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Posts Tagged ‘Encota’

L4668: ‘Impossible Construction’ by Serpent

Posted by Encota on 6 Aug 2021

What an enjoyable puzzle – thank you Serpent! And that hidden message encoded in the 36 letters of the central square, as advice to those who think that retiring won’t make them busier and will give them more free time (e.g. for puzzles):
LEISURE RECEDES … ELSE RETIREMENT A SUCCESS“. So subtle, so subtle. It’s probably spelt out using Knight’s moves or something …

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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L4664: ‘Dream Match’ by Aver

Posted by Encota on 9 Jul 2021

I really enjoyed this puzzle! It combined a great grid with clever letter-sums, each of which resulted in an ‘O’.

Extra letters from the clues spelt out TITANIA (‘a speaker’), AMND II.1 (‘an abbreviated reference’), MUD (‘what ruined a thematic figure’), ADD LETTER VALUES (‘an instruction …’) and SIXTEEN LINES (‘what solvers must add to the grid’). All of this linked to the Shakespearean reference: “The nine men’s morris if fill’d up with mud”.

Add the 16 lines (as I’ve tried to do above, albeit faintly) and all is sorted. I think. Loved it – well done Aver!


Tim / Encota

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L4662: Hungry by Android

Posted by Encota on 25 Jun 2021

That was fun! And what a clever grid construction!

I loved how the non-words told us solvers where to look & move the Raven.

I knew well of the existence of the poem but not well enough to know that I would be searching for ANCIENT, GHASTLY and GRIM in the grid. So that provided a good excuse to re-read the poem.

The final grid containing all real words and phrase was a particularly neat touch. Android must have had a great time creating the grid!

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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L4661: “One Across” by Lionheart

Posted by Encota on 18 Jun 2021

If you struggle to differentiate your Second Cousins from your First-cousins-once-removed then the link to this chart from wiki may help:

My struggle solving this puzzle was simply my ignorance. Cousins-German are one’s First Cousins, apparently. I never knew that! In a family tree that makes them ‘One Across’ and hence the excellent Title.

Twenty-one of the 42 clues had one word ‘covertly’ included in German, for example:

  • Last line of elf in book amid fantastic lore (6)

… hides XI or eleven as ‘elf’, to clue LIBERO, a footballer who plays behind the backs, with free movement, a sweeper, with wordplay (IB) in LORE*

When I saw CRUISE and MAPOTHER across the centre of the completed grid, I wrongly suspected this was going to be a family name vs stage name puzzle. Close but no! The puzzle actually featured four pairs of famous first cousins, or COUSINS-GERMAN:

  • RIP TORN and (Sissy) SPACEK, actors
  • (Tom) CRUISE and (William?) MAPOTHER, actors
  • (Jane) EYRE and RIVERS in literature, &
  • ORESTES and PYLADES in mythology

I sat there on & off for almost a day with a fully completed and highlighted grid, with COUSINS scribbled in the top left of the page and GERMAN in the top right before realising what I had missed. D’oh! That’s the second time in recent weeks where I have fully completed a puzzle and not really known why! [SAUSAGE MACHINE, anyone?]

Finally, on a related topic, I’d like to take the chance to thanks everyone who sent in such kind feedback on our recent ‘Paper Folding’ Magpie puzzle, jointly set as EP with (Encota & Ploy), in the recent Magpie magazine. Apparently it has been completed and constructed on at least three continents (three confirmed ones, anyway), which is a delight in its own right!


Tim / Encota

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L4660: ‘Prime Cuts’ by Zag

Posted by Encota on 11 Jun 2021

Thanks Zag for a top-quality numerical puzzle.

There were several features that I liked: 

  • the fact that all 21 two-digit primes made an appearance was neat;
  • that lack of uniqueness in the answers still led to uniqueness in the entries / final grid (I have 16d’s (19)95 / 95(19) in mind here;
  • how the ascending/descending digit clues gave significant information about the entries, as well as helping narrowing down the removed primes themselves.  8d was a perfect example of this, where deriving its removed prime from elsewhere as 61 immediately fixed its entry at 987 – I loved it!

I have a strong suspicion that there’ll be a neater solution path than the one I took though, having said that, I wasn’t having to tabulate huge quantities of options along my route, which was good.  I did resort to Excel to keep track of my workings, which felt a very reasonable thing to do.

As is often the case with me and numericals, I did go down one wrong path, putting the wrong reversed entry in at 9ac.  Its implications soon reduced this to absurdity, so I quickly deleted 81 as 9ac’s entry and replaced it with 62 – and all worked out fine!

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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