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To Good Friends by Little Hare

Posted by shirleycurran on 3 Dec 2021

We have a soft spot for hares, especially little ones, though this one was not hiding in the preamble or in the clues or even in the grid, except in a rather convoluted way in the top left corner of our completed grid, but in plain sight as the setter.

Just a little hare

This Little Hare qualified for his Listener Setter Oenophile Outfit membership with his last two compilations, ‘Vingt-et-un’ and ‘Death in the Afternoon’ but, once we have read the reasonably short preamble, I check through the clues to confirm continued eligibility.

‘Browbeaten guy drank about quarter of pint (9)’. Poor fellow! We decided that he was HENPECKED and that HE NECKED around P(int). A few clues later he was ‘Slightly tipsily on vacation, Hyacinth lazily pens notes on game (10)’ TIGHTISHLY after just a quarter of a pint! (We put together the notes, TIS, H(yacint)H, L(azil)Y and the game TIG).

There was more to come. ‘Custom bend in rod oozed regularly (4)’ Chambers told us that USE + the end in roD gave USED which is a way of saying ‘boozed regularly’, so we had to move that B. Then we had ‘Weaver’s cheer, a shot knocked back (4)’ We opted for the TAHA or weaver bird (TA for ‘cheers’ and A H(ot) reversed). Oh my, with the quarter pint, the booze, this shot then the Porto, the alcohol was flowing. ‘Porto lass finally gives a greeting (5)’ We are due to sail from Hull to Rotterdam a few hours from now so it was the port we thought of when we had moved that O (HULL + lassO finally giving HULLO). So “Cheers, Little Hare! Perhaps we’ll see you at the bar in Stirling next March.

Oh dear yes, Jumbles, one clue answer jumbled in every row, and a letter moving in all the other clues, and not content with just this, Little Hare would have us shuffle all the rows around to create a logical column. Actually, it was one of those solutions to be jumbled that gave us our first answer: “They detect particles …That has to be CLOUD CHAMBERS” said the other Numpty.

Fortunately, we had the down solutions to help us enter the jumbles and we teased out, BLESTE BE YE MAN YT SPARES THES STONES and realized that we were going to have to move some bones around to make that centre column spell the bard’s name and put his body back in the correct order, as we could see that FOOT, SHOULDER, KNEE, NECK and so on was a travesty.

‘The new order resolves an ambiguity’. We wondered but then realized that one might hesitate about which of dem bones, HIP or THIGH, goes on top, but of course, SHAKESPEARE resolved that as well as DEM DRY BONES that obligingly went back in order at the right hand side of the grid. What a fabulous compilation!

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L4684: ‘Excess’ by Aedites

Posted by Encota on 26 Nov 2021

Thank you to Aedites for a well-constructed puzzle.  I did wonder if it had been created especially for one of my fellow Listen With Others bloggers – what with the appearance of Patagonian hares and, well, an appearance of ‘one or two’ alcoholic drinks! COGNAC, CHARTREUSE, MARASCHINO, SHERRY, PURL, GIN SLING, SANGAREE, GRAPPA, MAHWA & ASTI all feature in the clues without definitions and, in order, their clues start with the letters A-L-C-O-H-O-L-I-S-M.

For me this puzzle had the added bonus that it became the first Listener that one of my 20-something year-old sons ever solved, with only a gentle bit of support from me here and there.  Maybe I will be able to pass my love of the Listener on to the next generation in time – who knows!  [He has since solved the 4679 Opsimath puzzle from a few weeks back too!!] 

In summary, what an enjoyable puzzle.   My thanks again to Aedites.

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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Excess by Aedites

Posted by shirleycurran on 26 Nov 2021

The shortest preamble for a while earned initial Numpty approval but then I read through the clues with dismay. Yes indeed, the HARE is back after his long holidays, bringing a few mates, ‘Cloth used for trousers when chasing hares in Patagonia (10)’. We put MARASCHINO into our grid wondering about the definition (MARAS + CHINO) -“That’s a cherry grown in Croatia isn’t it?” I said: but I couldn’t see much alcohol. Has Aedites become TT? Can he retain his membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit?

It was our next solve that gave us a hint, ‘Middle sections of plasma active (4)’ Oh dear, that has to be the crossword setter’s favourite (pl)AS(ma) (ac)TI(ve) = ASTI. But where is the definition ‘fizzy Italian plonk’? Light dawned. ‘The result might explain the lack of definition’.

That must be referring to the result of the instruction TAKE IN INITIAL LETTERS OF THE CLUES. Those were the initial letters of ‘the other ten’. We coloured the clues to eight more words that seemed somewhat boozy: COGNAC, CHARTREUSE, SHERRY, PURL (yes, we needed Chambers for that), GIN SLING, SANGAREE, GRAPPA and MAHWA and read their initial letters finding ALCOHOLISM.

Oh dear, oh dear. This was really overdoing things – no wonder we had ‘Excess’ as the title. I commented to the other Numpty “We will have to expel Aedites from the LSOO for setting such an appalling example!” but he responded, “On the contrary: we will have to appoint him President!” There were some fine clues and he even brought back the little hare. So “Cheers, Aedites!”

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L4683: ‘Diversions’ by Dysart

Posted by Encota on 19 Nov 2021

What might DIVERSIONS be hinting at? Aha! Various (‘DIVERS’) + IO (crosswordy moon word) + N-S. The puzzle is clearly about the various attempts to explore the Moon – both North and South.

In across rows I can find:

  • ZOND in Row 9. Zond 4 thru 8 were testflights for the Soviet Moonshot
  • TESS appears in Row 1, disguised as the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)
  • EBB, part of NASA’s Gravity Recovery & Interior Laboratory, that impacted the moon in 2011 is on Row 2
  • LADEE NASA’s 2013 craft is on Row 3
  • LUNA on Row 4
  • APOLLO of course on Row 5
  • ARTEMIS, the NASA 2007 ORBITER (see Row 11)
  • ISEE, which had several lunar flybys on its way to comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner

I am sure I must have missed some. I’ve read elsewhere that this might be something about Olympians but clearly those solvers have missed Dysart’s subtle misdirection. Errm … maybe 😉

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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Diversions by Dysart

Posted by shirleycurran on 19 Nov 2021

Just over five lines of preamble but one of our less-loved words is there on the first line, ‘jumbled’ (well, at least it isn’t ‘Playfair’ or the numerical crossword that must be coming in three weeks’ time). Dysart is an old hand so I don’t really need to check that he retains his place in the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Elite but I check anyway and am slightly shocked to see ‘Deal with over 80 beer bottles (7, two words)’ We decide that the beer has to be STOUT and that O R is bottled by it, producing SORT OUT. We realise at once that that must be the down clue that is telling us what to do with the circled letters and, before long, the circled letters are telling us LOW STAR.

We have to sort that out to reveal a ‘thematic location’ and we already suspect that we are going to find it by sorting out the LAST ROW. Of course there are those 80 bottles of stout to get through. It is not surprising that Dysart is soon spilling wine and the last clue tells us, ‘Clean up after spilling most of wine (4)’. There’s more wine, of course, when we have completed our grid as DIONYSUS (that’s BACCHUS, the God of wine isn’t’ it? appears in our grid. Glasses raised: Cheers, Dysart!

The letters in that last row NLUPOUSTOMMY obligingly lead to MOUNT OLYMPUS. We are grateful for that huge hint, as, once we had the thematic location, we could guess how we were going to change one letter in each of the across clues to create a rather lofty Mount Olympus. It was entertaining to find gods and goddesses in those twelve rows in ascending order of size: ZEUS and HERA at the summit of course.

When we hunted, we found gods, goddesses, messenger, a lightning rod and other potential hints in the clues and, of course, we now understood why the down clues had to be jumbled to allow all those Olympians to get into the grid. Crafty compiling. Many thanks, Dysart.

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