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Listener Crossword 4737 D2 by Eclogue

Posted by gillwinchcombe on 3 Dec 2022

D2 proved a useful exercise in the value of reading the rubric. I came very close to posting my entry with SUN in the centre cell, having jumped to a hasty and erroneous conclusion. I then read that word “initially”. What could I change about SUN? The penny dropped and I replaced it with ART, only to replace it and its neighbours with MOON. A last-minute save, literally. Phew!

D2 was a most enjoyable solve with some nicely hidden extra letters which only emerged with the message. New words made a welcome appearance, such as TAMANU (14ac) and KISAN (15ac), BEALS (11dn) and SALTCAT (28dn).

My favourite clue was 12ac, ANIMAL (Being cuckoo on stage, endlessly), with both the terminal Es of stage and MALE being lopped off – it was my last to parse and is, I think, very clever.

Still trying to figure the title D2, but that’s nothing new … many thanks to Eclipse and Logogriph (a variety of Hippogriff? perhaps not) for a fine workout.


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Listeners 4733 – 4736

Posted by gillwinchcombe on 3 Dec 2022

Life has been hectic and I’ve fallen behind with posting, so here is a bumper bundle, in reverse order, with apologies for their late arrival

Listener Crossword 4736 New Arrivals by Avian

With Skylark’s Cape sparrows (or swallows) from last week, and Avian’s name this week, my thoughts naturally turned to migration of birds.

So I tried solving the clues. Twenty minutes later I had not a single answer. Over the course of the following morning, I teased out 9 or 10 entries, and I resolved to keep going. Then HOUSING emerged from a half-completed grid, evoking memories of rabbits facing the destruction of their natural habitat and making a memorable journey. To or from Watership Down? I’d forgotten!

PIPKIN! That name rang a bell, and I quickly located HAZEL and BIGWIG. Guessing SILVER and FIVER from the first halves of their names, I was able to reverse engineer the tricky SE corner. I corrected some errors to give WATERSHIP (ah, the destination) and admired Avian’s clever LAND FOR WANDERERS/ SANDLEFORD WARREN construct. Finally, I spotted ACORN.

Job done. A beautiful, superbly constructed puzzle whose movement reflected that of the book. Congratulations to Avian.

Listener Crossword 4735 Spirit Time by Skylark

This was tougher than it looked, partly because the misprints were so well hidden. For example, in 20dn PLONGES, Accepting pint, briefly nuisance dives for Ed, “pint” could lead to “pine” as well as “pant”. And at 8dn, Faithful, once sincere, taking wine for rector, FEAL was my first choice for a long time. Touches like that lifted Skylark’s Spirit Time out of the ordinary for me.

Three of the titles were relatively easy to spot; THWORLD was harder but what a clever parsing of “Not the end of the world”. Also in my Chambers, a MOSSIE is a Cape sparrow rather than a swallow but it seems the editors knew better! No matter, and thanks go to Skylark for an enjoyable puzzle and a reminder to read more of Kate Atkinson’s books beyond Behind the Scenes at the Museum.

Listener 4734 Definition by Gnomish

Eek! I read the rubric with great trepidation – this is one of those Listeners where the only thing to do is take a deep breath, start cold-solving, and hope that there are enough accessible clues to not only give some entries but also show what’s going on.

And so it proved. It helped that I found the definition of SPACE reasonably early on, but the letters didn’t seem to be in the right order for the “flow”. Not letting a small issue like that worry me, I ploughed on, carefully counted (and re-counted) the intervening distances, bearing in mind the textbook telegraph pole problem, coloured the letters in my working grid and eventually reached the goal – the appearance of MATERIAL BODIES extending into the outer part of the grid. Reading “main grid” and, I hope, interpreting it correctly I erased everything apart from MATERIAL BODIES – fingers crossed!

A superb puzzle thanks to Gnomish, cleverly constructed and a great workout.

Listener 4733 Entry Form by Nudd

What a fun workout! More cryptanalysis than cruciverbalism but no worse for that. Fortunately, I spotted the Caesar shift fairly early on, or I would still be scratching my head!

I struggled over 16ac B[u]rrows wild dogs being short of a penny earlier: DINGOES/INGOES seemed a shoe-in but try as I might I couldn’t find this variation of the plural of INGO. That was of course because I was barking up the wrong tree, or rather down the wrong burrow, on the wrong continent, and the answer was actually (D)HOLES. Fair enough!

Once the Caesar shift emerged, I was able to reverse engineer some of the trickier clues. I found the symmetry helpful, although I’m glad I didn’t spot at the time that it wasn’t perfect or else I would be needlessly trying to redesign my whole grid!

Thanks go to Nudd for another superbly crafted and challenging puzzle. 

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Listener 4737: D2 by Eclogue

Posted by on 2 Dec 2022

Another classy puzzle from Eclogue – and (famous last words) not too difficult a one, giving some welcome relief from some stinkets, not least in the Magpie.


The gimmicking was straightforward with just an extra letter from the wordplay spelling out a message. And the initial gridfill was equally straightforward, with ART filling the central square and making EARTH as the “longer word”.


The message tumbled out as REPLACE ALL PLANETS WITH THE NAME OF ONE OF THEIR SATELLITES, and Wikipedia to the rescue, I was able to find OBERON, HIMALIA, LARISSA and TETHYS. Actually I was glad to go back and notice the requirement for single letters only except in the centre otherwise my initial MIRANDA at 1a would have snookered me. (And I hadn’t known that Uranus’ planets were so Shakespearean: there’s a theme in there somewhere.)


That just left the penny to drop – just in time – that EARTH is of course a planet as well, and MOON replaces it nicely (and yes SNOD is in Chambers…). The meaning of the title still eludes me though, so my gloating may end in gloom. Gloom too that BOGLES became BOGIES when I inked in my grid. Ah well. It’s the intention that counts, even if JEG has to take a different line.


Congratulations to Eclogue (Eclipse and Logogriph) on another good one.


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D2 by Eclogue

Posted by shirleycurran on 2 Dec 2022

We are used to seeing Eclogue’s crosswords in just about every cryptic outlet, including a frequent Christmas one on the Crossword Centre’s message board, so I am rather surprised when I look at Dave Henning’s Crossword Database and find that this is their very first joint Listener crossword.

Before I can even start solving, I shall have to confirm that Eclogue gains admission to that Listener oenophile elite. What do I find? ‘Steal abandoned beers (4)’ Oh dear, that isn’t very promising – surely they are not going to consume other drinkers’ stale and flat leftovers? We decide that the extra letter in the wordplay of this clue will be the T and that ‘abandoned’ is a hint to anagram the remaining four letters S[t]EAL and that gives us a lovely straightforward answer, ALES. Well, welcome and cheers, Eclogue!

It is great to have a generous and relatively easy set of clues from time to time, and the solutions go in at break-neck speed with those extra letters soon spelling out a decipherable message: REPLACE ALL PLANETS WITH THE NAME OF ONE OF THEIR SATELLITES. We have already decided that JUPITER must be the answer at 5ac and are now prompted to fill the other three unclued lights with URANUS, NEPTUNE and SATURN. The other Numpty comments that some of those gas giants have vast numbers of satellites and we need the Internet to prompt us that HIMALIA circles around JUPITER. Then OBERON, LARISSA and TETHYS give us less of a problem and our grid is looking well-populated.

Ah, but there is that little empty cell in the centre that has to have more than one letter. Now which planet could fill that? Ah, with a smile, we use the E of those ALES and the H of SHOD, add a little ART to the centre of the grid and we have an ‘earth-centred’ universe. But wait a minute: we were told to replace ALL planets with the name of one of their satellites and I can see Earth’s satellite through the window right now. What a lovely finish! MOON goes in there, the ALES become ALMS and the SHOD becomes SNOD. I’ve said it before: I do like it when grid changes leave all real words (even if Eclogue loses those flat ales – the elitist Listener oenophile entry ticket). Thanks for a fine Listener debut.

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Listener No 4737: D2 by Eclogue

Posted by Dave Hennings on 2 Dec 2022

Well! Having appeared there and everywhere since 2010, it was time for them to appear here. Their puzzles have covered everything from Winnie the Pooh and Jules Verne to Red Dwarf and butterflies. I looked forward to seeing what was on offer this week. Nothing seemed too daunting at first glance with an extra letter to be removed from the wordplay which would tell us what to do in the endgame.

In fact the first pass through the clues took me about an hour with a fair smattering of entries in the grid. That was followed by another 40 minutes to finish the whole thing off. That included sussing the unclued entries in the top and bottom rows once I got N–T-NE and S—-N at the bottom. Planets soon presented themselves with URANUS, JUPITER, NEPTUNE and SATURN. ART in the isolated square would give our own planet, EARTH.

Those who have seen the sort of clue I offer as my favourite won’t be surprised that 29ac was this week’s culprit: Terror sources mostly without agents? (6). Removing the extra letter a left gents and led to BOGLES [BOGLES(s)].

All the removed letters spelt out Replace all planets with the name of one of their satellites. This took a little bit of Wikiing since Jupiter and Saturn have over 160 moons between them, some not more than large lumps of rock. OBERON, HIMALIA, LARISSA and TETHYS were the guilty parties and slotted in to reveal 17 new words, SALTCAT the only word not changing.

Final change was to replace EARTH by MOON in the middle to give two more new words there. NB, the sizes of the planets and moons in the animation are not to the same scale.

Thanks for a very enjoyable puzzle, Eclogue. Hopefully you will give us a second Listener soon.

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