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Posts Tagged ‘Atlas’

Yes You Can by Atlas

Posted by shirleycurran on 3 Feb 2017


The equivalent of twenty bottles of champagne.

The equivalent of twenty bottles of champagne.

Atlas compiles one out of every two crosswords for the New Statesman but this is the first time we have solved an Atlas Listener crossword and it has been infinitely more challenging. I don’t really need to scan those clues for proof that Atlas qualifies for a place at the bar at the setters’ dinner since we sat at the same table last year (and anyway, in a massive way, his endgame is going to remove all doubt isn’t it?) but I check anyway.

There’s the BAR in the very first clue! ‘Beginning to excavate old prison bar from the past (5)’ We have already muttered approving sounds about the originality of the devices Atlas is using – seven clues in which ‘the wordplay omits one of more letters of the answer’, with definitions applying to ‘the answer to another one of the seven’, and ’24 other clues with one letter wrong; the incorrect (my italics) letters spell out an instruction that solvers must follow …’ Not just a new setter but a lovely change from those jumbles, misprints and extra letters in wordplay. That first clue gives our first example. E(xcavate) + SHOP which has to become STOP to give us an old word for ‘bar’ – ESTOP and provide the first of the letters of the message – an H.

There’s rather a lot of food after that: ‘Before I start to talk, finish trifle (4)’ DO + I + T(alk) = DOIT, then ‘Tommy’s bread to eat, returning to yard (5)’ GO (changing to RO) + TO< + Y = ROOTY. Next comes a GRILLROOM; ‘Space on mound first good place to eat (9, two words)’ G(ood) + HILL + ROOM with another of those letters appearing when HILL is corrected to RILL. ‘Dish, Tahitian, not a success (4)’ removing A HIT from TAHITIAN to produce TIAN. Odd cuts, chick peas and tea follow so I’m having my doubts about that bar ticket but then I spot that INN has just appeared in the grid when we filled in that astonishing word ENANTIODROMIC misrepresented Mao in doctrine of U-turns (13) (MAO IN DOCTRINE*) Yes, I shall drop that into polite dinner conversation, I promise!

‘Abandoned lodge away from the sea half forgotten (3)’ gave us INL(and) so we had a wrong letter L. The grid filled and we had a ‘shallow cup’, an ‘earthenware vessel’, ‘punch’ and a club so no wonder Atlas was ‘Zonked’ in 20d (with that NEBUCHADNEZZAR still to come!) That intriguing clue gave us one of our seven that had to switch definitions too. The hint was that we had letters for KIN and DRESS* to give DEERSKINS but a missing E. We had soon found our seven moving definitions: ‘synagogue storeroom’ GENIZAH, ‘…who occasionally let hair down’ RAPUNZEL, ‘Hardy heath’ EGDON, ‘Post impressionist artist’ CEZANNE, ‘Zonked’ DONE IN, ‘Exotic fruit’ BILIMBI and ‘Hides’ for those DEERSKINS and those missing letters spelled the strange word EINEG – but what was that word appearing round the EINEG? There was a bumper bottle, a NEBUCHADNEZZAR! So the GENIE was ‘back’ in the bottle. “Yes You Can”, said Atlas and that was what we had done- we had put the genie back.

We have some of those ‘wrong letters’ still to disentangle from what is often challenging wordplay. We can see, now, that we are required to HIGHLIGHT YOUR ACHIEVEMENT so we look for a wrong H in ‘A monkey? I don’t trust that suggestion of 14 shillings (6)’ SAGUIN was our solution confirmed by the U of NURS (yes, not NUTS – naughty, naughty, hand duly slapped but I do wonder how many will fail to see the hidden reversed NURS and will erroneously enter NUTS!) and we now decide that it is HA + GUIN(ea) – well, that was 14 shillings wasn’t it? And we have our final letter and highlight that massive bottle (Chambers: A large bottle, esp of champagne, the equivalent of 20 ordinary bottles!) and its GENIE with a smile. Many thanks, Atlas, a superb compilation!

The elusive golden hare

The elusive golden hare

Post script – the elusive golden hare? Yes, he was there but cunningly turning a corner this time and still not appearing in four letters in a straight line!

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‘Yes You Can’ by Atlas

Posted by Encota on 3 Feb 2017

This was fun!  Some tricky clue constructions, what with misprints and definition swaps – I like it!  But with a Title like that, was Bob The Builder going to make a guest appearance??

The Grid went in ‘fairly’ quickly.  I wasted ten minutes with one clue where I mistakenly thought it was one of the seven (9d) with another’s definition – but as soon as it became apparent what the misprints were going to spell I corrected that.  Now for the gridstare, at which I am a serious novice!

I thought I’d better be very thorough on the seven exchanged-definition clues, as it felt likely to be important.  Could ‘slip into’ in 26ac be anything other than DON, for example?  Just checking…

So that left the ‘affecting 19 cells’ part of the Preamble.  Which 19 cells?  Perhaps the missing letters from the seven swapped clues are something to do with it?  Let’s have a look.  In order these are: EIN (or NEI), EG, I, N, E, E, G.  What does that mean?  Try colouring them in. Ah, that shows a bit more order – EINEG.  Is that something German beginning EINE G… – after all we did have some German (d.h. for id est somewhere else in the Puzzle) – was that a clue?

imageDoh!  It’s GENIE reversed.  That’s five of the required cells – where are the other 14?  Aaah – that’s why there’s so many Zs: NEBUCHADNEZZAR needed two of them!

So it’s “Putting The Genie Back In The Bottle”.  Can you do it?  Yes You Can (and You just have, so – as the 24 hidden letters have told you to – HIGHLIGHT YOUR ACHIEVEMENT)!

Thanks to Atlas for a great debut Listener puzzle.

Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4433: Yes You Can by Atlas

Posted by Dave Hennings on 3 Feb 2017

No sign of Atlas anywhere else, so he looks like a brand new-bie. Consequently, I had no indication as to how tough this would be. Seven clues omitted one or more letters from the wordplay, and just to make things even trickier, the definition refrred to one of the other seven. Twntey-four other clues had the wordplay leading to one answer with one letter wrong, the incorrect letters spelling out an instruction. Well, if the clues were as tough as the preamble indicated, I was in for a bit of a marathon.

listener-4433However, 1ac Beginning to excavate old prison bar from the past (5) was straightforward from the definition and led to ESTOP, the wordplay being to ESHOP. Looking at 1dn Misrepresented Mao in doctrine of U-turns (13), that looked like an easy anagram, so I guessed that would be ENDO-something, and with 11ac NAB, it looked like an easy solve lay ahead.

That was not to be. After 35 minutes, I had just ten clues solved, and another 20 minutes later, a nice round dozen. Moreover, 16 NURS made me think that 1dn wasn’t ENDO-anything! Unfortunately, Mrs B didn’t have an entry for U-turn, so I tried volte face and this time she didn’t disappoint — ENANTIODROMIC got slotted in.

Having also got GOVERNORSHIPS at 8dn, things looked positive. The wrong letter given by wordplay began HI…H…G… and I suppose it seemed obvious that we would be required to get out the magic marker later.

There followed nearly two more hours of slow solving with some interesting clues on the way. I found the misplaced definitions particularly deceiving. For example 15dn Post-impressionist artist discarded Virgin (8) which was RA (artist) + PUZEL (obs virgin, and a new word to me) with the definition being at 27ac who occasionally let hair down. 2dn A monkey? I don’t trust that suggestion of 14 shillings! (6) took me longer than it should have, being HA (misprinted SA) + GUIN(ea) (ie, 2/3 of a guinea)!

The incorrect letters provided by the wordplay spelt out Highlight your achievement. I thought that highlighting the whole grid would be appropriate, except we were told that it was only 19 cells. The message also told us which of LEAD or LEAR needed to be entered at 43ac.

I had taken the precaution of shading the letters which were not supported by the wordplay, one letter in each of five down clues plus the same letters crossing in 26ac and 27ac. These were EINEG, which looked like it could become GENIE. Seeing NEBUCHADNEZZAR outside my shaded cells made the total 19, as required.

listener-4433-my-entryI now fumbled around for about 45 minutes wondering whether I had to let the genie out of the bottle and erase the central cells. Somehow, that didn’t really seem to work, and I felt sure that we would have been given more of a help if that were the case. And anyway, it wasn’t really an achievement.

Luckily, the penny finally dropped as I realised that we were required to put the GENIE back in the bottle.

Thanks for an enjoyable puzzle, Atlas. The clueing was suitably tough and ingenious, and the endgame didn’t take too long before it all came together nicely.

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