplay could obviously lead to SNEERY, ER (Her Majesty) in YENS< (urges), and I had the SNEER from the down entries anyway. But even now, I cannot see what the definition is, either as it stands or changing into ‘constantly kinging’ or something similar!

As usual, an entertaining and amusing puzzle from this offbeat setter. Thanks, Waterloo.

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Political Correctness Gone Mad by Waterloo

Posted by shirleycurran on 30 Aug 2013

It’s  a Numpty soapbox issue that there is an imbalance of the sexes in the crossword world – all those male setters (how many Listeners by women annually? Two or three? Difficult to be sure but I doubt there is a gentle lady hiding behind a pseudonym like MrE, Shark, Sabre, Kruger or Waterloo … hmm, now there’s a thought. This was a surprising compilation for a pseudonym that brings to mind warlike themes. We must be due for a ‘Waterloo by Waterloo’ in the not too distant future!) Bloggers too and vetters – mainly men, I think. I suspect solvers, too, are largely men with their feet up on office desks in the city; not harassed housewives multitasking at home.

Politically Correct 001So was Waterloo really shocked to find a male bias in his puzzles? Well, the preamble already produced a joyful laugh and the fun continued. Like last week’s Dilwitch’s All Change, it was immediately clear that many of the solutions were not going to be real words but there were a few gifts that quickly filled the four corners of the grid. ‘False leg part found after end of Paralympics’ (S + HAM), ‘Swallow,  perhaps, without a touch of embarrassment in disguised relief’  (FLIER = RELI[E]F*) ‘Entangle Shakespearean personality with no end of hubris’ ([S]ELF). ‘Absurd Uzbek’s content to do with official literary language’ (hidden URDU).

My first reaction to Waterloo’s clues was ‘What a relief that these lead to solutions that can be easily verified in Chambers’. With four corners filled with ‘easies’, we  took on the more serious task of solving the long clues. ‘Disagreement of spirits which French characterised by round arches’. What a strange surface reading! However, I was taken back to days of explaining to fourteen year olds the difference between the Gothic and Romanesque arches in the ‘Cloître de Saint Trophime’ in Arles (a superb example of architectural development!). RoWOMANesque. We were underway.

We had ?H?E? and a putative MISTRESS as we continued round the perimeter. TEA suggested SHEEP MASTER (some sort of shepherd?) or THREEMASTER. Back in male territory, of course! The other Numpty said ‘Ah yes, the Victory – that’s a three master!’ 12d caused us a little more head-scratching. With A-LEVEL, CLENCH, TRUE, SOLANO, LINN and MEDAU in place, we were puzzled but eventually, with another joyous laugh, deciphered the HUR ELISE ONCE anagram and realized that there was no HERO in this LECHEROUS man but a HEROINE (LECHEROINEUS)

In comparison, RESONANT was easy and, with REDAUGHTERANT across the top, we had the grid surrounded.  With another laugh, we quartered it, putting in MATERNOSTER (what a lucky find that anagram REMONSTRATE* must have been!) and SITTINBRIDE (for SITTINGROOM). All we had to do was tidy up those four corners – noticing, sadly, that there wasn’t much Listener compiler tippling going on this week, just a Glasgow grandchild downing a pint, almost, and a topless belle dancing with some sexy implications. Hmmm Wterloo!

Our last laugh came with MASCARA conveniently changing to FEMARA – another lucky find anagram? All great fun and a fine original idea. Thanks to Waterloo.

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Listener 4253: All Change by Dilwitch

Posted by Dave Hennings on 23 Aug 2013

Following on from the previous week’s puzzle from Lavatch, it had me wondering whether Dilwich was a joint effort between Piccadilly, Wiglaf and Lavatch! Unlikely I suppose, so here we had Dilwitch’s second solo effort. It involved lots of money changing hands, and I suspected that Mrs B’s entry for coin, with a bit of help from money, might prove helpful.

Listener 42531ac was a good start, being an anagram of ‘ten cars meet’. However, having played around with words ending -MENTS, I needed Mrs B to provide METACENTRES, enetered as METAMILRES. 5dn and 6dn came next with IGNOBLE (although I couldn’t see what part of ‘quintessentailly’ might provide the replacement) and RISEN, with the more obvious OBANG hidden in ‘swingboat’. 12ac RASURES/REUROURES soon enabled me to see that 5dn was entered as IGUNITE. I felt that an easy week lay ahead. As usual I was wrong!

The clues themselves were fine, with very good surface readings. I wasn’t initially happy with 8dn [Typecast] founder of triune? (6;5) being UNITER. I felt that ‘of’ as an anagram indicator was a bit weak, although Chambers gives one definition as ‘made from’, so it’s probably just something I’ll have to live with in future. Dilwitch did invoke some interesting manipulative techniques though. I liked 15ac Liner [waiting] in Solent before noon (6;4) where INSOLE was just the letters of ‘in Solent’ before the second n. Even more tricky was 29ac Gin and rum are liquor—ID’s required, or [query] expressed (7;3) where LIQUIDS was LIQUOR + ID – OR, with expressed = forced out.

Sometimes it was the replacement that I spotted first, such as SEQUIN in ‘inquests’ and TENNER in ‘internet’. However, the lack of effective cross-checking for the answer (as opposed to entry) soon squashed my initial optimism, and progress was slow…very slow.

Listener 4253 My EntryI must say that I found it a bit of a slog towards the end but I eventually finished. I think it took me in excess of 5 hours. However, I dreaded to think how long it must have taken Dilwitch to devise the grid for this puzzle. Having every entry with a currency replacing one from the same country must have been a nightmare.

As I popped my submission envelope in the postbox, I prayed that Dilwitch wasn’t hard at work on a crossword of weights and measures.

For those who want a complete breakdown of the currencies, with places of origin, in this puzzle, here you are. Verification is from Chambers with the exception of POUND/DINAR at 3dn which required a lot of help from Google to track down Sudan and Libya.


Clue Answer’s
from Entry’s
1 CENT Europe MIL Cyprus
10 PISTOLET Spain PESO Spain
11 PIE India PICE India
12 AS Italy (Rome) EURO Europe
13 FIN USA RED North America
14 QUID £ BOB £
15 INTI Peru SOL Peru
18 BUCK North America TENNER $
25 AFGHANI Afghanistan PUL Afghanistan
26 POUND £ RIAL (=ryal) £
27 SKILLING Scandinavia ORE Scandinavia
30 BAN Romania-Moldova LEY Romania-Moldova
31 MANAT Turkmenistan TENGE Turkmenistan



Clue Answer’s
from Entry’s
2 PICE India PIE India
3 POUND Sudan/Libya DINAR Sudan/Libya
4 CENT (see Rand) South Africa RAND South Africa
6 SEN Asia OBANG Japan
7 CENT Europe ECU Europe
9 AS Italy (Rome) SEQUIN Italy
10 SEN (see Riel) Cambodia RIEL Cambodia
17 AS Italy (Rome) JANE Italy (Genoa)
19 AT Laos KIP Laos
22 TALA Samoa SENE Samoa
23 ASPER Turkey PARA Turkey


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All Change by Dilwitch

Posted by shirleycurran on 23 Aug 2013

All change 002There has been a Numpty comment before that there seems to be a sort of inverse relationship between the length of the preamble and the time spent on a Listener crossword. A promising-looking short preamble can often lead to a long, hard solve.  Long, certainly, in this case, and demanding if not particularly difficult. We spent a few minutes working out exactly what we were going to do, and, for once, it all seemed fairly clear from the start. None of that ‘Well, let’s just solve and hopefully it will all become clear” response that is often our initial gloomy feeling.

We had to produce answers from the wordplay. An obvious one that started us off well was ‘Plump state that warrants Muslim practice – a fast. Hang in with resolution.” We resolved ‘A fast hang in’* to produce AFGHANISTAN.  Numpty maths worked out that we had to remove a 7-letter note or coin and replace it with ‘another item of currency, not necessarily concurrent, in the same country.’ A bit of Googling produced the PUL hiding, jumbled in that PLUmp, so we entered PUL (in the place of AFGHANI) STAN. Simples!

There was that extra phrase (or a historical equivalent). We shelved it for now and decided that we would worry later about countries that had changed their names or status and become part of other political or geographic entities. There was obviously enough work to do without letting that worry us at this stage.

More worrying was Dilwitch’s  somewhat excessive consumption of the hard stuff that pronounced him a very active member of the Listener setters’ tipsy club. We found ‘Bill for (GleNEAGLes) Scotch (low for Perthshire and gin (high) (LAW + GIN* giving LAWING where ANGEL replaced WING). Not much further down, Dilwitch reassured himself that ‘Gin and rum are liquor – ID’s required or (query) expressed. There’s a fine surface reading there. Dilwitch, pretending to be 18, is asked to produce his ID on attempting to purchase the hard stuff. (LIQUOR with IDS replacing OR so we enter the URE from qUERy in the place of QUID). I’m learning here! I knew a URE was an old word for a usage but it is new to me that it is a form of currency.

Not content with Scotch, gin and rum, we find whisky further down. ‘Bishop contests taking a whisky in microbar.’ (Is this a drinking contest for the higher clergy?) This produces cONTESTs (as TESTON) to replace BAR in BARYE. There’s a new word for me and I’m a little disappointed to find that a BARYE is just an atmospheric measurement and not some further little drinking den where Dilwitch, his bishop drinking pals and underage shoppers can pursue their carousing.

Our first action, on attempting this solve, was to look for likely coins in words that stuck out as anomalous in the clues. Thus, we had identified SEQUIN, DINAR,  INTI, TENGE, UNITE and a number of LIRA; LIRE or RIALs. Working out the wordplay (without the anomalous words) to produce solutions that we then had to adjust by rattling about a bit of exotic loose change was a rather more difficult task and, after two or three hours hard work, checking currencies with Mrs Bradford (as usual, her lists proved invaluable) and in Google, we had promising pockets full of sequins, fins and pices but doubt about what words they were fitting into.

Our last two after the stroke of brilliance that spotted that ‘(Inquests) conclusively not ones to make people more comfortable’ led to TEASERS (AS being replaced by SEQUIN) were the one about the 18th hole at Gleneagles and the other boozy one about the gin and rum. It was almost midnight when we decided that a RED and A FIN probably came from the same source and that we weren’t in the 19th hole this time, but simply FINAL.

This was hard work and clearly hard work to compile too unless Dilwitch is a numismatologist as well as a bit of a tippler on the sly and a cruciverbalist. Perhaps he will tell us in a setter’s blog. I do hope so!

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Carte Blanche by Lavatch

Posted by shirleycurran on 16 Aug 2013

Listener 4252 (1)Another carte blanche? That was our first reaction, but we soon realized that Lavatch’s creation wasn’t exactly that as he had given us letters to tell us which row or column our solutions were to be entered in, and a rough grid soon appeared. We spotted that there was a sort of imbalance in the symmetry since column A was composed of a 6-letter and a 4-letter clue, while column M had a 7-letter and a 4-letter. Obviously, we were being shown where our seven blank cells were going to be.

Finding the three clashes was not so easy and, noticing along the way that Lavatch just squeezed into the Listener Setters’ tipply club with his ‘Extract of coffee liqueur provides flavour’ (FEEL hidden) we managed to produce a convincing grid-fill with only one clash at the conjuncton of BAT and LEAK.

We had strange gaps at B?G?T?D and E?TI?N and clearly our remaining two clashes would have to appear there. We opted for NATION (NON round A + T’ + [Berlscon]I) which gave us yet another strange pair of misprint/correct letters and finally realized that we had another BL clash if we chose LIGHTED rather than BIGOTED for ‘Got down solution no. 1 in paper’  (LIGHT + ED).

SolutionEven more worrying, (we were being especially numptyish numpties) those pairs of letters (DO GY GR JT FW BT IU CT LT FP BV HW DS and BR) didn’t seem to spell anything out to us, though we did realize that the first of the two was always earlier in the alphabet. Doh! It was after a night of pondering that the word COORDINATES was shouted out in glee and it was a speedy move to SWIFT AFRIC MAPS, where we found:

So geographers in Afric-maps/ With savage pictures fill their gaps;/ And o’er unhabitable downs/ Place elephants for want of towns.

More head scratching! We spent an unconscionable time attempting to work out which savage pictures we were expected to draw in our gaps (squeeze a couple of boa constrictors in?) before realisation struck us and those letters neatly fitted into the gaps to give real words (SAUSAGES, SALUTER and so on!)

It now made sense that those clashes had produced pairs of letters that consistently produced real words like BLAT and BLEAK so had we finished? What was that bit about the geographers placing elephants in the big white spaces of Africa (in the ‘here be dragons’ style – I was reminded of that wonderful opening of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness where he talks of the fascination of those vast, white, empty spaces). We had noticed that we had TOWNS on the second row of our grid. Was this the place for a little bit of artistic licence? But how would Mr Green be expected to mark my mini pachyderms?

Yet another p.d.m. If we wiped out the TOWNS and put ELEPHANTS up there in this genuine ‘carte blanche’ we were consistently using pairs of letters to fill yet more cells. How very clever this was! Thank you, Lavatch.

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