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Posts Tagged ‘Calmac’

‘Bank Transfer’ by Calmac

Posted by Encota on 2 Jun 2017

I hear faint rumours that there are a few solvers that were fooled into thinking this Title described a bridge, namely (I understand) the Ponte Vecchio di Firenze, described in the poet H.W.Longfellow’s English-Italian translation, with the original apparently created/built by Taddeo Gaddi.  They even thought that 18ac’s answer ARNO referred to an account of the current flowing beneath it 🙂

However, with the title ‘Bank Transfer’ actually referring to financials, more specifically ‘the numbers’, this puzzle was actually a glorified Wordsearch where solvers had to find numbers hidden in the grid [Are you quite sure?  Ed.].  Most were hidden straightforwardly but two overlapped (as an added piece of difficulty), and one even started at the bottom of the grid and wrapped back around to the top.  Sneaky, eh?  If I’ve got it right then there were five to find (see grid below):

2017-05-13 12.41.28

There are other folk that suggest that I must have gone slightly doolally, trying to invent a more difficult puzzle than the one in front of me.  Some have even quietly said that I am definitely seeing things when I suggested there’s a famous crossword editor hiding in Column 2, too.  Coincidence?  I think not!

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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Bank Transfer by Calmac

Posted by shirleycurran on 2 Jun 2017

We are a long way from home, painting a fresco on a wall at the bottom of a cliff in the remote north of the Island of Ibiza, where Internet access is sporadic to say the least, so it was a relief when my blundering Ibizenco in an Internet cafe finally produced a Calmac crossword and not a Mash, a Sabre or a Quinapalus.

As we drove the half hour home, I was happily slotting solutions of these very fair and generous clues into the grid but I didn’t forget to check Calmac’s continued right to entry to the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit, and, of course he confirmed it several times.

“Originator  of pithy saying is tense outside public house (8)” gave us AORIST around PH = APHORIST. Then we had “Unaccompanied male consuming liquor is travelling by coach (7)” STAG consuming GIN = STAGING. “Problem drinker, one now reformed (4)” was a WINO. Cheers! Calmac – see you at the bar.

By the time we reached home, something was emerging from our solving. “I believe this has something to do with the Arno,” says the other Numpty, “and those letter on the top row are spelling Ponte Vecchio.” “Firenze!” He announced moments later.

By this time, the corrected misprints were producing TADDEO GADDI and Auntie Google was needed only to confirm that it was H W LONGFELLOW who wrote in Italian and English an ode on the Ponte Vecchio, the 1345 bridge that was traditionally attributed to Taddeo Gaddi.

As usual we learned something new from this puzzle and enjoyed a gentle solve. Many thanks to Calmac.

The HARES? Of course they were enjoying the Florentine sunshine, one up there under the bridge and the other in a rather jumbled straight line.

Hot Florentine hares

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Listener No 4450: Bank Transfer by Calmac

Posted by Dave Hennings on 2 Jun 2017

Montezuma (and Atahualpa) and Franz Ferdinand (and Gavrilo Principe) have featured in Calmac’s previous two Listeners. This week featured either the return of Lloyds Bank to private ownership or a journey across the River Styx with Charon. [Actually, neither. Ed.]

Three entries were unclued, and a third of the clues had a misprint. The correct letters and unclued entries would enable a work and associated people to be identified.

All in all, this was one of the quickest Listeners for a very long time, not even 45 minutes. With most of the grid complete, a check on the unclueds (?) enabled PONTE VECCHIO, FIRENZE and H(enry) W(adsworth) LONGFELLOW to be fleshed out. The corrected misprints looked a bit odd, but when I had all eleven of them, TADDEO GADDI must be the culprit.

A bit of research revealed Il Ponte Vecchio di Firenze (The Old Bridge at Florence) as a work by Longfellow which begins:

Gaddi mi fece; il Ponte Vecchio sono;
Cinquecent’ anni giá sull’ Arno pianto
Il piede, come il suo Michele Santo
Piantó sul draco. Mentre ch’ io ragiono
Taddeo Gaddi built me. I am old,
Five centuries old. I plant my foot of stone
Upon the Arno, as Saint Michael’s own
Was planted on the dragon. Fold by fold

Thanks for an easy week, Calmac, and for introducing me to ‘superheat’ as an anagram of ‘Euphrates’!

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General Intelligence by Calmac

Posted by shirleycurran on 16 Oct 2015

calmac 001“What a lot of clues!” was our first reaction. Then we noticed a very strange unching pattern, not only a couple of double unches in the perimeter but also eighteen open lights. Something was going to happen in this grid to justify this very unorthodox grid. At least, the open lights would render solving somewhat easier, as those eighteen solutions would be spelled out by the letters already in the grid. What’s more, the double unches would never get past the editors unless they were inevitable because of the endgame or some gimmick – so we were prompted where to look when we had a full grid.

Indeed, solving was rendered easy and, after a quick scan through the clues that revealed a fair bit of fish, cheese, fruit and even served up wild goat but not much confirmation of Calmac’s membership of the Listener, I had a hard time keeping up with the other Numpty, who solved the clues almost in order, so fast that I hadn’t time to sharpen my pencil.

We were certainly solving a crossword that was intended to encourage Listener newcomers, as we noted an unusual number of hidden clues: ‘PhilippiNE TEnor holds highest note (4)’, ‘Poetical cave featured in AsiAN TREatise (5)’, ‘Birds kept by ManchuriAN ISlamists (4)’ and ‘WaltZ ACKnowledged in paRt Victorian dated bit (4)’. Generous anagrams helped us too: ‘The stalk of a moss capsule out in East (4)’ (giving SETA) and ‘FRee from excess fat before ripped seamen (6)’ (giving ENSEAM).

Several words seemed redundant but the reason for a certain clunkiness in the clues wasn’t obvious until we had a full grid (a little over an hour) and a message spelled out: CENTRAL LETTERS IN CLUES. Indeed, that message had caused us the occasional hiccup along the way. We avoided the obvious pitfall of using the corrected letters (Oh yes, we have been there before!) and took the ‘incorrect’ letters, but the fact that these were scattered in any part of the clue, even in the materials of an anagrind, ‘Conspirers against ministers call Marie bent (9)’ (the anagram requiring CALL MARIA to give CAMARILLA) gave pause for thought.

It looked like a laborious task, but, in fact, finding just the beginnings of words EVE.. SCH… KNO.. WH. IMP….. MONT… gave us all we needed and Google confirmed that ‘Every schoolboy knows who imprisoned Montezuma and who strangled Atahualpa‘. So that was why there were so many clues! I had to work out the end of the message where double letters were central to the clues, giving the …DA TA HU AL PA. This was indeed an original way of conveying the message – the first time we have seen it – and, of course it justified a certain clue clunkiness.

We already knew where to look for the perpetrators because of that double unch, and, sure enough, there was ATAHUALPA, strangled by FRANCISCO PIZARRO. We hunted symmetrically at first but then spotted MONTEZUMA with HERNAN CORTES imprisoning him. An attractive finish to a fairly gentle crossword. Many thanks, Calmac. (Yes, the other Numpty says “Be careful what you wish for: we haven’t had any Sabrean knights’ moves or Mash Klein Bottles yet this year!”)


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22 Across by Calmac

Posted by shirleycurran on 18 Jul 2014

Black Hand Gang 001I can add one to my tally of Listeners where we have guessed the theme before filling a cell. Well, hands up those who logged in to the Times site convinced that they wouldn’t fail to commemorate this hundredth anniversary of the opening of that conflagration that probably affected about half of the more elderly Listener solvers in one way or another. Apart from the photos on mantelpieces, when we were small, of ‘Billy who went down on the first day of the Battle of the Somme’, we women began to escape from total male domination (even if you lot still dominate the crossword world) as a result of it all.

The size of the grid was the next hint. A couple of years ago, I dabbled with this theme, convinced that it had great potential, and abandoned when long words like GAVRILO PRINCIP, FRANZ JOSEF, BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA, MILJACKA and SERBIA didn’t make for a very comfortable grid. So congratulations to Calmac that he persisted and even made them come together – no, I can’t say harmoniously can I?

With this rather dismal theme, there had to be a bit of Listener setter tippling amongst the clues but could I find any evidence of Calmac’s membership of the club? Sadly, no! However, for Numpty solvers, there was a lovely preponderance of anagrams and hidden clues. We started at the bottom right (such a good place to start!) and within minutes, had TEEN, SUMAC and PULP in place, so leapt to the conclusion that GAVRILO PRINCIP was going to fill that unclued light. Logically, his victim would fill the other unclued light at 1 down and we tentatively slotted FRANZ FERDINAND in there.

BOSN was our next lucky find and we surmised that it was going to be part of BOSNIA and soon I was hard put to write as fast as we solved. In a little over an hour, we had a full grid, with SARAJEVO completing that vertical column.

The late Enigmatic Variations Editor, Mr Leonard, in one of his gently encouraging messages to me, said ‘Attempting to get a misprint into every clue is biting off more than most setters can chew (or words to that effect). Leave it to the top setters and adopt a more generous device.’ I was reminded of that advice as we found one or two really forced misprints ‘Deaf eater’ for the Koala ‘leaf eater’, ‘Plant that’s brown for dyeing’ for ‘plant that’s grown for dyeing’ but have to admire the almost convincing set that Calmac produced.

Of course, there was a bit of Numpty head scratching, as our extra letters had spelled out ‘HIGHLIGHT TWENTY-TWO CELLS SYMBOLICALLY’ but the first part of the message was ‘Gobbledygook NEAR RIVERSIDE’. ‘Mask word by jolly ref’ (6) was holding us up but eventually, we decided that had to be a clue to VERMIL, which Chambers told us was a kind of bright red (giving VEIL round RM), so our last misprint told us that EVENT OCCURRED NEAR RIVERSIDE. That was clearly a prompt that our twenty-two letters were going to be the river and the city, and, of course, that added up.

‘Symbolically’! Well, they made a cross, didn’t they and that black cross was the symbol of the Black Hand Gang; but black? Can you ‘highlight’ in black. I can see some sparring ahead if that is the requirement and half the solvers have used the pink or yellow highlighter that came to hand.

Well, it was speedy, topical and a rewarding solve. Many thanks Calmac.

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