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Posts Tagged ‘Encota’

‘Tunnel Vision 2’ by Chalicea

Posted by Encota on 28 Apr 2023

My thanks to Chalicea for a delightful, classic Listener puzzle – great fun!

I recall Shirley’s interest in ‘things engineering’ – after all, we did jointly set Fire Alarms as Chen – and in IKB from a previous puzzle or two, so did expect this one to be about Brunel too.  And I wasn’t disappointed.  What with the 9th April being his birthday and the tunnel’s alignment. I’ve little doubt that we’ll be treated to a Setter’s blog in the next couple of days that explains further details.

The ninth letters in the Down clues were well disguised too!  I feel that sometimes such letter-hiding leads to clunky clues but I was impressed with this set.

Plus there were some gentle hints in the surfaces.  Aside from 12a’s TUNNELS, I did like the mention of Engineers in one clue, ‘western way’ in another, ‘a man behind network’ in a third, …

And I would have been very surprised had there not been a mention of alcohol in at least one of her clues, given one of her trains of thought on the Listen With Others blog site!  ‘Scottish drink recipe’ and ‘tot in Armenia’ served up such alcohol well!! Thanks once again to Chalicea – I really enjoyed this one.



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L4750 ‘I Want You’ by Twin

Posted by Encota on 3 Mar 2023

There are some delightful Bob Dylan references in the clues in L4750, too many to chat through here (though I am tempted!). Every clue, if I understand it well enough! Thanks Twin!

My first solution looked like this.

For me, the only uncertainty was how to interpret ‘frame’. The above ‘seems’ to work, so long as I have cut out the grid first. An alternative might be to remove the grid entirely and replace with the solver’s self-portrait. Actually, that seems to fit the instructions more precisely.

Another alternative would be as the previous but also to submit the cut out grid. No harm in doing that, I suppose.

Hmm. I’ve still two weeks to think it through, though – so I may have changed my mind to a fourth option by then!!

Tim / Encota

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Posted by Encota on 10 Feb 2023

1. SPANISH INTERCEPTORS. We all remember that Spanish poem, right? The one that was supposedly somehow initially received via eavesdropping? As an aside, perhaps that is why it appears slightly garbled. I was sent a translation of it by Twitter this morning – though it seems a very poor one. That translation read thus:

The sea I will go
Fun it will be

Neither was nor tea?
All laughed
– Cease –

What kind of rubbish translation-by-Yoda is that?

2. CENSORSHIP PATTERNS I. And then, soon after, I first received a pattern of redacted words – a bit in the style of those Have I Got News For You joke clips with the words deleted using black rectangles by the censors. This was the pattern of those blacked out words:

3. So what is going on in this puzzle? There’s no puzzle name and no setter name. Weird!
But there are 28 letters in a central 4×7 box. These ones, in fact:

They are enciphered somehow – how though? Let’s try some anagrams of all 28 letters and try and break it that way. Can we guess who the setter is? Who writes this sort of cipher-based puzzle? Sabre perhaps?? But there is only one B, so it couldn’t read “by Sabre”. Hmm. Shark sometimes includes ciphers in his puzzles – but there is no K. Try again!

Well, who is it that creates some of the (for me at least) toughest and convoluted endgames? After all, this does seem like one of those. Aha – Pointer! Maybe it reads “by Pointer”!? What letters would that leave?

And here is where the brilliance of this puzzle continues. It is “by Pointer” but it has TWO Alternative and equally correct Titles! Title 1: SPANISH INTERCEPTORS BY POINTER – for the poem. And Title 2: CENSORSHIP PATTERNS: I BY POINTER – for the pattern of redaction. Check the anagrams if you don’t believe me!

For the endgame, ‘all’ you then have to do is overlay the results from 1 and 2 above and you get the original Spanish version of the poem.

MAR=the sea, IRE=I will go, DIVER=fun, SERA=it will be. And so on – you’ll have already translated the rest. Job done. Quite, quite brilliant!!

Well, that’s what I did, anyway*.

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

PS Did I really spot SERPENTINE and GRID/MESH as answers in the Times2 crossword alongside the initially setter-less L4747? Or perhaps I dreamt it …

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L4726: ‘Red Applause’ by Crash

Posted by Encota on 16 Sep 2022

What a brilliant subject for a Listener. We stayed in the Reykjavik hotel just a few years back where the US team were based throughout the 1972 Fischer-Spassky tournament. They had one of the actual game tables there (see attached), which was designed especially for the event – several were made for use during the (up to) 24-game tournament.

It’s reported, of course, that when Bobby Fischer beat Boris Spassky in this game (game 6), Boris stood and joined with the audience in applauding Bobby’s play. This was the game in which Fischer moved ahead for the first time in the tournament, which he maintained until reaching the required 12.5 points by game 21. For those too young to remember, this was in the middle of the Cold War and the tournament itself seemed to symbolise – in the eyes of many in the media, at least – the battle between the USA and the USSR. Hence Crash’s excellent choice of Title.

And here’s my draft grid before the final erasures and before Fischer’s final Qf4!!! move:

I suspect I wasn’t the only solver trying to shoehorn RED CORAL into 31a: this held me up in the SE corner for a while, until I spotted UNAU as the Native of Peru in 32d. Also, given my interest in the subject, I was faintly embarrassed how long it took me to spot what the theme actually was. So it goes.

Tim / Encota

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L4725: ‘Carte Blanche’ by Piccadilly

Posted by Encota on 9 Sep 2022

Great fun! I always love it when a Numerical appears by Piccadilly. The puzzles entitled ‘The Properties Of Numbers’ in earlier Listeners were an absolute delight – perhaps my favourite ever numericals – so this puzzle immediately got my interest.

As ever it needed careful concentration throughout to avoid any simple mistakes creeping in. But there was enough cross-checking to ensure (I hope!) an error-free gridfill. Here is my effort.

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!


Tim / Encota

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