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Posts Tagged ‘Awinger’

Dos by Awinger

Posted by shirleycurran on 21 May 2021

Our initial grid

I look on Dave Hennings’ Crossword Database and see that this is Awinger’s third Listener crossword. His first was that astonishing one where all the US states were included in the grid and the second was a rather British one where cup wins were counted.

‘Dos’ – that suggests notes or parties. If it’s parties, there will be sure to be some alcohol flowing, so Awinger is likely to remain in the Listener Setters’ Superior Oenophile Setup – but I check anyway, and sure enough, there’s ‘Porter perhaps, a busy individual 4)’. We decide that there is an R omitted from the wordplay, since the busy fellow is a BEE and we enter BEER – and we even keep the BEER in the endgame when those parties have done a change of venue in another rather British theme (but why not – we had Republicans and Democrats not so long ago didn’t we). So “Cheers”, Awinger.

Three quarters of our grid fill with ease and my highlighted letters are soon spelling out PARTIES and SELECTION. That ‘Balkan instrument essential for playing us lullabies (5)’ is a ‘hidden’ clue and leaves us wondering initially whether to insert GUSLI, GUSLE or GUSLA but the PARTIES resolve that, and we enter the I (and, of course, keep the parties going with music and alcohol when we change the GUSLI to a GUSLA at the end).

Finding that empty cell held us up for a while, until we realised that the two entries that were shorter than the grid entry length were pointing at the same empty cell and that ‘Badger that is picked up (5)’ produced “TEASE” heard as TEAS, so clearly our ‘Choosing’ in 31d ‘Choosing money in e-journal, saving lira (6)’ was VOTING (TIN in V[l]OG) and with a full grid, found the parties we had to choose from and put our X in that cell.

How brilliant of Awinger to have created a grid where the four parties could change places, still creating real words and with the grid remaining symmetrical. We particularly enjoyed this as it had no jumbles or clue gimmick – everything was in the grid. That was a masterful achievement. Many thanks to Awinger.

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Listener No 4657: Dos by Awinger

Posted by Dave Hennings on 21 May 2021

Awinger’s third Listener this week, the last being a celebration of Wigan’s one and only FA Cup win back in 2013. This year’s final will have been held the week before this blog appears. [Spoiler alert: Leicester City will have won it. Ed.] Football not being my thing, I was pleased to see that we had a puzzle based around the old Microsoft Operating System.

About half the clues had wordplay omitting one letter of the answer and these would give two words. Four examples of one would reveal the outcome of a hypothetical example of the other. Luckily the clues were fairly straightforward. A few of the acrosses followed by several downs enabled the top of the grid to fill out quickly. MINICABS and EVENTUATED then snuck down and into the bottom left corner and from there across the bottom.

Of course, things didn’t go quite as quickly as that sounded but you get my drift. 27ac Balkan instrument essential for playing us lullabies (5) for which the wordplay was (playin)G US L(ullabies) was ambiguous since the answer could be GUSLA, GUSLE or GUSLI. I assumed the endgame would resolve it. 9dn Missing second half of pictures, that’s scary (6, two words) took a bit of time for me to determine — (pho)TOS + EEK. I particularly liked the surface reading of 45ac Aussie nuts just as much eaten by Poles (5) for NANAS. That just left the empty cell to fill in the bottom left where TEAS crossed MIENS.

The non-wordplayed cells revealed PARTIES (that resolved GUSLI) and ELECTION. It didn’t take long to identify GREENS, LABOUR, LIBDEM and TORIES in the grid, and only a little longer to see which way round all the replacements needed to be. Putting a neat X in the empty cell to give TEXAS and MIXENS finished things off, although the grid didn’t happen to reflect how I wished the political landscape in the UK to be. And it should be noted that it was very much an English landscape!

And such a shame that we weren’t dealing with the heady old days of Microsoft DOS!

Thanks for an impartial political puzzle, Awinger.

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Listener No 4607: Observe the Globe by Awinger

Posted by Dave Hennings on 5 Jun 2020

Awinger’s second Listener this week, his first being last year’s Joint Conditions where there were clashes galore which resolved to the abbreviations for US states. Clashes again here, although only in nine cells. Two messages would be revealed by the nine across and nine down clues, each of which had an extra word.

After four clues, I had a horrible feeling that we were in the world of football. In 1ac Harry Kane’s side wanting headers from Dele Alli’s moves (5), I recognised the name Harry Kane as a footballer (Spurs), but needed the interweb to see that Dele Alli was also one (also Spurs). A nice clue to start with as was 14ac FA advise Pele to eschew energy drink (6), initially unsolved since FA turned out to be an extra word.

Initially, progress was slow. This was partly hindered by my forgetting “Numbers in brackets are the lengths of grid entries” which implied that the clashes involved more than just two letters, one across and one down. Once I got over that hurdle, I still wondered what was going on. That is, until I had OVERT/NE at 23ac/8dn and EVERTON seemed a likely anagram rather than OVERNET.

Unlike some other bloggers, alcoholism on the part of Listener setters doesn’t faze me. However, I couldn’t help noticing a lot of sporty references from Awinger. We had baseball at 26ac Belts hard into first base, then second (6) [BASHES], cricket at 40ac Tourists total 200 among wild tigresses (8) [SIGHTSEERS, (10) pre-clashes and total an extra word] and Formula 1 in 42ac Saw circuits air F1 wins, perhaps (4) [MOTORSPORT, (10) pre-clashes and wins an extra word]. Elsewhere, we had ski jumping from Norway and golf from the late, great Seve.

Before finishing the across clues, I managed to suss that the extra words spelt out Recent FA Cup winners. First letter of total wins. What a neat way of reducing all those clashes to a single letter and revealing extra words to boot. The extra words in the down clues weren’t quite that obvious though since they contributed to part-words in the message. Thus Seve, NY, ear, sag, Oman, aged, Chai, Reds’, cored actually gave Seven years ago: managed, chaired, scored.

Google to the rescue to reveal the number of wins for nine FA Cup winners with Wigan Athletic winning their one and only FA Cup final in 2013 with Manager MARTINEZ, Chairman WHELAN and scorer WATSON. All three were to be highlighted in the grid although I wasn’t sure whether they were marking out the penalty box or the goal mouth. The O for the ball (representing One win) needed an X through it to represent, I assume, the Spot the Ball newspaper competitions, hence this puzzle’s title. (I never entered those, but when I was a kid, it was staggering what bizarre positions the judges sometimes placed the X for the ball. But then, what do I know about football?)

Thanks for a neatly constructed and entertaining puzzle, Awinger.
 

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Observe the Globe by Awinger

Posted by shirleycurran on 5 Jun 2020

“Ah, lovely!” I said. “With the detested numerical next week, we are going to have the joy of one about Shakespeare. Maybe we’ll be sitting in the Globe slotting in solutions about Hamlet or Lear!” But oh dear, from my favourite to one of my least favourite themes. We hadn’t solved long before a rather large number of soccerish clues emerged and even worse ‘RECENT FA CUP WINNERS’ with an instruction that each clash cell must contain ‘FIRST LETTER OF TOTAL WINS’. I remember that there used to be a newspaper competition called ‘Spot the Ball’ where you had to mark with  cross the likely position of the ball in soccer photos. That must be the synonym for ‘Observe the Globe’.

Of course I had scanned the clues to confirm that Awinger (is he really a winger? I used to have to play left wing in hockey and hated it – Manchester waterworks gave me the best present when the pipelines running from Thirlmere to Manchester ran through the school sports field and prevented us from playing for two years!) I digress – in between matches does AWINGER still retain his place among the oenophiles?

‘FA advise Pele to eschew energy drink (6)’. We extracted the FA from that and extracted a bit of Pele’s energy (E) leaving us TIP + PLE. The cup that men were grasping a few clues on just held ‘weak dye’ (we put Men = OR  round grasp = SEE round weak = ILL and Chambers told us that ORSEILLE is a dye. Things improved when we got to ‘Communist rogue delaying singular clarets etc (8, two words)’ We moved the S along in RED SWINE and got RED WINES. So Cheers, Awinger.

We don’t much enjoy clashes but these were rather different as it soon became clear that they were appearing where words were too long for their lights (Of course, we had a hint about that in the pre-ramble, when we were told that ‘Numbers in brackets are the lengths of grid entries.’) ALL ONE clashed with OVERTOILED and that gave us the letters of EVERTON, so we were at kick off, and soon found LIVERPOOL, SPURS, CHELSEA, MAN CITY, MAN UNITED. Extra words in the down clues told us what the notable occasion was – SEVEN YEARS AGO. Even I know that WIGAN beat MANCHESTER CITY and we saw that we had to find 20 letters in the grid to highlight – the three people who MANAGED, CHAIRED and SCORED.

We needed Wikipedia for that but, of course WHELAN, MARTINEZ and WATSON formed the shape of a goal and even gave us an E for Chelsea’s eight FA cup wins. We had to work backwards to find the words for PORTSMOUTH and ARSENAL (knowing that they had two and thirteen victories to their names so that a T had to be the letter that ultimately filled both clash cells – not easy but working backwards gave us SCOUTHER clashing with MOTOR SPORT, and KINESES with ALARUMS. Finally, we had to put a cross on Wigan’s ball, so cleverly going into the goalmouth in just the right spot. What clever setting! Even for a soccerophobe, this was impressive and we happily kicked Wigan’s winning goal into the net and put a cross on the ball. Many thanks to Awinger.

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L4607: ‘Observe the Globe’ by Awinger

Posted by Encota on 5 Jun 2020

This was an interestingly themed puzzle – thanks Awinger!  Might we assume you to be a Wigan Athletic fan?  Or perhaps an Arsenal fan wanting to remind us of their ‘more than any other’ 13 successes?  Given it was almost written by AWenger I’d guess the latter.  Or sponsored by Nobby’s Tiles?  Sorry, losing my thread a bit … 😉

The teams were neatly concealed in the nine clashing cells and after a while these helped with some of the later solves – e.g. something related to F1 that begins PORTSMO* can only be MOTORSPORT, that sort of thing.  It took quite some time to sort out the last couple – in my case these were MAN CITY and ARSENAL.

I liked how the location of the ball was at the same point in the goal ‘frame’ as the actual scored by Ben Watson all those years ago, a nice touch in more ways than one.  The Down message hidden as split words rather than the usual technique was good to see, too.  My only reservation was what appears to be an ambiguity in how to mark the ball with a ‘cross’: from what I recall from old Spot The Ball competitions this was normally done with an X – though I may be wrong.  However, the Globe in the title seemed to encourage us as Solvers to use the cross in its + form within the circle, so forming the old symbol for Earth.  I can’t imagine either being marked wrong but I decided, given the title, to go with the latter.

In the clues I particularly liked 48ac’s use of EDMUND SPENSER in a subtractive anagram: 
{ EDMUND SPENSER}* and {MENDED + SPURNES}*.  Delightful!

Overall, great fun!  Thanks once again to Awinger for a tricky puzzle.

Cheers & keep safe all,  

Tim / Encota

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