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Posts Tagged ‘Awinger’

Listener No 4607: Observe the Globe by Awinger

Posted by Dave Hennings on 5 June 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 June 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 June 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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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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