Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Posts Tagged ‘Apt’

Listener No 4536: Meowed by Apt

Posted by Dave Hennings on 25 January 2019

Eighteen months ago, Apt’s first Listener had Hofstadter’s Law as its theme. This basically says that things take longer than you think, even when you take that into account. I think some Listeners fall into that category for me. This week, Apt had the honour of providing first Listener of the year.

Apt chose to slot an extra word into each clue, the first letters of those in the acrosses giving a phrase from a play and some of those in the downs giving definitions of new entries which needed to appear in the grid.

Apt’s clues were fairly forgiving, and the grid was completed in shorter than average time. My favourite was probably 34ac Fly [economy], or part of “jet-set” section (6) which was a simple hidden TSETSE. Actually, ‘simple’ didn’t describe it for me, since it completely passed me by on first reading. Perhaps it was the quotation marks that boggled me, since 5dn Strike [tendentious] passage from translation (4) gave me no such problem.

The unclued entries were easy to complete, and together with the first letters of the extra across words gave “All debts are cleared BETWEEN YOU AND I” from Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice. I won’t say that it is top of my pet hates, but ‘between you and I’ instead of ‘between you and me’ is pretty high on the list.

Once I had dispensed with the extra down words that were definitons of words revealed by changing all the Is in the grid to MEs, the first letters of the remaining extra words gave R P R T C E E O R I H C O N Y. ‘Incorrect hopery’ was my first guess, and HYPERCORRECTION was second — or was it third, which was lucky because I’d never heard of the word before.

Thanks to Apt for a gentle introduction to the year. Probably got it wrong!

For those of you who may have been wondering what is top of my list of pet hates, it’s people who, normally in text messages, use ‘should of’ instead of ‘should have’, as in “I should of known better”!

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Meowed by Apt

Posted by shirleycurran on 25 January 2019

“Meowed? Something about a cat”, we mused, as we began our pencil and paper solve driving down from a week at 8000ft in the Sierra Nevada. Of course I checked to see whether Apt retains his membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Elite and he didn’t score too well with just ‘port’ towards the end of his clues ‘Heading north skinned fish departed port city (6) ODESSA went in there (Was it (p)ASSED O(n)

I’m jumping ahead. We read a clear preamble that led us to a play (“Probably Shakespeare, we said – maybe poor Tom is the cause of the Meowing.”) and a ‘purported’ error that we were going to rectify in the final grid. Extra words were going to be used in three different ways. Initial letters of those in across clues would give us words of a speech. Some in down clues would define the words created by the rectified ‘purported error’ and the remainder would give us letters to anagram, together with the circled letters, to form a term for the error. Nothing daunting there, and, after all, this was the first crossword of the year so we were expecting a gentle one.

Solving was speedy and by the time we reached Silicon Valley we had a full grid with just one doubt and a familiar phrase: “ALL DEBTS ARE CLEARED …” “BETWEEN YOU AND I”, I completed. That oh-so-magnanimous declaration of Antonio in The Merchant of Venice, when he is about to give his pound of flesh for Bassanio. “Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all miscarried. My creditors grow cruel. My estate is very low. My bond to the Jew is forfeit. And since in paying it, it is impossible I should live, all debts are cleared between you and I if I might but see you at my death. Notwithstanding, use your pleasure. If your love do not persuade you to come, let not my letter.”

We have that comical little book of English grammar ‘Between You and I” on the shelves at home and are well aware that the term of fussing about this traditional  use of the nominative after a preposition is considered to be ‘HYPERCORRECTION’ so it was an inverse solve to work out which of the extra words of the down clues were definitions of the Is that were to be changed to ME. RAMESES gave PHARAOH, MESHES gave NETWORK, GAMELY led to WILLINGLY, SMEGMA had to be SECRETION, HUMMED gave HOAXED, SMELT was the FISH and EMMETS areTOURISTS somewhere in the south-west. Nice, Apt.

Our missing letter was in E?EA ‘Less than half of tuition that’s on the web site for philosophers. Was this E-TEA(CHING) or E-LEA(RNING)? We needed Chambers to tell us that ELEATIC referred to ELEA, a gathering site for philosophers. Of course there was no Poor Tom – just ME OWED. Many thanks, Apt.

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

L4536: ‘Meowed’ by Apt

Posted by Encota on 25 January 2019

A very gentle start to The Listener crossword in 2019 – thank you to Apt and the Editors for that 🙂

I was impressed with the Chambers definition of HYPERCORRECTION – the word to be written below the grid – which cites ‘between you and I’ as part of its definition.

Though most clues were straightforward, a couple took me a little more time:

13d. Those attending Pharaoh fret when rule of law’s abandoned (4)

‘Pharaoh’ was the extra word, so becoming:

Those attending fret when rule of law’s abandoned (4) 

I even had ?ATE.  What I’d missed (yet again!) was R for ‘rule of law’, defined in the BRB as R: rule (law), leading to G(r)ATE.  One day I’ll remember that without the BRB’s help!

And 25d’s,

Heading north, skinned fish departed port city (6) 

which became, after word deletion,

Heading north, skinned departed port city (6) 

It looked like it was going to be ODESSA, but why?  Eventually I think I parsed it correctly as { (p)ASSED O(n) }<

And the Title?  I think it’s ME (for I) and OWED (for the Merchant of Venice reference in the hidden message, “ALL DEBTS ARE CLEARED BETWEEN YOU AND I”).

Surely coincidence, I did notice that the rumoured late-1970s punk alter ego of this professional opera singer ( ) was present in the grid, in the form of SAM SMEGMA – but that’s quite enough about that 🙂

2019-01-06 23.51.14 copy

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota


Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Polo by Apt

Posted by shirleycurran on 21 July 2017

Solving the weekly Listener puzzle becomes something of an OCD doesn’t it? We were on an AutoReiseZug (one of those wonderful trains where you load your car then sleep happily as the train covers about five hundred miles and deposits you and the car at your destination). A friend kindly sent me the puzzle but I was unable to print it so we drew our grid and wrote out all the clues (on the back of this month’s Magpie – it was useful for that even if it contains a rather daunting D numerical puzzle by Ned and a Shark E) then solved on the mini table of the couchette until late into the night.

A friend commented that he has often gone to similar lengths. His wife watched him with amusement as he wrote the crossword out longhand in the Atacama desert then went to great lengths to find a post office only to earn the mildly sardonic comment from Mr Green, some months later, that he had gone to great lengths to post a wrong solution.

But wouldn’t it be just our luck to have such a complex and different grid to hand-draw! A polo ‘the mint with the hole’ indeed. Of course, as I read out and the other Numpty wrote out the clues, we had spotted that Apt justified his membership of the Listener setters’ oenophile outfit with ‘Drank just over half of alcohol getting wasted (4)’ (ALCO* giving COLA and producing an A misprint for ‘drink’) Cheers, Apt, see you at the bar!

The grid filled steadily with Mrs Bradford’s help and a few doubts. YORICK had to be the answer to the last across clue, ‘In play he’d tested City, in command during second half (6)’ with YORK circling IC, but we needed to correct a misprint that must be in ‘tested’. ‘Rested’? I know Hamlet better than any other play  and that seemed to be a very weak solution to the conundrum as that skull had been in the ground for some 25 years “And smelled so? Pah!” but it took me ages to realize that the corrected word was ‘jested’. Of course, we didn’t need to know since we were, rather unusually, spelling that name out with the incorrect letters.

Our misprints spelled out HOFSTADTER’S LAW and the other Numpty had heard of that but, in any case, it was appearing around the perimeter of the grid as “IT WILL TAKE LONGER THAN YOU THINK EVEN IF YOU TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THAT … it will take longer than you think – we didn’t even need to check that the unchecked letters had spelled out TATTY THRIFT HOVEL but now that we have arrived at our destination I have been able to check that Hofstadter’s sequel was ‘I am a strange loop’, and a strange loop it was indeed. Thanks to Apt for an entertaining evening’s solve.

The hares? We are in northern Germany and I rather expected to find a Hase in four letters in a straight line but the Hase was frolicking with a rather jumbled hare,  with another couple looking on from above.

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Loop* by Apt

Posted by Encota on 21 July 2017

When I noticed that ‘Polo’, the Title of this delightful puzzle, could define itself using ‘I am a strange loop’, then I thought to myself, “Now that is Apt”

Many Listener solvers will be very familiar with the startlingly original book subtitled The Eternal Golden Braid (EGB) by Douglas Hofstadter from the 1970s (?) which intertwined thinking on Escher, Gödel and Bach with mathematics, Artificial Intelligence, music, philosophy, Lewis Carroll and much more besides.  It’s not a quick read but well worth the effort.  His follow-up book in 2007/08 was: “I am a strange loop”.  And they’re full of loopy things, contradictions and items that merely seem to be contradictions…


[The ‘fridge door wall’ at the Eden Project, Cornwall, UK]

So if the Theme is based on Hofstadter and his ‘loops’, then how strange would an Escher, Gödel, Bach based-loop need to look?  This strange, perhaps?

2017-07-02 22.43.58 copy

Coincidence, or merely seems to be coincidence?  You decide…

One of my favourite themes, very well executed.
Finally, looping all the way back to the start, I’d very much like to thank the Setter:
now that is Apt.


Tim / Encota

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »