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Squares by Phi

Posted by shirleycurran on 25 August 2017

The preamble was rather daunting – a grid with no clue numbers, no word lengths and the clues divided into sets of three ‘squares’ and others. There were two anagrams to discover and solve too, though we suspected at once, since those were both of three words, that they were going to be on the top and bottom rows of the grid or down the two sides.

Of course I had to check that Phi had maintained his long-standing right of entry to the Listener setters’ toping outfit, and, of course, though rather eccentrically, he confirmed it with an obscure East African drink, ‘Millet supplied by West Africa for East African drink.’ I confess that I needed Mrs Bradford to produce a drink with WA in it, and, of course, RAGI is millet, so hope to see you at the bar in Paris, Phi, maybe with something slightly less exotic than WARAGI. Cheers!

We were really lucky in that we spotted the hidden ORTOLAN at once, ‘Some decor to landscape is bunting’, and it was evident, since the ‘other’ clues were in conventional grid order, that that was going to fill the first across light of seven cells, so our grid fill was immediately underway. Since that was one of the clues that was not in any of the squares, our ‘yellow’ square quickly filled. As soon as we realized that a word like DITHEIST, ‘Scots block robbery, one directed by two overlords’ (DIT + HEIST – what lovely word play!) was in that square even if only one letter of it fitted there, we were well underway.

Even better. I PAI?T appeared on our top row and we had our penny-drop-moment. Who paints squares? Google at once confirmed that MONDRIAN’S first name was PIET so I PAINT MODERN seemed likely and the slightly less likely NO DIM PAINTER went across the bottom of our grid.

I was lucky in that I had selected red, yellow and blue as my working colours, with those ‘other’ solutions in green and the dimensions of those squares were fixed since black lines, in Mondrian style, had to divide them. We soon spotted that the names of the colours were actually appearing in the squares, and we were home and dry. Most enjoyable, thank you, Phi.

Hares? Of course they were there, rather deceptively jumbled and not in straight lines but squatting merrily in the Mondrian masterpiece. There were a couple of  DOEs too at the top and bottom of the grid but the hares had clearly not spotted them yet or there would have been some lively sport, I suspect.

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One Response to “Squares by Phi”

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    Squares by Phi « Listen With Others

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