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Posts Tagged ‘Aedites’

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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Dilemma by Aedites

Posted by shirleycurran on 18 August 2017

A lovely short preamble (yes, I know that can be the precursor to a dastardly crossword but fortunately, this was not the case). We at once speculated – “What was the location of the Gettysburg address?” Well, Gettysburg, probably. “Where did Churchill make his ‘blood, sweat and tears’ speech?”, “… Chamberlain’s ‘Peace in our time’ was on some aerodrome runway wasn’t it?” The possibilities are endless. It was a rather misleading preamble; as usual nothing to do but start solving. So we did.

Of course I scanned the clues to check Aedites’ right to his Listener Setters’ Alcohol Promoters membership card and drinks were rather restrained but one of the earliest clues we solved produced an EWER, ‘Less without front container for liquids (4)’ FEWER minus the F, and the very next clue we solved produced the ‘red’ to fill it; ‘Red cover disrupted levees (6)’. LEVEES* gave us SLEEVE and we had found a misprint since that had to be a ‘rod’ cover. Clearly that red was being imbibed in quantities as  the next misprint we discovered came from another decapitated word ‘Fight thwarted without force (5)’ which must be FOILED without the F telling us that now he was OILED with a misprint giving TIGHT  So cheers, Aedites. Membership confirmed. Hope we’ll see you at the bar in Paris.

Solving was speedy and we admired the economy of the compilation. When I once said that a  personal maximum number of words in a clue was twelve, I earned a horrified reaction from an editor who said he aims at an average of six. Some difficult words oblige a setter to use eight or ten, and a device, like misprints, can add length but Aedites had three and four-word clues to give a fine balance: ‘Territory for stags (5)’ gave us STAGE producing the E corrected misprint and STATE (Surely definition was rather too close to solution? Ed.). ‘Safe to keep dog in sight (6)’ giving SEE round CUR – what a lovely surface reading.

Last week I spent about seven hours finding Sabre’s bees so I appreciated a relatively gentle solve this week. HAMLET quickly emerged at the head of the message produced by the corrected misprints. I love the play having spent my last year of uni studies focusing on it, and it was clearly going to be ACT THREE SCENE ONE that was going to produce a large question mark and ‘To be or not to be, that is the question’ with a word missing – and there it was. We had just one Numpty red herring; ‘Apparently raise temperature in dressed spud (7)’ had mystified us (and I still don’t understand the wordplay) but we had opted for CURRIED on the basis that a SPAD can be a horse and dressing a horse is ‘currying’ it. No, it had to be SPED!

The end game – creating that large question mark – changed that to HURRIED and SPED, which, of course brings me to the

Couple of existentially challenged hares

HARES. Obviously a Lewis Carroll-style white-rabbitty HARE had just sped off the lower left hand corner decapitated (by the grid margin), like those Aedites clues, but there were a couple in a typical hare boxing match up there in the centre of the question mark (possibly somewhat existentially challenged beasts). Good fun, thanks, Aedites.


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‘Dilemma’ by Aedites

Posted by Encota on 18 August 2017

Firstly thank you to Aedites for a gentle and accurate puzzle featuring the Bard.  Early on we find out that the ‘To be or not to be …’ speech comes from Hamlet Act Three Scene One, as we uncover the misprints in the Across clues.  Now that is almost ‘QI’ knowledge – the sort of thing you know isn’t important in its own right but is, well, Quite Interesting.

That Title by That Setter looks an ideal mix for possible anagrams, don’t you think?  And I am a fan of longer anagrams …

  • We had two ‘Greek’ clues, an ‘Eastern Church’ and a Title, ‘Dilemma’, that felt immediately based on Greek.
  • There was Miss America in 39a, no doubt gaining her ‘beauty sleep’ through the same daily bedtime.
  • There was ‘red’ in 37a, which I admit may be diesel.
  • In 12d we met The Times which, by definition, is timely-based media.
  • Or perhaps the politician in 29d isn’t Scottish at all but refers to the PM and May’s ideal bedtime.

And finally, in case you feel those are so short at 16 letters that they hardly even count as long anagrams, may I offer you one from one of my Posts back in March 2016:

This week’s anagram features as most of the following clue from the Guardian blog by Alan Connor (with enigmatically as the anagram indicator and everything else the anagram fodder):

Enigmatically, in one of the Bard’s best-thought-of tragedies
our insistent hero, Hamlet, queries on two fronts
about how life turns rotten (2,2,2,3,2,2,4,2,3,8,7,3,6,2,3,4,2,6,3,6,3,6,2,10,7)

There are some answers that can be biffed – and this has got to be the ultimate example!  Feel free to check my working…



Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4461: Dilemma by Aedites

Posted by Dave Hennings on 18 August 2017

The previous Listener from Aedites was last year’s enjoyable romp around the pre-Trump American states and their nicknames. I don’t recall there being any dilemma about entering SHOW-ME (Missouri’s nickname) below the grid so I hoped there would be no endgame consternation this week either.

In fact, the whole puzzle came together nicely, with only definitional misprints in the acrosses to wrestle with. I did wonder why 23ac Leading character in case replaced by name like Ian in China? (6) led to a somewhat general definition of NATIVE as man in China?. I felt this was a bit vague (until I sussed it as Han in China?).

It was only when I was writing this blog that I noticed that I hadn’t crossed off the clue to 36ac Apparently raise temperature in dressed spud (7). I didn’t recall that it caused a problem, but as I stared at my entry HURRIED, I couldn’t work it out. Of course it was CURRIED (dressed) upped from Cold to Hot.

Before too long, I had the corrected misprints starting Haml t. I must admit to thinking “Oh no! Not again?” A scan of the database showed that Artix had used “These are but wild and whirling words, my lord” last year, with ‘Eck’s “I could be bounded in a nut-shell” in 2015.

Luckily, I could see that the remainder of the misprint corrections were trying to spell out Act Three, Scene one and “To be, or not to be, that is the question:” enabled TO BE OR NOT TO BE… IS THE to be pencilled into the grid in the shape of a ?, TH and E separated by one square.

After that, the grid was all finished fairly quickly, a little over an hour from start to end.

Not much more to say really, except thanks to Aedites. I hope, however, that there are a few years before the next Hamlet puzzle, although I suspect there are an awful lot of equally well-known extracts left.

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