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L4616: ‘Disco Lovers’ by The Ace of Hearts

Posted by Encota on 7 Aug 2020

I found this puzzle a slightly strange one, in that I had pretty much all the endgame sorted with only a third of the clues solved.

The five perimeter clues were generous in their wordplay, resulting in five synonyms for the word ‘friend’:

  • COMRADE, and
  • MATE

The spacing given in Ring 3 was very helpful, where I think I had .OGAN fairly early on as the character’s surname, and a message that looked much like BLESS ME FATHER FOR I HAVE SINNED. A quick bit of help from Google and this gave me MAEVE BINCHY for the central Author and BENNY HOGAN the Character. I liked the longer version of the quote, which was hiding a letter at a time in the Clues and which, according to, reads:

Bernadette ‘Benny’ Hogan:
Have… have you ever gone all the way with a girl?
Jack Foley:
No. Not quite.
Bernadette ‘Benny’ Hogan:
Would you like to?
Jack Foley:
Bernadette ‘Benny’ Hogan:
No. It wasn’t an invitation – just a request for information.

Having got these thematic bits sorted this early (to be honest it took until near the end to confirm where the last pair of consonants from the Author’s name fitted in the asterisked cells), it still took until late Friday evening to polish it off!

And the Title? Are we to read that as Disc O’ Lovers? That’d seem a reasonable interpretation given the Dublin setting. Maybe?

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota


3 Responses to “L4616: ‘Disco Lovers’ by The Ace of Hearts”

  1. Alan B said

    I too looked up and found every bit of the thematic material when I had only a third of the clues solved. At the point when I had 12 radials and 1 peripheral clue solved, I was lucky that 7 of the 12 were in the top right (radials 1 to 10) where the character name was. I needed the answer to Radial 1 in order to continue, and after a long wait I got it (HATBRUSH). It was a huge turning-point, as it gave me the initial B of BENNY HOGAN. I looked up the name online, and all the thematic material flowed from that, giving me a ring of crossing letters and all the extra letters (which I wrote around the outside).
    This is not the best way to enjoy such puzzles, but without that ‘windfall’ this puzzle would have been impossible to solve (making an interesting contrast with Kea’s fairly recent ‘wheel’ puzzle about a centrifuge). As it was, the rest of both the radial and the perimeter clues became solvable, and I completed the puzzle. And I admit I enjoyed it.
    My last radial clue to solve was SAUGERS – I left it until last so that I would know which way the solution went in.
    I have only one minor gripe, concerning SAUGERS. An auger is not a dibber. An auger, of whatever size, is a boring tool, whereas a dibber is a more interesting one: it makes a (small) hole by poking and digging. It looks different, and it is different.
    Thanks to the setter and to Tim and Shirley for their blogs.

  2. shirleycurran said

    And thanks to you, Alan, as always. I totally agree with your comment about having to cold solve some clues in order to make the finish possible – and the difficulty if those are pretty obscure like the HATBRUSH. We too were not happy with the dibber as an AUGER. I think those two tough clues will have been trouble for a number of solvers.

  3. Steve Tregidgo said

    I had a similar outcome: I spotted that I had three synonyms for “friend” and took a punt on Google for “circle of friends”, at which point the author name (minus some confusion over consonants/vowels) and the quote fell into place immediately. It wasn’t long after that I realised what the longer quote was, and by filling that in alongside the clue numbers it made solving the clues that bit easier!

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