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Posts Tagged ‘Glow-worm’

A Game of 11 by Glow-worm

Posted by shirleycurran on 29 Nov 2019

I was still making a Crossword Compiler grid of the puzzle – not as easy as usual as it was particularly unsymmetrical – clearly because of the requirement to have that quotation around the perimeter without creating an unfair proportion of unchecked cells – but the other Numpty was racing through the clues and filling his grid full tilt. I suppose I should be using words like smash, volley, or lobbing the solutions in.

I had barely time to check that Glow-worm retains his entry ticket to the Listener Setters Oenophile Outfit but did uncover the surprising fact (on Dave Hennings’ crossword data base) that Glow-worm has produced ten Listener crosswords in the past  (since 1997) and that almost all of them have been ‘A Game of n’, where n has ranged from 1 to 15, with even a previous Game of 11.

The alcohol was well hidden, but, of course, it was there: ‘”Fantasist” is set roughly around Glengarry perhaps (8)’ We put IS SET* around CAP, producing ESCAPIST and raised a glass of Glengarry single malt to Glow-worm. Cheers!

Our first guess was that we were playing CHEMIN DE FER but the FLYING SQUAD and OLD MASTER smashed that idea into the net and CHASE THE ACE appeared. That sounds like a fine variant of snap to play with the grandchildren and it established for us that the ACE OF SPADES was our quarry.

The pairs of extra words were a very generous set that easily stood out from the remainder of their clues: ONE POOR, OUTSTANDING UGANDAN, TENSION UNIT, PARAGON NEAR, TORNADO PILOT, FILIPINO WHIT, HOTSHOT AFGHANI, and SERVE ORANGE, though we had ‘HELP US’ and ‘IN COPPELIA’ as potential offerings too, since we hadn’t, at that stage, seen that we could remove forms of ace from those pairs. That is the problem with extra words that have to be removed, to give a message, isn’t it? It imposes absolute succinctness on the setter with no room for the slightest redundancy.

WHIZZING appeared as a likely first word of the quoted line from the poem and that gave us WILLIAMS, so we guessed that EVERT and GRAF were two more tennis aces so tennis was also a theme. We suspected Betjeman at once and read right through Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, but, of course, it was PAM we needed to find the quotation ‘Whizzing them over the net with the strength of five’.

It took me a while to realize that the pilot, whit, paragon etc. were all aces, leaving me the letters PRUNTNNRTOFOAIOE to sort into that five-word phrase. “A POINT OF NO …?” I muttered. “RETURN, of course” said the other Numpty. Game, set and match!


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Listener No 4580: A Game of 11 by Glow-worm

Posted by Dave Hennings on 29 Nov 2019

Over the last twenty years or so, Glow-worm has played a lot of games with us. These have included a 2, a 5 and a couple of 1s among others, and have finally been uncovered as the likes of Sardines, Hunt the Slipper and Tic-Tac-Toe. This week, the preamble told us that a line from a poem in the ODQ had to appear in the perimeter squares, and that this was addressed to 1.

Luckily, 1ac Mayhap a mountainous sports girl immediately enabled PAM to go in the grid. Thirty seconds was all it would take to look her up the ODQ index to reveal the Betjeman quotation Pam, I adore you, Pam, you great mountainous sports girl, Whizzing them over the net, full of the strength of five. Popping that into the perimeter followed by some straightforward clueing, enabled CHASE THE ACE to slot into the central column, a few female tennis players to complete the grid and A POINT OF NO RETURN to go under it.

Unfortunately, if you were like me, you really didn’t expect Pam to appear so blatantly in the index. I spent ages looking for tennis, nets, balls and rackets, all to no avail since the index didn’t reference any other word in that extract from Pot Pourri from a Surrey Garden. Only as a last resort, did I check on Pam, et voilà.

Thanks for the run around, Glow-worm!

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Listener 4338: A game of 15 by Glow-worm

Posted by Jaguar on 10 Apr 2015

2015 has so far seen a set of entertaining diversions rather than the super-hard puzzles that we saw quite a few of last year. But there’s certainly been a few fun ones, and here’s another one. Glow-worm’s offering takes us, as it happens, on a busy stroll through the local fair. Glow-worm invites us to take part in a spot of duck fishing, as I unimaginatively know it, or “hook-a-duck” as Wikipedia calls it — a frustrating game, as I remember it, but Glow-worm’s version is markedly less so.

What a preamble to start with, though! Trying to decipher all that was a mess, and I stared at it several times trying to make sense of what was meant — and, predictably, failing, despite maybe ten minutes of reading, and re-reading, and re-reading again once more, and then the thought occurred to me that I might try looking at the clues instead. Turns out they weren’t so hard after all, and about thirty minutes later I had half of a full grid and some idea that the letter O was moving about, with NO G(o) and CUDDLY T(o)Y appearing along the top as PRIZES (apparently). putting us in the realm of some game or other.

Back to my actual work, for a bit, but after getting bored of being productive I found that completing the rest of the crossword turned out to be also rather easy, although I’d skipped parsing the clues (and still haven’t found all of the three superfluous definitions, for that matter). By this point, though, I had the theme — “hook-a-duck”, and after fond memories of fishing for ducks that turned out to have useless numbers on the bottom, I went through and found what the six jumbled ducks were — 11ac Eider, 26ac Pochard, 31ac Wigeon, 7dn Teal, 20dn Shoveler and 34dn Mandarin. Comparing with the circled cells and there is DONALD left over, one of the more famous ducks after Bradman’s. (Speaking of which, I wonder if Don Manley, who has set in the past as Duck, was hooked by this one..?)

Well, that’s the theme and most of the playing-around with duck-hooking sorted out, But there were just a few odd gaps left over. Most notably, what was the last across clue? Eventually I figured on “OOPS (Op = surgery, +S), but I’m not entirely satisfied by that and have been wanting to make “loss” work. Also 23ac GONG (Going – i[nterior]) and 33ac, which is clearly LEES (worst part) but it took a while to see Le[gum]es — two of the sneakier clues in an otherwise easy if entertaining set.

And, finally, the highlighting — the ROD we have been using to do all that hooking through the game. A very fun and packed compilation, Glow-worm, and yet being not too difficult it’s a good introduction to how much thematic material can be packed in to a puzzle.



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A Game of 15 by Glow-worm

Posted by shirleycurran on 10 Apr 2015

Glow-worm, A Game of 15

Glow-worm, A Game of 15

Donald 001We have just highlighted DOR (well,  ROD reversed) and with a wide smile, put DONALD into the space below the grid and it isn’t time to put the dinner into the oven yet – but that isn’t intended as a criticism, this was fun from start to end – so I have decided to write the Numpty blog straight away.

However, I do have one issue. I have carefully scanned the clues and fear that Glow-worm has not renewed his membership of the Listener Setters’ Wine-lovers’ club.  We had a fair sprinkling of food (peas, spare rib, mint), a range of people (soldier boys, employees, a young gun, a drab, Versace) and clothing, games etc. but only the last clue suggested that ‘the wine of life is drunk and the mere LEES is left the vault to brag of’.

What a lot was going on in this preamble and grid. We broke it down into four parts. Something had to come out of four clues (and we were lucky when our attack on the obvious long anagrams told us that this was an O.(PATROLMAN came from ‘Plan to roam unsettled AA worker, for one (9)’ No – of course he was not a member of Alcoholics Anonymous!: ADORE was left when we removed mint and that extra O from ‘moderation’ in ‘Very much like what’s sprinkled with mint in moderation (5)’. Redcoats cop criminal soldier-boys (10, two words)’ anagrammed to CADET CORPS with yet another extra O.

We had to add those extra Os to other clues and that was not quite so easy but BOOMERANG gave us the way in. ‘Rabble retreats with anger boiling (9)’ MOB< + ANGER* with an extra O – and, of course, in line with the preamble, there was no definition. OOPS followed (Surgery succeeded – OP + S with another O needed), and obligingly, Glow-worm had placed his four clues symmetrically so we were alerted that 1 and 2 across were to complete our quartet. NO GO and CUDDLY TOY – two more possible outcomes of the game of HOOK A DUCK.

Yes, well placed letters had now told us what we were playing and I was transported mentally to the visiting fair and the pool with the ducks we had to hook onto the end of our rod. But it was usually ‘NO GO’ for me, or a sad little goldfish in a plastic bag that rarely survived the week – no CUDDLY TOY.

But what fun this was! We quickly removed three extra duck definitions from clues before solving (the third of our aims) AMPHIBIAN, AVOID and FABRIC seemed to be redundant, though we hesitated about SET-UP in 21d and TOUR in 14d. A friend has since pointed out that NINTENDO is not the game but the ‘set-up’ or system for the game, so that explains that one, and there was no way I was going to be able to make TOUR into a duck.

We had to find six jumbled ducks and that was easier than we expected with DEER I giving EIDER, CHAP ROD giving POCHARD, IN WE GO producing WIGEON, TALE giving TEAL, LOVES HER unjumbling to SHOVELER and DAMN RAIN giving MANDARIN.

With a full grid, we removed the initial letters of those six beasts from the twelve that had appeared in circles and laughed out loud when DONALD was left. This was as much fun as the children’s game. All that was left was to find the ROD, and, of course, there it was almost in the middle of the grid. What a fine compilation. Many thanks to Glow-worm.

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