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Posts Tagged ‘An Exchange of Letters’

‘An Exchange of Letters’ by Harribobs

Posted by Encota on 13 Apr 2018


Or so spelled out the changed letters of each clue’s answer.

Sorting out one and only one change to each answer to create its grid entry was, for me at least, the hardest part of this puzzle.  Eventually it all worked out though, with STRANGE appearing on the leading diagonal.

2018-03-24 12.35.56

Will at least one person, in their rush, mistakenly modify what becomes STRONGER at 39ac to form STRANGEr.  Who knows – but ‘odder’ things have happened.

Talking of STRANGE, … then Tony Strange, a good friend of mine, is a Physics teacher at Ipswich school here in Suffolk.

He rumours (though I have never checked) that the plate on his door reads:


to the (mild) amusement of some of his pupils.


Tim / Encota

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An Exchange of Letters by Harribobs

Posted by shirleycurran on 13 Apr 2018

We appreciate a short preamble and Harribobs gave us one with very little to worry us: a word to highlight in the final grid that was the final word of a quotation that would appear when we had changed just one letter in each word that we entered (quite a challenge for a setter!) Fortunately we were also going to identify the source of the quotation by finding a misprint in every across clue and all the final words in our grid were going to be real words. That left us the down clues with no disturbing gimmick. We got down to solving.

Of course, I found the evidence that Harribobs retains his place in the Listener Setters’ Tippling Club and he gave us ‘Whisky and soda recipe is used in prank in Hull (7)’ We decided that the R (recipe) had to go into the whisky and soda STINGER to give us a STRINGER or a reinforcing plank in a ship’s hull, thus producing an L of our quotation’s source at the same time. That was all the alcohol there was in Harribobs’ compilation – but it was enough. Cheers Harribobs!

We solved steadily with some struggles. Does a WEE TEST really exist? I doubt it, but it made us smile and, of course, ‘In parts extremely soaked … (7)’ gave us the dialect form of ‘wettest’. LUREX had us struggling too though we were obviously looking for ‘Those who Etch (not Itch) wearing some light cloth (5)’ That U went in as our very last letter when we realized that the RE were ‘formerly the Royal Society of Etchers and Engravers’ (according to the Big Red Book) and that they were surrounded ny LUX (some light).

Fortunately it was that part of our grid that filled the fastest and we very soon had HENRY W LONGFELLOW. Of course I went to the ODQ to see if the letters we already had would give me that all-important quotation – but it was not to be (though I did find something about four and a half bees!) We needed a poem about K????OS and vainly searched for a Longfellow interest in KNOSSOS. Oh those Listener red herrings!

Happily, PISIFORM appeared and gave us an R misprint in the clue (caRpus, not caMpus) and that was all we needed to find KERAMOS and our quotation “All things must change to something new, something STRANGE”.

We had to be very systematic about changing one letter in each clue to the one provided by the quotation. I wonder how long it took Harribobs to create this grid with that device in it! There were pitfalls for the unwary; it would be so easy to put SNITS and TIRL in that bottom left-hand corner, thus changing two letters of SNAGS. I wonder if any solver did! Many thanks, Harribobs.

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Listener No 4495: An Exchange of Letters by Harribobs

Posted by Dave Hennings on 13 Apr 2018

Harribobs’s Listener puzzle from last year was all about the eight post-war German chancellors. It required PALAIS SCHAUMBURG to be written under the grid. I checked lots of things in the puzzle before sending it off to St Albans. Unfortunately the spelling of SCHAUMBURG wasn’t one of them. Somewhere along the line it got changed to SCHAUMBERG. Grrr!

I knew I was in for a reasonably tricky ride here, even though Harribobs is a relatively new setter with his first puzzle in 2015. Although I didn’t tackle it, Inquisitor 1526 Inner Turmoil caused a lot of debate over at 15², with clues under the headings Normal, Reversed, Cycled, Reversed and Cycled, Jumbled. Yikes.

Nothing too unusual here this week. All entries needed to have one letter changed before entry and all across clues needed one letter changing before solving (I think that’s a misprint to you and me). The new letters in the grid would spell out a quotation, and the new letters in the clues would give its source. Yikes!

Starting on the downs seemed logical… nothing but straightforward clueing here. Although I know precious little about cricket, I managed 3dn WILTS (with help from Google), followed by 4dn Particle with periodic arrangement in aminobutene (4) for MOTE (since it was unlikely to be A NUN). For some bizarre reason (OK, those who know me it’s because I’m going gaga), I wrote TAP WATERS in at 7dn instead of WATER TAPS.

As expected, progress was fairly slow — clashes frequently are, which is what they effectively were, and lots of them. Eventually the correct versions of misprints in the across clues gave Keramos, Henry W Longfellow. I thought the editors were having a pop at me by forcing me to reference both my mistakes from last year, although Sabre’s bees was actually based on a quotation from Longfellow’s Kavanagh.

Keramos seemed to be a somewhat lengthy poem, but I didn’t need to read all of it, although I did. It seemed to be about a potter and his art, although it was probably a metaphor for life and death or some such — over to you, Shirley.

Anyway, a short way in I came to “[Turn, turn, my wheel!] All things must change / To something new, to something strange;” and that hit the nail on the head. In fact, the quotation was needed to resolve some of the ambiguities since not all the changes to words resulted from clashes. For example 14ac SPOT could change to SPAT, SPET or SPIT.

Before sending my solution off to JEG, I spent almost as long checking my solution as I had filling the grid (well, not quite). Even so, it is always possible that some gremlin got in the works. Let’s hope not. I’m pretty sure I highlighted STRANGE!

All in all, a fairly tough day at the office. Thanks, Harribobs.

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