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Posts Tagged ‘Ferret’

“Fieldwork” by Ferret

Posted by Encota on 2 December 2016

What a beautifully elegant puzzle!  Ferret has picked four six-letter words suitable for clockwise crop rotation in the puzzle, BARLEY, GARLIC, CARROT and FALLOW, whilst ensuring all changes are still words – very smart.  But also the four ‘rotated’ entries have 90 degree symmetry, as do the four ‘cropped’ entries – impressive, a superb grid.

There were some great clues: to share one, I particularly liked the apparent verb tense mismatch in 30a.  With the clue:

    Decided to dispose of son’s means in Scotland (6) ,

would it be ETTLED [being SETTLED without the S(on)], or ETTLES [Scottish for means]?  Of course one misprint was used to bring the tenses back into alignment – means change to meant – and all was sorted.

One or two words in the grid – especially TETANIC – looked ripe for a single letter change and, in this case, so it was.  Perhaps I wasn’t the only one to wonder if Ferret had at any time been an owner of the bike known as the MIRAGE MOPED that might have appeared at 1?  OK, it was just me!

For the correct answer have a look at Shirley’s and Dave’s blogs.  Alternatively… in some form of parallel universe and for something a little more mystical, first mix yourself a drink.  Specifically knock back a SODA (i.e. ADOS back to SODA in the grid), then off we go….

The aim, in my surreal world of CROP CIRCLES, is to determine in which REGION is the point at which mystical forces converge (and so find the hidden item).  The process is as follows:

  • Stage 1: Locate the Crop Circles – these are all the letter Os in the puzzle.
  • Stage 2: Seek out the ‘ley lines’ created by connecting these, with straight lines as in the diagram.


  • Stage 3: It is then trivial to locate where those forces are concentrated (see diagram).  Rumour has it that if you dig in the REGIONS (27a) with the TOOL (25d) provided, you will find the location of a buried golden hare.  I knew it would turn up if I kept looking.  [editor: Tim, I think you’ve got your puzzles muddled here!]


OK, the diversion above isn’t actually true as such – but it felt slightly plausible.  I think?

Thanks again Ferret for a very elegant gentle puzzle.

cheers all

Tim / Encota

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Feature Film by Ferret

Posted by shirleycurran on 28 November 2014

IMG_1814Carte blanche and such a long preamble then all those clues. It didn’t take the Numpties long to work out that there were clues to far more letters than we were going to be able to fit into the grid. ‘Some cells contain two letters’ … It was going to be rather a lot of cells! No matter how I compressed the  clues, they were not going to fit onto two pages unless I printed the document in a size we couldn’t read. Still, experience has told us that a long preamble sometimes leads to a more gentle solve.

I read through the clues to check that Ferret is still giving us a fair sprinkling of alcohol. He confirmed his Tipsy Listener Setters’ Club membership already earlier this year, I believe, like Schadenfreude last week, we are having some repeat appearances! What do I find? Sadomasochism, a bit of dancing (!), a fair bit of travelling (Latin America, Australia, East Germany, Ionia, US islands, Italy, LA, Africa etc), and a rather queer diet of panini, grissini and fine vegetables, but not a trace of alcohol.

We solve upwards and it proves to be not such a bad idea, as we soon have the extra letters STA??C?SE, and it doesn’t require a huge leap to a putative STAIRCASE as the ‘one-word description of a prominent feature’. It is at this point that the other Numpty groans “It’s probably one of those archived black and white films that I used to see on the BBC on Saturday mornings – Rogers and Astaire always dancing up ****** staircases! When you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” I should have paid more attention to his mutterings but happily continued to solve.

These clues were extremely generous and about an hour later we had ‘CUT ALONG DIAGONALS’ and a rather strange ‘?ALLLEY FOLD ?ASHES MOUNTAIN FOLD D?TS’. I admit this didn’t mean much to me at this stage, but we had only just attempted to fit those words into the grid and I hadn’t yet seen that oh so evocative Listener word ORIGAMI anagrammed in the circles. How many veteran Listener solvers haven’t commented on Jago’s wrens as they Swingtime 001solved this one? Now I know what ‘valley’ and ‘mountain’ mean in the context!

Oh dear, the grid fill! What a relief that we had most of the words. We also had the hint that there were two extra letters in SARABAND and it didn’t require too huge a stride to realize that that was going to intersect with that astonishing word ANDVILES (SARAB& and &VILES) to begin our fill, balancing with TEEMS and GINGAL on the bottom row. Isn’t Mrs Bradford great – where else would we find GINGAL to match that clue!

Had I realized earlier that those pairs of letters that were going to intersect were in eight sets of diagonal lines, the grid fill might have been easier. As it was, my grid was rather a mess for quite some time, especially around the middle and the bottom right where we had still to solve WONGA, LOGGING, SANDAL and OLEA. However, this was an entertaining challenge and we were left with the task of working out the endgame.

Whenever we have a Listener crossword with more than one letter to a cell, I try to put the separating bar in the appropriate direction but when this was a key requirement, it proved to be a daunting task. By this time, we had spotted SILVER SLIPPER and SWINGTIME and realized that it really was a ROGERS and ASTAIRE event, so we were going to construct a staircase for them to dance up. I know it wasn’t required but I couldn’t resist the challenge in the end.

And sure enough, there they were, dancing up the stairs, with him on the left and her on the right, just as in the film. What an achievement – the staircase grid, I mean.

Thank you Ferret – this really was a stunning piece of compilation!

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A Short Entertainment by Ferret

Posted by shirleycurran on 20 September 2013

Ferret's short entertainment 001This crossword was maybe very strategically placed by the editors. Several of us perhaps worked well into the week attempting to solve last week’s difficult numerical crossword by Radix and we downloaded this week’s offering with real trepidation. Were we due to set aside a few days to decipher more Knights’ moves, courtesy of Sabre? Would this be the drop that caused the overflow and led us to stash away our BRB, Bradford, TEA, Thin Air Basic programmes, instructions for constructing tori, origami wrens and Towers of Babel for ever and return to cookery and gardening? (Oh yes, I shamelessly use all of those and more!) But no, it was not to be. Even the title proclaimed that Ferret had provided a short entertainment for us. Just what we needed!

It was indeed ‘short’ and ‘entertainment’ from start to finish. I was becoming disconcerted to find that Ferret was opting out of the Listener compilers’ tipsy tippling gang but he redeemed himself with almost the last clue we solved.  ‘Claims drinks (7)’ Of course, we had to sort out the theme and understand that we needed ‘only one of the letters of the omitted member, to be entered, above the entry’s column, to complete the entertainment’s context’. By that time, we had realized that BEYOND THE FRINGE had to go round the outside of our grid (a bit like Nutmeg’s PIGLET in this month’s Magpie solutions ‘The more he looked inside, the more piglet wasn’t there’ – there’s my Magpie plug – six Listener-style puzzles every month and Ferret is in there too, with a D this month!).

We already had BEYOND TH? FRINGE and at last understood that CLAIMS = ALLEGES and that if we extracted the LEG, or at least its central E, we were left with ALES. We had perhaps been lucky, in that all the long clues solved themselves like magic, SC[H]OLASTICALLY, EYE[W]ITNESSES, IRRATIO[N]ALIST, ASTROD[Y]NAMICS, BR[E]ATHL[E]SSN[E]SS, INSTALLATI[O]NS and ANTIT[E]RRORIST and apart from a very brief Numpty red-herring where we suspected that we were looking for a ‘NOVELTY SHOW’ like Crufts, this all fell into place with ease and amusement.

ONE LEG TOO FEW said TEA when we fed in O??LE?TO?F?W and we had to have a brief diversion to watch the Peter Cook and Dudley Moore sketch, then we laughingly completed our grid in time to cook supper. COOK? Yes, of course, we had found MOORE, so cleverly there at the foot of the third column with the missing E confirmed by all those Es that had gone from Shakespeare’s OVERGREENED (There’s this week’s conversation stopper!) Great fun, thanks Ferret.

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