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Posts Tagged ‘Dysart’

Isolated in May by Dysart

Posted by shirleycurran on 29 May 2020

I suspect a little bit of editor/setter conniving here. We set these puzzles at least two years before they appear in the pages of The Times. Did the setter and/or editors know that I would be sitting here on my 51st day of isolation (in May) writing this blog? They are a clever set of people but not so clever, surely?

The preamble tells me that there is going to be some sort of crime depicted in the grid and as I scan the clues checking that Dysart retains his place with the oenophiles, I find a policeman, an initial blow and a crook. I don’t find a lot of alcohol but ‘Bill’s local I heard replaces can’s contents (4)’ Oh dear what a tough clue! Working backwards from CHE (a dialect form of I for Shakespeare – thus leaving a space in the 4-letter word) we decide that the E of ‘heard’ must be moved to the end of CAN, so that we are putting H into C?E in the place of AN. Maybe some ale in that CAN so cheers, Dysart!

These are challenging clues and we focus on the downs as they are going to give us that set of moved letters that will produce a source and an author and, with relief, we find SOMEONE LIKE YOU R DAHL. There are a couple of stories there that could be about a crime, but I remember how my students used to love ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ and clearly LAMB will fit into FREEZER on the left of our grid, so I suspect that we are in the story where MARY MALONEY downs the two-timing PATRICK with the leg of LAMB she has just removed from the FREEZER for his dinner, when he has told her that he is going to leave her (for another woman, we surmise). DOWN PATRICK, we are told, and the instruction that we will ultimately have 14 empty cells tells us where he will lie, keeping the K, for his feet.

Kidderminster is the only perimetrical solution we have. ‘Carpet seller stores fur, reduced on street (13)’ KIDDER around [e]RMIN[e] around ST, gives us yet another tough clue but we are told that we must ‘complete the top row to show a newly arrived group’. Now we can insert PATRICK MALONEY’s police colleagues into the top row (POLICEMEN) and, of course, remove that leg of LAMB and generously allow them to consume it – how could the grieving MARY MALONEY eat dinner? What superb irony that they consume the murder weapon that they so earnestly hunted for!

ALONE in MAY gives us MALONEY so all that is left for us to do is find a four-letter word where we can put MARY, retaining only real words (for all clued entries). This crossword was not easy but what fun. Many thanks, Dysart.



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Listener No 4606: Isolated in May by Dysart

Posted by Dave Hennings on 29 May 2020

As you may know, I normally make reference to a setter’s previous one or two puzzles at the beginning of my weekly blog. Last year’s Dysart required us to draw da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man comprising two images of the man plus the surrounding circle. This week, for some reason, I also visited the Listener Crossword website, only to find that one of the winners of that puzzle hailed from Barnard Castle, County Durham!

This week’s puzzle had a number of empty cells initially and down clues needing to have a letter moved before solving. I thought that these would probably be fairly obvious to spot — how wrong I was. The endgame had a lot going on, so no point in trying to untangle that until the grid was complete.

A typically sneaky clue from Dysart was 18ac Cut from disc bit of leaf-metal foil (4) where the L(eaf-metal) had to be subtracted from EL PEE to give EPEE. And I enjoyed the straightforward clue at 39ac Where vehicles wait to take last of customers from busy snack bar (7) for CAB-RANK ((SNACK BAR)* – (customer)S).

Aas for the down clues with their moving letters, some took a really tussle. 25dn Periodically our head’s occupied by Stuart’s case for consideration (6), even when the moving letter was known to be U: (o)R (h)E(a)D around GAR with the U in our (not in Stuart) moving to case. Similarly, 27ac Enter two races and keep up speed regularly (6) became Enter two aces rand keep up speed regularly (6) — A + A + R around (u)P (s)P(e)E(d). And who said first letters of words are easy clues: 32dn Swimmer starts from astern, placing ropes round tiller (5) where the A moved from astern to make around giving SPRAT.

I managed to get the last two moving down clue letters about half way through the solve. Being HL, it was obvious that we were dealing with a Roald Dahl story. With the other letters I had, I managed to identify Someone Like You. Unfortunately, that was a collection of about a dozen short stories, any one of which could be the theme for our puzzle. I decided to leave the identification of the story until the grid was finished.

When it was complete, I had 14 empty cells and there would still be that many in the final submission. The endgame required us to use one of the unclued entries as an instruction with its opposite unclued entry giving an item from the story. There was a LAMB in column 1, but that hardly seemed relevant — except one of the short stories from the book was revealed by Wiki to be Lamb to the Slaughter. This tells of MARY who kills her husband PATRICK by hitting him over the head with a joint of lamb before cooking it and then serving it to the police who come to investigate.

Most of the endgame then fell into place, with real words or names at every stage. The LAMB in the FREEZER first had to knock DOWN PATRICK, replacing CAB-RANK. It then had to move into the top row to be eaten by the policemen. Initially I put LAMB in the four consecutive cells starting with 5dn. It took me some time to realise that LEATHE wasn’t a word. I even wondered at one point if MOLLIES were the policemen! In fact, MEATHE was required at 5dn and LOATH at 2dn giving LAMB with the POLICEMEN swallowing the four chunks. Poor old Patrick Maloney (LONE in MAY).

Thanks to Dahl and Dysart for some gruesome fun.

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L4606: Isolated in May by Dysart

Posted by Encota on 29 May 2020

What a great title for the current state of play! And cryptically it’s MALONEY = LONE in MAY. But who is or was Maloney?

The story, if I understand it correctly, should unfold as follows:
(a) Mary Maloney takes the (frozen) lamb from out of the FREEZER on the lhs side of the grid.
(b) hubbie Patrick Maloney initially stands at the far side of the room / grid… where the town-based instruction (‘DOWNPATRICK’) tells ‘us’ to kill him with the LAMB by applying it to his head.
(c) PATRICK falls to the carpet, lying at 39a on the Kidderminster, dead.
(d) Now all Mary needs to do is get rid of the evidence. So she cooks the lamb. And then … two policemen arrive at the top of the grid.
(e) So she cuts up the lamb and serves it to them. By the end those pieces of LAMB – L, A, M & B are safely inside the POLICEMEN across the top of the grid.

A delightful little tale from that classic Roald Dahl collection of stories, with some neat twists if I remember rightly – I must get myself a copy and re-read it. It’s rare to come across such clever short stories: if I had to pick another where the plots make you smile when the story equivalent to the solver’s PDM appears – then it has to be Alexei Sayle’s “Barcelona Plates”. Dust that old copy off and give it a re-read, if you have a spare moment 🙂

Finally, back to the puzzle: all those real words / names throughout – a really excellent piece of construction. Thank you Dysart!


Tim / Encota

PS Thanks, amongst others, to Charybdis, Samuel & Aragon for getting me some publicity for an anagram! I am still feeling slightly taken aback by the attention, to be honest. It all started a day or two back here …

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L4553: Inscription’ by Dysart

Posted by Encota on 24 May 2019

My only excuse for my feeble drawing here is that it was created, when taking some time off from relaxing, in my holiday hotel room after one too many of the local ponchas.  If I recall correctly.


And when I compare this with the works of art created by other solver-bloggers at this site I almost left mine out entirely.  But take the rough with the smooth, eh?  Plus don’t we all like pictures of what appears to be a mutant jellyfish …

I always enjoy Dysart’s puzzles and this was no exception.  Clever clues, clever construction, great theme.  Thanks Andy!

Tim / Encota


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Listener No 4553: Inscription by Dysart

Posted by Dave Hennings on 24 May 2019

Dysart’s puzzle previous puzzle was only six months ago, and was all about Benjamin Britten’s work, War Requiem, incorporating poems by Wilfred Owen. That was the Listener’s Armistice Day puzzle. This week, it appeared that some artistic skills would be required. (In hindsight that’s putting it mildly!!)

Across clues were in normal order, downs in alphabetical order of answers. 20 clues omitted a letter in the wordplay, and these would spell out the name of a work which we needed to sketch. Our drawing would need to be “guided by three words that appear twice or more in the grid.” That sounded daunting.

Cutting to the chase, the work was Leonardo da Vinci’s L’Uomo Vitruviano, as spelt out in the grid by the letters omitted from wordplay.

Hands up those who spotted that the grid, as printed, seemed to have sunk a bit on the page?! I certainly didn’t. Of course the reason was that the instruction spelt out by the initial letters of down clues in conventional order required us to Draw circle centred on dot and that circle strayed outside the top, left and right edges of the grid. The three words appearing twice or more in the grid were ARMs (4 of them), LEGs (also 4) and TORSOs (twice) so it was necessary to ensure that our drawing went through those cells. It was also necessary to draw a head in the large square at the top of the grid.

This drawing was featured in a Magpie puzzle by Pieman 15 years ago entitled Circling the Square. That was an E-grade on the Magpie scale, ie a tad hard! Luckly, this wasn’t too tough, so thanks to Dysart for a fairly forgiving workout.

However, if my initial attempt at drawing the man on my grid was anything to go by, some of the submissions must have made da Vinci turn in his grave! No doubt they provided JEG with some amusement though.

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