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Posts Tagged ‘Aedites’

Listener No 4644: Symbols by Aedites

Posted by Dave Hennings on 19 Feb 2021

I think it fair to say that a lot of Aedites puzzles have had a literary theme: last year we had Brooke’s Old Vicarage Clock, before that there were Kingsley’s Water Babies and even more before that, Hamlet’s existence dilemma! This week, alphabetical clues and clashes.

It didn’t take long to discover that answer lengths and entry lengths didn’t agree. Four clue answers had 10 or more letters but there were none in the grid. In fact, the number of every answer length disagreed with the number available in the grid. What’s more, there were 52 clues, which struck me as an awful lot.

Onwards and upwards. Onwards covered my first pass through the clues with about 40% solved. Then came the upwards bit as the remaining clues were teased out. Of course, I couldn’t even think about trying to enter anything in the grid.

About three-quarters of the way through the clues, I decided to have a stab at entering some. I’m afraid I don’t remember my reasoning, for where I started, but I thought the 3-letter answers might help me position the top and bottom rows. I tried SANNYASI along the bottom crossing with VAN and APIARY. Next came STEMLESS along the top with LAP and STEEPENED crossing. PORTIERTES next and I seemed to be on a roll.

In hindsight, it was fortunate that the two 3-letter words that helped me, LAP and VAN, although being clashing entries, it was only the P and V contributed to their respective clash. And so the grid was finished, and not particularly quickly I may add.

The first sets of clashes I tried to unravel were SERAI, PCESSI and STURAU and the signs of the zodiac soon popped out. Of course, my first port of call was Wiki and I tried to get an approximation of the symbols in the little squares. It was only while writing this blog, long after my grid would have reached St Albans, that I discovered that the entry for zodiac in Chambers had the symbols as well. My symbol for Capricorn didn’t actually agree, but the wording of the preamble “…replaced by its usual symbol” could open up a can of worms and I don’t think The Times carries a horoscope. Good luck, JEG. (Personally, I’d have allowed any squiggle that didn’t look like a letter in the English alphabet!!)

Highlighting E for Earth in the centre finished everything off. A fairly tough little cookie here, I thought. Thanks, Aedites.

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Symbols by Aedites

Posted by shirleycurran on 19 Feb 2021

Our first dismayed reaction is “Oh dear, a carte blanche!” Of course, the reason for that becomes clear later on, as had Aedites given clue numbers as well as the extra word-lengths, he would have told solvers where the symbols were to be entered – so he resorted, instead, to putting the clues in alphabetical order of their solutions, which was a great help to solving, especially as so many began with A, E, I, M, P and S. I was busy drawing up a grid and colour-coding clue and space word-lengths (and, of course hunting for alcohol in the clues) while the other Numpty solved almost in clue order.

The oenophile elite? There wasn’t much evidence of Aedites’ membership. We remember that his last Listener crossword was Chat, where he was at ten to three, drinking CHA with honey for T in the old vicarage ar Granchester. I almost feared he was relegated to tea-drinking again until we found PREMIER, ‘Principal space assumed by nosey parker (7)’ We put EM into PRIER and decided that this had to be the premier cru, so he just squeezes into the elite. Cheers, Aedites!

A solving challenge: here’s our worksheet.

Aedites’ clues were generous and we solved steadily with soon  just ten more clues to cold-solve, but we were mystified about how to fit those long words, that had no evident place, into our grid. VAPORISABLE, ACCESSIBLE, ARTISTRIES, RADIOGRAPHY – and there were no obvious part-words to combine with intersecting words to give us ‘symbols’ where they clashed.

Luckily, I decided to enter two of the 9-letter solutions (STEEPENED and PORTIERES – hopefully ‘porting’ those premiers crus) into the two 9-letter slots, and even more luckily, entered them in the right order so that we could see where we had to enter the 8-letter SANNYASI and VAN, suggesting that RADIOGRAPHY, ASHED and LEARNED would slot into that corner and giving us the jumbled clash letters of VIRGO.

ARABIA had to clash with the L of LEARNED, so LIBRA appeared and brought us a zodiacal flash of inspiration and a penny-dropped with a clang.

Now we could symmetrically place ten more signs of the zodiac. However, the work was not over. We had to work out, for  example, how VAPORISABLE could clash with ENCIRCLE to produce CAPRICORN, and STYLE could clash with POAS to give us LEO, and we still had our final clues to solve. Some of those emerged naturally as we filled the grid: NASCENCY, LABORERS, NERISSA, TAIRAS, but we struggled to understand CAUSALLY (‘Net traditionally trimmed with woolly grip as an inducement’ CAU[l] + SALLY). It didn’t help that we had assumed the word would be CASUALLY – which worked just as well in giving us the needed ASUA of AQUARIUS, the water-carrier.

ARENA placed itself naturally in the centre of the grid and we were happy enough to see that an E, the abbreviation for Earth, was where it should be, to show our own location and now Chambers obligingly, under Zodiac, gave us twelve tiny symbols that replaced the words we had squeezed into the cells.

A stunning compilation, Aedites. A lot of work must have gone into finding the words that would make this work and keeping the grid symmetrical!

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L4644: ‘Symbols’ by Aedites

Posted by Encota on 19 Feb 2021

“Sir, I’ve a circuitous question / poser re. a lion, scales, a crab rising, … . Is it para-magic or guru crap?” *

My thanks to Aedites for the toughest puzzle of 2021 so far!  Very enjoyable, especially trying to make sense of the endgame.  There will be some who guessed this way, way, way faster than me! It’s the first one in 2021 that took until Sunday to sort finally.

I had cold-solved all but five of the clues, I think it was, before I could make even a guess at what was going on.  With hindsight I can see that I had managed to slow myself down in two places:

  1. For the clue, “Go round castle with licence for development (8)”, where the answer was actually ENCIRCLE, I had bizarrely convinced myself that it parsed as R in GO + W(ith) + ABLE, somehow telling myself that GROWABLE meant ‘for development’.  This convinced me for ages that the answer for ENCORES had to begin with one of G or H;
  2. For the clue, “Pre-Union title to injure anybody in ancient Rome”, where I should have more quickly found MAR+QUIS, I could only think that ‘Pre-Union title’ referred to an ‘unmarried name’, so was trying to shoehorn a word beginning with MISS or similar in for far too long!  And so it took me into overtime to find the Q necessary for forming part of AQUARIUS! And I am still faintly wondering which ‘Pre-Union’ the BRB has in mind.

Once one of the ‘signs/houses’ were found, then it was fairly straightforward to complete the grid, especially with that 90 degree symmetry so kindly offered.  One area of doubt remaining was whether one was supposed to position oneself in one’s own star-sign (a nice idea but too hard to mark!) or view this all from E=Earth in the centre.  I opted for the latter.  The other was in the precise choice of symbol to be used.  With them now standardised as Unicode symbols on computers, it seemed reasonable to assume that these are now the ‘usual’ symbols.  What the solver should have used before now I am much less certain!  Though I think, given the minor variations, it would be hard to mark either sort wrong.

Cheers & stay safe,

Tim / Encota

*And if you have a better anagram for the 12 signs used: LIBRA, VIRGO, LEO, CANCER, GEMINI, TAURUS, ARIES, PISCES, AQUARIUS, CAPRICORN, SAGITTARIUS, SCORPIO – then I’d love to hear about it!

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L4594 ‘Chat’ by Aedites

Posted by Encota on 6 Mar 2020

“Strangely know rarer cherub poet”

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Listener No 4594: Chat by Aedites

Posted by Dave Hennings on 6 Mar 2020

Only eight months since Aedites last Listener. That was based on Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies, a Fairy Tale for a Land Baby. Before that, we had a Möbius strip and before that, Hamlet’s spiel. In fact he has had a generous smattering of mathematicallish puzzles. Going back many years, he actually did a few pure mathematical ones, but that was before my current run.

Not so this week. A few clashes and a misprint in every clue, not necessarily in the definition. Unlike some, I do like misprints. The correct versions of the misprints would show how to resolve the clashes and what embellishment would need to be added to the grid. I prayed that this would not need to much artistic ability.

There were some interesting clues here. 14ac Person with ferry beheaded donor (8) conjured up a positively barbaric practice, although it needed Chambers to see that the misprinted derry was an Australian word for RESENTER, “as in the phrase have a derry on (someone)” — eh?!!

I also liked 34ac Citrus hybrids wanted wasted semolina (8) as it reminded me that I probably hadn’t had that since I was about 12 years old. Don’t know why — I loved it! 2dn We hear yob you introducing fizzy drink for good digestion (7) for EUPEPSY, on the other hand, alluded to Pepsi Cola. This, together with its slightly earlier cousin Coca, is a work of the devil and tastes horrid in my humble opinion. I’ve no idea why they’re so popular. (And don’t get me started on Dr Pepper!!)

Luckily, Aedites treated us to some SPARE RIBS at 6dn Serb pair’s broken bones from a shoot, perhaps (9, two words), although you wouldn’t think so on first reading of the clue (shoot being the misprint for shoat, a young pig).

As for the clashes, it soon became apparent that they were symmetrically placed in the grid. It was slightly less apparent that the differences between their letter values gave 1–12. I did suss this just before the end, and was relieved that the corrected misprints started Enter difference as Roman numerals and a clock face appeared before me.

Finally, Time is two fifty led (and not for the first time in my Listener years) to Rupert Brooke’s The Old Vicarage, Grantchester with “Stands the Church clock at ten to three? And is there honey still for tea?” I made sure that the hour hand I drew on the grid was shorter than the minute hand, otherwise it would look like a quarter past ten.

Thanks for an enjoyable puzzle, Aedites.

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