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Listener Crossword 4718   Linked by Vismut

Posted by gillwinchcombe on 24 Jul 2022

A big thank you to Vismut for a puzzle that I could sit down and enjoy solving, on a subject that I could get my head around – and care about – with an endgame that was clear and unambiguous.

Thank you too for reminding me of what was for me (I’m ashamed to say) a little-known area of history, depicting the key messages in a memorable and apposite way, with clues that were tractable and answers that entered as real words.

(Readers can probably tell that my head was at this point still reeling from the previous week’s Unruly Characters, which I would have liked to depict physically rather than graphically.)

I loved all the linking aspects, especially the spelling out of Mary Macarthur’s name using clues with a fluent surface reading – the missing links made them challenging but do-able and rewarding. I am also ashamed to admit that I hadn’t spotted the hidden message, which I shall enjoy looking for during my 10+ hour flight to Bogota later today, to visit a friend in Colombia.

I hope Vismut has some more in preparation – her puzzles are delightful and a pleasure to solve. Thank you.

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Listener 4718: Linked by Vismut

Posted by vaganslistener on 22 Jul 2022

Good, a “Vismut”. She started setting at much the same time as I did but has made greater strides and is now well-established in the panoply of setters that we look forward to “meeting” as their work pops up across the usual outlets.

“Vismuts” can get quite hard, so I was a little nervous to find one as Puzzle #2 of my holiday progress, with just the iPhone and a real copy of the Times beside me. But the setter was in a kind mood and it was actually a reasonably straightforward solve, that turned out to revolve around the Women Chainmakers Strike at Cradley Heath led by Mary Macarthur in 1910. (Many Evil Employers had refused to pay women the new minimum wage decreed by the Chain Trade Board, and their cause attracted widespread support. Macarthur used cinema media as well as mass meetings and strike action, and the employers lost… Good.)

So the “linked” theme made sense after a bit of Googling (shame on me for needing it), and I also read that Macarthur was active in protests against the “Cat and Mouse Act” (the one that freed hunger-striking suffragettes only to re-arrest them when they had recovered), so I nearly made the chain of circles into a cat and mouse, but that, I think, is another story.

Oh yes, and the wonderfully cheeky rococo framing of the linked clue letters spelling “THERE IS NO MESSAGE HERE” was great fun and wins the prize for the Red Herring Of The Year so far.

Many thanks to Vismut: good holiday puzzling after all.

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Linked by Vismut

Posted by shirleycurran on 22 Jul 2022

After last week’s long, hard solve, we were glad to see that Vismut was this week’s setter with a mere five lines of preamble that repeated (five times!) the word ‘link’ that we had already seen in the title. She was certainly making sure that we got the message and giving us a very broad nudge about the theme.

We had solved almost all of the numbered clues before we faced the linked ones (yes, there was the word again!) The first of those was very generous, telling us with IMAM that an M was the link we neeed (with IMA clued and OWRA) ‘Mosque officer at first is mortified/ after barrow boy regularly served up alcohol (4;5) MOWRA, we discovered, was alcohol distilled from flowers.

Alcohol! And further down those clues we found ‘Production of smash Chinese drink made artificial and neutral when brewed across islands (6;13) That gave us SAMSHU and UNNATURALISED with the wordplay for both words lacking the U. Clearly Vismut retained her place in the Listener Setters Oenophile Elite. Cheers, Vismut!

The letters emerging as links soon spelled MARY MACARTHUR (good to have a lady setter highlighting a female cause). I knew of her as a suffragist but needed Wiki to explain her support and success in CRADLEY HEATH, over the STRIKE of the WOMEN CHAIN MAKERS and there were three links of a chain in our full grid, giving us those words.

Amusingly, we hadn’t seen how the numbered clues were linked and feared that we were missing something until the other Numpty, with a smile, pointed out that the last letter of each clue was the first of the next – so yet more thematic chaining with a comical message or non-message emerging; THERE IS NO MESSAGE HERE. Great fun, thank you, Vismut.

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Listener Crossword 4717   Unruly Characters by Somniloquist

Posted by gillwinchcombe on 16 Jul 2022

I rather think Somniloquist will have fired up the solving community with this one! For me, moments of despair were relieved by shouts of triumph as each clue slowly bit the dust. I smiled at 1dn but generally maintained a fairly tortured visage as I stumbled through these tough clues.

Completing the gridfill was like surviving my children’s terrible twos only to discover the traumatic teens lay ahead. These included a search for 3 unruly characters, a hostelry and an escapee. Fortunately the 3 characters’ unusual names helped and I was able to locate them even without Somniloquist’s clever “openings” hint, which I discovered only later. Locating escapee DERMOT TRELLIS however was almost impossible and required the correct interpretation of “from start to finish”.

But not as agonising as deciding how to depict graphically the burning of the characters in the Red Swan Hotel. I hope my depiction of blackened letters with flames is acceptable because another Haregate is the last thing we need. (PS I understand that flames are accepted. Phew!)

I suspect the book is clever too – thanks for introducing it. Not so much my scene, but one day, when I have time, I might just read it.

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Listener Crossword 4716 Venation by The Ace of Hearts

Posted by gillwinchcombe on 16 Jul 2022

I was delighted to see Venation last week, partly because I really enjoy TAoH’s circular puzzles and partly because I was spending a wonderful week in west Wales, where (for once) the sunshine outdid the wifi reception. The clues were pitched perfectly for a steady solve, and I’m pleased to say that I completed it without most of my usual aids, just leaving me to check garran/GARRON in Chamber’s when I got home.

I thought TAoH’s depiction of the deer encircled by the men was very graphic, if somewhat sad. Fortunately, on Ramsey Island the beautiful red deer were freer to roam despite all the visitors.

I was intrigued by the title – at first I thought it referred to the platinum jubilee – VENerATION – reverence, respect and not a little worship, whilst (largely) missing Her Majesty. I then assumed it was intended to reference the structure of the radial answers. Now I’ve seen Vagans’ and others’ blogs I realise it has another meaning to do with hunting, which appears to be missing from my aging Chambers CD.

Thanks to The Ace of Hearts for another fine circular, thankfully less tough than Clothes-Line & Disco Lovers (and a breathing space between Twin’s and Somniloquist’s stinkers,); I hope the next one is rolling off the press!

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