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Posts Tagged ‘Continental Drift’

Continental Drift by Opsimath

Posted by shirleycurran on 29 Jan 2021

Just three and a half lines of preamble. We like that. Of course, we also like finding that yet another setter has needed alcohol to complete his grid. We have sat with Opsimath in his hometown raising glasses of his local Efes so have high expectations, and, sure enough, we soon find that ‘[G]roat may buy this drink under the table (viz sit low) (9)’ Surely it’s a Croat buying this stuff – so we have our first corrected misprint.

That’s a fairly generous anagram for the strong stuff (SLIVOWITZ) and we need a further clue to water it down, ‘Aerated wa[f]er provided by US prosecutor (4)’. We change the wafer to water and add SO to DA to give us our SODA. Time to raise our glasses again. “Cheers, Opsimath!”

We know that Opsimath likes his crosswords to be pan-alphabetic – to have every letter of the alphabet in them and together with that SLIVOWITZ, we find ZORIL, EXERT, JOKE and QANAT- he’s doing it again!

We solve steadily with no theme immediately apparent but a useful message slowly appearing in the corrected misprints. LEWIS AND CLARK …

Penny-drop moment. That is why we had this rather unusual 16 X 11 grid and the title Continental Drift. We need Wikipedia to confirm that ‘The United States purchased Louisiana from France in 1803. The huge part of the land west of the Mississippi River was completely unknown to Americans and needed to be examined first before it could be settled. President Jefferson decided to send an exploratory expedition west so he appointed his own private secretary, Meriwether Lewis as a Commander in charge of the expedition and finding appropriate guides for it. Lewis invited his former superior officer from the Army, William Clark, to be his Co-commander.’ Now that was a president behaving in a civilised, presidential manner!

We know what we are looking for now and find those three rivers, OHIO, MISSOURI and COLUMBIA and the ROCKIES exactly where they should be. The remainder of the corrected misprints tell us to HIGHLIGHT ONE MOUNTAIN RANGE AND THREE RIVERS so out comes the blue highlighter.

Those explorers  were the crew of the PATHFINDER, and we spend some time hunting for a letter we need to change in the grid to produce that, but then realize that we simply had to change that last letter of the vaulting POLE at 34d to a different sport, POLO, to find our CORPS OF DISCOVERY. Very nice, thanks, Opsimath – another puzzle that sends us to fascinating sources to brush up our knowledge.

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Listener No 4641: Continental Drift by Opsimath

Posted by Dave Hennings on 29 Jan 2021

The third Listener from Opsimath this week, his previous being a mixture of Greek and Latin letters in last year’s Polygram. Quite a big grid presented itself here, being 16×11. Misprints in the definition of all clues would give us a hint to the theme plus an instruction to follow to reveal the “scope of the endeavour”.

The title reminded me of Phi’s Listener from ten years ago with its tectonic plate theme, not to mention Shark’s from 2012 titled, erm… Continental Drift!

Clues were fairly straightforward, and it was nice to see a few H and G misprint corrections bunched up in the middle of the across clues. That almost certainly hinted at their being some shading required at the end. However, the other corrections were a bit sporadic and I needed most of the grid to be completed before everything was fully revealed.

My favourite clues were probably 10dn Vaulted vertices of church round every window (4) (Vaulted/Vaunted) for CREW and 19ac Groat may buy this drink under the table, viz sit low (9) giving SLIVOWITZ — if only alcohol were really that cheap (Groat/Croat)!

So the corrections spelt out Lewis and Clerk and Highlight one mountain range and three rivers. It didn’t take long to google the pair, highlight the ROCKIES and the OHIO, MISSOURI and COLUMBIA and finally change the bottom row to give CORPS OF DISCOVERY.

Thanks, Opsimath.

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Continental Drift by Shark

Posted by shirleycurran on 20 Apr 2012

For the second week running we have a new Listener name, though Shark is familiar in the IQ, EV and Magpie series (one of those rare compilers who can set a numerical puzzle too) and well-known to us for the flawless cluing.

We set to work with more than a little trepidation, especially seeing that odious word ‘jumble’ in the deliciously short preamble. Originality is clearly what our editors are looking for in their new setters and we breathed a sigh of relief when we read more carefully (Remember Numpty rule no.1, ‘Read and reread the preamble’) ‘In across clues the wordplay refers to the grid entry, which is a jumble of the defined answer.’

Exactly what that meant quickly became clear as the most obvious clues yielded their secrets. ‘To be fed contents of fromage frais (4)’ FARE is ‘to be fed’ in BRB and there were the jumbled letters hiding in ‘fromagE FRAis. ‘Overcharge nursing home initially – it is to be spent in Korea (4)’. That had to be the old CHON, coming from OC + N(ursing) H(ome).

What about the lovely ‘Deer beginning to emerge over ridge (4)’ A fine surface reading with ELK + E(merge) ‘over’ or returning to give EKLE – a jumble of KEEL or ridge. There was a fine range of fields of knowledge touched on in these clues, with, of course, the usual Listener compiler’s touch of the hard stuff in ‘Cooks in fine wine – half left (5)’ F + RIES(ling), ‘Practically rush drink (3)’ TEA(r) and the inevitable result in ‘Urine container with unknown disease (3)’ PO + X.

A touch of humour there, but not half so racy as the delightful in-joke about our Editor, ‘Roger removed from annual dinner in style (3)’ WAYGOOSE less ‘goose’. All the letters of WAY were confirmed by intersecting ones but it was days after completion that I finally stopped worrying about whether Roger had just gone rather over the top after I last saw him in the bar at about 3 a.m. after the Listener annual dinner. How on earth did Shark find that obscure word for a printer’s annual dinner and spot the possibility for a hilarious (and rather scurrilous) clue?

We were thoroughly enjoying this solve as the grid speedily filled, and rather reluctant for it to end too quickly but we must have struck lucky, as the potential adjectives for our first half-dozen solutions established a pattern that was soon confirmed. (That is what I meant about the editors looking for originality – something new); those adjectives. We had FRENCH MUSTARD (yes, we know that ‘MUD’ can be gutters in Scotland), GREEK NOSE, ITALIAN SONNET, SPANISH FLY and RUSSIAN TEA. It was obvious that one adjective was going to stray outside Europe and it just could have been China or Mexican tea, but we held our breath and completed the down clues, and, sure enough, a far better candidate presented itself.

AFRICAN VIOLETS! The second pdm quickly followed. We had to highlight ‘all occurrences of letters in the nounal form of this “odd one out” in the grid’. At once a familiar shape appeared and we were struck with amazement at the skill of this compilation. Unobtrusively, Shark had managed to restrict the presence of those letters A F R I C A to the continent’s outline: he left himself just three vowels, E O and U. Now that is mastery!

A very high standard is being set here. A solving friend said ‘These clues were of the quality of the early Sabre – and that is no small praise.’ I wonder whether coming crosswords are going to live up to the standard set by this one and last week’s by Ron. Great, Shark!

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