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Posts Tagged ‘Aedites’

Excess by Aedites

Posted by shirleycurran on 26 Nov 2021

The shortest preamble for a while earned initial Numpty approval but then I read through the clues with dismay. Yes indeed, the HARE is back after his long holidays, bringing a few mates, ‘Cloth used for trousers when chasing hares in Patagonia (10)’. We put MARASCHINO into our grid wondering about the definition (MARAS + CHINO) -“That’s a cherry grown in Croatia isn’t it?” I said: but I couldn’t see much alcohol. Has Aedites become TT? Can he retain his membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit?

It was our next solve that gave us a hint, ‘Middle sections of plasma active (4)’ Oh dear, that has to be the crossword setter’s favourite (pl)AS(ma) (ac)TI(ve) = ASTI. But where is the definition ‘fizzy Italian plonk’? Light dawned. ‘The result might explain the lack of definition’.

That must be referring to the result of the instruction TAKE IN INITIAL LETTERS OF THE CLUES. Those were the initial letters of ‘the other ten’. We coloured the clues to eight more words that seemed somewhat boozy: COGNAC, CHARTREUSE, SHERRY, PURL (yes, we needed Chambers for that), GIN SLING, SANGAREE, GRAPPA and MAHWA and read their initial letters finding ALCOHOLISM.

Oh dear, oh dear. This was really overdoing things – no wonder we had ‘Excess’ as the title. I commented to the other Numpty “We will have to expel Aedites from the LSOO for setting such an appalling example!” but he responded, “On the contrary: we will have to appoint him President!” There were some fine clues and he even brought back the little hare. So “Cheers, Aedites!”

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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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