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Posts Tagged ‘Dysart’

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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Inscription by Dysart

Posted by shirleycurran on 24 May 2019

We read the name Dysart with pleasure. This was going to be a set of challenging but very fine and fair clues with something delightful at the end – and it was just that.

I didn’t have to read very far to confirm that Dysart retains his membership of the Listener setters’ oenophile outfit. ‘Rum’s all to be packed by American soldiers – special characters (5)’ gave us AURAE, followed by ‘Noise from knocking sailor over, so long drunk! (7)’ We returned the TAR over and said TATA (so long) – RATATAT. Drunk already on rum! Soon after that we read, ‘County receiver carrying empty file sees bottled liquid concentrate (13, two words)’ This sounded hopeful but it gave just COFFEE CONCENTRATE – well, I imagine the drunk needed that. Cheers, Dysart.

My current whinge about setters is the gimmick that requires solvers to have a full grid before they have to re-organise clues that were put in alphabetical order, in order to find a message. To my mind, this removes the pleasure of spotting a message that progressively emerges during the solve. In this case, we discovered that we had to DRAW CIRCLE CENTRED ON DOT and that dot eventually turned out to be the navel of Leonardo da Vinci’s L’UOMO VITRUVIANO. However, there was a second message – a title produced by omitted letters. That title was much more difficult to find as we are never much good at spotting the extra letters that are required to give a solution. But it was a second prompt to the theme.

Had we needed a third prompt, we had TORSO, ARM and LEG adding to a convenient total of 38 cells, and, of course, Wiki kindly provided models for us to copy. That explained all those consecutive Rs, Ls and Es in the grid and what a lovely final touch the da Vinci man was. Thank you, Dysart.

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Escapee by Dysart

Posted by shirleycurran on 30 Nov 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.

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Listener No 4528: Escapee by Dysart

Posted by Dave Hennings on 30 Nov 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.

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A Dreadful Puzzle by Dysart

Posted by shirleycurran on 16 Mar 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.


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