Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Posts Tagged ‘Dysart’

Escapee by Dysart

Posted by shirleycurran on 30 November 2018

I’ve been producing crosswords on the First World War poets for the last few years and worked feverishly to create some to commemorate the Armistice since this weekend is the centenary of that longed-for moment. Wilfred Owen is my particular favourite of those poets, with Sassoon a short step behind and it is difficult not to be moved by those words from Binyon’s The Fallen that we will br hearing in tomorrow’s services, ‘They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old … at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember’. MacCrae’s ‘In Flanders Fields’ and Brooke’s ‘If I should die …’ are classics, even if later attitudes have denigrated that early patriotism and optimism Brooke displayed. Jeremy Paxman, in Great Britain’s Great War, writes a most instructive analysis of how a century has adapted our attitude to those dreadful events of 1914 to 1918.

So I was expecting a crossword in some way related to the centenary of the Armistice and we had solved for only a few minutes when those letters we were adding to across clues began to spell out I AM THE ENEMY YOU KILLED (my friend), possibly the most moving of all Owen’s poems, though the saddest must be Futility, and the most shocking Dulce Et Decorum Est, with its graphic reaction to a gas attack. For me, almost the saddest moment of the whole war was the doorbell ringing at Owen’s home to announce his death, as the Armistice bells celebrated the end of it all.

Of course, finding the quotation from Strange Meeting made this a speedy solve for us, though we were puzzled by 1ac CO?F?CT, until we realised that this was the clue where the Escapee was coming into his own, ‘It seemed that out of battle I escaped …’ the first line of the poem. We removed I from CONFLICT and all was well. This was perhaps a precursor for the cryptic manipulations of 26 letters that were needed for the completion of our crossword.

‘A later work that features the first work (Strange Meeting) and others by the same author’…  Friends are performing in Britten’s WAR REQUIEM this weekend and those misprints in down clues obligingly spelled out that title, so that we were able to interchange the letters of SLOB and WRITTEN producing OWEN and BRITTEN in the grid. All that was left to do was the highlighting of 26 letters.

One of them EMITEGN* for a strange or anagrammed MEETING was immediately obvious but I had to read about the nine poems included in Britten’s Requiem to work out what the other two to highlight could be. EDISON was obviously the next (Are you sure? Ed.) as that unexpected proper noun in the crossword clearly had to be there for a reason. How clever! We read it the other way up and got NO SIDE and the BRB tells me that is ‘The End’ (of a rugby match). Obviously this clue has no side if it is cryptically sending us to THE END. The next that we saw was obligingly EXTENTH* (THE NEXT with ‘War’ functioning as the anagram indicator). So we have our three and I get out my highlighter. “Hang on!” says the other Numpty. “They add up to only 20 cells. We have a problem!”

So we head scratch. ANTHEM FOR DOOMED YOUTH took longer. We could see that the ‘Doomed’ could be an anagram indicator but I had a bit of an issue with ANOTHERFMLAD* on the third row of the grid, as that anagrammed to ANTHEM FOR LAD, whilst the archives show very clearly that Owen and Sassoon, in their discussion of the title, were discussing ‘youth’ as a state of being or a collective term for all those lads, not just one lad. Of course, Dysart had foreseen this and ’26 letters’ made it clear what was required and those words in the preamble removed my worry ‘the titles of … two others used in the later work’. Yes, Britten’s script refers to A doomed youth, justifiably focusing, possibly on Owen. So we abandon poor EDISON and highlight the other three.

What a fine tribute. Many thanks to Dysart.


Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Listener No 4528: Escapee by Dysart

Posted by Dave Hennings on 30 November 2018

As someone pointed out last week, I was a tad premature, so let’s try again. Like three others before him (Schadenfreude, Hedge-sparrow and Chalicea), this was Dysart’s second Listener of the year. The first was a dreadful puzzle A Dreadful Puzzle, all about phobias.

Here we had all but three across clues needing a letter to be replaced before solving, but not in the definition. The first thought that came to mind was, for some reason, Moby Dick. Lots of messages to be revealed here, both in the clue messages and in the grid endgame — none would be about the whale and his protagonist.

As expected with Dysart, the clues were tricky but enjoyable. The messages from the across clues and downs were slow to reveal themselves, especially the downs since they needed unjumbling. Eventually we had “I am the enemy you killed[, my friend]” in the acrosses leading to the Wilfred Owen poem, Strange Meeting, a meeting in Hell, and further clued by the three extra words in the across clues: interestingly unusual encounter. The first line of this poem is “It seemed that out of battle I escaped” and required CONFLICT to be entered as CONFLCT at 1ac.

As for the downs which had a misprint, 29 Team turning to inventor with guest to develop sound recording? (6) initially befuddled me. Did Edison really guess at developing sound recording. Well, of course not — it was a quest to develop it! Thus the misprints read MUAEWIQRER. Given we were in Armistice weekend, the WAR stood out, and REQUIEM soon followed, a masterpiece by Benjamin Britten.

I then indulged in a lot of googling, primarily being sidetracked to various sites for further background reading, and sobering it was. I had seen WRITTEN in one of the diagonals, and it didn’t take long to swap its W for the B in row 8 to give both BRITTEN and OWEN in the final grid. The final step was to identify three of Owen’s poems from Britten’s work. Strange MEETING was obvious in row 5, but ANTHEM FOR Doomed Youth in row 3 and THE NEXT War in the bottom row took a bit more ferreting out.

Thanks for the excellent puzzle, Dysart, and for the tour of Wilfred Owen and Benjamin Britten.

Postscript: In the course of my travels, I discovered that the latest copy of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (8th Edition, 2014) bought a year ago, has reduced the number of Special Categories highlighted in the index from twenty to just eleven. These include Opening Lines, as well as Closing Lines and Last Words. They may well have initially disappeared in earlier editions. The extracts are probably all available in the main index, but I think it’s a shame that the categories have been lost.

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

A Dreadful Puzzle by Dysart

Posted by shirleycurran on 16 March 2018

Colour-coded jumbles and clues where extra words appeared.

Well the title says it all doesn’t it? No, seriously, we were smiling about the fact that Dysart was possibly attempting to foretell solvers’ reactions and we failed to pay enough attention to that title which could have said it all! Instead, we noted that there were going to be nine jumbles ‘mostly resulting in non-words’ (ah, joy, jumbles!) and eight other clues containing an extra word to which we had to add a ninth word, appearing in the grid, that we would highlight. Nine and nine! We had to change one letter in the final grid producing something thematic and find a cartoon character, eight letters in a straight line (POAT HARE? No – more about that little fellow later!)

We got down to our solve – well, after I had confirmed Dysart’s continued membership of the Listener Setters’ Toping Club: he didn’t leave much doubt did he? ‘Tipple from drink before travelling west (5)’ gave PINTA with the A (before) moving west in the clue to give PAINT. What has that to do with ‘tipple’? I was amazed to find that it is slang for tipple! A few clues further down we find ‘Spirits occasionally abandoned by judge in lodgings (4)’ There are not many J words in Chambers (Jack, Japan, Judge, Joint, Journal, Justice, Joule …) and a spirit that begins with J in JINN so we slotted INNS in without a second thought – well, we did have a second thought and allocated ‘occasionally’ to our list of extra words, giving ourselves trouble later when we were trying to work out what it was doing there. One has to be so careful: Chambers,of course, explains that JINNS in the plural is non-standard use. However, with that tipple, pinta, paint and spirits, I think Dysart keeps his place at the bar. Cheers!

Solving proceeded steadily with these enjoyable clues and when DISTANTLY, OTTO and GIARDIA joined the PAINT in that right hand corner, we were able to establish that ON TAP (so Dysart is mixing the beer in!) was going to be one of the jumbles, and, what is more it resolved itself to a real word, PANTO, when AORTIC almost completed the corner. We were rather surprised when BEAR ‘Have to suffer ill-mannered chap (4)’ seemed to have a triple definition – luckily, we postponed our reflections about that word to the end – when it became so useful!

We had an almost full grid with just HORNITO to slot in down the centre and the intriguing situation of two unches that had to somehow have different letters in them, the N and the T. One of them (or both) were clearly going to be thematic and, sure enough, ANDY CAPP appeared and gave us the cartoon character in eight letters. Google time – What is it all about? More than eight extra words were on our list: that ‘occasionally’ and work, everything, crowds, night, cats, birds, light, heights and laird (sorry – how stupid of me not to realize that was a Scottish indicator – it led me on a wild goose chase about an Elizabeth Laird who wrote about Ethiopian folk tales. How do solvers manage without Google?)

The head scratching continued for far too long before the p.d.m. If we had just read those jumbles out loud, all would have been clear far earlier. There was a muttering about the title – how is it full of dread? AH, FEAR! The other Numpty was soon looking up OCHLOPHBIA, fear of crowds, AILUROPHOBIA, fear of cats, ALGOPHOBIA, fear of pain, ORNITHOPHOBIA, fear of birds, HYPSOPHOBIA, fear of heights, PANTOPHOBIA, fear of everything, PHENGOPHOBIA, fear of daylight and NICTOPHOBIA, fear of night. With a little research, we found that Andy Capp suffered from ERGOPHOBIA, fear of work. So that triple-clued BEAR had to become FEAR and all that was left to do was highlight the one phobia that didn’t have a corresponding word in the clues, algophobia, fear of PAIN. What a fine finish. Thank you Dysart.

That elusive hare? I received grief-stricken comments about the possibility that he was dead and gone but, in fact, no need to worry, he really does seem to be on his hols (postcard arrived from the COMOROS, see 26d, where he is sunning himself on the beach, not suffering from MARAPHOBIA, see 17ac or LEPORIDAPHOBIA) and he’ll be back, one of these days in a straight line of four letters.


Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Listener No 4491: A Dreadful Puzzle by Dysart

Posted by Dave Hennings on 16 March 2018

Last year’s Dysart revolved around Edward Lear’s Jumblies with lots of (un)jumbling going on. This week, we only had nine entries to be jumbled before entry, mostly resulting in non-words. Mostly!?

Solving was relatively steady with some good entries going in, including FENG SHUI, ON TAP, OURIAL and CYTON. Unfortunately, most of them ended up having to be rubbed out and jumbled!

It was only when ORNITHO was probably the entry going in the middle column — more likely than ORTINHO — that a quick check in Chambers showed that it signified ‘bird’. Well, I knew that, and having clocked the extra bird word in 21dn Tree-like object blocking road to the north, deserted apart from five birds (8) (END in RD< + VOID – V) that ORNITHOPHOBIA revealed that we were talking about fears of the irrational variety. Okay, HYPSOPHOBIA isn't too irrational, but you get my drift.

I would seriously like to meet someone with PANTOPHOBIA, fear of everything, to see how they exist in the real world. I’d also like to meet someone who has PHOBOPHOBIA, which is apparently the fear of fear and begs the question “What is fear of phobophobia?”

The extra words and their phobias were: daylight/PHENGO, work/ERGO, crowds/OCHLO, night/NYCTO, pain/ALGO, cats/AILURO, everything/PANTO, birds/ORNITHO and heights/HYPSO. The only extra word that wasn’t an extra word was PAIN and that was part of the entry PAINT in the top row.

Next we had to change BEAR at 14ac to FEAR, a synonym of PHOBIA, and lastly highlight a cartoon character noted for one of the thematic items. Fear of work seemed the likely phobia, and Homer Simpson was the first character to come to mind. He was nowhere to be found, but ANDY CAPP, Reg Smythe’s character in the Daily Mirror was there, running NE to SW.

Thanks for a very entertaining puzzle, Dysart. Amazingly, it doesn’t seem that phobias have been used as a theme before, apart from the good old TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA, fear of the number 13. Now I’m sorry, but that is irrational!

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Edwardian Pioneers by Dysart

Posted by shirleycurran on 5 May 2017

We know that Dysart is likely to give us tricky but fair clues and this was no exception. The first line of his preamble had that word ‘unjumbled’ in it and we groaned. What was worse, we had to remove a letter from each of those ‘jumbles’ and those letters were going to spell out what we must do with thirteen across answers. I suspected at once that we were going to jumble those, as soon proved to be the case when we attempted to enter our first two solutions, NERITES and GEST. ‘Gastropods found in briny wreaths become prevalent across middle of area to the north (7)’. ‘wreaths’ clearly had to become ‘waters’ giving us an extra H and SET in< went round (a)RE(a). GEST  came from ‘Old romance’s synopsis overlooking princess (5)’. This had to be DIGEST losing Di, but we had the intriguing situation that that had only four letters and the light gave us five.

I immediately attempted to jumble GEST with an I in second place and came up with GITES or TIGES. Hmmm!

Yes, I hadn’t forgotten to confirm Dysart’s right to admission to the Listener setters’ tipsy outfit and he applied for his re-entry in no uncertain way with ‘Canting like a dissolute, he enters really sloshed later than knight does (9)’. Of course, the extra letter in the jumble stood out – it had to be ACTING with an N but this clue really delighted us as we made a word from the wordplay K + HE in REALLY, looked it up in Chambers and found that there really is a word RAKEHELLY – an adjective that says someone is utterly debauched! Well, ‘Cheers, Dysart, see you at the bar!’

Not all of those jumbles were quite so obvious and we delayed the penny drop moment for quite a while by guessing that ‘Mathesis? Short sermon inspires essence of work (8)’ was going to give us ‘Atheism’ with an extra S, and not, in fact ‘Messiah’ with a T. Thus our message would begin with SHE and not the THEY that we needed for THEY WENT TO SEA IN A SIEVE. It wasn’t until we had THONGS with an extra I going in as ON SIGHT (Footwear, no socks in those Chinese stores = ‘hose’ removed from T(hose) + HONGS) that we realized that  OR?TOR?O had to be ORATORIO, which has a lot to do with ‘Messiah’ but not much with ‘atheism’. So we had that T of THEY.

The grid was filling nicely and our initial guess that thirteen across clues had to be jumbled with an extra letter (which seemed like a really tough task) was going passably well, but having the first words of Edward Lear’s ‘Jumblies’ speeded things up enormously, especially when we realized that an I was being added to ‘jumbles’ to produce them, and that that same I was being added to all of those across jumbles. That explained the title, too. We were not looking for some pioneers from the start of the last century but for Edward Lear’s rather foolish creatures who embarked for exotic places in a rather comical way. We still had some unusual words to find (DITOKOUS for dropping two offstpring at once, PENK for a fish and RILEY, a US version of ‘ratty’) but slowly and steadily we completed our grid.

Auntie Google told us what two geographical names we had to find and the hills of THE CHANKLY BORE appeared at once with appropriate peaks. The TORRIBLE ZONE was not quite so easy to spot but, of course, with such a difficult pair of words to fit into the grid, Dysart was obliged to adopt the rather unorthodox ‘two words touching at a corner, each of which can be traced in order from cell to cell’ (his HARE was not quite so elusive, sitting appropriately at the base of the Chankly Bore Hills and wisely keeping out of the torrible zone. A fellow solver has sent me a photo of his delightful little bronze hare suitably dressed for Easter Saturday – today – so I must include it too. I receive quite a lot of amusing ‘hare mail’ including one entertaining suggestion that there should be a Hare Trophy awarded each year to the compiler of the crossword that produces the highest error rate – a kind of wooden spoon/hare!)

What was left to do? ‘Lastly one normal entry must be changed to the thematic vessel.’  Well it’s staring me in the face isn’t it? SIEGE will convert to SIEVE. What comes next? ‘All final entries are real words or phrases’. I’d better check TIVES in the Big Red Book.  I find ‘tav’ a letter in the Hebrew alphabet, and ‘tiv’ a member of a people living in SE Nigeria (that would give me TIVS) and ‘tivoes’ is recording a TV programme making digital recordings on a hard disc but no TIVES. Just a touch disconcerting.

Of course I check the preamble (smile) – maybe there is a Poatish SINGE or LIEGE there that would change to SIEVE – but it was not to be. I believe Dysart has set a trap for the unwary. I wonder whether anyone will fall into it!

There must be another word that we can change to SIEVE leaving all real words – and I don’t need to look far. LERNA produces CERUSE from CERULE, SERAPIS from SERAPES, ACKEES from ACKERS, and SHIES from SHIAS. Clever but just a mite sneaky, I feel. Thank you, Dysart for a great challenge.

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »