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Posts Tagged ‘Encota’

Listener 4468 Hide-and-Seek by Charybdis

Posted by Encota on 6 October 2017

aka Ruth Is Stranger Than Robin, or something like that …

Thank you Charybdis for a superb puzzle with a great Cultural Crossover!  I wonder how many people knew all angles covered in this puzzle – quotes from Twain and Bacon, books from Josephine Tey and albums from Robert Wyatt!

As ever, do read Shirley’s and Dave’s blogs for some more insight.

[You are now entering Twilight Zone mode…]

Or, alternatively … in this puzzle we were asked to help seek ‘three hiders’.

So what other musicians are hiding on Robert Wyatt’s brilliantly titled mid-Seventies album, ‘Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard’?   Aside: the only album (I know) that has a Side Richard and a Side Ruth.


And in what way is it connected to that other mid-seventies album, ‘Night Moves’ by Bob Seger, I hear you ask?  [Eh?? Ed.]  Clearly SEGER is jumbled in both the first and last rows.  Is it referring to Knight’s Moves to find the missing musicians, perhaps?

And yes, there they are, all three from the Robert Wyatt album:

[to be added]

Top left, the ubiquitous Brian ENO, who played guitar and synthesiser on the Offenbach rearrangement; top right Nisar Ahmad KHAN, saxophonist on two tracks, and mid-right Fred FRITH, piano on those three tracks on Side Richard.

And, of course, the two erased letters – which might be read as NO TE – appear to have a musical theme.

The Preamble said something about (presumably) other musicians: Mark – Knopfler? Ronson? and Francis – Rossi?  RENE of Rene and Renata made an appearance on Row 1, Jim REEVES in Col 14 and Lou REED on Row 10.  There was some bluff about a King, a novel, some proverbs and a place to leave the tour bus in the Midlands but I gave that bit a miss.

cheers all,

Tim / Encota

PS As I type I am listening to, the Prog Rock radio station (they are playing ‘Luminol’ by Steven Wilson, thanks for asking), so if I can’t solve a puzzle featuring Robert Wyatt then I am not sure who can!


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Is there a National Day for Everything*?

Posted by Encota on 29 September 2017

First of all, what a visually elegant puzzle – thank you Kea!  The mix of accurate clueing and vocabulary were a delight.

Next, the Title.  With Saturday 9th September being National Chrysanthemum Day* the publication of this flower-shaped grid with six unclued Chrysanthemums in the puzzle certainly matched the Theme of the Day.  The Unclued flowers were:

  • Button
  • Pompom
  • Korean
  • Corn marigold
  • Shasta daisy, and
  • Yellow ox-eye

It took me a while to tune in to the fact that the clues were presented in Clockwise and Anticlockwise groups.

One of my favourite clues was the ‘hidden’:

Inside submarine pen, the Annapolis is oblivious (10)

… for NEPENTHEAN, very well disguised.

There were some superb other clues too, including the beautifully-surfaced:

  • Germany no longer has strength in beer (7) for ALMAINE and
  • Colours Picasso used regularly for evergreen plants (7) for CLUSIAS

Probably in the easiest third of Listener puzzles based on the year to date, no doubt intentionally.

In summary: great puzzle – loved it!

Tim / Encota

* I did test my there’s a National <insert subject here> Day for everything theory.   I needed something random to try.  I looked around my study desk for inspiration.  I know, how about National Paper Clip Day?  Auntie Google’s reply?  May 29th.  Good grief!!!

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Row’s full of thorns (aka ‘X XX XXX’ by Somniloquist)

Posted by Encota on 22 September 2017

This week’s puzzle was a cracker!  Tricky, yet precise, clues.  Clever adjustments needed to both some clues and some answers before entry.  Hidden information hiding in numerous places.  And a great title, with ‘X XX XXX’:
– one kiss, two kisses, three kisses
– one deletion, two deletions, three deletions
… at least that’s how I am reading it.

The Fox, the Deer and the Boar (that was the order I found them in) and the line of verse ending ‘hit to the erthe’ let me identify Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  I’ve never read the original but know of it (some Tolkien connection too, I think?).

Well, some of the details of this one has baffled me.  I could find all the deletions required from the Down clues.  I could even, with some investiGoogling, put them together to create … what exactly?  Well, my row’s full of thorns (or something like that).  Is that the head (hede) being removed from the ‘halce’ (presumably, halse, the neck)?  So the heads of some answers will be moved / removed??

And assuming all the Downs are entered unchanged, then I can deduce that the removed head of each Across clue may move some spaces to the right.  But from there on I am missing something!  What determines if the first letter of an across clue moves and, if so, by how many spaces?  Does the ‘earth’ bit mean they have to move to be next to an E (for Earth), perhaps?

Sitting here on Saturday evening, I checked the moved letters again.  And found they spelt out T-H-E … G-REEN KNIGHT!!  I then went back and checked the ones that hadn’t moved, and they spelt out SIR GAWAIN!!!  Amazing!
[As an aside, I won’t embarrass myself by sharing how long I spent looking for the Green Knight to be spelt out using knight’s moves in the grid 🙂 ]
Did the number of spaces moved have any relevance?  I am still not sure.  The question now – do I open up my letter to the Editors and add this extra finding above, or leave it with my earlier level of ignorance but still a correct solution (I think).  Hmm, laziness wins…

Even for the parts of the puzzle I do understand, this is a superb creation – thank you Somniloquist!

cheers all,

Tim / Encota


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‘The Properties of Numbers II’ by Piccadilly

Posted by Encota on 8 September 2017

Brilliant.  Piccadilly, you’re a genius!   I need say no more (except that I hope we see PoN3 sooner than 23 years time!)!!

My rough solution attached below with entries going in from Red at first, through to Violet for the last few:

2017-08-19 15.05.04 copy 2

Tim / Encota

P.S. Did I mention I thought this one was brilliant? 🙂

PPS  My Inquisitor puzzle ‘Hanged In Error’, IQ1506, came out last Saturday – hope some of you had a chance to try it!

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‘The Evolution of East Perry’ by The Ace of Hearts

Posted by Encota on 1 September 2017

For some real comment on this excellent Listener by The Ace of Hearts then do read Shirley’s and Dave’s blogs.  For something a little quirkier, read on…

So was I the only one who spent almost as much time on finding the Honduran town of Duyure as the rest of the puzzle (Clue 10)?

There I was, wondering how to find out how to find border towns in Honduras when it occurred to me – why don’t I ring their equivalent of Citizens’ Advice in the Honduras capital.  It was only then, when dialling the international Country Code for Honduras – 504 – that I realised what was really going on.  I mean, you’re not telling me that a code that spells out Fifth (5) Wheel (O) Four (4) (for the four-wheeled carriage) is a coincidence here, surely ….?  It’s obviously a heavily-disguised phone-oriented puzzle…

People even only marginally associated with telecommunications all have their FAVOURITE TELEPHONE STORY [Are you sure?? Ed.]   So you can’t tell me that this is a jumble of the puzzle’s Title by accident…can you?

As examples, here are three candidates for such a story:

  1. There used to be a red telephone box in Esher High Street in Surrey, UK where one could precede a number with a string of around thirty extra digits and get free international calls – to Honduras, for example (so a friend from Tegucigalpa told me)
  2. Do you remember locks for telephone dials?
    Perhaps one of the world’s dumber inventions.  The key-operated cylinder slotted into one of the holes in a telephone’s dial (remember them?) and locked into place, so the dial couldn’t be turned and so calls couldn’t be made….
    …unless of course one simply tapped out the number on the buttons that the receiver sat on. Tap.  Tap-tap.  Tap-tap-tap.  And the Speaking Clock was yours!  ‘Experts’ used a finger on each button alternately for the longer numbers, doing their best to tap at a rate of ten per second.
  3. When the new digital exchanges came in during the 1970s and 1980s, they were (and still are) incredibly reliable – and would normally stay so unless some well-meaning repairman tried fiddling with the electronics.  So each came with a reduced support team of just one Man and a Dog.  Initially it might appear that the Man was a Fifth Wheel but no, he had a clear purpose – and that was to feed the Dog.
    But what was the Dog’s purpose, I hear you ask?  Answer: to bite the Man if he ever tried to touch the exchange…

Back to the puzzle.  The Ace of Hearts as a pseudonym is clearly no accident but carefully chosen as a pointer to the real number required.  Use the A and H in the keypad below as X-Y coordinates and locate the number they point to: 5.


Now switch back to the dial format to match the puzzle’s shape and add the Fifth Wheel at its centre.  Solved!

Laid back

So why did solving the following Clue 10 take me so long?

  Here border of Honduras is near last of old-timer’s buried jade (6)

I had YU or NAG as the likely pieces of wordplay for ‘jade’ and I guessed the answer had to be somewhere in Honduras – but the rest took me an age!  Eventually I spotted YU (jade) in DURE (an obsolete term meaning last), located DUYURE in the atlas and all was sorted.  In defence of my slow solving, it might have helped if I had known any of YU, DURE or DUYURE in advance.

Finally, picture the scene some time in the future: you’re at your regular Pub Quiz at ‘The Slum & Dog’, and the decider question to win the million is: ‘What is the International Country Code for Honduras?’  Immediately recall Duyure in ‘The Evolution Of East Perry’ by The Ace of Hearts with the Fifth Wheel of the Four (-wheeled) carriage and shout out ’504’.  Your future fortune is assured!*

Thanks to The Ace of Hearts – great fun!


Tim / Encota

*or not

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