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‘My Retirement Plan’ by Artix

Posted by Encota on 5 October 2018

What a clever construction this was.  Once the letters DONNE started to appear around the border, and the misprints backed it up by being corrected from DONNE (to HANDS), then the poet hinted at in the Preamble was clear.  But which poem?  My knowledge of John Donne’s poetry being pretty much non-existent I resorted to that ‘font of all wisdom and knowledge’ that is Wikipedia.

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Soon to appear was the poem, On His Mistriss Retiring To Bed, or something similar, with the lines requested from the Preamble being:

License my roving hands and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new-found-land

I guess ‘roving hands’ is a reasonable instruction to swap all letters L and R in the grid – the result appearing as per the diagram above.  This change allowed LICENSE, ROVING, O MY AMERICA and NEWFOUNDLAND all to appear in the grid, as well as MISTRESS from the Title.  The Preamble said to highlight only O MY AMERICA, if I am reading ti correctly, so that’s what I did!

I loved the gloriously OTT Scottish indicator Captain Kidd’s in 27d and 18a’s
With 8, this might make Italians drunk (4)
The answer to 8d was NAIL, so {NAIL+ASTI}* could give ITALIANS, so Asti it was!

Many thanks to Artix for another enjoyable Listener solve.

And why ‘font’, I hear you ask [Really? Ed.]  The Title’s jumbling MEANT MERELY PRINT, “MEN TRY PLAIN METRE”, providing MERRIMENT-A-PLENTY.

Or something …

Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4520: My Retirement Plan by Artix

Posted by Dave Hennings on 5 October 2018

Oh dear! It’s Artix time again and I guessed that I would be in for a bit of a struggle. I don’t really know why I thought that, especially since I’m pretty sure I’ve sussed all his Listeners (five of them) over the years. His last, no. 4475 last December, was Follow the Directions and required us to cut up the grid and stick it back together to reflect Westward Ho! and associated characters. Hopefully no scissors would be required this week.

Instead, we had five answers too long and using space outside the grid, five with an extra word that needed meaningful unjumbling, and five with a misprint. 14ac KIEV was the first to go in without any shenanigans. Next, 17ac 1-0? Once Barcelona’s ready, developed into failure to make match (12) looked like an anagram of ONE-NIL + PESETA, except the 1-0 bit looked like an indirect anagram. Which it wasn’t, of course, but was 1 + NADA + PTA + INTO* — a nice easy bit of wordplay!

It’s amazing how puzzles with lots of different things going on cause me to temporarily lose the plot. For example, I was trying to work out for far too long what the proteins were in 34ac Proteins as an alternative to stop illness affecting the mind (5) (OR in MAL). They were, of course, one of the extra words.

Everything came together gradually for me here. In fact, I think it was a series of PDMs — in this case, Penny Drip Moments. I had ‘reworks’ giving ‘workers’, ‘discretion’ giving ‘directions’ and ‘swap’ to ‘paws’. Eventually, those damned ‘proteins’ gave me ‘pointers’, and ‘sniggle’, which I thought must be ‘leggins’, was ‘niggles’, a form of handwriting. These all gave synonyms for hands, as revealed by the corrected misprints. Finally, when I had four letters extending outside the grid, John DONNE looked a possibility.

The hands were pretty obviously Left and Right, which would need switching in the grid, with the likes of RICE at 1ac changing to LICE, and SEMINAL at 6 giving SEMINAR. The leading NW–SE diagonal was the first place to look for highlighting material in the finished grid, and revealed O MY AMERICA and enabled me to track down the verse fairly early on in Donne’s ODQ entry — Elegies ‘To His Mistress Going to Bed’:

License my roving hands, and let them go,
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new found land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man manned.

The final PDMs came from line two above, which revealed the reason for the letters outside the grid, which also contained MISTRESS (row 8), LICENSE (row 1), ROVING (column 12) and NEW FOUND LAND (row 12). (Have I missed one?)

Thanks to Artix for another fine nugget.
 

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My Retirement Plan by Artix

Posted by shirleycurran on 5 October 2018

We download a crossword by Artix, one of the top Listener setters – last year’s runner-up to the Ascot Gold Cup winner Shackleton with his superb Westward Ho crossword and the creator of that brilliant One Shot at a Time where we followed a golf course to discover that the theme was the attempted assassination of Theodore Roosevelt. We are certainly faced with a challenge but it is likely to delight and entertain too.

Oh dear, the preamble tells me there are five jumbled words to be removed from clues before solving – I suppose I have to rejoice that there are only five of those. Five answers are overlong and must extend outside the grid! There are single letter misprints in the definition parts of five other clues – and these manoeuvres are all thematic. Then comes the good bit: the theme ‘consists of three lines from a poem’. We’ve had great literary Artix crosswords on Hamlet and L Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz so this is promising.

What about his membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit? I know that Artix is a connoisseur of wines so there can be little doubt about that but I scan the grid all the same and find ‘Book about Bordeaux’s wine passion (6)’ We put LOG around VIN and find LOVING. ‘With 8 this might make Italians drunk (4)’ 8 has given us NAIL and if I remove this (anagrammed) from ITALIANS* what do I get? That old chestnut ASTI. Well, with that French VIN and Italian ASTI, I suppose I can say ‘Cheers, Artix!’

Solving begins in earnest and we are soon smiling at some fine clues. ‘Watch game with leader getting three extra strokes (4)’ gives us I SPY with three extra strokes being added to that I producing ESPY. ‘1 – 0? Once Barcelona’s ready, developed into failure to make match (12)’ gives us I NADA + PTA + INTO* = INADAPTATION. What a clue!

We spot some redundant words in clues. REWORKS, DISCRETION, PROTEINS, SNIGGLE and PAWS and realize that those all anagram to versions of ‘hands’. WORKERS, DIRECTIONS, POINTERS, NIGGLES and PAWS. We spot five misprints too: hEar for hAar, Ounces for Dunces, NA for SA, fasteD for fasteN and sigN for sigH: those give us two sets of letters EONDN and ADSNH. The poet DONNE and HANDS?

Suddenly it all makes sense. Of course that is why we have Date, Onanism, esseN, rooN and devoteE ‘before, behind, above and below’ the grid and those tell-tale words in the preamble. I loved the poem studied at A Level many years ago  (how we sixteen-year olds enjoyed the early erotic poetry and marvelled that the same poet could create the more sober later religious poems) and happily this is Donne’s randy retirement plan and not Artix telling us he is going to abandon the setting thing!

Licence my roving hands, and let them go,/ Before, behind, between, above, below./O my America! my new-found-land …

That is why we had the ‘roving hands’ in the anagrammed extra words and the misprints. This crossword is almost a metaphysical conceit in itself with Donne roving before, behind, above and below his ‘Newfoundland’. Hands are LEFT and RIGHT, and we read that ALL occurrences of two thematic letters must be exchanged for their counterparts so we carefully switch all the Ls and Rs in the grid with, for example, SPLAYED becoming SPRAYED then we hunt for those ten letters revealing the poet’s discovery and there she is ‘O MY AMERICA’! Sheer delight from start to finish. Thank you Artix.

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‘X’ by Schadenfreude

Posted by Encota on 28 September 2018

Stupidly rushed today so have included little more than my attempt at solving the Crossword Grid.

The definition (of Checked) in the central Square read, clockwise from the *, DECLINED THE OPTION OF OPENING THE BETTING.

Many thanks to Schadenfreude for a pleasant solve.

Cheers

Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4519: X by Schadenfreude

Posted by Dave Hennings on 28 September 2018

We’ve already had one Schadenfreude puzzle this year. Back in January there were the prime numbered presidents. My first thoughts with one of his puzzles is whether it’s going to be an easy-ish one or a bit more tricky-ish. I’m not giving too much away to say that it was middle-of-the-road-ish.

An extra word appeared in every clue. Those sharing one letter in common with their answer gave X using those letters. The others, using second and penultimate letters, gave what needed changing and what was to be revealed. The four unclued entries one cell in from the perimeter would provide the definition of Y which would also help to give Z.

All this turned out to be good fun, and the surface readings of the clues were amusing, given some entertaining extra words. We had a plucky European, an upright catholic, a diffident Italian, a swarthy earl, a rich sweetheart and, much to Shirley’s delight I’m sure, a boozy officer!

The definition of Y was DECLINED THE OPTION OF OPENING THE BETTING. The single letters provided by the clues gave cruciverbal and what needed changing and the resultant revelation was Five letters and Two word phrase in which Zs exist. The form the definition of Y traced was obviously a square, and I was lucky to guess at “checked” for Y since I hadn’t come across that meaning before.

It didn’t take long to see CROSSW in column 4 and thus change three letters to give CROSSWORD. I now wondered whether the “in which Zs exist” might be deviously guiding us towards PUZZLE as the second word, but, given that we could only change two more letters, it soon became clear that PUZZLE was impossible. GRID, however, was possible in row 10 and a crossword grid certainly, in the UK at least, has checked squares.

Thanks to Schadenfreude for another imaginative crossword showing how almost anything can become cruciverbal fodder.
 

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