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Posts Tagged ‘Artix’

L4605: ‘Times Listener’ by Artix

Posted by Encota on 22 May 2020

I finished filling out the grid with it being almost certain that the missing words were SPRING, SUMMER, AUTUMN and WINTER, given that they all successfully created new words.  But – at that stage of solving – why?

I went to bed on the Friday night mulling it over.  Fortunately, early on Saturday morning I spotted the three TURNs in the grid and all became clear.  A bit of Googling of the song Turn! Turn! Turn! and its source of Ecclesiastes appeared.  I could then double check the twenty words from the material to be certain how the six entries that abutted (rather than crossed) the empty rectangles were treated – and all was sorted.

Apologies for the OTT nature of the bars in the above image. Roughly half of my errors in thematics over the years seem to be from missing out bars that should be there, so I was determined not to be caught out this time. I wonder if I have still stuffed it up!?

Thanks once again to Artix for a tough and very enjoyable puzzle!

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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Times Listener by Artix

Posted by shirleycurran on 22 May 2020

Carte blanche (well, almost) and we are told that the bar pattern, that we must show, will be asymmetric. Well, at least the clues are in entry order and have word lengths, and oh what joy, there’s no misprint or missing or added letter device! I raise my glass to that. ‘Glass’ did I say? I fear at first that Artix isn’t providing many glasses when the fourth clue tells us ‘Kind judge to refrain. from excess (8)’ We opt for MODE + RATE. But then, almost in TT despair towards the end of his clues, I find ‘Does Bury cover its centre with bars? (6)’ We put INNS all round the centre of (b)UR(y) producing INURNS. We’d better head for the centre of Bury! (Artix is a fellow northerner – he must know something about Bury that I don’t) Cheers, Artix!

There’s a lot of pre-ramble, and, at this stage it doesn’t give us much help except to tell us that each entry, at first, will either include an empty cell or a word from the song that we are going to discover, and from its original source. I have just run through all our solved clue with a highlighter and found those 26 words. What a feat of construction Artix, especially as those words were so well incorporated that we had completely filled our grid and the dotted area without spotting the words of a very familiar song.

We solve for a long time and have a putative top half of the grid before the other Numpty retires to turn on the oven and refill his glass and I spot TRACHEOTOMY. We’ve already decided that HOME MOVE must be the two adjacent entry at 1d so my grid fill is confirmed and underway.

There were some delightful clues. I love the way our Yorkshire river, the OUSE is crossword setters’ fodder and here it is again, ‘Back waters from Yorkshire to Stoke up anew (8)’ We add REAR to our river to get REAROUSE. ‘Interject when three Greek characters lose you finally (6, two words)’ has us attempting to make ‘Butt in’ convert to three Greek letters, but of course it’s CHI + PI + N[u] = CHIP IN. What a fab-u-lous clue and how beautifully the ‘lose’ of ‘a time to lose’ is hidden in there.

With the grid almost complete, we are delighted to find that all those partial words (yes, even MANGA, ERSE and REDESIGN) can adopt another letter and still be dictionary words, and the four seasons immediately appear. I was rather Numpty-ish at this stage and maybe misled by the title Times Listener, and wondered whether we were hunting for Bob Dylan’s ‘The Times They Are a Changin’, but no, I finally saw that TURN appeared three times in my grid  and everything fell into place  – we were with The Byrds (though I had to head-scratch to see how ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ could make 15 cells. Did Artix really have to give himself that demanding final touch of the exclamation marks, still maintaining real words or phrases?

Ecclesiastes! Oh how well I know Chapter3. Our very erudite headmaster in Kirkby Lonsdale thought we were a pack of country bumpkins (we probably were) and gave us a daily dose of classical music (which instilled into me a love that has never died) but when he thought we were too stroppy, or had forgotten to turn off lights or clear up the empty milk bottles, gave us an imposition. The whole form would have to copy out Ecclesiastes Book 3. We didn’t love that – but I suppose it has helped with an Artix crossword over half a century later (thank you Boss!) and many thanks to Artix for a truly enjoyable and masterly compilation.

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Listener No 4605: Times Listener by Artix

Posted by Dave Hennings on 22 May 2020

When I’m faced with an Artix puzzle, I suspect that it’s going to be a tough day. Eighteen months ago we had John Donne and His Mistress Going to Bed with Left and Right hands swapping in the grid to reveal words from the poem.

This week’s preamble did not make me think “this is going to be a not-tough day”. For a start it was a carte blanche with an asymmetric bar pattern. Luckily clues were given in the usual order. I say carte blanche, but in fact there were four 6-cell areas symmetrically placed, one in each of the four quadrants. Unfortunately, these areas were doomed to be jumped by some of the crossing entries.

Non-jumping entries had a word from both a song and its source material. These didn’t have to be removed before solving, but hopefully could be narrowed down since we were told they were all nouns or verbs from the works.

And I can’t have been the only one to wonder if Artix and/or the editors had been on the sauce given the end of the preamble: “…but doesn’t have the first down answer, to be entered as two adjacent entries.” Time to solve some clues and hope that the requirement to highlight the repetitious part of the song’s title (after changing three cells to symbols) would be easy to spot.

APORT, ACER and EVENED came first, followed by ATIVAN, CHIP IN and TIGE. A bit of relief set in as the solving seemed to be progressing well. Sadly UREA was the only other across clue I solved on first pass. The downs also started off well with REDESIGN and AGEN. The next was a nice &lit Cole’s first acting run with Waterman at the centre: Minder (5) giving CARER (C(ole) + A + R + (Wat)ER(man)). Thus having RAC possibly in the top row, I had a peak back at the first across clue Pain GP (sort of) reverses in test operation (11) , and TRACHEOTOMY seemed a likely operation, although it took some time to resolve that as (ACHE + MOTO<) in TRY with its sneaky reference to MotoGP!

A few more downs completed a quick (?) run through. I had assumed that some entries would include a letter from the dotted area, and it took me some time to realise that all entries which crossed a dotted area made the jump. It also looked as though new words would be formed with those jumped letters added. Thus APORT could change to APPORT, AGEN -> AGENT, CARER -> CAREER and amazingly TRACHEOTOMY could change to TRACHEOSTOMY.

And so, as the grid neared completion, it became obvious that the four dotted areas would become the four seasons WINTER, AUTUMN, SPRING, SUMMER. [I know the seasons. Ed.]

As well as the clue referring to the TV series Minder, I enjoyed the clue News agency’s about to move on? About time, they say! (8) for UTTERERS (REUTERS with RE moved forward around T). And that bizarre first down clue Reduced capacity of Israel to provoke domestic upheaval (8, two words) for HOME MOVE (HOME(r) + MOVE) which led to HOME MOVIE once WINTER intervened. As expected from Artix some laugh-out-loud clueing.

A quick check in my ODQ under season eventually led me to The Bible and Ecclesiastes and that had 12 letters so I guessed I was on the right track: “To everything there is a season…”. From there I’m afraid the internet had to come to the rescue to reveal Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There is a Season) written by Pete Seeger and later recorded by The Byrds.

And just to make life difficult for himself, Artix had included twenty things that it was time for in his clues: Love, refrain, born, War, kill, lose, embrace, gather, laugh, die, weep, peace, heal, plant, dance, Stones, build, hate, break, cast.

Three exclamation marks and a bit of highlighting later and the grid was almost complete. Unusually, we were asked to include bars, how many being given at the start of each row and column. The only slight hiccup this could cause was MODERATER/ACER instead of MODERATE/RACER as it’s spelt MODERATOR.

I’m guessing that solvers fell into five groups:

  • those who read the preamble and knew of the tie-in between the song and Ecclesiastes;
  • those who got the seasons and immediately thought of the song;
  • those who saw the three TURNs in columns 1, 7 and 10;
  • those who used their ODQ and the internet;
  • those who couldn’t see what the hell was going on!

Great fun thanks, Artix.

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‘My Retirement Plan’ by Artix

Posted by Encota on 5 Oct 2018

What a clever construction this was.  Once the letters DONNE started to appear around the border, and the misprints backed it up by being corrected from DONNE (to HANDS), then the poet hinted at in the Preamble was clear.  But which poem?  My knowledge of John Donne’s poetry being pretty much non-existent I resorted to that ‘font of all wisdom and knowledge’ that is Wikipedia.

2018-09-16 15.41.46 copy

Soon to appear was the poem, On His Mistriss Retiring To Bed, or something similar, with the lines requested from the Preamble being:

License my roving hands and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new-found-land

I guess ‘roving hands’ is a reasonable instruction to swap all letters L and R in the grid – the result appearing as per the diagram above.  This change allowed LICENSE, ROVING, O MY AMERICA and NEWFOUNDLAND all to appear in the grid, as well as MISTRESS from the Title.  The Preamble said to highlight only O MY AMERICA, if I am reading ti correctly, so that’s what I did!

I loved the gloriously OTT Scottish indicator Captain Kidd’s in 27d and 18a’s
With 8, this might make Italians drunk (4)
The answer to 8d was NAIL, so {NAIL+ASTI}* could give ITALIANS, so Asti it was!

Many thanks to Artix for another enjoyable Listener solve.

And why ‘font’, I hear you ask [Really? Ed.]  The Title’s jumbling MEANT MERELY PRINT, “MEN TRY PLAIN METRE”, providing MERRIMENT-A-PLENTY.

Or something …

Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4520: My Retirement Plan by Artix

Posted by Dave Hennings on 5 Oct 2018

Oh dear! It’s Artix time again and I guessed that I would be in for a bit of a struggle. I don’t really know why I thought that, especially since I’m pretty sure I’ve sussed all his Listeners (five of them) over the years. His last, no. 4475 last December, was Follow the Directions and required us to cut up the grid and stick it back together to reflect Westward Ho! and associated characters. Hopefully no scissors would be required this week.

Instead, we had five answers too long and using space outside the grid, five with an extra word that needed meaningful unjumbling, and five with a misprint. 14ac KIEV was the first to go in without any shenanigans. Next, 17ac 1-0? Once Barcelona’s ready, developed into failure to make match (12) looked like an anagram of ONE-NIL + PESETA, except the 1-0 bit looked like an indirect anagram. Which it wasn’t, of course, but was 1 + NADA + PTA + INTO* — a nice easy bit of wordplay!

It’s amazing how puzzles with lots of different things going on cause me to temporarily lose the plot. For example, I was trying to work out for far too long what the proteins were in 34ac Proteins as an alternative to stop illness affecting the mind (5) (OR in MAL). They were, of course, one of the extra words.

Everything came together gradually for me here. In fact, I think it was a series of PDMs — in this case, Penny Drip Moments. I had ‘reworks’ giving ‘workers’, ‘discretion’ giving ‘directions’ and ‘swap’ to ‘paws’. Eventually, those damned ‘proteins’ gave me ‘pointers’, and ‘sniggle’, which I thought must be ‘leggins’, was ‘niggles’, a form of handwriting. These all gave synonyms for hands, as revealed by the corrected misprints. Finally, when I had four letters extending outside the grid, John DONNE looked a possibility.

The hands were pretty obviously Left and Right, which would need switching in the grid, with the likes of RICE at 1ac changing to LICE, and SEMINAL at 6 giving SEMINAR. The leading NW–SE diagonal was the first place to look for highlighting material in the finished grid, and revealed O MY AMERICA and enabled me to track down the verse fairly early on in Donne’s ODQ entry — Elegies ‘To His Mistress Going to Bed’:

License my roving hands, and let them go,
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new found land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man manned.

The final PDMs came from line two above, which revealed the reason for the letters outside the grid, which also contained MISTRESS (row 8), LICENSE (row 1), ROVING (column 12) and NEW FOUND LAND (row 12). (Have I missed one?)

Thanks to Artix for another fine nugget.

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