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Posts Tagged ‘Augeas’

L4575: ‘White becomes Black’ by Augeas

Posted by Encota on 25 Oct 2019

This was a subject that I only had a faint recollection of, so it was interesting to read up on the detail.

I particularly liked ‘Chopin’ as a type of shoe (a clog, if anyone is still asking). I also thought the ‘Shoeless’ theme applied to fourteen clues worked well to highlight what happened to Shoeless Joe Jackson, whose full name came be found radiating from the upper left hand cell.

And I have assumed that the removal of LANDIS from 36a is all that is required to meet the ‘his nemesis erased’ part of the preamble? I spent quite some time looking for something additional but if it is there I have failed to find it.

Finally, I hope to catch up with some of you at the S&B event in York this weekend!


Tim / Encota

PS Thanks to all who’ve provided me with some kind feedback for my recent Inquisitor thematic (#1615 ‘Corpsing’ by Encota), either by commenting online or directly to me 🙂 One of my favourite themes and I am pretty sure my easiest thematic puzzle published to date. I don’t mind confessing to being the E of ‘EP’ in the Magpie this month (Oct 2019) too – though that one definitely is a bit harder 😉

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Listener No 4454: Honest Grey Maker by Augeas

Posted by Dave Hennings on 30 Jun 2017

Army & Navy: Postscript

If you haven’t read Shackleton’s setter’s blog, then I highly recommend it. It shows a level of sophistication, cunning and expertise that I cannot recall in any recent puzzle.

I like to think that I can learn something from any Listener where I have completely failed, or have not fully appreciated when sending in my solution. With this one, it was only when writing last week’s blog that I pondered two elements of the preamble that might have helped.

Firstly, “letters in the first row must be replaced using code options” should have indicated to me that the individual letters had a significance and were to be encoded one by one.

Secondly, the position of that instruction in the preamble was strange. In hindsight, I wondered why it was so near the beginning, whereas my identification of Fram and all the subsequent internal wrestling came at the end. In effect, I think we were being told that “Dot and Dick dash to the pole” was all that was required to do the coding, well before identifying Arthur Ransome and Winter Holiday from rows 2 and 9.

Thanks again, Shackleton.

I can’t believe he won’t win the AGC… again!

Honest Grey Maker

Hopefully an easier puzzle from Augeas this week. His last was based on Mrs Campbell and her beds, and before that the Mallard (loco not bird).

Four clue types this week (although only three in terms of solving). At least they were in groups of four (one of each in each group) rather than being scattered willy-nilly throughout the clues. I couldn’t solve 1ac immediately, but 5ac GAPES enabled the top right corner to be completed fairly quickly, with PEROGI (Polish dash dish) being the last one in. Back to the top left corner, and 1dn STIGMA enabled that to be polished off quickly as well.

All this meant that two of the unclued entries read T•LIE•IN and •EST. I couldn’t fit anything that I knew into the first, whereas there were at least 13 that could fit the second. It is worth mentioning that I had already spotted the slightly unusual wording at the beginning of the preamble stating that the unclued entries accounted for (my italics) three of the subject’s works.

After about an hour and a quarter, I had a finished grid, apart from the unclued entries. The third of these was •A•LINGWA•E•, and FALLING WATER seemed distinctly possible. And so I had three unclued entries that meant nothing to me, but at least the message spelt out by the clues should help: Highlight the man and his main innovative style.

Still nothing! I examined all the diagonals. That’s normally where things lie, but I couldn’t see anything obvious. How about the rows… nope… and columns… not really. Yes, I saw FRANK in column 1, and wondered if there was a FRANK ANGLIA (from column 2). Why, oh why, did column 4 elude me for another half hour?!

Before I saw that, I wondered if the title was trying to tell me something. And of course it was: the man we were looking for was THE MASONRY GREEK! Not quite, but Honest confirmed FRANK, and a bit more grid staring finally revealed LLOYD WRIGHT. A check with Chambers appendix showed “Lloyd m (Welsh) grey” and Wright was obviously the Maker.

All that was needed now was a bit of background reading on the architect partly from Wiki but mostly from The latter was the real help with TALIESIN and TALIESIN WEST (hence the preamble wording) and confirmed FALLINGWATER, his “crowning achievement in organic architecture”. His PRAIRIE style was the last word to be highlighted.

Thanks for an entertaining puzzle, Augeas. What a treat to see some of Wright’s stunning architecture.

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‘Honest Grey Maker’ by Augeas

Posted by Encota on 30 Jun 2017

A great tribute to the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, whose birthday was the 8th June, born 150 years ago.

Well, first the Title.  Synonyms word-by-word perhaps? For the famous architecturally-sound barrel-maker, Candid ‘Cheerless’ Cooper?  No, as HONEST GREY MAKER is an anagram of ‘HE RANKS GEOMETRY‘, it clearly points towards a male architect who rates angular design.  Doesn’t it?  And perhaps (another anagram) THE GREEK MASONRY is relevant??  Oh, and HONEST could be FRANK…

After a few entries were in place, it looked like the first unclued entry was going to be Taliesin.  I thought this was a Welsh poet of the 6th century and his work, so spent a few moments checking him out with Auntie Google, though it soon didn’t seem very likely.  If only he had had a Welsh word for ‘grey’.  What’s that?  Did I hear someone say LLOYD…?

The overlaying of TALIESIN and TALIESIN WEST as two of his works in Row 2 might have slowed some solvers up for a moment or two; and FALLING WATER was the third of his creations featured.  This last one is well worth a look online if you haven’t already!


The clues were generous and the clue types very clear, especially given they were grouped into quartets (more poetry, perhaps?) containing one of each type.

After the grid was filled, the message needed to be decoded.  It soon became clear that it read:


So the only things to double check were (a) how much of his name was required to be highlighted and (b) which of the styles that he was famous for was being included:

For (a), one could plausibly argue that simply highlighting WRIGHT in Column 8 was enough.  And perhaps at least one solver will try to do so!  I found that one first but soon happened upon FRANK and LLOYD in earlier columns so thought it best to highlight all three.

For (b), I only had the source of all knowledge and wisdom. – i.e. Wikipedia – to go by; it appeared to credit FLW with the Prairie style, Textile style, Organic style and Usonian style.    Of these I could only find PRAIRIE in the grid, already entered at 12a, so that one got the highlighter pen treatment.

And finally, the usual check for any hare-like creatures hiding in the grid.  As usual none – but there was another creature – A RAM – hiding in reverse at 15a.  One day, there’ll be a hare, one day there’ll be a hare,… 😉

OK, joking apart, a great final touch – thanks Augeas!


Tim / Encota


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Two’s company by Augeas

Posted by shirleycurran on 27 Feb 2015

Augeas 001Our first reaction on downloading this was surprise at the rather small and unusual grid – 11 X 10 with vertical mirror symmetry – I wonder why! That response was instantly followed (as I copied it into Crossword Compiler, which is a great help when solving) by my astonished comments about the number of two-letter words, but, within seconds, the other numpty, who had already solved RECIPE, CHIC, EGER and OVERMASTERED, had seen what was going on. “We obviously have to put two letters into each cell, as all the clues are for even-numbered words.”

I was still busy confirming Augeas’ continued membership of the Listener Setters’ Tipplers’ Club and was mildly anxious at first with ‘Throbbing gout among ex-boozers starts to metastasise, old ulcer soon fertilising itself (10)’ (giving GOUT* in AA + first letters M O U and S = AUTOGAMOUS).

Augeas Two's Company 001

The deep deep peace of the double bed after the hurly-burly of the chaise longue.

Things didn’t improve much (though here were some convincing and amusing surface readings) as I read down the clues to ‘Ground maize in San Diego intoxicates old sailor at clubhouse (10) (CORNS + TAR + CH) but then there was ‘Fresh tasty Rhône red for New England shellfish (8)’ Our local wine being anagrammed to produce DEERHORN. All was well, and a few clues further down, not surprisingly we found ‘Dominated vast REME horde, breathlessly drunk (12)’ – another anagram with the H removed, giving us OVERMASTERED.
With such lovely and not vastly challenging cluing, the grid filled rapidly and soon we had enough extra letters to suggest that BEATRICE somebody-or-other was the person we were looking for. We tried Beatrix Potter and Beatrice Webb but they didn’t have long maiden names. Then came a lucky find. BEATRICE STELLA TANNER became Mrs Patrick Campbell.

A brief visit to the ODQ produced a delightful quotation that justified this entering of two letters into each cell. ‘THE DEEP DEEP PEACE OF THE DOUBLE BED AFTER THE HURLY BURLY OF THE CHAISE LONGUE’ (I don’t suppose it is entirely PC to wonder what deeply peaceful activities she was up to in the marriage bed – hmmmm! Or, to make things worse, whatever she had been indulging in in her chaise longue – the mind boggles!) But of course, the logic behind the mirror symmetry producing a ‘double bed’ now became evident.

No red herrings, our last clue led us to gastropods ‘Guesses at ancient destruction finally [L] numerous gastropods (10)’ (HARPS + HELL + (numerou)S) but we had a bit of head-scratching wondering how we were going to ‘ensure that letters are encountered in the correct order in all entries and the perimeter’. Obviously, this is essential, otherwise Mr Green would have a nightmare of a task, checking up to 600 grids with each cell containing letters in either order.

It seemed to me that there were two possible solutions for this: putting three letters into an ambiguous cell so that each set of two could be read in its correct order (three perhaps not entirely acceptable in any bed, especially with the hint of the title, that ‘Two’s Company’), or placing the letters diagonally, with the correct order indicated by the first letter that would be ‘encountered’ by the reader. Well, obviously, that was the solution required, so a tense few minutes followed as I attempted to get that right for each of the words.

A lovely compilation, Augeas, with the thematic couples enjoying their deep, deep peace in each of the cells. Many thanks.

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Class by Augeas

Posted by shirleycurran on 19 Jul 2013

Europcar claim 002We should start checking topical anniversaries which seem to be the subject of Listener crosswords at the moment, though we would probably have to troll through a number of sources to spot the right one. We have seen a news item on the Mallard on Scottish television this morning, as, indeed, today is the seventy-fifth anniversary of what was quite an achievement on July 3rd, 1938. 126mph! When I was small, I saw the Mallard crossing Ribblehead viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle line. She was a wonderful sight (I suppose engines, like boats and cars, are female?)

The numpties were in the far north (Shetland) with no resources, so we were rather grateful for this relatively easy gridfill. Three quarters of the solutions gently slotted into place and when we had a potential MALLARD and DUCK (after wondering who PANISC could be: ‘Deity rattled Spain over Catholic synod SPAIN* + C’) we decided that the STREAK (Line of bacteria runs in slice of reasty meat R in STEAK) had to be blue and that, if we looked a little further, we would find Sir NIGEL GRESLEY, as indeed we did, streaking down the leading diagonal.

photo (1)We looked to see whether Augeas was earning his place in the tipply Listener setters’ club but he was somewhat of a disappointment, producing ‘reasty meat’, ‘army biscuit’, ‘cold drink with traces of elderberry’, and watching his figure with a ‘late light meal’ but there wasn’t much alcoholic cheer. However, there was a mini challenge and a head-scratcher in the south-west corner of the grid. We still needed an answer for 20ac which was an unclued light. Four clues were suspect and we had noticed that remark in the preamble that ‘Numbers in brackets are the lengths of grid entries’. Something wasn’t going to be what it was pretending to be.

It was 3d that gave the game away and we were reminded of a recent crossword by Nutmeg in the Magpie (time for a Magpie plug!) where she had bastard words composed of combinations of letters and numbers (a bit of sl8 of hand!) We made an error in that one (as did almost half the solvers, I believe) so we were especially careful this time. What a devious clue that was! ‘Many models are shunning most of late light meal, initially watching figure (7) Well, those models are UNDERWEIGHT aren’t they? We had most of an obsolete or ‘late’ word, UNDER[n] and the initial of W[atching] and the figure 8.

Working backwards, we were able to work out now that the Mallard’s famous 4468 number was giving us three more of those difficult answers. We had 4-FLUSH, 4 BY FOUR and a brownie SIX with an AINE giving us 6AINE for half a dozen lines. Clever stuff!

By now, of course, we had worked out that our date was THIRD JULY NINETEEN THIRTY-EIGHT and a visit to Lerwick library confirmed for us that STOKE BANK was the scene of the achievement.

photoWe still had to decide what we should put under the grid. I’m told that the achievement was that the Mallard didn’t fall off the rails when she went through Peterborough station, but we were somewhat nonplussed about how we were going to squeeze that information into six characters below the grid (the driver, the guard, the stationmaster, the fireman and a couple of other small characters … hmmm!) We rejected that one and decided that RECORD would fit the bill. She went at 125.88 mph. didn’t she? (Well, Wikipedia claims that, but I am surrounded, at the moment by experts – one of whom recently took the attached photos during one of those pilgrimage visits, who assure me that the instruments of the time couldn’t efficiently measure to even one decimal place, so that was a bit of Wikipedia fabrication.) Anyway, could we count the decimal point as a character? Chambers seems to think that we can – ‘punctuation mark of any kind …’ Wikipedia finally solved the dilemma. ‘The speed recorded by instruments in the dynamometer car reached a momentary maximum of 126 mph (203 km/h)’ – so we opted for that.

I like the way there was so much thematic material in this grid and the way it all came together in the end and led us down memory rail. Thank you Augeus.

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