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Posts Tagged ‘Harribobs’

‘An Exchange of Letters’ by Harribobs

Posted by Encota on 13 April 2018


Or so spelled out the changed letters of each clue’s answer.

Sorting out one and only one change to each answer to create its grid entry was, for me at least, the hardest part of this puzzle.  Eventually it all worked out though, with STRANGE appearing on the leading diagonal.

2018-03-24 12.35.56

Will at least one person, in their rush, mistakenly modify what becomes STRONGER at 39ac to form STRANGEr.  Who knows – but ‘odder’ things have happened.

Talking of STRANGE, … then Tony Strange, a good friend of mine, is a Physics teacher at Ipswich school here in Suffolk.

He rumours (though I have never checked) that the plate on his door reads:


to the (mild) amusement of some of his pupils.


Tim / Encota


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An Exchange of Letters by Harribobs

Posted by shirleycurran on 13 April 2018

We appreciate a short preamble and Harribobs gave us one with very little to worry us: a word to highlight in the final grid that was the final word of a quotation that would appear when we had changed just one letter in each word that we entered (quite a challenge for a setter!) Fortunately we were also going to identify the source of the quotation by finding a misprint in every across clue and all the final words in our grid were going to be real words. That left us the down clues with no disturbing gimmick. We got down to solving.

Of course, I found the evidence that Harribobs retains his place in the Listener Setters’ Tippling Club and he gave us ‘Whisky and soda recipe is used in prank in Hull (7)’ We decided that the R (recipe) had to go into the whisky and soda STINGER to give us a STRINGER or a reinforcing plank in a ship’s hull, thus producing an L of our quotation’s source at the same time. That was all the alcohol there was in Harribobs’ compilation – but it was enough. Cheers Harribobs!

We solved steadily with some struggles. Does a WEE TEST really exist? I doubt it, but it made us smile and, of course, ‘In parts extremely soaked … (7)’ gave us the dialect form of ‘wettest’. LUREX had us struggling too though we were obviously looking for ‘Those who Etch (not Itch) wearing some light cloth (5)’ That U went in as our very last letter when we realized that the RE were ‘formerly the Royal Society of Etchers and Engravers’ (according to the Big Red Book) and that they were surrounded ny LUX (some light).

Fortunately it was that part of our grid that filled the fastest and we very soon had HENRY W LONGFELLOW. Of course I went to the ODQ to see if the letters we already had would give me that all-important quotation – but it was not to be (though I did find something about four and a half bees!) We needed a poem about K????OS and vainly searched for a Longfellow interest in KNOSSOS. Oh those Listener red herrings!

Happily, PISIFORM appeared and gave us an R misprint in the clue (caRpus, not caMpus) and that was all we needed to find KERAMOS and our quotation “All things must change to something new, something STRANGE”.

We had to be very systematic about changing one letter in each clue to the one provided by the quotation. I wonder how long it took Harribobs to create this grid with that device in it! There were pitfalls for the unwary; it would be so easy to put SNITS and TIRL in that bottom left-hand corner, thus changing two letters of SNAGS. I wonder if any solver did! Many thanks, Harribobs.

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Listener No 4495: An Exchange of Letters by Harribobs

Posted by Dave Hennings on 13 April 2018

Harribobs’s Listener puzzle from last year was all about the eight post-war German chancellors. It required PALAIS SCHAUMBURG to be written under the grid. I checked lots of things in the puzzle before sending it off to St Albans. Unfortunately the spelling of SCHAUMBURG wasn’t one of them. Somewhere along the line it got changed to SCHAUMBERG. Grrr!

I knew I was in for a reasonably tricky ride here, even though Harribobs is a relatively new setter with his first puzzle in 2015. Although I didn’t tackle it, Inquisitor 1526 Inner Turmoil caused a lot of debate over at 15², with clues under the headings Normal, Reversed, Cycled, Reversed and Cycled, Jumbled. Yikes.

Nothing too unusual here this week. All entries needed to have one letter changed before entry and all across clues needed one letter changing before solving (I think that’s a misprint to you and me). The new letters in the grid would spell out a quotation, and the new letters in the clues would give its source. Yikes!

Starting on the downs seemed logical… nothing but straightforward clueing here. Although I know precious little about cricket, I managed 3dn WILTS (with help from Google), followed by 4dn Particle with periodic arrangement in aminobutene (4) for MOTE (since it was unlikely to be A NUN). For some bizarre reason (OK, those who know me it’s because I’m going gaga), I wrote TAP WATERS in at 7dn instead of WATER TAPS.

As expected, progress was fairly slow — clashes frequently are, which is what they effectively were, and lots of them. Eventually the correct versions of misprints in the across clues gave Keramos, Henry W Longfellow. I thought the editors were having a pop at me by forcing me to reference both my mistakes from last year, although Sabre’s bees was actually based on a quotation from Longfellow’s Kavanagh.

Keramos seemed to be a somewhat lengthy poem, but I didn’t need to read all of it, although I did. It seemed to be about a potter and his art, although it was probably a metaphor for life and death or some such — over to you, Shirley.

Anyway, a short way in I came to “[Turn, turn, my wheel!] All things must change / To something new, to something strange;” and that hit the nail on the head. In fact, the quotation was needed to resolve some of the ambiguities since not all the changes to words resulted from clashes. For example 14ac SPOT could change to SPAT, SPET or SPIT.

Before sending my solution off to JEG, I spent almost as long checking my solution as I had filling the grid (well, not quite). Even so, it is always possible that some gremlin got in the works. Let’s hope not. I’m pretty sure I highlighted STRANGE!

All in all, a fairly tough day at the office. Thanks, Harribobs.

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Follow-My-Leader by Harribobs

Posted by shirleycurran on 13 October 2017

Nothing untoward in the preamble. Harribobs was telling us that some words were going to have several letters entered in a single cell and that these were going to clash with crossing ones. We would have to anagram all those clashing letters to produce ‘members of a group’. Clearly, the word lengths in brackets told us where words had extra letters in one cell (or more than one cell as occurred in 11ac). Nothing to do but solve.

Well, I did have to check that Harribobs retains his membership of the Listener Setters’ Drinkie Club and he began well with ‘Exotic dame – she’s loaded (7)’ (DAME SHES* producing SMASHED with an extra E. I had to read a lot further to find ‘Doctors other half and Lord Lieutenant quaffing Roman mead (8)’ which gave Dr Jekyll’s ‘other half, HYDE round LL and ROM giving HYDROMEL with an extra L. So we had a lady ‘smashed’ on mead – not totally convincing. However ‘Served up eggs and beer for protein (7)’ set things right with ALE< and NITS< giving ELASTIN. Cheers, Harribobs!

We solved steadily and very soon had a set of crossing, clashing letters in PEBAS (‘HQ south of Peru armed American natives (5)’ PE + BASE with and extra E) and STRANDWOLF, ‘Scavenger’s run back behind stone ridge in the Drakensberg (10)’ (ST + RAND + FLOW<). These produced an anagram of BRANDT so we mused about German chancellors and whether Germany was to be written below the grid.

However, we had several tussles with clues before the first of these musings proved to be fruitful. ‘Basil perhaps holding Henry the fifth down (4)’ produced a smile when we worked out that SERB at 5 down was giving us an extra S here in 35d as we needed HERB and 5d was holding H[enry]. Clever stuff, even though we particularly dislike clues that refer to each other. It was fairly subtle here, wasn’t it? KISLEU seemed to be the solution to ‘A month before University, all within capital’s borders must go back (6)’ but we took ages to work out the brilliant wordplay. [H]ELSINK[I] was reversed before U, with an extra N that we needed for the message that was emerging. USE BOTTOM ROW AND LEFT COLUMN AS INDEXES, we were being instructed.

Eight chancellors had by now appeared: Adenauer (with that lovely use of LAUNDRESS), Erhard, Kiesinger, Brandt, Schmidt, Kohl (that one must have taken some head-scratching to fit into the grid), Schröder and Merkel and now we attempted to apply the instruction but with Numpty incompetence took the chancellors in the order in which they appeared in the grid – and got a gobbledygook location. Of course, to produce the PALAIS SCHAUMBURG, they had to used those grid coordinates in date order. What a clever piece of setting. Thanks to Harribobs.

The Poat hare? Of course I had to hunt for a German Hase again and sure enough, he was there, cavorting with the local hare at the foot of the grid.

A post-script – we watched the conclusion of the German elections last night and saw Mutti retain her top place. I wonder whether this one was scheduled for this weekend in view of the German elections – Probably!

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Listener No 4469: Follow-My-Leader by Harribobs

Posted by Dave Hennings on 13 October 2017

The previous Harribobs Listener had us spelling out “What hath God wrought” in Morse code. Before that was the Game of Life created by John Horton Conway. This week, no highlighting to perform, just a location to find, perhaps GCHQ.

There were clashing squares here, initially with several letters in each cell. They would eventually be replaced by their first letter. Meanwhile, there were 34 extra wordplay letters to find.

1ac Mascots set problems (7) looked as though it should be easy, but wasn’t for me since I always spelled it telly when I was growing up — TELE (set) S[U]MS. Luckily 6ac Force redistribution of wealth (6, two words), devoid of an extra letter, came to the rescue with THE LAW.

I decided to tackle the acrosses in order, and was happy to get a dozen or so. These were followed by significantly fewer than a dozen downs! That pretty much determined progress from then on, and that wasn’t helped by failing to get more than one clashing entry for a cell until very late on.

The first of these clashes to reveal itself was GOSSAMER ([B]OSS in GAMER) and MILKERS (MI [C]LERKS*) where I had never realised the word could refer to the cows not just the humans. Unless there were two clashes lurking here, the letters looked like MER/LKE, and it took no time to spot Mrs MERKEL. So European leaders, perhaps?

The next one out of the box was ESKI/REIGN, which looked like it should be Henry Kissinger, but wasn’t. Then it was EA/AUNDRE’s turn. Don’t ask me how I saw his name, but ADENAUER (who always reminded me of the most draconian of school headmasters) soon appeared, although I’d forgotten he was a Konrad. A bit of a google, and Kurt KIESINGER was next. We were obviously dealing with German Chancellors.

Luckily I’m old enough to remember a few more of them, specifically Ludwig ERHARD, Willy BRANDT, Helmut SCHMIDT and Helmut KOHL. Don’t ask me why, but Gerhard SCHRODER (Merkel’s predecessor) eluded me, as had Kiesinger earlier.

My favourite clue was 34ac A month before university, all within capital’s borders must go back (6) for KISLEU. Who’d have thought that most of the capital of Finland could feature so prominently in a clue?!

So what next, apart from just entering their first letter. Well, the extra wordplay letters finally revealed themselves as Use bottom row and left column as indexes. I went from top left to bottom right, listing the coordinates of each Chancellor, and got APAHALGRMUUBSICS. [I can’t believe you didn’t give up after 3 or 4 pairs. Ed.]

I started switching the pairs round, but gave up after PAHALARG. [I should hope so. Ed.] “In order” from the preamble now obviously meant chronological order, and all was made clear with Palais Schaumburg, according to Wiki the residence of the Chancellor of Germany from 1949-1999 and now the secondary official residence of the Chancellor.

This wasn’t a quick solve, but entertaining and nostalgic nonetheless. Thanks, Harribobs.

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