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L4592: 'Graven Image' by Phi

Posted by Encota on 21 February 2020

I found this a fun solve – thanks Phi!

I was caught out by what seemed to me as an alternative answer to 19a’s: Disgusting tart curtailed fun at the fair (6)
I had read this as potentially a clue with a word reversed in it, namely:
Disgusting trat curtailed fun at the fair (6)
Which I then parsed as TRA(t)+SHY, what you do at a coconut shy at the fair. Did TRASHY mean disgusting? Well, I convinced myself it was close enough – and this held up the rhs of the puzzle for much longer than i should have allowed.

Eventually I saw tart could be changed to start, so leading to PUT+RID(e). Phew!

This was a neat construction with an interesting theme – thanks Phi!

Tim / Encota

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Graven Image by Phi

Posted by shirleycurran on 21 February 2020

The title didn’t really tell us anything though, when we had completed our solve and spotted ALBRECHT DÜRER in the Knight’s moves, I did think that maybe the wonderful Dürer HARE was a graven image. After all, there was a hare of the Poat kind sneaking into the clues. ‘FrencH ARE leading vice trial as before (5)’ We opted for ES + SAY (vOice for vice as an added letter) and I looked up the iconic hare, to find, sadly, that he was water colour and not a graven image..

Naturally I looked for Alcohol in Phi’s clues too and found “Glasgow’s dray and vat not fully visible in the smoke there (6)’. By this time, we had realised that some words were being entered in reverse in the first four columns and that almost all of the remaining clues in those columns had a word reversed (except KNIGHT – leading us to our ultimate knight’s moves – I know Phi and Sabre have set together as Phibre – is the Sabre knight’s move virus catching?) That KNIGHT was of course the word that was in the wrong set and prompted us that we had to follow ‘a principle befitting the first element of the title’.

Here we reversed DRAY, giving YARD and decided that the VAT was a KIE[R}, giving us REEKIE – Glasgow’s smoke. Well – a whole vat! Cheers Phi!

AGAR, SEDNA, IN ON, MART and RECCOS all reversed so we had one of our alterations. I found working out the other two more difficult as I could never remember whether I was adding or subtracting a letter and just when I thought we had sorted it out, a word seemed to be in the wrong set. DEARTH had a letter missing and was entered as DEATH when we thought it ought to be gaining a letter. Then 9d led us to LIVED (‘Was volume reduced in song (5)’. V in LIED). However our grid required DEVIL, so that gave us our third word that had moved into the wrong set.

And there was our hint. Knight, Death and the Devil – a Graven Image by Albrecht Dürer. And we were able to fill in the missing letters, completing his name in Knight’s moves. A nicely thematic conclusion. Thank you Phi.



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Listener No 4592: Graven Image by Phi

Posted by Dave Hennings on 21 February 2020

Phi’s last puzzle was a circular grid representing the target in a shooting gallery with scoring provided by Roman numerals. Before that we had one based on Piet Mondrian artwork with the grid partly containing three square regions. Similarly this week, the grid wholly consisted of three regions, but all the same size and shape.

A bit of mental geometry convinced me that the three areas each had to be 4×12 blocks although they could be vertical or horizontal. The entries starting in each region either had to be altered before entry or had a clue containing a word requiring such an alteration. Of course, nothing is ever easy, and one of the entries in each region had the alteration from a different region.

It’s always nice to start off solving clues with a flurry of entries being slotted in the grid. Unfortunately for me, this wasn’t such a puzzle! After about a dozen such across clues, I decided to try the downs and was rewarded by 2dn Reviled board, not initially providing transport (7), but only because reviled stood out as the reversal of deliver (RID) and leading to RIDABLE. That was followed swiftly by 3dn Old Irish rulers mostly appear to eat cod (6) for ARDRIS (cod becoming doc), one of them having cropped up a few times for me recently.

The next clue 4dn In armour, I yielded to King? That was a wonder (5) looked straightforward enough to give MARL (MAIL with R for I), but that had a 5-letter entry. My brain buzzed for a bit before I remembered that each region had a different method of alteration and it looked like the regions were vertical rectangles. It would eventaully become MAERL, a normal clue but an altered entry.

And so, with much mental toing and froing — and keeping my eyes, ears and brain peeled for the three misplaced alterations — the grid was filled. The three types of alteration were reversal, letter added and letter removed. The surface readings of affected clues were all worded well so it was normally tough to see what was going on. I particularly liked 33ac Number of days in journey may be important but not now (6) (now becoming won) for EIGHTY (WEIGHTY – W) with it’s Jules Verne reference. I also liked the corvid in 6dn Crow[d] catches flash of gem’s shape (7), although evidence apparently suggests that magpies and crows are not particularly fussed about glittery things.

And so we had the three wandering entries — left to right KNIGHT, DEATH and the DEVIL. Obviously for me, a bit of googling was required to reveal it as the name of an engraving from the 16th century by ALBRECHT DURER. Slotting the A in the top left square, it was easy to spell his name out by knight’s moves via the two central isolated squares to the bottom right.

The engraving was made in 1513 and, at 24.5×19.1cm was marginally smaller than the A4 sheet of paper that I used to solve Phi’s puzzle. One of Durer’s works was also the theme of an EV puzzle from Ifor last May, in that case Melencolia I.

All in all, good fun, thanks Phi.

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L4591: '1834' by ArEs

Posted by Encota on 14 February 2020

I’m sensing some chemistry this week!

I heard faint rumours that the Title might be chemical Atomic Numbers concatenated. But hold on a moment …

1+8+9+9, a tribute to the HOFF, David Hasselhoff, whose birthday falls exactly 5 months and 22 days after this puzzle’s publication date. Surely that must be fate, it simply can’t be coincidence.

Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4591: 1899 by Ares

Posted by Dave Hennings on 14 February 2020

The first new setter of 2020 this week with what looked like a date-related theme. Shows what I know! During a conversation with a popular setter at the quarterly Listener gathering, I was told that one look at the title/author told him everything. Poor solvers like me had to unravel the puzzle for a couple of hours before the theme was revealed.

A few days after I had sent my solution to St Albans, I was talking to a guy in my local pub. We had nicknamed him the Hapless Hare who was a bit like the Rueful Rabbit in Victor Mollo’s bridge books, a character who was always stumbling across the correct solution without really knowing why. I had only recently learnt that he was also a Listener solver and I asked him how he had got on with this puzzle from Ares.

“A bit of a doddle,” he said. “It was obvious fairly early on that some squares needed to hold two letters, and everything meshed together nicely.”

“But didn’t you uncover the thematic name spelt out by the initial letters of extra words in fifteen clues?” I asked.

“Oh,” he replied. “I wondered why a few clues were a bit odd. Unfortunately, as I was underlining what I thought were some relevant words in the preamble, my biro got a bit leaky and splurged some ink over it. Half the words became illegible. Serves me right for buying the cheap ones.”

“So you didn’t spot the ambiguity in the centre left of the grid where UNEASINESS/CHUBBINESS/UNDOCKS could be entered in one of two ways with either NE in a square or alternatively IN and UN?”

“’Fraid not,” he said. “With all that leakage, I was running low on ink, so I put everything in to use as little as possible. I also entered the second of the letters in the double squares in lower case, again to conserve ink, especially with the Ns and Rs. I didn’t think the checker would mark me wrong for that.”

And so, without identifying Dmitri Mendeleev and realising that all the double letters, and indeed all the single letters, had to be symbols for the chemical elements and entered thematically, he got home scot-free. He wouldn’t even have had to google the Ts double in a couple of squares which is Tennessine (atomic number 117) and not yet in Chambers.

Better luck next time in trapping the Hare, Ares!

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