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Posts Tagged ‘Awinger’

Joint Conditions by Awinger

Posted by shirleycurran on 8 February 2019

“Unusual grid”, we said, “and an interesting title. Is this new setter (or seasoned setter/s lurking under a new pseudonym) going to be whingeing about his arthritis?” We had half completed our gridfill before the penny dropped and that ‘Joint’ said ‘United’ to us, and the ‘Conditions’ became States. By that time we were doing the whingeing, as clashes were legion – we already had about 25, and putting the first letters of clues in alphabetical order of the entries beginning with S was giving us SEBLU which sounded vaguely like a medical condition.

Yes, I had checked his/ her/ their right of entry to the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit and that posed no problem at all with an entire case of vintage to be enjoyed: ‘Forgotten to give the old case of vintage (4)’ gave us YE + V(intag)E and Chambers tells us YEVE is an obsolete version of ‘give’, so cheers, Awinger.

Not only the alcohol but HARES too! ‘Damage in that degree reveals rodents (5)’ gave us MARAS, scampering all over Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana – and in a straight line. Are these the fabled Poat hares?

Suddenly SELFHEALS and SYTHE fitted into our grid and the message became SEA BLUE. “It’s a map! All those paired letters that we have to enter in thematic order are the US States. We’ve just returned from three weeks in California so we do know it is on the West Coast (my five-year-old grandson managed to fall into the Pacific Ocean when we were dodging massive incoming waves) but could I place Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky or Tennessee in the right place? I am ashamed of my geographic ignorance. We had to download a helpful map and eliminate the states as we managed to find words that produced the appropriate clashes. What a feat of compilation. This compiler must have been excited as 49 states proved to be possible (and oh so sad when he couldn’t fit Minnesota in!)

The East Coast was relatively easy and we were delighted when a pretty accurate coastline appeared producing 31 ocean cells to colour blue and 14 cell edges where states bordered the ocean. Florida and the Gulf of Mexico appeared next and gave us another four ocean cells and six ‘coastal’ cell edges.

With a smile, we spotted MERICO and realized that that red-herring of a Roman number, DCLX, wasn’t 660 at all but was giving us four letters to convert CANACA to CANADA, PACIFIE to PACIFIC,  ATSANTIC to ATLANTIC and MERICO to MEXICO. ‘Four framing items in straight lines’. “Well, said the other Numpty, that has to be Trump’s wall – but surely he isn’t hoping to do the Canute thing and fence out the Canadians and the two Oceans?”

PACIFIC, of course and the coastal states of Washington, Oregon and California (with  Hawaii in its corner) gave us our remaining 19 ocean cells and 15 coastal edges and we were left with that vast central area to sort into states. We were able to work backwards from our map to find our missing solutions until only Minnesota was missing. “Insert it across the edge of two non-clash cells.” we were told. It had to border Canada, be next to North and South Dakota and north of Iowa and Wisconsin so that left just one place for it. This was hard work, but what an achievement. Thank you, Awinger.

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Listener No 4538: Joint Conditions by Awinger

Posted by Dave Hennings on 8 February 2019

Three weeks in, and we have the first new setter of the year. He sounds sporty, so I hoped that that was as far as the football association (grin) [Groan. Ed.] went. A fair-sized grid, 18×11 greeted us, consequently with a fair-sized set of clues (64). Moreover, 54 cells would need shading, bounded by 35 cell edges, and with DCLX to appear in the finished grid, I wondered if this was the mathematical puzzle in disguise.

Clue-wise, there were some clashes. Congratulations to those of you who immediately synonymised the title as United States and assumed that there would be an awful lot of them. I suspect that most of us had to wait until INLAND crossed with HAJ to give New Jersey.

Once the theme was revealed, the possible two-letter abbreviations certainly helped me with some of the clues. It certainly helped me with EXULS (courtesy of Texas) and MEDIATIZE (from Arizona). All in all, everything came together nicely. My only real gripe was 52ac Rice maybe from old Queen (King absent) (6) for ANNEKA — she hasn’t been on TV for ages. I do so sympathise with overseas solvers and those under about 30.

All the way through, I suspected that DC would be the missing item, even though I know that it isn’t a state. Sadly, it was Minnesota that got booted out of the main grid and had to be written in scruchy-up style. I did try and check this grid about a dozen times, and even now wonder if I made a silly mistake.

As I put AK into the top left corner of the grid, I wondered what Arkansas was doing so far out of place! Still, if it can be pronounced so oddly, anything was possible. Of course, it was Alaska that went there, but it made me wonder if having the states in approximately their correct positions was an unwritten requirement. What if someone put MN near Texas with NM up by the Great Lakes? Or, less bizarrely, got Alabama swapped with Louisiana? Certainly not me!

Finally, we had to replace four letters with DCLX and do a bit, of shading — well, quite a lot actually. The four “framing items” thus became CANADA, MEXICO, ATLANTIC and PACIFIC. The first letters of clues to across answers beginning with S gave Sea blue. Some nice touches to finish with.

An impressive grid, Awinger, and an enjoyable puzzle.
 

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