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Posts Tagged ‘Dilwitch’

All Change by Dilwitch

Posted by shirleycurran on 23 August 2013

All change 002There has been a Numpty comment before that there seems to be a sort of inverse relationship between the length of the preamble and the time spent on a Listener crossword. A promising-looking short preamble can often lead to a long, hard solve.  Long, certainly, in this case, and demanding if not particularly difficult. We spent a few minutes working out exactly what we were going to do, and, for once, it all seemed fairly clear from the start. None of that ‘Well, let’s just solve and hopefully it will all become clear” response that is often our initial gloomy feeling.

We had to produce answers from the wordplay. An obvious one that started us off well was ‘Plump state that warrants Muslim practice – a fast. Hang in with resolution.” We resolved ‘A fast hang in’* to produce AFGHANISTAN.  Numpty maths worked out that we had to remove a 7-letter note or coin and replace it with ‘another item of currency, not necessarily concurrent, in the same country.’ A bit of Googling produced the PUL hiding, jumbled in that PLUmp, so we entered PUL (in the place of AFGHANI) STAN. Simples!

There was that extra phrase (or a historical equivalent). We shelved it for now and decided that we would worry later about countries that had changed their names or status and become part of other political or geographic entities. There was obviously enough work to do without letting that worry us at this stage.

More worrying was Dilwitch’s  somewhat excessive consumption of the hard stuff that pronounced him a very active member of the Listener setters’ tipsy club. We found ‘Bill for (GleNEAGLes) Scotch (low for Perthshire and gin (high) (LAW + GIN* giving LAWING where ANGEL replaced WING). Not much further down, Dilwitch reassured himself that ‘Gin and rum are liquor – ID’s required or (query) expressed. There’s a fine surface reading there. Dilwitch, pretending to be 18, is asked to produce his ID on attempting to purchase the hard stuff. (LIQUOR with IDS replacing OR so we enter the URE from qUERy in the place of QUID). I’m learning here! I knew a URE was an old word for a usage but it is new to me that it is a form of currency.

Not content with Scotch, gin and rum, we find whisky further down. ‘Bishop contests taking a whisky in microbar.’ (Is this a drinking contest for the higher clergy?) This produces cONTESTs (as TESTON) to replace BAR in BARYE. There’s a new word for me and I’m a little disappointed to find that a BARYE is just an atmospheric measurement and not some further little drinking den where Dilwitch, his bishop drinking pals and underage shoppers can pursue their carousing.

Our first action, on attempting this solve, was to look for likely coins in words that stuck out as anomalous in the clues. Thus, we had identified SEQUIN, DINAR,  INTI, TENGE, UNITE and a number of LIRA; LIRE or RIALs. Working out the wordplay (without the anomalous words) to produce solutions that we then had to adjust by rattling about a bit of exotic loose change was a rather more difficult task and, after two or three hours hard work, checking currencies with Mrs Bradford (as usual, her lists proved invaluable) and in Google, we had promising pockets full of sequins, fins and pices but doubt about what words they were fitting into.

Our last two after the stroke of brilliance that spotted that ‘(Inquests) conclusively not ones to make people more comfortable’ led to TEASERS (AS being replaced by SEQUIN) were the one about the 18th hole at Gleneagles and the other boozy one about the gin and rum. It was almost midnight when we decided that a RED and A FIN probably came from the same source and that we weren’t in the 19th hole this time, but simply FINAL.

This was hard work and clearly hard work to compile too unless Dilwitch is a numismatologist as well as a bit of a tippler on the sly and a cruciverbalist. Perhaps he will tell us in a setter’s blog. I do hope so!

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Downsizing by Dilwitch

Posted by shirleycurran on 30 September 2011

The first obvious feature of Dilwitch’s Downsizing was the gift of word lengths for the original words before we performed a bit of surgery and squeezed them into the grid. That had the numpties feeling very positive towards Dilwitch from the start. Can you imagine what this would have been like without that feature!

Of course, this intriguing device had the great disadvantage that the wordplay rarely led to real words so we really had to do some cold-solving and rack our brains to understand what we were entering.

It was lucky that (as usual) we spotted a long word in the south-east corner. We looked up types of gallery ‘Balcony for serenading girl in chateau (bit of skirt, not wife)’ (14) SINGING GALLERY reduced to SINGALERY. What sort of Don Juan is this Dilwitch? No doubt he was yowling ‘Love Me Do’, or another of those sixties favourites at that bit of skirt, from that balcony – though it wasn’t until we were attempting to understand the wordplay of our very last clue ‘Former teacher of George H – there aren’t many like me (8, two words) RARA AVIS reduced to RAVI S (Ravi Shankar) that we realized that the fab four had all figured in his clues.

There were lots of lovely moments like that; it was spotting WAGGA WAGGA (reduced to WAGA) Comedian with a following, producer of Dame Edna (4) that broke the ‘do-able’ barrier for us – that moment when we have enough clues in place to have confidence that we might manage to finish.

The grid fill was steady and enjoyable with more moments of delight, like 1ac Letters getting lost in paper press (11, two words) What a superb surface reading to tell us that  we have an anagram of LETTERS in the FT to give us FLEET STREET.

I was rather bothered by RATTON leading to RAT ON with the clue ‘Grass up? Why ‘up’? A friend has wondered why simply the word GRASS was not used. It would have been one of those classic Listener clues. NO NONSENSE leading to NONSE held us up too – what a clever find.

All in all though, this was great fun and earned our admiration. What joy it must have been for Dilwitch when he managed to fit his last word in and every single one had been compressed. Lovely stuff! Thank you, Dilwitch.

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