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L4537: ‘Rollerball’ by the Ace of Hearts

Posted by Encota on 1 February 2019

It was the first – that I can remember – of  ‘that‘ cinema-trailer-voice:
In the not too distant future, wars will no longer exist.
But there will be … ROLLERBALL

OK, so I’m showing my age, listening as a kid to early commercial radio in the UK.  But how might all that have any relevance to this week’s puzzle?

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I almost got caught out by Radial 24:

  • Decorates circle in umbelliferous plants (8)

Initially there seemed to be too many of said plants from which to choose.  However, given it appeared to need six letters and be a plural, then ANISES seemed a good bet.  This is where I nearly went astray.  I imagined ‘decorates’ to be ANODISES with one letter missing for the Grid Entry.  But the gaps made it look like AODISES was to be the entry, so I put that in.  It was only when double-checking the defining phrase of AN ENCLOSURE TO DRIVE HUNTED ANIMALS INTO, that I realised that it was the D that needed to be missing.  And only then did I realise that the word defined by ‘decorates’ was ADONISES, with the D missing in the entry.  That was a close shave, especially so early in 2019!

As someone who hasn’t been solving thematics for long, and there not being that many circular thematics amongst those, I did wonder initially if a solver could assume that ring-based answers are to be entered clockwise unless stated otherwise?  I began by assuming not, so may have been unnecessarily complicating things.  Luckily a few checked cells showed that – in this case at least – these were to be entered clockwise, so things got rolling again.

I particularly liked the very first clue:

  • Bit into chocolate bar, almost losing tip of tooth (7)

… which I parsed as BIT inside KI(t)KA(t), with a separate instruction to delete each of the  Ts – very neat!

And the Title?  ROLLER=Wagon plus BALL=Circle, with the film title bluff.  Maybe?

Tim / Encota

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