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Posts Tagged ‘France’

‘Overseas Outing’ by Chalicea

Posted by Encota on 6 Apr 2018

What surprised me initially was Chalicea returning to a theme of a previous Listener of hers from 2014 (See Listener 4311 in Dave H’s superb database,, if you don’t believe me!) – surely she could come up with something original?  And then the geographical errors – ALSACE running down near the Western side of the final map in Column 2, for example??  But let me start nearer the beginning:

This is how one might approach this puzzle from Chalicea* …

  1. Guess that it is going to be a map
  2. Look at the Title – ‘Overseas Outing’ – and note that the puzzle coincides with that event enjoyed by Listener Setters and Solvers that is the Annual Listener Dinner
  3. Realise that said 2018 Dinner is held outside of the UK – in Paris – in the weekend of the Puzzle’s publication
  4. Conclude that it must be a map of France**
  5. Check that some of the adjacent countries line up – as demonstrated in the picture below: ES short for Espana, DE for Deutschland, etc.  [I’ve left out all other letters in the puzzle for clarity]

I puzzled for a while why it had PARS and not PARIS at the centre.  I then realised it was the péripherique-centred pun: ‘I’ had to visit (Paris) too – and all became clear.

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 09.27.30 copy

And there was a nice touch down in Chalicea-land in the South East of France under the Jura mountains – half of the largest CERN ring on the French-Swiss border, with of course only two of the letters being visible on the French side and the rest of the ring in Switzerland.

Easy, eh?


Tim / Encota

* If one was an idiot, that is.

** OK, so it was a map but more like this one of Ireland …

SCAN0444 copy

A clever puzzle, with a very nice, unambiguous and visual endgame.  Thank you!

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Listener 4311: Carte Blanche by Chalicea

Posted by Jaguar on 3 Oct 2014

Chalicea makes her second appearance in the Listener Series, after her debut Listener No 4244 last year themed around Emily Davison, who somehow or other ended up underneath the King’s horse. A relatively easy puzzle jam-packed with thematic material, and I guest-blogged that one. Could we expect the same this time? Well, probably, as that’s pretty much Chalicea’s signature puzzle: relatively easy clues with an artistic grid as a result. On we go then!


Only… this didn’t look quite so easy at all! “… roughly a third of the cells of the presented grid are not utilised,” said the preamble, and the already ominous blank grid became a step harder before we’d even started. On the other hand, it seemed likely that the shape of the grid would be somehow thematic, so that might be some help. Or not. Still, as always with cartes blanches you need to solve a fair few clues to get going, and at least I could rely on those being fairly easy.

4311 wrong

A botched first attempt!

By and large this was actually true, although one or two caused more problems than perhaps they should have. 1dn was evidently GANYMEDE ((judgement + a  y[ear] – ju[ry])*, extra T), and after a while I had enough material from the first few clue numbers to try and get working on that jigsaw. Those clue numbers had been puzzling me, too, but of course I was being told rather generously that the top half of the grid was going to be rather thinner than the 14 cells available. Once I discovered CANINE and AD COURT crossing with NORMANDY, I was away! And this puzzle clearly was going to be French-themed. “Mais oui, monsieur,” you might say, “did not Chalicea’s last feature ‘cherchez la femme’?  Does she not live in the neighbourhood?” She’s in that neck of the woods anyway. What more natural inspiration for a puzzle than the view from outside your window?

As Friday evening came and went, I’d worked my way steadily through the top half, with just one problem: where did GANYMEDE fit? Perhaps I’d parsed that wrongly after all? And what’s going on near the left of the grid? Lots of unanswered questions. Time to sleep on it.

Saturday morning saw me finally break into that elusive bottom section of the grid and, eventually, I was all but finished. But still some annoying questions remained. Where was 8dn going to fit… TC or YM makes no sense! Why is the bottom row unused at all? And, still, what is 1dn? And why does it seem to have 5/8 cells unchecked? Surely there’s no way that would pass the editors, even after that recent Third Man puzzle that broke all the Ximenean unching rules in the book several times over? Oh, and, for that matter, France seems to have developed an odd land bridge near Vannes and Paris appears to have disappeared altogether! Maybe it’s representing the Black Hole that everyone was worried about at CERN (well, silly people were worried about anyway)? Or some satirical shot at the French economy…

And so, I would have to give the puzzle a third viewing, apparently… Off to have a go at the IQ instead.

Thankfully, Phi’s offering didn’t take too long and so I was able to look again in the afternoon, and lo and behold, GANYMEDE was there after all, resolving all those nasty unching problems in the middle of the grid! Some tidying up later, and 8dn RF (République Française) appeared, that strange geography sorted itself out, and all of the rows of the grid were used after all. Phew!

Naturally, after Samuel’s excellent Generalisation, No 4278, featuring a map of most of the UK (or, perhaps, all of it? As I type this the referendum is just five days away!), people were bound to draw comparison, but this was well done and certainly more accessible. Chalicea flexes her artistic muscles once more! What next from her, I wonder? And tune in next week when we’ll see a wonderful crossword grid in the exact shape of the state of Wyoming…



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