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Posts Tagged ‘by Waterloo’

Literal Spling by Waterloo

Posted by shirleycurran on 24 Jun 2016

img008 (2)The title of Waterloo’s Literal Spling was quite a hefty hint wasn’t it? I was going to write HFTY hint but decided that I would be incapable of pursuing that line for very long so entertained myself, instead, by reading through Waterloo’s clues to confirm that he retains his place with the Listener imbibers and, of course, he didn’t disappoint, opting, almost from the start for high-class sherry. ‘The Spanish sherry, unfinished, with delicate charm (4)’ gave us EL FIN(o) which we decided to enter as LFIN.

We had already decided that there was an ELL missing from the heart of ‘Literal Spling’ (though first thoughts led us to wonder whether all the Ls were to change to Rs and Rs to Ls giving Literal Spring, for example). We also counted clue lengths, of course, and established that in this non-symmetrical grid with its astonishing two-letter solutions, the solutions were, all but one (‘Game using initials sound like two letters on the menu (4)’ = ICE PIE “heard” = I SPY, which we entered as ISPI) shorter than the given word-lengths.

What we had to do was fairly obvious, though we bickered about some of the entries. For example, an obvious anagram ‘Signed, rearranging details, eg cut (12)’ gave GESTICULATED.  We had to enter that as G + S(ess) TI + Q(ue) LATED. However, we were entering the second I of I SPY phonetically as I, so why not enter the first G of GESTICULATED phonetically too as J? That’s how it appears in Chambers – ah, but then we look up G in Chambers and find that it is pronounced ‘je’. Why too, we wondered, were we entering a couple of Es in PRES + N (en) TIMENT? Wouldn’t PRSNTIMNT suffice? (especially as the ‘enn’ in DECENTRALISE was entered as N – DCNTRALISE). It was all mildly disconcerting!

Equally disconcerting was that southern R. ‘Exclude elephant stripped of degree (3)’ We had to remove a degree (BA) from BABAR, leaving BAR (to exclude). Perhaps in the south that is pronounced B + ar and the arrr is even rolled in Scots, but where I come from, we don’t hear that final ‘ar’ at all – think of a 5-barred gate (‘five baaed’ you would hear in the Dales – it’s a question of whether the tip of your tongue moves up isn’t it?)

Waterloo’s clues were generous and caused us little anguish. They even gave us a few smiles. SA (essay) being the solution to ‘Lamb product, perhaps? Yes a singular stew (5)’, when we were expecting a chop or a leg of lamb. and ‘River – wild rush, but no gold (5)’ giving T[OR]RENT, which we entered as TRNT.

I was surprised to see ‘Former partner and listless musician are exceptionally good (5)’ giving EXCEL (entered as XL) where ‘listless’ referred to losing the LIST from CELLIST. We don’t often see that device in a Listener crossword. But then, I don’t think I have ever seen anything quite like this, so must just hope we got it right and congratulate Waterloo on his originality.



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Absolutely Pointless by Waterloo

Posted by shirleycurran on 14 Dec 2012

Is Waterloo making a subtle dig at himself in his title or warning us that this Listener solving addiction is leading us nowhere? Ah, we don’t have to read far into this beautifully short preamble to understand that the grid is going to be ‘pointless’. In retrospect we reflect that no other title would have been so appropriate.

I’ve commented before that short preambles seem to lead to long solves. Will this be the case? Clearly, we are not going to be sure that we have entered clues correctly until several, if not all, are in place.

We set to work and the first few of these very short words (somebody told me the crossword has a 5.3 average word-length or thereabouts) fall into place astonishingly quickly. Within an hour we have well over half of them and a good idea of how some of them fit. We notice, along the way, of course, that Waterloo is a confirmed member of the Listener Compiler Tipsy Club with his ‘Stopping drunkenly nearly all night (7)’ (HALTING = AL[l] NIGHT*) and ‘Detective gone mad with spilt gin caper (10)’ (Oh my, that was difficult – as were a number of these clues! PI – Private Investigator, + GONE*  W(ith) GIN*, to give a ‘caper’ or a leap in a dance).

Fitting them into the grid is fun and we work from the top downwards, leaving a few ambiguous cells along the way. MISER, for example, might begin at 11 and move to the right, then SE to an R or it might go upwards, then go SE, putting an R in cell 12. That would easily be resolved if we had solved 12, ‘Almost enjoying the favour of old instinctive knowledge (5)’ (INWIT[h]) – but at this stage we had a yawning gap there and were wondering whether RISER would fit the definition.

Fortunately, some words, like PSEPHISM at 31 and ISLET at 27 dictated the mode of entry so that a skeleton grid appeared. I was particularly amused by the words that had a U-turn built into their structure so that they used the same cell twice. BLEB, for example, CORNO, TINT, ODSO and DYED. Seeing these made me wonder how many other words that Waterloo chose not to use are hidden in the grid.

However, he gave us enough to complete every cell, with some lovely long words meandering enchantingly around like ROWANBERRY, COWPARSLEY and BRAINWASH. This was different and fun. Thank you, Waterloo.

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No 4146 What it Says by Waterloo (But what does it say?)

Posted by shirleycurran on 5 Aug 2011

There’s a very anxious numpty blogging today. It was magic when the grid appeared dense with bars (clearly the Listener powers-that-be had responded to grumbles and decided to give us the ones that have been forgotten or missing over the past few weeks) all stuffed into a strangely-shaped, non-symmetrical, 12 by 10 grid. Eighty-seven clue numbers as well as forty-eight indication of clue lengths. Now, with the preamble, that’s over a third of Waterloo’s total word allocation used up. Something fishy going on here!

(A complete non sequitur but X for ‘by’, as in 12 X 10 isn’t in Chambers. What is the consensus about using it in a crossword?)

This was no twenty-hour Sabre solve. With delight, I instantly spotted my first alcoholic clue. Yes, of course Waterloo is a member of the LOSS  (Listener Oenophile  Setters Society) they all are, even if now and again it is just that grid-filling Asti. ‘Out of the sun, holding new drink’,  though, of course, it was just boring old SHANDY.

SH and Y went in and we were off.  The grid filled steadily with an astonishing range of AND and OR words: C(or)I(and)ER, S(and)W(or)M, D(or)MIT(or)Y, M(and)AT(or)Y, SF(or)ZA. We were lucky in that OMNIV(or)OUS was an early find and we realized that the clue numbers were in conventional order (like Phi’s last week!) even if that wasn’t the order in which we were entering the solutions.

About three hours, with a meal cooked and eaten at the same time, and we had a complete grid fill with just some doubt about PANDORA. She had an AND and an OR. The P and A were already in place at 61 as parts of PORCELAIN but what had to go in 62d? We already had an A as part of TRANSF(or)MATION so we decided it had to obey the AND/OR rule twice; we put in PA. Not totally satisfactory, I know.

Why the anxiety? Erwin’s warning is always subliminally echoing – paraphrased roughly as ‘If you are not sure it is right, then it most probably isn’t!’ Where is the endgame? ‘What it says’ is the title, so it must say something. What is the reason for that strange sentence in the preamble, ‘Solvers are charged with entering what it says’?

Is there some secret message encoded into this grid? Cut along fault lines: fold into an exotic bird?

I’ve gazed at the completed grid for hours and spotted ‘TEDIUM’, ‘CREATION’, a whole gang of people (ALEX, TED, TIM, CLARA and even STING) but can’t see what else could be done – except thank Waterloo for (perhaps) giving us a break from the fearsome weekends of solving we have had recently.

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fiDlEDE by Waterloo

Posted by shirleycurran on 30 Oct 2009

Is the junior coffee-break 8X8 team turning into a pair of old dogs and learning the tricks, or was this one just a little bit easier than usual? We had a very late start but liked the look of fiDlEDE from the word go, as a couple of solutions leapt into view as it came off the printer (kEp for ‘Tend to look back’, and cOE for ‘New start anyhow from cotoneaster, and here I am’).

The promise of getting out the coloured pencils at the end led me to expect some astonishing dénouement, like that fabulous falling cherry tree or a forged Pollock, but it was not to be. I have even had it pointed out by friends, that there was a lack of symmetry in fiDlEDE, but I am blowed if I can see it, and, in such a complex construction, cannot really imagine that it matters a fig. (Yes, I can hear the experts telling me that it does matter, even for unclued lights and things revealed in the pdm.)

fiDlEDE by WaterlooWhat was magic for this old-dog solving team was the fact that when we had sorted out another wonderful piece of wordplay, the definition fitted the one from Chambers perfectly – no hoodwinking subtlety there. We recognised fairly early on that every single clue was going to have either a letter or a group of letters repeated consecutively. Now that was impressive! Even the title, ‘Fiddle-de-dee’, when we expanded it and hunted for it in Chambers, produced precisely that – perfect nonsense!

pREquisite and komODragon appeared quite soon because of the clarity of the clueing and we were away. Sure, even old dogs occasionally encounter red herrings. Our French background meant that COTe was the obvious fireproof dish of ‘Half cook heart of Scots tenderloin employing initially fireproof dish’ (Cocotte) but we then threw up our hands in despair at the T?aT? that had to intersect with it. Did I say something about ‘French background’? We had attempted to rethink that entire section of the grid before tête-à-tête appeared to us (and it looks odd, for us, with no accents! ) We thought that tricky one and ASSin were tough to solve but so clever.

Within a couple of hours, we were there, with just ??oF and ?E left to puzzle out. Of course, it was the French word that threw us again – the née, intersecting with in-off – tough ones, I thought. We had a complete grid but some doubt about the word play of tO. Our wise friend explained that subtle clue, ‘Shut out, not do as well’ – the ‘shut’ meaning ‘TO’ and the ‘out’ without the note ‘do’ (or ‘ut’ for the French!) leaving us with another O. We’ll store that old-dog trick for future Listeners. Then there was TArs. Tatars was the obvious solution, but the wordplay where the  ‘RU’ (IVR for Burundi) had to be divided and the two letters individually removed from TARTARUS completely dumbfounded us.

Wonderful, Waterloo, not to leave us worrying words till Wednesday. This was most rewarding and great fun.

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