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Posts Tagged ‘Agricola’

Location, Location, location by Agricola

Posted by shirleycurran on 28 Jan 2022

Seven lines of preamble and 47 clues gave such a full page that I had to shrink it! We read about synonyms, and ‘foreign synonyms of a third location’, then about names adding up to 39 or 40 cells that were jumbled in groups of contiguous cells. ‘Jumbled’ – Oh dear! Nothing to do but start solving.

Well, of course, there was something to do and I didn’t need to read far to confirm that Agricola retains his entry ticket to the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Elite (and maybe to Stirling too if he can make the journey). ‘I have knocked back main Scottish beers (7)’ “Those must be HEAVIES” said the Scottish Numpty. “Knocked must be the anagram indicator for I HAVE and the main is the SEA, backed and producing an extra A.”

The extra letters soon gave us JAPANESE CAR MANUFACTURER and the down clue ones spelled out MAORI FESTIVAL AT MID-WINTER. After a puzzle over whether to put a Z or an S in VALORIZED (we opted for the Z on the argument that we had to behead and reverse MIROSLAV before the ZED bar, and use the S in the FESTIVAL message) and a hunt for 1d. FIVERS were notes but FINS for US five-dollar bills was new to us.

So we had FINSBURY PARK and BECKHAM YARN down our main diagonal but couldn’t put it all together – what had DAVID STORY to do with it? We went back to watching ‘The Good Doctor’ on Netflix and left the endgame to morning. “Victoria Line” were the first words of the other Numpty and we soon found that it runs between Finsbury Park and Tottenham Hale (SPURS ROBUST – Oh dear – we are not soccer fans and to have Arsenal, Spurs and a Beckham in one crossword was almost too much! But we get tired of London-centred crosswords too so I was a real grump!)

SUBARU and MATARIKI now made sense (the Internet had been telling us that the Maori celebrate the Pleiades or Seven Sisters). Light dawned and we found that the Seven Sisters were MAIA, ELECTRA, TAYGETE, CELAENO, ALCYONE, [A]STEROPE and MEROPE. We aren’t instructed to highlight those sisters but, of course, had to find them to know that MEROPE was not jumbled in the grid. Quite a challenge, thanks, Agricola.


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Слушатель 4588: Черная Мария по Агрiкоla

Posted by Dave Hennings on 24 Jan 2020

Gosh! Only 5 months since Agricola’s last Listener with its theme of Coleridge’s Kubla Khan. I guessed that this week’s must have some date-related link. Seven wordplay-only clues would give us most of the thematic material with a couple of Arabic numerals and a foreign word for good measure.

2dn Frame from Gary Larson coloured with leaderless sheep (12) looked like it would be anagrammatical. That could be from G(ar)Y + LARSON + C +(s)HEEP, except that was too many letters and no anagram indicator! Coloured can mean disguised, but no amount of letter doodling revealed the answer.

No matter, the image of Gary Larson’s weird Far Side world that the clue conjured up was superb. Trying a few of the downs, 3 ERNE and 5 ELLA enabled a bit more doodling, and SELENOGRAPHY soon popped out. So we were dealing with Lunar activity and, given 2ac, far side lunar activity?! I remembered that the Russians were the first to photograph the far side back in the late 50s, but I couldn’t recall any more detail than that.

There was only one thing to do: finish the grid and try to find the devices, topographic features and personal names. Finding all these items certainly brought smiles to my face. 1dn and 29dn were the two devices: CHANG’E 4 and LUNA 3 with 4 O’CLOCK and 3-DIMENSIONAL as their crossing entries. CLEVERNESS and MUSCOVY were the two large topographical seas on the far side, and and DIANA and ARTEMIS were the two personal names for the moon. Luna 3 was a Soviet spacecraft launched in 1959 and was the first mission to photograph the far side of the Moon. Chang’e 4 was a Chinese mission that achieved the first soft landing on the far side of the Moon in January 2019.

Of course, the clue to 28dn was icing on the cake:Today 17 get back Cuba and Niger on reflection (6) led to Россия (COP< + C + RN<), Russia in Russian with RN for Niger reflected… literally! It needed a final reading of the preamble to remind me that both DIANA and ARTEMIS were wholly entered to give Россия, including the D, E and S to be entered in mirror image.

Good fun, Agricola, and a great start to the year. Here’s a video of all sides of the moon courtesy of Nasa on YouTube.


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L4588 ‘Black Maria’ by Agricola

Posted by Encota on 24 Jan 2020

A gentle start to 2020 – or so we initially thought!

Find the Spacecraft and Moon references, add a bit of Cyrillic and we’re done.

Aargh! I almost missed the subtle message asking us to identify the successful Moon Landing astronauts. I expected them all to be shown by what NASA call their tri-codes: ALDrin, CERnan etc., but some were much more subtle.

Here is my completed Grid:

And to think I expected an easy one this week. But The Listener has to keep up its ‘very difficult’ ranking, of course – we’d expect nothing less 😉

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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Dream On by Agricola

Posted by shirleycurran on 23 Aug 2019

We downloaded a puzzle with a fine, clear and short preamble. That word ‘collinearly’ was a new one on me. I wondered, initially, if it was something to do with railways in collieries but decided to wait and see what the endgame produced to confirm it. I didn’t wait to see whether Agricola retains his Oenophile place in the Listener Setters’ outfit. A rather crude ‘Check over soak’s stool in Maine (7)’ gave us TAB + O + RET and suggested there was some alcohol about, and it turned out to be quality stuff – malt, ‘Mongolian malt extracts to scatter about (5)’. We turned over STROW to give us WORTS, which the BRB tells me are ‘malt extracts unfermented or in the process of fermentation’. I think we can drink to that, ‘Cheers, Agricola!”

‘Mongolian’ seemed to be one of the extra words that we needed to locate in order to find which solutions contained ‘collinearly’ the items we ultimately needed to highlight. They were an odd set but we selected COLE RIDGES IMAGINATION BLOSSOMING THUS SPECIALISED MONGOLIAN HORTICULTURE INSPIRING SAMUEL.

I kick myself that we had found WALL and TOWER each appearing twice symmetrically before we spotted ALPH, the sacred river, winding its way between them, and put together SAMUEL COLE RIDGE (what happened to his TAYLOR?) Our gridfill was speedy and we knew that we were in Xanadu with Kubla Khan, but we spent a few fruitless minutes hunting for caverns, a pleasure dome and a sunless sea – but it was not to be.

“CISTUS” said the other Numpty, “Isn’t that an incense-bearing tree?” We were off on a tree hunt, happily prompted by those clues with the extra words but I was still tempted to include LIANE, or even LING or DAHLIA. The forty-letter constraint finally led me to see whether there was a tree called BOSWELLIA – happily there is, so I highlighted it with BALSAM, SANTAL, LASERWORT and, to my surprise, SPRUCE. I learn something from every Listener that we solve. Thank you, Agricola.

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Listener No 4517: In Transit by Agricola

Posted by Dave Hennings on 14 Sep 2018

This was only the second Listener from Agricola, following on from Heisinger, Schrodinger and his cat last year (The Code Duello). That had two Playfair codes at its heart. Luckily, for those who don’t like them, this puzzle had only one. However, it was of the type where the code word has repeating letters which I guessed might make it a little trickier on the deciphering front.

A golfing holiday approached, so no time for much detail this week. Suffice it to say, it was a thoroughly enjoyable solve. It wasn’t too long before the UK to NZ theme popped out together with the two capes, Horn and Hope. The Captain Cook theme was pretty straightforward, but it took Wiki to remind me of his observation of the transit of Venus.

Even the Playfair code square could be deduced from the preamble — HMS END[E]AVOUR. If that wasn’t obvious, the encoding of 17 and 37 across was given, which I assume gave enough information to work out the code on their own.

All that remained was to move the astronomical symbol for Venus from the left to the right of that for the Sun with the F replacing it. (I checked with the notes for Mynot’s Stomach puzzle in 2016 to see what the accepted symbols were. I know there were alternatives, but I think most were accepted.) This gave JAMES COOK encoded in the central column as KDSNSFVAP.

Thanks, Agricola, good fun.

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