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Posts Tagged ‘Chalicea’

Listener No 4527: Offender by Chalicea

Posted by Dave Hennings on 23 November 2018

Like three others before her (Schadenfreude, Dysart and Hedge-sparrow), this was Chalicea’s second Listener of the year. The first was the Saint Patrick’s Day puzzle Overseas Outing

Here, we had 32 clues with an extra wordplay letter, and 19 with an extra word. Well — they should be easy to disentangle! It was nice to be told how many of each; so often we’re just told it’s “some” or “most”. I don’t mind telling you that it actually didn’t make it any easier for me to do the disentangling.

But I get ahead of myself. Has Chalicea confirmed her membership of the Zealous Enthusiasts Drinking the Sauce? Well, of course she has — by its omission! Yet again she has gone out of her way to appear abstemious, here by omitting obvious Z-words like BOOZER, SOZZLED and SWIZZLED, as well as SHIRAZ, SLIVOVITZ and ZINFANDEL (which could become Shiraq, Slivovita and Finfandel, places in Eastern Europe, familiar to Listener solvers). See you at the bar in York, Chalicea.

In fact, this turned out to be one of Chalicea’s more tricky oeuvres. I was somewhat disappointed very early on that TARDIGRADES didn’t have any reference to Dr Who‘s Tardis! However, she compensated for that omission with 1dn List Director etc, etc in order? These might do that (12, two words), an excellent &lit clue to CREDIT TITLES — (LIST + DIR + ETC + ET[c])*. Bizarrely, I never knew that that was the full expression for credits.

It wasn’t too far into the solve that a few Zs in the top and bottom left gave the game away. Moreover, this enabled me to guess that they would all appear in the grid in the shape of a giant letter Z. A bit more work was required to jog my memory about the letter zed in Shakespeare’s King Lear: “Thou whoreson zed, thou unnecessary letter!” I’m not sure that feeling is supported by American English where they seem to use it wherever possible.

And those extra words? Well they all had to slot into the grid so that the zed words became something else. DITZ became DITE, ZINC became C-IN-C and SNAZZIER became SNAPPIER. Very entertaining.

Well over two hours for this one, so thanks for a good challenge, Chalicea. I think putting KENT under the grid as the Speaker was a bit superfluous, and I pity anyone who thought the words were spoken by Cornwall or Gloucester. (Perhaps that was the reason for the hint SE in the two bottom corner cells.)


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Listener No 4494: Overseas Outing by Chalicea

Posted by Dave Hennings on 6 April 2018

Chalicea’s last Listener was a mere 36 weeks ago and concerned the Owl and the Pussycat and their lack of a ring, represented in the puzzle by the lack of any letter O. Here, as if to remind us, the title had that letter prominently placed — twice!

The grid looked as though it had been constructed by the Beer, Lager Or Alcoholic Tipple Squad! It had no symmetry, had six blank cells completely barred off and one entry across the bottom with a double-unch.

Time to see if any alcohol was hidden in the clues. Well, 20ac Valets put beer into containers (6) CLEANS (extra w/p letter A) was very lacklustre, but 32/35ac was slightly more robust Container for wine, vintage from French vineyard etc … (5) … besides what’s bottled by feeble losers (4) for CRUET (extra w/p letter C) and ELSE (extra w/p letter O).

Just three alcoholic clues?! Well, even a teetotaller could see that there was more lurking. Indeed, eight of them (9ac, 13ac, 22ac, 24ac, 2dn, 5dn, 25dn, 30dn) contained all the letters of that 8-letter beverage most commonly associated with Ireland: GUINNESS. And the day of the puzzle was 17th March, Saint Patrick’s Day. Too much of a coincidence, methinks.

On with the puzzle, then. A swathe of across solutions quickly got slotted into the grid. Despite there being no 1ac, 1dn Dreadful pests … (4) for SEPS (extra w/p letter T) and 2dn … turning up in Taiwan, topless (4) for NAIA (extra letter W) were obligingly straightforward, and it seemed that it wasn’t alcohol but serpents that may be missing from the grid, especially if 1ac itself were to be SNAKES…

… which it was, and a flurry of activity enabled the grid to be completed in double-quick time. The extra wordplay letters spelt out Erase one across. Colour twenty one. Complete six.. As well as the seven entries which were snakes, BOA and ASP were also lurking in the grid and needed to be erased. That left 21 SEA to be coloured in the 40 cells now empty within the grid which would represent a map of Ireland, and 6dn to be completed to give SAINT PATRICK.

Legend has it that St P. chased the snakes into the sea after they attacked him during a 40-day fast atop a hill — sounds a bit vindictive to me. Of course, every schoolboy knows that wasn’t the case and that there haven’t been any snakes in Ireland since the Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago.

Be that as it may, I was left with one gnawing question: what colour to use for the sea? Blue would be normal, but green is the colour most commonly associated with Ireland. Obviously, then, cyan should be used and I managed to find exactly the right shade for that. I know that JEG is a stickler for colouring to be exactly that required by the setter. [Don’t believe him. Ed.]

All done in about an hour. Thanks, Chalicea.

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‘Overseas Outing’ by Chalicea

Posted by Encota on 6 April 2018

What surprised me initially was Chalicea returning to a theme of a previous Listener of hers from 2014 (See Listener 4311 in Dave H’s superb database,, if you don’t believe me!) – surely she could come up with something original?  And then the geographical errors – ALSACE running down near the Western side of the final map in Column 2, for example??  But let me start nearer the beginning:

This is how one might approach this puzzle from Chalicea* …

  1. Guess that it is going to be a map
  2. Look at the Title – ‘Overseas Outing’ – and note that the puzzle coincides with that event enjoyed by Listener Setters and Solvers that is the Annual Listener Dinner
  3. Realise that said 2018 Dinner is held outside of the UK – in Paris – in the weekend of the Puzzle’s publication
  4. Conclude that it must be a map of France**
  5. Check that some of the adjacent countries line up – as demonstrated in the picture below: ES short for Espana, DE for Deutschland, etc.  [I’ve left out all other letters in the puzzle for clarity]

I puzzled for a while why it had PARS and not PARIS at the centre.  I then realised it was the péripherique-centred pun: ‘I’ had to visit (Paris) too – and all became clear.

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 09.27.30 copy

And there was a nice touch down in Chalicea-land in the South East of France under the Jura mountains – half of the largest CERN ring on the French-Swiss border, with of course only two of the letters being visible on the French side and the rest of the ring in Switzerland.

Easy, eh?


Tim / Encota

* If one was an idiot, that is.

** OK, so it was a map but more like this one of Ireland …

SCAN0444 copy

A clever puzzle, with a very nice, unambiguous and visual endgame.  Thank you!

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Setter’s remarks – Chalicea’s difficulty

Posted by shirleycurran on 30 July 2017

Clearly a ringless review’s required – which is difficult since it was the chief Ed’s idea (Mr Phillips) that put clues in a single list thus bypassing the unwanted letter in clue lists, and he suggested disregarding a Chamber’s reference this time – the credit is his. Tester and vetter Artix came up with many brilliant tricks excising that banned letter as well. Thanks, Artix! Chalicea has really appreciated all the tributes that came via Mr Green, and appeared in the Answerbank and TSTMNBM – sad that a grumpy and pernickety pair esteemed it singularly easy – hard cheese! The Listener needs a range between stinkers and gentle rambles (at least, that’s what I think).

Publishing the Listener statistics in the reviews is against Mr Green’s rules but he has said that I may publicise the fact that a centenarian Cdr. D P Willan  (RN retired) submitted a flawless entry – the first, we believe, by a centenarian – a fine achievement!

The setters’ drinks club? Membership assured by clue 3: ‘Dead trendy drink, perhaps deficient in temperature (4)’ [LATTE less T = LATE = Dead]. “Santé!” See all the mates at the bar at next year’s setters’ dinner in Paris (merci à Sylvie Vartan!)

Terrified hare fleeing nightbird and pussycat

Hares? Dave drew a few fine hares and they appeared in capitals as well and I see that Tim highlighted them all [surely rather inventively? Ed.] but the terrified little running hare at the left-hand edge was fleeing the pussycat and night bird (it was certainly eaten anyway – that’s the way it is in nature).

Ah, what a remarkable thing – just seen that he is alive and well and finally appearing as was rightfully expected a fair while since (December last year!) in 4 letters in a straight line in the grid, starring centrally in Serpent’s baldy thingummy (a zebra as well – Serpent has made my day!)
















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Listener No 4458: Difficulty by Chalicea

Posted by Dave Hennings on 28 July 2017

Here we had one of our more prolific setter’s, both under this pseudonym and others, as well as in cahoots with cohorts of other setters. The first thing that I noticed was that, like some early Listeners, the preamble needed to have a lot of clue numbers replaced with their entries in order to make sense. The second thing that I noticed was that “The Chambers Dictionary is the primary reference” was missing from the preamble. Shock! Horror! We’ll be having indirect anagrams next!

And so, having earmarked my Big Red Book for the charity shop as no longer required [You’ll be sorry. Ed.], I set to with the puzzle. But first, I had to check Chalicea’s membership of the Hardened Alcohol Requirement Entourage, and was shocked to find Steeped in beer, elderly beau died dancing (7).

Reading through the single list of clues in sequence, the earlier ones were a tad slow in coming and I wondered if Chalicea was testing us with one of her trickier oeuvres. Luckily, the bottom half of the grid was more forgiving and it filled out nicely. Working my way back up the grid, LEAR at 12 got slotted in within the hour. This was followed by the OWL (here entered as NIGHT BIRD) and the PUSSY CAT at 15dn and 36ac. They SET SAIL in a boat (green) and took some money, honey and a guitar to which the owl sang “O let us be married, too long we have tarried; But what shall we do for a ring?” But ring had they none, and the grid was equally bereft of Os.

Everything was resolved with the ring-nosed PIG selling his ring for the princely sum of a shilling, and A RING being entered below our grid. All was done and dusted, but…

Hasn’t there been an Edward Lear puzzle already this year? Indeed there has, with Dysart’s Jumblies going to sea in a sieve. Nobody can say that Lear didn’t repeat his themes. (Nor, it would seem, the Listener Editors!)

A careful checking of the grid was required to ensure that all the Os in the perimeter quotation had been omitted correctly. But wait! A finally scan of this puzzle revealed that not only was the grid bereft of the letter O, but so was the preamble and, even more amazingly, all the clues. And, of course, that explained why “The Chambers Dictionary” was missing from the preamble and why there were no Down clues.

Retrieving my Chambers from the bag destined for the charity shop [Told you. Ed.], I marvelled at this puzzle’s construction and hoped that I wasn’t required to write this blog without an O.

Excellent entertainment again from Chalicea, thanks.

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