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Posts Tagged ‘Dave’

Listener No 4643: Systematic by Dave

Posted by Dave Hennings on 12 Feb 2021

This week I could have sworn that we had a new setter, Dave (not me I hasten to add). However, checking at the Crossword Database and the Listener Crossword websites, I find that he (I guess) has had three previous Listeners but the last was way back in 2003, and the one before that was a mathematical.

This week’s preamble indicated that I was destined to be confused, probably quite often, during the solving process. Apart from twelve thematic clues which would need to be adjusted before entry, some would need a letter replacing, some a letter added and some a letter removed. Taken together, these rogue letters would spell out a title and its author. The fact that it seemed totally random as to which clue type each clue belonged struck me as strange and the likely cause of my confusion.

I sort of went off the rails straightaway with 1ac Genuinely following leads for foray’s combat (5) which looked like FECHT from ECHT after F(oray) with leads becoming lead. Except the Scottishness of the word wasn’t indicated — tsk, tsk. Of course, it turned out that it was foray becoming Moray!

To say that solving was slow would be a bit of an understatement, and my first pass through the clues had only a dozen slotted in. A likely contender for one of the twelve clues needing adjustment was 8dn Welders cannot transform toy (8, two words) which looked like it should be an anagram of welder’s cannot. I won’t deny cheating here, especially since the setter was going to pick and choose what type of clue each non-thematic clue used. Having doodled the letters for a few minutes, anagram solver (Tea) came to the rescue to give NEWTON’S CRADLE.

That gave 12ac Waited about sporting church garment (10, two words) ending in ODIC•, and LIBERTY BODICE looked possible — except for the parsing. However, could that be another anagram together with CE or CH? Here the doodling came good and WATTEAU BODICE (which I can’t say I’d heard of) was the answer, and WATT and NEWTON gave the game away.

I recently came across an old Independent Weekend crossword (No 329 Eponymous by Buff) where the theme was scientists who had given their name to scientific units, eg Celsius, Henry and Hertz. That seemed to be what was going on here. Well, almost. Here the unit had to be replaced by its abbreviation. My favourites were FANFARADES, CANDELABRAS and SCAMPERED becoming FANFES, CDBRAS and SCAD respectively. The wayward letters from the clues gave Measure for Measure, Shakespeare.

A nice theme. Thanks, Dave (not me I hasten to add).


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Systematic by Dave

Posted by shirleycurran on 12 Feb 2021

We haven’t solved a crossword by Dave before. Looking at Dave Hennings’ database, I see that he hasn’t set one for quite some time, so we really don’t know what to expect. The Numpties are bickering at once. He is convinced that we have to draw three pretty coloured strips alongside our clues and separately record those that add a letter, those that lose one and those that change one (and Oh my, is he grumbling about all three devices being permitted in a single crossword!) I, on the basis that these letters are going to spell out only a title and its author, am happy with my single line, so that I can set to at once, scanning the clues to see whether this ‘setter of yore’ qualified for the Oenophile Elite before I was even solving Listener crosswords.
I find a ‘crush’ in ‘Virgin admits love, offering short plant for a crush (10)’ and we later work out that that clue gives us a MOLE (shortened to MOL) in MOLENDINARY (MARY around O and LENDIN[g]) but I have to read to the very end of the clues before I find ‘Elder rani arranged unlimited beer (5)’ We drop an R and anagram ANI with the[b]EE[r], giving AINEE. And it isn’t just unlimited beer, ‘Cult’s liquor to be produced endlessly (4)’ By the time we solve that clue, we are short of an E on SHAKESPEARE, so we decide it has to be Celt’s liquor and we remove the last letter of BREED to give us BREE. With unlimited beer and Celt’s liquor produced endlessly (no doubt a quality malt) Dave clearly earns his ticket. Cheers!
And yes, ‘he who is always right’ wasn’t this time, and we haven’t solved for long before my single line of extra letters gives a fairly convincing SHAKESPEARE and enough letters alongside the across clues to suggest MEASURE FOR MEASURE. Now we understand why we couldn’t fit STINGRAY, IRRADIANT, SCAMPERED and EMOLUMENT into the available spaces. However, we still have to find several measures that we can reduce to their short forms.
We slowly tease out GRAY, WATT, VOLT, MOLE, FARAD, TONNE, CANDELA, NEWTON, LUMEN, AMPERE, RADIAN and SECOND, Actually, we initially opt for ARE in 1d with FANFARES becoming FANFAS but ARE isn’t an IS abbreviation and we can’t suss the wordplay of ‘Always making piano loud, piper with horns shows off musical flourishes (6)’. Of course, two Ps have to become F so we have Pan Parades becoming FANFARADES and surprisingly, there is the word in Chambers, defined as ‘musical flourishes’. I’m not surprised that it has taken Dave eighteen years to find all those words that could slyly incorporate a measure. Engineering this grid must have been quite a challenge. Thank you, Dave.

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