Listen With Others

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The Name of the Game by Chalicea

Posted by shirleycurran on 26 Apr 2020

I think people hear more than enough of the Numpties on these pages and don’t normally write a setter’s blog but so much has come to me from friends (and the many who were friends until they put the three billiard balls outside the bounds of the ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL billiard table, this committing a foul in the game of billiards, and wrecking their all-correct Listener records – if they still had them after mangling lower-case Greek letters in Opsimath’s the week before) that I thought I should write a few words of apology.

My original grid was carte blanche because it required no bars until a final set to be drawn around IKB’s name, thus delineating the thematic item. One of my problems, as a setter, is producing too many words and editorial tweaks pointed out that there was no need for the bars as a solver would realize that his three coloured blls had to be on the table – so words cut, as they were very cleverly by the second editor, producing succinct and better peamble and clues – we do owe those editors so much – but he had over-estimated the nous of the solver and the floor was littered with balls – so sorry!

Masses of praise has come over the ether, or whatever it is, for my knowledge of billiards, (actually I am rubbish at snooker which is the nearest I ever got and I know next to nothing about the game but the Internet is great isn’t it?) but It was Shark who did the last test-solve of my puzzle and he had a billiard champion in his family, and is also an astonishingly able test-solver. The warm comments about what was good about the puzzle should really go to him. My speciality is the Brunel bit – he is one of our heroes and I have been astonished by the number of solver and setter friends who tell me that they live within a mile, say, of the Great Western Railway and didn’t know it was Brunel’s billiard table. If he had played his game (billiards?) a little better we would have his wide gauge everywhere.

So many thanks to testers, our superb editors and dear John Green (no, not to Tim and Dave – fellow bloggers – what’s all that about alcohol!).



2 Responses to “The Name of the Game by Chalicea”

  1. Alan B said

    What I liked most about this puzzle was the carte blanche, or rather the puzzle-within-a-puzzle of forming the near-symmetrical gI had rid making full use of the (ever-increasing) body of solutions, the clue numbers and the word lengths. It was a highly rewarding exercise.
    Having done that, I checked all the pairs of letters and the strange collection of words and got, first, THE RAILWAY ENGINEER in full. I guessed that related to IKB and readily found his name in the grid. What I didn’t know was the connection between the game I don’t know much about (except the colour of the balls) and the engineering genius. In hindsight the connection was guessable, but I resorted to Google (which is something I don’t often do in crosswords like these, but it needed to be done).
    As others have reported, the thematic design was well thought out, and the last bit was particularly neat: associating the colours of the balls embedded in the name with the clues they came from.
    Thank you Chalicea for this gem of a puzzle and thanks also to the other contributorrs whose blogs I have read. I’ll just pop along to the Listener site to check on the parsings of two of the clues.. (Sad, I know, but I have to do that.)

  2. Alan B said

    Apologies for that stray text near the start of my comment @1. The word ‘grid’ must have got elongated when the cursor jumped and I didn’t notice.

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