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Posts Tagged ‘Aedites’

L4558: ‘A Moral Story’ by Aedites

Posted by Encota on 28 June 2019

A gentle well-constructed puzzle – thanks Aedites.

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There was some tough vocab, of course, but with Chambers by my side that was fine.  I fell for the RHINE/RHEIN trap at 14ac initially, even with the big ‘hint of Cologne’.  And I had a less savoury alternative at 5d which I thankfully quickly discounted.

The added letter per clue meant that the Title of THE WATER BABIES – A FAIRY TALE FOR A LAND BABY appeared fairly quickly.  The K of KINGSLEY on the leading diagonal helped me confirm DAK as Indian mail, which was new to me, as part of the wordplay for 10d’s KNEAD.

And if I had a pound for every time I forget and re-discover ENS as meaning existence (33a) … I’d have about seven pounds 🙂


Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4558: A Moral Story by Aedites

Posted by Dave Hennings on 28 June 2019

Last year, Aedites had entries acting as though they were on a Möbius Strip, dropping off one side of the grid and appearing diagonally opposite. Before that, Hamlet and before that, American states. Fair to say then that Aedites gets around a bit. This week we were back in literary mode.

Extra letters in wordplay will spell out the title of a book with the perimeter being filled with five characters from it. No difficulty here, with the book quickly being identified as The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley, he of Westward Ho! fame. I have forgotten if I ever read the book, but if I did, the full title was news to me: The Water Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land-baby, although which words, if any, were to be hyphenated or the comma colon-ised was difficult to discern from the interweb.

With KINGSLEY to be highlighted in the leading NW–SE diagonal, all that remained was for the perimeter to be completed: MRS BEDONEBYASYOUDID (you’d have thought she’d have hyphenated her name a bit), MOTHER CAREY, ELLIE, GRIMES and TOM. Sadly, Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby (also unhyphenated) couldn’t make it this week.

All in all, a fairly easy one. Thanks, Aedites.

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A Moral Story by Aedites

Posted by shirleycurran on 28 June 2019

A Moral Story indeed. My primary school years were full of those and we hadn’t solved for long when a familiar title began to emerge in the letters produced by wordplay that were not to be entered in the grid. We already had enough letters of KINGSLEY to be fairly sure that our story was THE WATER BABIES but how could that title possibly extend to the 36 letters required to be extracted from 36 clues? We were too busy solving to check on our dear friend and ally Wiki but, had we done so, we would have seen that the full title is THE WATER BABIES A FAIRY TALE FOR A LAND BABY.

Yes, I was one of those land babies and, even at the age of six or so, wasn’t very fond of Piers Plowman, Puck of Pook’s Hill, the Flower Fairy Alphabet or The Water Babies – the texts our teachers insisted we read to turn us into good little children. However, that didn’t stop us enjoying Aedites gentle and generous clueing.

Of course I checked that Aedites retains his seat of honour in the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Assembly and he almost disgraced himself’ ‘Drunk in the river – the river in Köln? (5)’ indeed! We extracted an extra T from INTHE R* and stupidly entered RHINE into our grid – that slowed our filling of the grid (I should know better – we spend most of next month with our German relatives not too far from the RHEIN). Then there was ‘Smuggler seizing substantive drink in the past (5)’. By this time, we knew we needed an extra B and we know a MULE is a smuggler so ‘substantive’ had to be SB to produce MULSE. Very nice – cheers Aedites!

We needed Wiki again to remind us that the characters were TOM, ELLIE, MOTHER CAREY and MRS BEDONEBYASYOUDID  and all that was left to do was highlight KINGSLEY. What do I learn? It’s the 200th anniversary of his birth. We were expecting a crossword about the 75th anniversary of the D Day landings but I infinitely prefer a literary one. Many thanks, Aedites.

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August Break by Aedites

Posted by shirleycurran on 19 October 2018

‘Strange title’ we said, ‘since we are almost at the end of September’. Of course, at that point we were not aware that the crossword was celebrating a German mathematician who died 150 years ago (on 26th September, 1868).

I particularly enjoy Aedites’ crosswords and have been happily solving one or more every year since we began to attempt the Listener so I really don’t need to check his adherence to the Listener topers’ outfit but I do a quick run through the clues anyway and find that they are rather sparse as far as alcohol is concerned. ‘Soft malt extracts work (7)’ is all I find. I suppose the ‘soft malt’ must be the ‘gentle spirit’ from the highest distillery, Dalwhinnie, rather than one of the peaty island malts. Oh dear, we solve the clue and decide there has to be a misprint in it and that this is a ‘soft male’ – he ‘MILKS OP’ so is a milksop. Hmmm! Well cheers, anyway, Aedites.

Fine clues, these, and solving goes along steadily until we have the centre columns of the grid filled with three of the 11-letter clues giving us a useful skeleton for the grid. ‘SBIRRIGATE’ made us smile. ‘Wasp underground for all to see involved in Italian police scandal (11)’ We put a U into what must be the Italian version of Watergate, and decided that ‘WasH underground must be SUBIRRIGATE. ‘Taunton dean comes to farm (that had to be Harm – an anagram indicator) without any comments (11)’ gave us UNANNOTATED, and with ELECTROTYPE, we soon had all but those curious unclued, half words at the left hand side of the grid in place.

I fed a few letters into TEA and that gave me ‘ORNITHOSAURS’ for ‘Cold-blooded fliers and sick authors in irons clanging (11)’, so  it had to be another misprint in an anagram indicator, cHanging AUTHORS and IRONS (rather a clunky surface reading in that clue, I am trying to picture authors and prehistoric flying beasts clanking about in irons – but I know that these long specialist words can be tough to clue).

Fairly early on, we had worked out that the message told us to EXPLAIN THE GRID HIGHLIGHT ELEVEN LETTERS but the remaining six divided words had us head-scratching for a while as we hadn’t yet spotted MOBIUS STRIP down that diagonal. However, a break for dinner and a new look made all fall into place. Of course, if we treat the grid as a MOBIUS STRIP, FAST joins up with DAYS, HAIR with TAIL, RAS with TAS and so on. What a fine final touch. Thanks to Aedites.


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‘August Break’ by Aedites

Posted by Encota on 19 October 2018

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August Ferdinand Möbius was a German mathematician, immortalised by his one-sided surfaces formed (in the simplest case) by taking a strip of paper, twisting it once and then fastening the ends together.  This one-sided shape then has more interesting properties than you might first imagine.  Has everyone tried cutting one down the middle lengthwise, as a simple example?  Or cutting down its length but in a width ratio 1:2?  Or inserting multiple twists before fastening?  All good fun I can remember trying over half a lifetime ago …

In this week’s puzzle it seems to be being used to instruct the words starting horizontally on the right to finish horizontally on the left, in the 180deg rotationally symmetric locations.  Going with this approach appeared to be right, and it let the eleven-letter phrase MOBIUS STRIP appear diagonally down, starting at 2.

To visualise it some more, I envisaged it being solved on a piece of acetate and then formed into a strip after one twist.  This allowed the words to be seen joined up with the letters in the correct order but with some inverted.  I experimented with inverting some letters in the original grid but I couldn’t find a combination of inversions that worked both Horizontally and Vertically, so decided I must be overcomplicating it and stopped there.  I am going to feel a twit when I find out I’ve missed something!


Tim / Encota



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