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Brexit by KevGar

Posted by shirleycurran on 19 April 2019

We’ve suffered the UK parliamentary shambles all day, no, I mean all week/ month/ year, so I groaned when we saw KevGar’s title. We needed something to lighten the atmosphere. Well, it certainly did! We saw the SEPARATIONIST anagram at once, ‘Parisian set to convert one Brexiteer perhaps (13)’ and that was quickly followed by ZOOEA ‘Ozone, not nitrogen, mixed up with a number of larvae’. The Z and S in place suggested CZARDAS (dance) and we spotted the ‘dance’ definition to remove from ‘Working the dance clubs, eat out (6)’. And we were off on our tour of the European Union as it was CZ (Czech Republic) that had to be added to ARDAS ‘Sikh prayer raised pitiful (power-shifter) god (7)’ (SAD RA<).

I had to consult the Internet to create a list of the IVRs of the 28 EU countries and we carefully crossed them off, one by one, wondering how KevGar was going to include BG, CY or LV, but, of course, he managed. What a feat of construction. Clearly a member of the elite Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit, but he did confirm that, ‘Tiny amounts of ordinary booze in alcoholic convulsions? (5)’ We put the O into DTs, giving DOTS, and later added the L of Luxembourg to give DOLTS, which was defined by ‘dullards’ from another clue. So the ‘booze’ had to be moved and it defined BIRLE. That put IRL (Ireland) into BE ‘One third of animals remain (5) (BEasts) and Chambers tells me to BIRLE is to ply with drink, so ‘Cheers KevGar!’

The grid filled, thanks to KevGar’s generous clues but were left with a missing couple of letters. Which of Malta, Portugal or Belgium was going to complete the ANE that had appeared with ‘Woman climbed one (space) in the Grampians (4)’. We needed to work through all the wandering definitions to check which was left: Bloated gave us ASTRUT: transmute gave CYANISE (bit of a long stretch, we thought): acid gave SERINE: hollow gave DIMPLE: latest led to SLOWEST: weapons got rid of Bulgaria by producing BBGUNS, food was KAI: the RHINE was the river: marks were GRADES: saying was a SAW: hail was SALVE: power-shifter was the DEVOLUTIONIST: sped was PELTED: perfect was FINISH: shoot was a GERM: outline was SKETCH: metal was CHROME: check was ARREST: grease was ENLARD: space was ROOM and move was FLIT so we were left with the scamp and destruction to place. REP(robate) dealt with the scamp and we were able to put Belgium’s B on BANE to give us ‘destruction’.

We had a final smile. What was EST doing up there at the top of the grid? It was defined by ‘awareness-raising’ – that programme that is so useful for crossword setters needing to get rid of the EST letters, but the clue? The penny dropped. ‘(Sped) right into most outstanding French city (5)’ put R into BEST giving BREST but what had happened to the BR? Oh dear, yes indeed – when KevGar set this, it was going to appear on BR EXIT day – poor BR – missing from that fine collection of 27 other nations. Good fun: thanks, KevGar.


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Listener No 4548: Brexit by KevGar

Posted by Dave Hennings on 19 April 2019

KevGar’s previous puzzle could easily have been the title for this one as well. As it was, Never-ending? had the composer, Carl Nielson, as its theme.

Those of you who visit here regularly will know that Listen With Others does not enter into political debate, and this week will be no exception*. I will say that when I saw the title, my heart sank. I thought that the Listener would always be a safe sanctuary from the comings and goings at Westminster and in Brussels.

However, this week’s puzzle was a fine compilation, and was an attempt to picture the European Union after the UK left on 29th March. Packing 27 countries into the answers to give new words must have been a tough feat, but KevGar managed admirably. Bulgaria and Czechia crept in by the skin of their teeth.

The pièce de résistance was the UK/BR exiting the grid at 5dn. In the end, the UK did not leave the EU on 29th March (will it ever?). Nevertheless, that didn’t spoil this enjoyable puzzle. Thanks, KevGar.


*Yeah, right. I voted Remain. Brexit has made this country a laughing stock around the world. The only consolation is that the USA under its current president is running us a close second!

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L4548: ‘Brexit’ by KevGar

Posted by Encota on 19 April 2019

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I started off this blog hoping to find all sorts of words beginning with the letters BR- where I could then wilfully disconnect them from a larger entity just to see what happens, as part of some kind of nightmarish experiment …

However, having got not much further than:
BRadman’s BRother’s BRan BRailing BRidler,
I decided to put off further work on it until April … or May … or …

I took me too long to find the correct set of 27 country codes (oh, that Chambers 😉  ).  I suspect I have spent too much of my career looking at 2-character Internet country / domains.  With the right list in place this became a difficult matching game – find eg HR as part of 1ac’s cHRome, where only ‘come’ is in the wordplay, and then find the synonym for ‘Chrome’ hiding elsewhere in the clues (‘Metal’ in 25d, since you’re asking …).

I tried initially to avoid resorting to Excel but soon succumbed, slowly matching up entries with deleted words.

I’m probably the only one to have initially made this mistake with 6d?

Perhaps Darwin (Northern Territory) – one love is perfect out walkabout (13)

I had quickly skimmed it, at this point not knowing what word was to be removed before solving.  I thought I’d found the anagram fodder {NT I O IS PERFECT}*, looked up Charles Darwin on t’Internet to find that he was seen to be a PERFECTIONIST and pencilled it in.  It was soon clear from crossers that this had to be wrong but it took a comparative age for me to correct it.

28d’s BB GUNS also took me a while (Bulgaria, BG, in BUNS) – though I can’t now see why!

And perhaps Kevgar’s puzzle can now be re-published every few weeks when the ‘next’ Brexit date keeps appearing?

Thanks KevGar!

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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Titles by Schadenfreude

Posted by shirleycurran on 12 April 2019

We were sad to see the name Schadenfreude here as we realize that this will be one of the last of his that we solve. We knew that it would be a polished compilation and the succinct preamble already suggested to us that there was going to be some clever final manipulation of the grid, relocating a couple of titles and retaining real words.

Of course Schadenfreude was a long-standing member of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Elite and he gave us ‘See sad vagrant drink plenty (5)’ No problem with that: we extracted the drink and put LO with SAD* giving us LOADS so here’s raising a glass to Schadenfreude.

It was an unusual grid, 11 X 13, and that suggested to us that the titles were probably going to appear symmetrically across the grid. It wasn’t long before we had IN LOVE AGAIN, which suggested ‘Falling’. I had to consult Google to find a singer of that song whose name added to fifteen letters and there she was, MARLENE DIETRICH. That device of an extra word that only shared a single letter with the entry was a lovely change from ‘extra letters in the wordplay’, or ‘misprints in the definition part of the clue’ and we enjoyed finding Marlene’s letters when, for example, HENT was paired with NOW, producing the N.

The grid filled steadily and it was soon clear where ‘IN LOVE AGAIN’ had to fall to but it took me a little longer to see ‘SAGITTARIUS’ which was ‘rising’ to fill its place, and again, Google had to tell me that it was CECIL LEWIS who wrote that. We had nine of his ten letters and had the last C to confirm. ‘Free export custom (6)’ gave us EX + USE and we entered EXCUSE. There was the C.

I love the moment in a crossword when we perform the end-game and find ‘all real words’. We cannot ask Schadenfreude how he created this puzzle – whether he had a laborious hunt for two titles that would exchange places but the fact that he was obliged to use words like INGE, BRUNEI, AEETES, LIAM and EILEEN suggests that it was no easy task. It was certainly a fine achievement.

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Listener No 4547: Titles by Schadenfreude

Posted by Dave Hennings on 12 April 2019

Listener No 4547: Titles by Schadenfreude

Not much to say this week with the posthumous publication of a puzzle by Schadenfreude. It would not be an exaggeration to say that he was a giant in our corner of the crossword world. He had over 250 puzzles published, including 27 Listeners where subjects included Hitchcock, American presidents, Buridan’s Ass and snooker, as well as this week’s Marlene Dietrich & Cecil Lewis. Many more appeared over at the Inquisitor, as well as at EV where he was Oxymoron. I understand that there are some of his puzzles that remain unpublished, so hopefully we will get to enjoy his work just a few more times. Thanks for all the entertainment, Schadenfreude. RIP.

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