Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Posts Tagged ‘Harpy’

L4628: ‘Keyworker’ by Harpy

Posted by Encota on 30 Oct 2020

A clever change in direction in today’s puzzle from Harpy. The leading diagonal plus 2×2 square at its end, start off reading FELONIOUS MONK. And the misprints per clue start off reading GREGORI RASPUTIN.

However … swap the contents of the first cell to read TH and it now reads THELONIUS MONK, the jazz blues (I think!) pianist. So we now need to find three of his songs:

  • The first, using the 2×2 square highlighted in Blue, depicts BLUE MONK
  • The second, by drawing a circle in the bottom left quadrant, could be said to describe ROUND MIDNIGHT
  • And the third uses the rest of the misprints, that spell out an extra clue, ORCHESTRATING HAS MESSED UP A TUNE OF HIS. An anagram of {ORCHESTRATING HAS} finds STRAIGHT NO CHASER! Looking at 5a’s STRAIGHT and then erase CHASER at 13d – and this can be said to depict this song

The final change expands the ‘square’ MONK to become a circle, which might be said to depict a SPHERE, his middle name.

And the Title’s pretty good for a pianist during ‘Covid season’ too. Is that three Covid-related titles we’ve had now?


Tim / Encota


Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Key Worker by Harpy

Posted by shirleycurran on 30 Oct 2020

Harpy! We’ve had only two Harpy Listener crosswords before, but I believe Harpy is a pairing of two very familiar setters. The preamble tells us that, as well as spotting a famous person and solving a cryptic clue spelled out by corrected misprints in every clue, we will be finding three of the person’s ‘titles’ and drawing in our grid to represent his middle name.

There’s a lot to take in there. Misprints often stand out as rather glaring anomalies in clues but, as I scan the clues for the inevitable proof of membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit, I realize that this skilful couple has hidden them in some  very subtle ways. But the alcohol is there. ‘Six bananas and seven tots (6)’ gives us a misprint producing SOTS and, when we have solved clue 6 and got TROPE (+7 = S), we anagram that (bananas) and find that they are TOPERS. Fortunately it’s malt, five clues on, ‘Sicily town’s pasta sauce with malt halved (6)’ We back-solve the wordplay, later on, to find that the malt became salt, giving RAGU + SA.

Later on too, of course, we find ‘STRAIGHT NO CHASER’ as one of the thematic titles, and have to delete the CHASER from our grid and that just leaves STRAIGHTs for those TOPERS. Cheers, Harpy!

We solve steadily and the last half of the message emerges; ORCHESTRATING HAS MESSED UP TUNE OF HIS, so together with the title ‘Key Worker’, we have a hint that this is about a musician. Anagramming ORCHESTRATING (messing it up) gives us that STRAIGHT NO CHASER, but, sadly our knowledge of jazz is very limited and we have produced a rather strange FELONIOUS MONK in our leading diagonal and GREGORI RASPUTIN as a famous person spelled out by our first misprints. He wasn’t much of a musician!

Then it all falls into place and we change the first cell of our grid, maintaining real words with FRESH FRILLS becoming THRESH THRILLS and FELONIOUS becoming THELONIOUS – Nice. Wiki gives us two more titles; ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT, and BLUE MONK, so we draw our circle throught the letters of MIDNIGHT and colour the four letters of MONK blue. Our square monk has to depict his middle name by becoming a SPHERE. Many thanks Harpy. Another fine compilation that has been a learning experience for us.

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Listener No 4628: Keyworker by Harpy

Posted by Dave Hennings on 30 Oct 2020

The last Harpy Listener was back in 2016 with AE Housman’s A Shropshire Lad as its theme. That said, Inquisitor no. 1666 last month was by Harpy all about the Great Fire of MDCLVI. This week, every clue contained a misprint somewhere, not necessarily in the definition. Some don’t like these, but I do. Lots going on in the endgame, with only a circle requiring to be drawn (I hoped).

5ac STRAIGHT, 11ac RELY and 12ac AIRBUS got the top of the grid off to a flying start. 1ac Cheeky sappers displacing first person in line, for instance (5) would have to wait for a few minutes although FRESH seemed likely; the misprint would be line for ling resulting in FISH with RE for I.

Giving the downs a go, I got 2 RENT, 3 ELLIS (even though I didn’t know E Bronte’s pseudonym was Ellis Bell), 7 AUKLETS and 9 HOOT. 15ac WORKSHOP and 13dn CHASER enabled most of the top to be finished fairly quickly. The famous person revealed by the misprints started Grig… which had me baffled.

Slowly but surely, I worked my way down the grid and eventually uncovered Grigori Rasputin, not that I could see why he should be a “Keyworker”. The cryptic clue would have to wait until the grid was complete, but not before some fun clues were solved, including:

31ac Clothing of unhip punk was revolting (6) — U(nhi)P + ROSE (pink). 35dn Ford’s audit is including annual return (5) — INC + AR (definition Ford’s audio is). And show me the way to the Garlic festival mentioned in 21dn!

The cryptic clue revealed at the end was Orchestrating has messed up a tune of his but the preamble had us carry out some fiddly changes first. It didn’t take long to see FELONIOUS MONK running NW–SE to describe the devillish Russian, and even less time to identify the true thematic subject, THELONIOUS MONK, the American jazz pianist. Memory is probably not serving me well, but I’m sure I saw him on BBC tv over 50 years ago on Not Only… But Also…, the programme made famous by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. (The interweb fails to confirm this.)

Anyway, flipping the F to TH made new words THRESH and THRILLS. A quick google revealed the three compositions we needed to identify as Round MIDNIGHT (to be circled in the lower left), Blue MONK requiring the block of four to be coloured accordingly, and STRAIGHT, No CHASER requiring CHASER at 13dn to be erased. This was the answer to the cryptic clue, an anagram of orchestrating has. Finally, expanding the blue colouring of MONK enabled his middle name, Sphere, to be represented.

Thanks for a fun puzzle, Harpy.

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

XL by Harpy

Posted by shirleycurran on 26 Feb 2016

In Pangaea 00313 X 13 – that didn’t seem to be extra large so we decided the XL must refer to 40 something or other. However, the preamble was just a little bit XL and gave us a lot to think about. We had already realized that we had here a grid with no clue numbers – one with rather odd asymmetrical bars where the clues had to be entered jigsaw-fashion, and a set of clues that didn’t exactly match the word-lengths of the available lights. It got worse: in Group A clues, a letter was to be inserted before solving and these letters were to give us the first three words of a quotation and an instruction regarding some of the EMPTY CELLS! Yes, thirteen empty cells.

That was not all. There were to be unclued lights as well and when we had used that little set of Group B clues, we were going to mangle our grid in some way in order to remove the 13 connected cells.

One of the bloggers on the Times for the Times website, this week, amused me by commenting on the surprising bibulosity of crossword compilers. I would say that a pre-ramble like that one calls for a stiff drink and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few solvers ended the evening somewhat worse for wear. However, I needed to check on the bibulosity of Harpy’s clues and he speedily confirmed his membership of the Listener Setters’ Tipsy Team with ‘Abandoned one owing to bride’s bubby (7)’ Well, that had to be bubbLy didn’t it? (giving TO BRIDE* = DEBITOR) It really has come to something when even the anagram indicators are boozy words!

Harpy was then with the New Orleans crooks sKipping a half in snugs (5)’ (giving NO [cro]OKS) and not much further down he has shifted to SECO, ‘Description of some winEs in write up of process (4)’ (hidden).  Onto the beer next, ‘Get pOint and drink, pet (4)’ producing S + SNOG = SNOG. Not surprisingly, by the time we got to the Group B clues, Harpy was indulging in ‘Personal share of turnip spirit (3)’ (I’m not sure what the turnip was doing there but that gave us DIV). Cheers! See you at the bar in March, Harpy!

Indeed these were not ‘Stripey horse (5)’ or ‘Alas tit consumed wine (4)’ -style clues. Having colour-coded our grid and clue lengths, we lumbered our way half way down the clues with little hope of a grid fill, though an interesting Y– F– COUNTRY; FILL FIVE CELLS … fairly easily appeared from the extra letters we were inserting. Full praise to a compiler who escapes from the routine of ‘An extra letter in the wordplay in addition to those to be entered into the grid …’ or ‘A misprint in the definition part of the clue blah, blah, blah, …’ However, the result of a device like this one is a rather generous gift to the solver (and we needed one!) The question is whether these more difficult devices to implement are actually extra work for the compiler and less work for the solver.

I ambitiously began a grid fill when it seemed that CRENELLATIONS would fit our grid, intersecting with GAMIC and MONACTINE, and it seemed likely that the centre column would be the ’empty thirteen cells’ which prompted me to enter OXEYED-AISIES along the bottom of the grid. We were away and a relatively speedy gridfill followed with some rather odd unclued words appearing. MALES? PAAN? ARIA? UKE? PORAL? (Yes, hindsight has filled some gaps in those!) There was a moment’s doubt about IN-CALF which appeared as two words IN CALF under ‘calf‘ in Chambers but had its own hyphenated entry in the I section. I wonder whether little errors like that will be corrected in the new edition that is about to appear.

In Pangaea 002LOST CONTENT seemed to be appearing too – and didn’t that tinkle a very distant bell? Out came the ODQ and on page 416 of my lovely Seventh Edition with the Klimt Water Serpents on the cover, I find ‘Into my heart an air that kills/ From yon far country blows/ What are those blue remembered hills/ What spires, what farms are those? Ah, it’s from A E Housman’s A Shropshire Lad No 40, so it looks as though we are on the right track. Are we, then, somehow going to be entering hills, spires and farms? That is our first thought.

Reading on, (as we are told to do in the preamble) we encounter ‘That is the land of LOST CONTENT’ and those two unclued entries are justified. Justified but not explained. With an almost full grid, time for another G & T and a bit of head scratching. We haven’t paid a lot of attention to those Group B clues but they clearly hold the key. These are almost ‘Stripey horse (5)’ clues, a double definition, DIV, a homophone, KIST, a regular letter clue, MEN, another DD, REIN and a reversal clue, TUG; but where are we going to put these letters. Aaaah! Light dawns and we suddenly understand what that unclued PAAN was doing: PAKISTAN, MALDIVES, ARMENIA, UKRAINE and PORTUGAL. My admiration for Harpy takes an immense leap – this is brilliant! And it gets better.

Our instruction told us to FILL FIVE CELLS TO MAKE THEME WORDS. We find SPAIN, CONGO, HUNGARY, KOREA and LAOS and realize that we have to fill one more cell ‘doubly’ turning CONTENT into CONTINENT and that central column spells IN PANGAEA. I chop my grid into two. It’s easier than attempting to do a triple fold and we were told to remove those 13 cells ‘eg by folding’, so I hope cutting and pasting is acceptable – this puzzle certainly was. Superb, thank you, Harpy!

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »