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Posts Tagged ‘Encota’

L4627: ‘Flappy’ by Shark

Posted by Encota on 23 October 2020


Not only did it have left-right symmetry for highlighted cells, it also featured (at least?) nine different butterflies, eight of which could be described by having a butterfly in one’s stomach

And not only that, it featured a pretty accurate diagram of a butterfly to be traced out by us the solvers – again (of course – it is Shark) symmetrically placed. 

And not only that, it also chose to include (I think I have got this right), in the hidden letters to be extracted, four butterflies in the four stomachs of a ruminant in order – RUMEN, KINGSHOOD, BIBLE and MAW. 

And not only that, the extracted letters came from the centre of words with an odd-number of letters that still remained words after the central letter of each was removed!!  An astounding added layer of neatness from the setter.

could try and claim that the fact that letters within the wings of the drawn butterfly might spell out “A rapid, beautiful, isolated comma” was done purposefully – but that might be stretching things somewhat. At least it gives me a (very feeble) excuse to quote the end of a poem by Robert Graves, woefully out of context:

So now, my solemn ones, leaving the rest unsaid, 
Rising in air as on a gander’s wing
At a careless comma,

Beautiful stuff!

Tim / Encota

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L4626: ‘Pot Plant’ by Karla

Posted by Encota on 16 October 2020

Any setter with a pseudonym from George Smiley’s world gets my interest straight away! Thanks Karla for a fun puzzle!

Here we had a puzzle based on snooker. All eight coloured balls in snooker appeared, with each deleted from an answer to create the grid entry. So:

  • [RED] LINE
  • is this one [BLUE] PRINTS (at 13a)?
  • [BLACK] MAIL, and

It seemed to be possible to jumble the 12 omitted letters from wordplay to make ONE FOUR SEVEN, the maximum break in snooker.

And the ‘above advice’ from the Preamble might be described as CLUE TIPS. Remove one letter from this to leave CUE TIPS, a more snooker-related phrase.

One of the easier Listeners of the year. Though I perhaps enjoy harder puzzle more, I do love the variety that the Listener dishes up – you really don’t know what you are getting until you get solving!

My thanks to Karla for a nice debut puzzle!


Tim / Encota

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L4625: ‘If P Then Q?’ by Mr E

Posted by Encota on 9 October 2020

My solution looked like this:

With an (I paraphrase) ‘Is all lost?’ theme, COVID on Row 9, analgesia down the right and Alkie at 5d, all looked pretty bleak.

A not-too-tough but a well constructed puzzle, built around the phrase IF ALL IS NOT LOST THEN WHERE IS IT? [Also available on Etsy on fridge magnets and badges].

I had one or two incorrectly guessed extra words to begin with: eg in 35ac I had TALAPOINS defined as ‘monkeys’ and was assuming that ‘Green’ was superfluous. Easily fixable though, once it began to be clear what the hidden message might be – and when I discovered that ‘Green monkeys’ were actually ‘a thing’.

Wishing you all well,

Tim / Encota

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L4624: ‘World-beating’ by Kea

Posted by Encota on 2 October 2020

A beautifully constructed puzzle, I thought – my thanks to Kea.

Fortunately I solved all twelve 6-letter answers fairly early on. They still weren’t trivial to jigsaw together but some groups of three appeared to be unique. With one set in place I spotted LAUGHTER as a possible Down entry and already had MEDICINE as an answer – and so the penny dropped. LAUGHTER is the best MEDICINE. I wonder what other phrases could take that form?

At the end I wasn’t quite sure if I’d highlighted a diamond or a world shape. For the former, perhaps an allusion to ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”; if the latter then tying in with the world of ‘world-beating’. Either or both felt like a satisfying solution!

And finally, great punning in the Title – assuming it’s a world shape then that’s at least three meanings!

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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L4623: ‘Tears’ by Oxymoron

Posted by Encota on 25 September 2020

A precisely constructed and clued puzzle from Oxymoron (aka the late Schadenfreude).

For me the toughest clue by far was 33a’s:

Hard growth on west-facing tree (5)

I think I first attempted it when it seemed more likely that the answer would have 5 letters, which threw me somewhat.

Then I realised it may well have more and found a tree CORNEL (or CORNELIAN), which looked promising. The CORN part for ‘Hard growth’ was easy. But was the rest of the wordplay going to be some sort of cut-down LEG (i.e. ‘on’ in cricket), reversed? LE’ Before Wicket, something like that? No sign of that in The Dictionary.

Eventually I ‘bothered’ to look up tree in the BRB and happened upon, for me at least, the following unexpected definition:

tree (vt): to drive into a tree, to corner (also figurative)

So CORNER was the answer, with simply RE< for ON, so providing the ‘NE in the grid of ONE (All Alone etc from the song Green Grow The Rushes O).

The prompt to use the ODQ version was vital as there appear to be so many versions of the song to choose from: I was looking for RAINER at 8 and ARRIVAL at 3 initially, for example!

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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