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Posts Tagged ‘Charybdis’

‘Putting the World to Rights’ by Charybdis

Posted by Encota on 10 August 2018

I think this excellent puzzle from Charybdis let me set my personal record for the number of copies of the grid I needed to complete it – in all I used five.  Two I binned but the other three feature here.

Early on the jumbling meant that many cells had multiple options in them during the earlier phase of solving.  Here’s an example where I had made some progress …

2018-08-01 15.14.58

Finally, once all clues are solved, I make it 21 cells that are unchecked by down clues – marked in green in the attached.

2018-08-01 15.13.52

Of these:
  • 4 are already identified
  • 6 more are identified by adding MERE ANARCHY from the poem, at 1d
  • and the remaining 11 are found from the (inferred) requirement for all final words in the grid to be real words, each one using one of the options in the green cells above.  Why the inference, you may ask?  Well, I couldn’t see any reason for 17ac to explain that GAND is a word, the French version of the place-name Ghent, unless all Across entries are words.  Am I missing something?

And finally it looked something like this rough copy:

2018-08-01 15.12.46

A bit more background.  It’s all based on W B Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming”
The instructions to change cells in the centre turned CENTRE into The falcon = GENTLE

And the phrase to be higlighted with a smooth curve, from the poem, was:

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre”

Aside: haven’t we seen GENTLE in another 2018 Listener (or did I dream it)?

25d includes a nice hint with ‘Gyring bird …”

In 24d I’d initially picked the wrong word to delete, resulting in ROUGH BEAST WAY NO HEART



  • … the second of these might be parsed as {BEAST W(h)Y}*,  resulting in the poet W B YEATS

And ‘Gand’ is the French form of the placename Ghent, or so I read.
Phew – a tough workout!
Tim / Encota

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Putting the World to Rights by Charybdis

Posted by shirleycurran on 10 August 2018

A friend just commented to me, “What is the most hated sentence in the English language? ‘All answers must be jumbled’!” and I loudly agreed.  That was followed in this preamble by ‘An extra word must be removed before solving from all across and 20 down clues.’ Hmm! Actually that requirement was quite helpful. Had we not had that message in the second letters of across clues that prompted me to begin a second grid and ‘UNJUMBLE ALL DOWN ENTRIES’ I imagine I would still be sitting here solving and muttering foul imprecations at Charybdis as I was until 2 a.m. this morning.

Does he retain his admission ticket to the bar at Listener dos? Well, he started off on the soft stuff, ‘Active ingredient is in demand for cordial (7)’ and we decided that A + IS in NEED gave us ANISEED so the ‘ingredient’ was extra and provided us with a second letter N. There was a touch of hope in ‘Estate producing mostly fruit (6)’. We guessed this had to be the Napa Valley mostly ‘RAISIN(g)’ and that’s what we use here for our wine but the alcohol scene was not impressive. ‘Château giving away (beery) brew right before noon – from this? (6, two words)’ removed that CHA and left us with TEA U + RN – clearly not premier cru but admission ticket valid. Cheers, anyway, Charybdis.

Of course Charybdis’ clues are polished and fair and we solved steadily but he had imposed on us a task that was almost a total cold solve. He tells me one of his setting rules is that the puzzle must be more difficult for the setter to set than it is for the solver to solve. What can I say? I should include a photograph of my initial grid at an intermediate stage when I still had all those tiny words pencilled in, ready to be erased and pencilled in again when the intersecting jumble didn’t share a letter. Do we really do this for pleasure or is it some kind of masochistic self-torture?

The redeeming feature came with the first p.d.m. We had WHY NO HEART appearing at the end of our down clue extra letters and ROUGH BEAST rang a bell (didn’t I teach that Yeats’ Second Coming‘ to IB classes with that dreadful suggestion of a second nativity when that ‘rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born’?)

How do I find the poet’s name there? ‘Rough’ is telling me to anagram BEAST and WHY with no heart so W.B.YEATS.
Looking back at the preamble tells me that I am going to find the first line of the poem in the grid, 34 cells, but for now I can see no hint of TURNING AND TURNING IN THE WIDENING GYRE, though clearly it is the CENTRE that cannot hold and I can, for now, fill those six central letters. R will later change to L and the falcon must appear there, so I imagine the C will have to become G to give us a GENTLE.
MERE ANARCHY indeed, that initial grid, and we had to change that phrase to describe the text. This has appeared before in a Magpie by Ifor, hasn’t it? He converted that MERE ANARCHY to an ARCANE RHYME and that is really helpful here. One step further in the solve!
Thankyou, thankyou for that message UNJUMBLE ALL DOWN ENTRIES! I still had 13 solutions to go and that didn’t bode too well for the meticulous task of ‘filling as much of the grid as possible‘. I wonder how many other solvers created a second grid with the down entries and worked backwards from that, producing, for example SK?NNY at 45ac and MI?I at 40ac then using the potential ultimate letters to complete the grid (Well, it could be MINI, MIDI or MIRI but 40ac was HORN so that fixed the N as the choice and the I of SKINNY was the only option.)
Even more joyous was the moment when a circling GYRE appeared and gave me my final words in the top right sector of the grid, where two of my gaps were lurking – so I could back solve to SYNTH and ARGUE and confirm the presence of the falcon in the gyre.
This was the toughest challenge of the year so far for us but what a compilation. Thank you to Charybdis.

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Listener No 4512: Putting the World to Rights by Charybdis

Posted by Dave Hennings on 10 August 2018

When I saw that we had a Charybdis puzzle this week, I knew we were (or, at least, I was) in for a challenge. Last year, we had Mark Twain, Josephine Tey and Robert Wyatt all jumbled together to reveal the discovery of Richard III’s bones under a Leicester carpark.

And talking of jumbles, that’s what we had this week — in droves! Every answer had to be jumbled before entry as described by 1dn which was unclued — obviously. Eventually an instruction would be revealed by the second letter of extra words in the across clues. A poet would be revealed by the wordplay provided by the second letters of extra words in 20 down clues and that would include a phrase from one of his poems. (Note that choosing the second letter wasn’t just a whim of Charybdis, but actually thematic.)

As expected, solving the clues was slow and painstaking, partly because of all those extra words, partly from some obscure meanings of words, and partly because of Charybdis’s excellent clueing. For example, it took me ages to look up ‘spiky’ to discover that 32ac High [Swiss] Church having a sharp point (5) was just a clue consisting of two meanings. 8dn One smelly [abelia] shrub that’s good in row (5) had me racking my brains for a 5-letter smelly shrub that turned out to be a 3-letter one RUE with row being the definition for ARGUE.

I guess my favourite clue was 42ac Fifty [kronor], the Swede’s part in church taxes (6) which was a simple, if craftily disguised, hidden for TYTHES. I also liked 9dn Château giving away [beery] brew right before noon — from this? (6, two words) for TEA URN, partly because I could see Shirley having another fainting fit with all that alcohol. I must say that the possibilities in the top right corner were manifest, but nowhere near as manifest as in the bottom right where I had 4 or 5 letter options crammed into some squares.

Eventually, we had the across message reading Unjumble down entries and the wordplay for the poet Rough beast, why no heart leading to WB YEATS, with ‘rough beast’ being the phrase from near the end of the poem. So, having gone through all the agony of jumbling the down entries, we had to undo all that good work and enter the original answers! The across entries that still had options could then be completed fairly easily.

Here we were dealing with Yeats’s Second Coming. This brought back memories of Poat’s puzzle back in 2008. (OK, I needed the Crossword Database to track it down.) That linked Yeats with Chinua Achebe, author of the novel, Things Fall Apart.

1dn was thus revealed as MERE ANARCHY (not ‘more anarchy’ which I originally guessed at) from line 4 of the poem. Although CENTRE had to go into the isolated area at the heart of the grid, it soon got changed, initially the C to G, and finally the R to L thus revealing the falcon or GENTLE (thanks, Malva).

A bit of fiddly line drawing, which was only marginally better than in the animation, wended its way from the centre of the grid to the north-east corner, and the puzzle was done and dusted. Of course, such a complex solution process then required me to double-check everything and make sure that I hadn’t made a silly error somewhere along the line. (Even that can be no guarantee of success!)

Thanks for a superb puzzle, Charybdis. I suspect it took more than a couple of hours to construct!

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Listener No 4468: Hide-and-Seek by Charybdis

Posted by Dave Hennings on 6 October 2017

Charybdis’s last Listener was three years ago with No 4310 Net Book Agreement and its theme of The L-Shaped Room. Towards the end of my blog for that puzzle, I had the words “I breathed a sigh of relief that my all-correct run for this year was still intact.” Well it wasn’t! It was down to my misunderstanding of how the “net” of the rooms was to be drawn. Hopefully, this week’s puzzle wouldn’t give me a problem.

As I read the preamble, it seemed possible that it would. My heart must’ve skipped a couple of beats as I was told how we had to identify who Mark, Francis and Robert were together with some of their relations, find two proverbs, “uncover” one, amend the other, find a title, and finish it all off with some highlighting. There was an isolated cell near the bottom right corner, and that would obviously need filling, and 15 clues needed a letter to be restored.

I started off fairly well, with 7ac RENEGER (good old Magritte helping) and a flurry of down entries in the top right corner. Working my way down to the bottom right soon had me see •A•GHT•• unclued at 28ac, and a daughter seemed to be one of the relations we had to identify.

The top left and then the bottom left were soon looking healthy, and it didn’t take too long to see TRUTH IS (28ac) STRANGER (column 4) THAN FICTION (row 9). The restored letters meanwhile were spelling out Twain and Bacon (Mark and Francis), but it needed me to solve all the clues before Wyatt popped up. Robert Wyatt then needed some googling to find his album Ruth is Stranger than Richard.

I didn’t get to the final highlighting by trying to work out what went into the isolated square. My eye was casually looking at the finished grid and saw CAR PARK in row 3. Looking in the row above it, LEICESTER made me break out in a broad smile, what I have recently started calling my BGM — Big Grin Moment. Of course, slotting an I into the isolated square revealed RICHARD III, whose bones were recently discovered beneath a car park in Leicester, although I’m pretty sure they didn’t use a bulldozer to uncover them!

In summary, these are the steps in the endgame:

  • TRUTH IS THE DAUGHTER OF TIME: Francis Bacon & Josephine TEY

What a wonderfully roundabout journey it was. Great fun, thanks Charybdis.

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Listener 4468 Hide-and-Seek by Charybdis

Posted by Encota on 6 October 2017

aka Ruth Is Stranger Than Robin, or something like that …

Thank you Charybdis for a superb puzzle with a great Cultural Crossover!  I wonder how many people knew all angles covered in this puzzle – quotes from Twain and Bacon, books from Josephine Tey and albums from Robert Wyatt!

As ever, do read Shirley’s and Dave’s blogs for some more insight.

[You are now entering Twilight Zone mode…]

Or, alternatively … in this puzzle we were asked to help seek ‘three hiders’.

So what other musicians are hiding on Robert Wyatt’s brilliantly titled mid-Seventies album, ‘Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard’?   Aside: the only album (I know) that has a Side Richard and a Side Ruth.


And in what way is it connected to that other mid-seventies album, ‘Night Moves’ by Bob Seger, I hear you ask?  [Eh?? Ed.]  Clearly SEGER is jumbled in both the first and last rows.  Is it referring to Knight’s Moves to find the missing musicians, perhaps?

And yes, there they are, all three from the Robert Wyatt album:

[to be added]

Top left, the ubiquitous Brian ENO, who played guitar and synthesiser on the Offenbach rearrangement; top right Nisar Ahmad KHAN, saxophonist on two tracks, and mid-right Fred FRITH, piano on those three tracks on Side Richard.

And, of course, the two erased letters – which might be read as NO TE – appear to have a musical theme.

The Preamble said something about (presumably) other musicians: Mark – Knopfler? Ronson? and Francis – Rossi?  RENE of Rene and Renata made an appearance on Row 1, Jim REEVES in Col 14 and Lou REED on Row 10.  There was some bluff about a King, a novel, some proverbs and a place to leave the tour bus in the Midlands but I gave that bit a miss.

cheers all,

Tim / Encota

PS As I type I am listening to, the Prog Rock radio station (they are playing ‘Luminol’ by Steven Wilson, thanks for asking), so if I can’t solve a puzzle featuring Robert Wyatt then I am not sure who can!

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