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Listener No 4483: A Little Ray of Sunshine by Jago

Posted by Dave Hennings on 19 January 2018

Some solvers will always associate some setters with a particular puzzle. Poat will, in many eyes, always be remembered for that bloody hare (RIP!). Jago, more fondly (?), for his Origami wren. There didn’t seem to be any folding required here — that was Zero’s prerogative last week — and it seemed very unlikely that a wren would be lurking in the grid. [Hold that thought. Ed.]

Here we had a grid where some cells needed to accommodate two letters with a diagonal line separating them. It turned out that there weren’t as many of these as I had expected… only eight. 1dn 26dn and 20 were unclued thematic entries referred to in the preamble. Once these were revealed as WHITE LIGHT and PREAMBLE, it didn’t take long to spot the colours of the rainbow in seven columns to the right of the prism.

I seem to remember some time back being in a quandary over exactly what colours to use. Blue and Indigo have always confused me, and don’t mention Purple, Violet and Mauve! Anyway, I think that JEG is fairly tolerant when it comes to that sort of thing.

This turned out to be a very gentle solve for the last Listener of the year. Forty minutes saw everything fall into place. Thanks, Jago.


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A Little Ray of Sunshine by Jago

Posted by shirleycurran on 19 January 2018

Just what we needed after catching a very crowded train from Euston to the north with a range of wet and snowy conditions. Naturally I started my solve by reading through all the clues to confirm Jago’s continued membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit (though as, for years, he has organised the Setters’ dinner, there could be little doubt – even if this year he is having a break and the dinner is performing some sort of Frexit to France). I hunted vainly for those telling clues only to have to resort to the RED in ‘A subject of severe doubters making another attempt (4)’ The red was hidden there wasn’t it – and yes, hidden even more effectively in the final grid – there was the RED, so cheers Jago!

The other Numpty was solving so quickly that all I could do was wield the pen and soon the right hand side of the grid was full and we still hadn’t found a single pair of letters that needed to share a cell but he then suddenly announced ‘It’s going to be WHITE LIGHT down the left’, and, of course it was. PRISM quickly followed  so that we realized that those split cells had to form two continuous lines. We were lucky to be given that anagram ‘At back of theatre agitated prude becoming distracted (5)’ PRUDE + (theatr)E* leading to EPERDU and the EP and ER were candidates for cell sharing, as were the GO of EGOS, the FU of FUERO, the TE of TASTES, KI of KISAN, AS or FASCI and UB of YORUBA. How clever to have made those tally with across clues that used the pairs of letters in the other direction: HOGWARD, TREETOP, PER PRO, LYOMERI, GRASSUM and HUBCAP. Neat setting!

We spotted our prism and wondered ‘Is that all?’ but, of course, it wasn’t. How had I managed to fill the grid without spotting a single one of the rainbow colours that the prism was splitting the white light into? Nice one Jago.

Did someone mention Poat’s hare? There was one cavorting round HAWES (just a few miles from here) in Jago’s grid but I am afraid it is RIP Hare – he is clearly not going to appear in a straight line in four letters in the grid.

We’ve had a touch of friction in the family. As I buried him, the anguished other Numpty said “You can’t do that to him! Why not just send him off with a little suitcase and a label ‘Please look after this hare’ or something like that.” So I passed him the pencils and there’s Poat’s hare off on his hols, heading in a straight line to the beach.

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‘A Little Ray Of Sunshine’ by Jago

Posted by Encota on 19 January 2018

That technique of hiding famous people’s initials as the consonants of your name?  That gives J(a)G(o) and so JG.  Singers of a famous rainbow-based song with initials JG?

Hmm?  John Gummer?  John Green?  No, no, Toby, try again …

Singers of a famous ‘rainbow-inspired’ song?

  • Rainbow with ‘Catch the Rainbow’?
  • Something from the quite brilliant Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’, perhaps?  ‘JiGsaw falling into place’??

Nope. Can’t get it.

I loved George’s comment elsewhere: I’m not even sure I’d know if I had an Indigo pencil!  Here’s my off-blue attempt:

2017-12-30 13.43.24 copy



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A Paper Construction by Zero

Posted by shirleycurran on 12 January 2018

The last one before Christmas and we are going to be creating a paper construction – surely not another wren but maybe it will be another lovely star. One of my favourite Listener crosswords was that star we had to cut out some years ago just before Christmas. This time there are just going to be three folds but we have to find something vaguely mathematical if those extra words that immediately leap out of the down clues are telling us anything. Actually they told me ‘Aspect ratio of rectangle expressed as square root’ and it took the other Numpty to tell me what that meant when we returned from some pre-Christmas celebrating and got down to solving.

He patiently explained that we have a 17/12 grid and that to express that as a decimal gives 1.416666 (repeating) and that if you square that you get just about 2, so to express 17/12 as a square root requires the square root symbol and a 2 – simples! (Later – I’ve been discussing it with a young uni double maths relative at a family party and he commented that those words ‘closely approximated’ were relevant as there isn’t an exact equivalent here, but also that 2 is a numerical symbol, as is that square root symbol. It’s just a mite above my O’ level maths!

Of course we had solved a number of clues before we reached that final touch and I had checked Zero’s continued right to membership of the Listener Oenophile outfit. He seemed to be drinking Starbuck’s coffee at first ‘Original rumour to start in Starbuck’s coffee tube to restrict throughput (7)’ ‘Rumour’ we realized was one of the extra kites and planes that were appearing but I have to admit that I don’t understand the rest of the VENTURI that appeared in our grid and fitted the definition.

The next fluid clue was ‘Down under turn poorly after fluid’s gone (4)’ We know how sick an Aussie can feel when there is no wine or beer left, but ultimately we decided this had to be an Australian turn, or UEY (FLUEY, minus the FL), with one of those intriguing spaces that were appearing – four in all, as well as the centre section where we very early on spotted that the song title was LET’S GO F.LY A KITE (so that it was going to be a kite or a plane or bird we were creating).

I was beginning to despair about Zero’s membership ticket until the PUBLICAN appeared. ‘Jockey club expressed pain to host (8)’ The ‘expressed’ was needed for that description of a quantity so that left us with the lovely anagram indicator ‘Jockey’ and CLUB PAIN*. Nice one – so cheers, Zero. See you at the setters’ dinner in Paris in March?

We were lucky in that we spotted those empty cells at the start of ELBOW-GREASE, SCRAGGINESS and LUDO, and at the end of ADVANCE and UEY fairly early in our solve so that we knew which cells were to be used to complete our construction but actually producing a kite took me almost as long as our solve. My original attempt had so many creases in it that Mr Green would surely have eliminated it. Happily, I finally managed to produce a pointed thing that looked plausible.

I have relentlessly hunted for that Poat hare in four consecutive letters in a straight line every week of the year and found him in contiguous letters (as he is on a couple of occasions this week), being transfixed by a Hastings arrow, run over by the HS2, hiding in the preamble or in the clues, or simply cavorting in setters’ grids but it must be time to call a Christmas truce and accept that he simply doesn’t exist. RIP Hare.

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Q. TSR2?

Posted by Encota on 12 January 2018

Q. What is this about?
Q. An aircraft, perhaps?
Q. But what sort of secret aeroplane might interest solvers of one of the more convoluted puzzles in existence?
Q. TSR2?
Ah, yes, the puzzle includes three approximations to SQRT(2) – clearly an anagram of the row above.
So the puzzle has to be folded into the shape of the experimental spy plane of the 1950s.  See photo below.  Easy!


Happy New Year!

Tim / Encota

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