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Rollerball by The Ace of Hearts

Posted by shirleycurran on 1 Feb 2019

We don’t see many circular grids these days and this was a rather unusual one with seven-letter radials and just two rings of clued words which were irregularly broken into words. Of course ‘Rollerball’ deceptively led us to suspect that we were going to construct a roulette wheel but our earliest solves of those perimeter clues (GONDOLA and PIECE) put paid to that assumption.

I hunted for the alcoholic clues and they produced a foregone conclusion: ‘Drunks using ride sharing app for old ruins (8)’. That gavels SOTS putting UBER in the place of O(ld) so SUBVERTS. ‘Waving luncheon voucher pours excess (8)’ {LV POURS}* gave us OVERPLUS so The Ace of Hearts really needs to control the intake – but ‘Cheers’ anyway.

Solving was initially a struggle as, until we had the perimeter and the fifth ring, we were unable to enter our radial solutions of which we had a dozen before a grid fill could be undertaken. However, once the grid fill was started, the procedure became easier and soon we realised that DEMOCRAT, KIBITKA, CAISSON,GONDOLA and TELEGA had a feature in common; they were all types wagon.

So what was a circle of wagons doing round the edge of that circular grid? As we solved, those six letters, CORRAL, in the asterisked cells appeared and what does Chambers tell us? It’s AN ENCLOSURE TO DRIVE ANIMALS INTO (and ‘A defensive ring of wagons’) so we had the message that was being produced by the ‘letter … omitted wherever it occurs’. More puzzling was the definition ‘A MOVABLE PIECE OF FURNITURE WITH SHELVES’ that appeared in the ring five in from the perimeter but surprisingly, the Big Red Book told us that that is a definition of a wagon. So it allotted together rather nicely. Thanks to The Ace of Hearts.


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