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Posts Tagged ‘a stitch in time’

Ripping Yarn by Nutmeg

Posted by shirleycurran on 5 Apr 2019

We smiled when we saw the setter was Nutmeg. She can be counted on to give the solver a fair chance and to provide some fine surface readings in well-set clues, though there was a bit of muttering about misprints. It is rare to find a crossword with a misprint in the definition part of every clue without some of them being mildly forced or rather clunky. And the habitual Listener setter’s dose of alcohol? Nutmeg abstained in a ladylike way, producing tea instead -‘In Darjeeling, perhaps an Indian might boil it (5)’ We used CHA round AN giving us CHANA or a ‘chick-pea’.

We had coffee, too. We smiled again when we back-solved from ROBUSTA to ‘What might make Americans rude? Trace of arrogance (7)’ Our Americans became Americano, ROBUST + A(rrogance). There was breakfast food too – an ‘Icelandic dish of cereal served up in Rekyavik for starters (5)’ but we decided that had to be dosh, and produced RYE< + IR, giving EYRIR. With total sobriety Nutmeg produced ‘Wild cerebration (well, it had to be ‘celebration’ didn’t it?) uses head, nothing more (5)’, giving us BEAN + O. Chambers tells us that’s a rowdy jollification, so ‘Cheers, Nutmeg!’

We were lucky in that the letters in place for those four words down the centre of the grid soon suggested A STITCH IN TIME, which made perfect sense with the title and the preamble and we already had a likely FEATHER and BLANKET potentially running round the perimeter. Fitting in CHAIN, SATIN, CROSS, RUNNING, STEM, ROPE and BACK stitches produced yet another smile. Is it sexist to suggest that this is a feminine topic? (Well, we had to do needlework at school while the boys constructed tables.)

However, we had a full grid before we understood what those strange extra letters were that were appearing round SADDLE, LAZY DAISY and BUTTONHOLE produced by the corrected misprints. What a lovely final touch. “Of course” said the other Numpty, “we have HOUR, ERA and PERIOD surrounding those stitches. Many thanks to Nutmeg for a challenging and entertaining solve.


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L4546: ‘Ripping Yarn’ by Nutmeg

Posted by Encota on 5 Apr 2019

2019-03-15 19.57.42 copy

Thanks first of all Nutmeg for a delightful puzzle.  It’s great to have a mix of puzzle difficulty in the Listener and the gentleness of this one was a welcome relief compared to some in recent months!  Easier – but not too easy.

I had the pleasure of meeting Nutmeg at an event in Manchester a year or two back and, like I said to her then, her puzzles are always a pleasure and, in my view, should be required study for anyone aiming to write “the perfect surface”.  If you don’t already, do look out for her regular publications in the Guardian, for example.

Two examples from ‘Ripping Yarn’ follow: ok, so the single misprint in each definition gives the setter an extra degree of freedom – but that extra wiggle-room was definitely made the most of in:

What might make Americans rude?  Trace of arrogance (7)

Where of course ‘Americans’ becomes the coffee ‘Americano’ and the answer is (ROBUST+A) ROBUSTA, a type of coffee.

Spooner’s to suggest protection for men facing enema (6, two words)

(yielding, in that, TIN HAT for protection against the enemy) …

… though I am still trying to recover from the mental images this surface initially conjured up 😉

I did experiment to see what other options there might be that satisfy the construct: ALengthOfTime around ATypeOfStitch.  I could only come up with:

“Stay In Tonight” or “Second kettles kettle” (no apostrophe), ”  Others involving the ‘screw’ stitch have naturally, for the sake of decency, been suppressed here 😉

Enough of my nonsense.  My thanks once again to Nutmeg!


Tim / Encota

PS I have very few claims to fame but singing in the rabble-of-a-school-assembly in the first ever episode of Michael Palin’s Ripping Yarns, called ‘My School’, is one of them.  Amazing what trains of thought every Listener crossword can set running …

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