Listen With Others

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Listeners 4686 – 4690

Posted by gillwinchcombe on 17 Jan 2022

Oh dear! Another round-up: I blame the Kwiz, and the occasional foray into Pablo’s Armchair Treasure Hunt, where I was a chocolate teapot when it came to helping Tim, Tim and Darren’s team. Such an eclectic treasure-house of knowledge – not to mention sheer persistence – is needed for PATH, and it was a revelation watching these masters at work. But back to the Listeners, which have provided their own, more accessible, delights.

Listener 4686 Dice Nets by Arden

I can’t believe it’s 3 years since Arden taxed our brains with A Defter Premier! Dice Nets didn’t reveal any clever titular anagrams this time, but otherwise the comments I sent to Arden about A Defter Premier apply to Dice Nets as well. This was an amazing construction that managed to fit all 11 nets into just 80 squares, with symmetry in the placement of the bars to boot! Not only that, but I thought the clues were stupendously neat, using just primes, “powers”, squares and triangular numbers with cross-referencing but no extraneous numbers. A tour de force of the numerical puzzle realm!

That said, once again I could not (or rather would not) not have solved it without Mathematica. I enjoyed teamworking with my husband Cliff; critically, he wrote the programme to generate constrained sets of triangular numbers. We solved it in parallel; he was the hare, bounding ahead, but I was the tortoise who finished first, owing to his propensity for making careless mistakes. I’m sure there’s a lesson there. No Fermat tricks this time but Cliff reminded me that no two adjacent numbers can be identical or add up to 7, which helped identify the nets. A very pretty result!

Listener 4687 Best Practice by Ares

I enjoyed gentle Best Practice. In contrast to Dice Nets, Best Practice provided us with a relaxing gridfill, a short foray into Wikipedia and a relatively easily spotted endgame which brought a smile to my face. My favourite clue was 4dn, just for its image of pot-bellied cows and for introducing me to KEDGY. And I smiled at all the BPs scattered through the puzzle.

I’m so pleased that the endgame was easier than the one in Cool Places – I don’t think I could have coped with a leap like that after battling with Dice Nets! I can handle submitting just two words, with my fingers crossed that I’d found the right version of Baden-Powell’s instruction and interpreted it correctly. My version was slightly longer (your thanks; to God for the good time you have had, and to the owner of the land who has let you have the use of it) and very appropriate for today. I loved the reminder to thank God for the good time I have during my many forays into the beautiful Cotswolds, and my heartfelt thanks are also to the Scout/Guide leaders who entertained and educated my children while I enjoyed a much-appreciated break!

Listener 4688 Harry East by Lath

I’m not a chess player (once again I rely on my husband for that aspect), and I’ve never read Tom Brown’s schooldays, but I enjoyed Lath’s original and ingenious puzzle once I realised what was going on, again submitted with fingers crossed that I’d laid it out correctly. The gridfill was relatively straightforward and I particularly liked 3 clues:

  • 37ac (Rock around part of Leon) for finding Leon from lemon
  • 18dn (Do a rewarding job on her spare change) for “rewarding job” – clever misprint and association
  • 29dn (Aged kindred spirit finally line dancing) for “kindred spirit” – another clever misprint/association

I was less keen on 1dn because I wanted to change “meat man” to “beat man” – an excellent description I thought of a policeman! But “heat” I discover is also slang for the police and provided the necessary h for thirty-two. I was itching to draw a box around the 64 theme cells, and in fact I did so on my working copy. Thanks Lath for this novel construct and for not fazing those of us who barely know how to lay out a chess board.

Listener 4689 Great Western by Buff

I found Great Western to be a puzzle of two halves: the top half I filled in relatively quickly, but the bottom half was a real struggle. Not being a Western buff myself, it took me a while to get the theme. I was pleased that the endgame was unambiguous.

I love the examples – I laughed at NELSON and POPEYE. I’m not sure if they are the examples, and HEARTS and SPADES go with the KNAVES as the definitions, or the other way round, but it doesn’t matter fortunately. My favourite clue was 18dn, (PO)LAROID – very clever. On the other hand, my least favourite was 29ac, ORAL from (L)AUREL – hmm!

I seemed to have stray extra letters in 10ac (A), 17ac (T), 7dn (E) and a “missing” letter in 30ac (L). I couldn’t find the extra N for MaldeN but the deadline loomed and I had to post my solution, right or wrong.

Listener 4690 Hatched? Matched? Despatched? by Ifor

It was a Wonderful Life, spending Christmas Eve savouring Ifor’s seasonally apt theme, marvelling at his clever clues, teasing out the nicely-hidden names and then – ouch! A sting in the tail and a trap into which I well and truly fell, eventually climbing out by replacing BEDFORD FALLS with POTTERSVILLE. Phew!

Hatched? Matched? Despatched? was all the more poignant for me as I was supposed to be “propping” for IAWL at Cheltenham’s Playhouse theatre this Christmas. Caroline Young, the Director, was gutted when it had to be pulled again because of Covid, and the rest of us were too. I just hope she manages to stage it next year.

Hatched? Matched? Despatched? is an excellent puzzle I thought, which I hope is short-listed for POTY. It’s hard to choose a best clue, as they are all good, but 4dn’s “Jaguar” made me smile with its “right starting handle for moving [wonderful] carriage”. I look forward to Ifor’s next offering!

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