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Posts Tagged ‘Encota’

‘ILAM’ by MynoT

Posted by Encota on 20 April 2018

I generated the phrase:

COLOUR A-TO-H GULES (red) I-TO-P OR (gold or yellow) REST VERT (green).

This was clearly an anagram: (anagrind= HURT) SOVIET OR SAGE COLOUR PLOTTER.

So, in order, using your Colour Plotter, you were supposed to colour the puzzle Soviet (Red), OR (as above, Gold or Yellow) and SAGE (Green).   And whoever says that The Listener puzzle instructions can sometimes be slightly convoluted?  Seemed obvious to me 😉

And, for those doubting me, of course you’ll all have spotted the blatant clue to which flag it was on Row 4, 11th cell: “21 s”, the old guinea in the UK being 21 shillings.  Now you can’t tell me that that’s coincidence, surely?

Back to reality: this is the FLAG OF GUINEA (which happens to be the flag of MALI in reverse, hence the Title).  But you knew that 🙂

Here is my solution attempt.


Joking apart, a beautiful puzzle – thanks MynoT!

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota


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‘An Exchange of Letters’ by Harribobs

Posted by Encota on 13 April 2018


Or so spelled out the changed letters of each clue’s answer.

Sorting out one and only one change to each answer to create its grid entry was, for me at least, the hardest part of this puzzle.  Eventually it all worked out though, with STRANGE appearing on the leading diagonal.

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Will at least one person, in their rush, mistakenly modify what becomes STRONGER at 39ac to form STRANGEr.  Who knows – but ‘odder’ things have happened.

Talking of STRANGE, … then Tony Strange, a good friend of mine, is a Physics teacher at Ipswich school here in Suffolk.

He rumours (though I have never checked) that the plate on his door reads:


to the (mild) amusement of some of his pupils.


Tim / Encota

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‘Overseas Outing’ by Chalicea

Posted by Encota on 6 April 2018

What surprised me initially was Chalicea returning to a theme of a previous Listener of hers from 2014 (See Listener 4311 in Dave H’s superb database,, if you don’t believe me!) – surely she could come up with something original?  And then the geographical errors – ALSACE running down near the Western side of the final map in Column 2, for example??  But let me start nearer the beginning:

This is how one might approach this puzzle from Chalicea* …

  1. Guess that it is going to be a map
  2. Look at the Title – ‘Overseas Outing’ – and note that the puzzle coincides with that event enjoyed by Listener Setters and Solvers that is the Annual Listener Dinner
  3. Realise that said 2018 Dinner is held outside of the UK – in Paris – in the weekend of the Puzzle’s publication
  4. Conclude that it must be a map of France**
  5. Check that some of the adjacent countries line up – as demonstrated in the picture below: ES short for Espana, DE for Deutschland, etc.  [I’ve left out all other letters in the puzzle for clarity]

I puzzled for a while why it had PARS and not PARIS at the centre.  I then realised it was the péripherique-centred pun: ‘I’ had to visit (Paris) too – and all became clear.

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And there was a nice touch down in Chalicea-land in the South East of France under the Jura mountains – half of the largest CERN ring on the French-Swiss border, with of course only two of the letters being visible on the French side and the rest of the ring in Switzerland.

Easy, eh?


Tim / Encota

* If one was an idiot, that is.

** OK, so it was a map but more like this one of Ireland …

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A clever puzzle, with a very nice, unambiguous and visual endgame.  Thank you!

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‘Dry*’ by Nutmeg

Posted by Encota on 30 March 2018

*OK, so it was actually called Devilry: the aim in exactly half of the clues was to add the characters of a(n unrelated) word to form a new word or phrase.  And to stop this appearing too random, the expanded phrase made more sense than the original shorter clue.  So perhaps D(EVIL)RY sort of works!

Many of those new phrases were delightful in their own right and, if I understand it correctly (I am new to Printer’s Devilry (PD) puzzles having only ever solved one or two before), making a plausible phrase turn into a more apposite one seems to very much be the skill required of the setter.  I tried to write just one good PD clue and failed miserably – if you haven’t ever done so then give it a try.  You are almost bound to do better than I did!

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Of course, Nutmeg feels that ‘simply’ having all clues in this format would be far too easy, so she chooses to randomly intersperse them with standard cryptic clues!  Not only that, Nutmeg clearly feels that would be too easy too, and so makes a misprint in each definition of these second type of clues!!  And, naturally, the solver has no idea initially which are which.  Easy, eh?

So, where does one start?  I found the misprint clues the easier ones to spot, as their wordplay was unadulterated – and my first in was 40ac’s:

  There’s no escaping at end of work, times being changed (6)

It looked like it would be (wor)K plus an anagram of TIMES*.  The word was clearly KISMET but where was the misprint?  Ah yes, There’s no escaping it – fate, that is – so the corrected letter is I.  Only 22 left to find!

My first Printer’s Devilry clue solved was 19a:

  At high tea, brought up small fish (4)

The clue’s structure pointed towards ‘small fish’ being the definition and the start might newly read ‘High tide …’ and so it was straightforward to spot IDES, some small fish.  The new sentence of course then became:

  At high tIDE Sea brought up small fish (4)

Only 22 PD clues left to find as well!

There were some very clever sentences written here by Nutmeg – perhaps not surprising as I rate her as one of the very best clue writers around.  One example, the PD clue at 33ac:

Hold in the deep may affect skipper’s knock (5)

It’s initially sounding quite nautical, isn’t it, what with ‘the deep’ and ‘skipper’, for example.  However, add WIFIE and it becomes very cricket-based:

HoW I FIEld in the deep may affect skipper’s knock (5)

Very, very clever!!

The final instruction from the 23 misprints was to SHADE SIX SYMMETRIC DEVILS.  I found four quickly, with the last two taking just a few moments longer.  Another clever feature of Nutmeg’s grid was the symmetry of these ‘devilish’ words.

In summary, a great grid with some hard but very fair intermixed clues.  Thanks Nutmeg!

Tim / Encota

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‘Mad Tom’s Traps’ by Hedge-sparrow

Posted by Encota on 23 March 2018

A setter with possible initials of HS and who had previously created a puzzle based on the HS2 train from London to Birmingham.  I had a strong hunch this puzzle would be some form of extension to HS2 – and so it soon proved.


With a Title containing ‘mad’ it would most likely involve a jumble of the fodder ‘TOM’S TRAPS.  Once it was clear this was TRAM STOPS, once simply had to align the map of the UK Midlands Metro Extension Programme (above) with the grid.  Noting that it includes HS2 (from his 2017 Listener puzzle) at its centre (& stage right) and those multiple TRAM STOPS marked with blue Os.  Simply line up the Os with those Os in the completed grid and Game Over.

OK, so I haven’t actually checked this final stage out – but it has got to be right? Hasn’t it??

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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PS More seriously, what a great puzzle, with such a huge level of thematic content!  Many thanks Hedge-sparrow.  With all those fluttering things around I was almost tempted to claim it was all based on the last line of Robert Graves’ poem, ‘Leaving The Rest Unsaid’ – but that would just have been silly, wouldn’t it …

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