Listen With Others

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Listener No 4626, Pot Plant: A Setter’s Blog by Karla

Posted by Listen With Others on 18 Oct 2020

Pot Plant is my first foray into barred thematic puzzle setting and my first submission to the Listener slot. I have been setting as Wire for the Independent for the last couple of years having come up through Big Dave’s Rookie Corner. I am also a contributor to 1Across magazine.

Two esteemed colleagues have been an invaluable source of support. Alberich kindly tested my first draft and rightly pointed out that my first grid design had serious flaws. I had to scrap the whole thing and start from scratch. Encota tested my second draft, providing excellent guidance especially on ironing out my over-use of links for the themed clues.

The idea came while watching the World Snooker Championship on holiday in the Lake District. I had thrown a copy of the Saturday Times into the car before setting off with a view to trying to solve one of the Listener puzzles for once. Glancing from the (largely empty) grid to the TV screen one rainy afternoon, I started to put the ideas together.

I had wanted to represent the colours/ triangle of reds/ pockets somehow but decided to keep it simple for my maiden voyage. Another idea was to have ‘snooker loopy nuts are we’ as a hidden message in the grid. Then ‘clue tips’ and ‘cue tips’ jumped out at me which felt ‘Listener-ish’.

After that, straightforward devices to identify the colours and the ONE FOUR SEVEN. I tried to shoehorn in undefined entries: NUGGET, HURRICANE, WHIRLWIND etc as nicknames but I could not get them in whilst keeping to the grid rules. In hindsight, I should have tried to incorporate a nickname angle some other way.


2 Responses to “Listener No 4626, Pot Plant: A Setter’s Blog by Karla”

  1. pandiculator said

    Thanks Karla, a fun puzzle. Was the fact that the clue numbers of thematic entries summed to 147 a nice coincidence?

  2. Karla said

    Hello Pandiculator, I am glad you enjoyed my debut offering. Yes, a nice coincidence but well done on spotting it. That would have been a clever angle to come at. Of course if I had tried to consciously pull that off, I would never have managed it!

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