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Posts Tagged ‘Harribobs’

L4571: ‘International Standards Organisation’ by Harribobs

Posted by Encota on 27 September 2019

That infamous quote: “The great thing about International Standards is that there are so many to choose from”  seems to apply here.

One might of course claim that the appearance of those standards body abbreviations in the grid were coincidence – but we solvers of course know better:

British Standards Institute (BSI), Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) , Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and even ISO itself all feature in contiguous cells.  [I had thought for a moment that Flags were going to be involved, then realised my mistake …]

Well, there are twelve of them in this case, to be precise.  I’m hoping my tablet-based flag sketches meet the ‘only enough detail to be recognisable’ criterion in the Preamble …

SCAN0633 copy

After weeks of tedious IT issues (that I won’t bore you with) I have at last managed to get scans back into LWO & take copies of my Listener solutions – yay!

Great Standards pun, great puzzle, great fun drawing & colouring – thanks Harribobs!

Tim / Encota


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International Standards Organisation by Harribobs

Posted by shirleycurran on 27 September 2019

It is only now, on typing that title, that I realize its significance. Of course, we have created an array (or organisation) of international standards (or flags) and we needed those three letters, too, in the clue for COSINE ‘Function of national standards body in Europe revoked (6)’ By the time we got to that clue, we had the message the extra letters were producing (FLAGS REPLACE TWELVE NATIONS IN ARRAY) and knew that we didn’t need an extra letter, so it had to be that N + ISO in EC revoked, or returned.

There was some most satisfactory cluing here (but what do we expect? Harribobs was last year’s Inquisitor top setter wasn’t he?) Of course I checked the grid to confirm that he retains his right of admission to the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit and he almost slipped up. I had to read a long way through his clues before finding ‘Sadly Ruby leaves constabulary, moving to the seaside (7)’ We spotted one of a number of subtractive anagrams and removed RUBY* from CONSTABULARY* producing COASTAL – I suppose that is port in a couple of senses, so ‘Cheers, Harribobs!’.

Superb clues and a fairly speedy solve for  us, though we struggled with our last three solutions. It is rather comical for us, living in France and speaking French, that clues that use French tend to cause us trouble. I suspect that we compartmentalise languages to avoid the mental chaos that thinking in the wrong language can produce in a crossword, so although ‘French author somewhat looked up to in Paris (4)’ was leaping out at us, as a hidden word, HAUT was almost our last entry. GENET was all too familiar too after years of French homework (why was that always the one that the boys left till last?) and in this case it was how it produced the Y that we needed for ARRAY that puzzled us. ‘French author often inside yearning has to see outside (5)’. It was the ‘often inside’ that we were attempting to fit into the wordplay – but, of course, it was part of the definition. Wiki tells us that GENET was initially a petty criminal, so ‘often inside’ and we have to simply fit {Y}EN into GET.

And finally there were the APPLES. A bit sneaky, I think, to use Cockney rhyming slang, ‘London flight dismays touring European (6)’. ‘Apples and pears = stairs’ so we extracted an A from APPALS and put that European into it. Hmmm!

But no complaints really. We were told how many words were entered in reverse and how many clues had extra letters and given plenty of room about how to submit our grid with those people who fuss about having to get out the children’s colouring pencils the option of resolving those twelve texts in words. (I did that as well in order to avoid putting one of those flags in the wrong place!)

Was I the only solver to wonder about ROMANIANS – they are a nation too and ROMANIANS anagram to SAN MARINO, which certainly has independent country status. Oh the pitfalls of Listener solving! But many thanks to Harribobs – what a delightful compilation.

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Listener No 4571, International Standards Organisation by Harribobs

Posted by Dave Hennings on 27 September 2019

It really doesn’t seem to me that it was nine months ago that we had Harribobs last Listener, the very enjoyable A Secret Unlocked based on Histiaeus sent Aristagoras a message tattooed on the head of a servant. But indeed it was! Shows how time flies when you get to my age.

Harribobs has had some interesting and enjoyable puzzles over the last few years; the first was back in 2015 if my records are correct. Many of them have had incredible grid construction. Here, the preamble told us that a number of answers needed to be entered in reverse. It also told us that there would be an ideal solution and an acceptable textual solution. I dreaded that there would be a requirement for more drawing — I’ve lost track of how many Listeners have required artistic skill this year.

As it turned out, I had three options to choose from in completing my submission. The ideal solution was spelt out by the extra letter in the wordplay of 32 clues: Flags replace twelve nations in array. It didn’t take too long to see that, excluding the perimeter, there were twelve 3×3 blocks in the grid, each of which contained an anagram of a 12-letter country name. These were, top left to bottom right:


So… I could take the “less ambitious” way and just write each of the twelve countries in the grid. (I assumed that would be top to bottom, left to right, rather than in a circle.) I decided that I wasn’t going to do anything less than was ideally required. However, I don’t have a set of coloured pencils any more, and anyway I didn’t really fancy spending a couple of hours drawing each of the flags — although I know someone who would! I decided to scan the grid and paste each of the flags onto it from the internet. Hopefully JEG would think I’d done it by hand!

Thanks for yet another entertaining geographical puzzle, Harribobs.

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Listener No 4534: A Secret Unlocked by Harribobs

Posted by Dave Hennings on 11 January 2019

Harribobs hasn’t been on the setting scene for very long but has had some great puzzles, such as the recent Go West, Young Man (except that was over at the Inquistor). This, his second Listener of 2018 followed on from Exchange of Letters with Henry Longfellow’s Kéramos as its theme.

This week we were treated to a short two-sentence story with a mysterious ending. From the preamble, it would seem that this would be needed in association with an instruction to be revealed by letters omitted from 34 answers.

As I expected, the clues were sometimes tricky but always fair. The only one I had trouble deciphering was 17ac System of weights to be seen in Provence (5). Obviously a French word, it was only when I had three letters did avoir pop into my head. So, nothing to do with être; I’m assuming that it reads as a voir but not sure.

Anyway, when all was complete, it wasn’t quite complete! There were a couple of ambiguities that needed to be resolved, eg the AL in ARSENAL/SEASONAL. It didn’t take long to finish them so that the omitted letters spelt out Use template and note what hair (not hlir) conceals.

My initial reaction was to highlight the hair-fixated US TRUMP **** in the middle row and be done! However…

As I note above, this needed to be used along with the two-sentence story. Now there were 169 squares in the grid and it seemed obvious to see how many letters there were in the story. At the end of line 1, I had 81 and I knew I was on the right track. All told there were indeed 169. Constructing a second grid with the story reading from left to right, top to bottom, I noted the positions of H, A, I and R and then highlighted them in my original grid.

After two lines, I had ARISTA… and this time wondered if I had got it wrong. Persevering, it transpired that the message was “ARISTAGORAS, REVOLT AGAINST PERSIANS — HISTIAEUS”. A bit before my time, but this refers to the “…Ionian Revolt against the Persian Achaemenid Empire” about 500BC — thanks, Wiki.

All that remained was to fill in the theme under the grid which was indicated by the clues to answers not requiring a letter to be omitted. Two quick scans of the clues followed, firstly examining their initial letters, and then their last. The last letters gave STEGANOGRAPHY, the concealment of something within something else, here a message inside another message.

One of the first examples was that where Histiaeus sent a message to Aristogoras by marking it on a servant’s shaved head and waiting for the hair to regrow before sending it on its way. The message was hidden until the head was shaved by Aristogoras. Thus, the two-sentence story was finally explained and the secret un-lock-ed!

A lot of checking and double-checking then followed to ensure that the highlighting was correct and that I had correctly spelt the theme word. (I’m still smarting from spelling SCAUMBURG with a BERG in Harribobs’ puzzle about the German postwar chancellors.)

As expected, a fine puzzle from Harribobs.

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L4534: A Secret Unlocked by Harribobs

Posted by Encota on 11 January 2019

A STEGANOGRAPHY-based puzzle – great fun from Harribobs!

2018-12-22 14.50.52 copy

Map the 169 letters in the completed grid to the 169 letters in the ‘template’ phrase from the Preamble.  Then highlight each letter that aligns with H, A, I or R from that Preamble phrase and all is revealed:


The puzzle is based around the tale of a message being written on a servant’s head, then letting the HAIR grow to conceal it.  When the servant arrived, the hair was removed to reveal the message.

Specifically in this puzzle the letters found under the H,A,I,R letters of the template revealed that message.  Simple, eh?

Tim /Encota

PS Though there weren’t so many clues with an alcohol-flavour here, I did notice PORT in Row 1, ALE in Row 6 and RUM in Row 7.

And I thought I spotted a U.S. president and one of the ‘code words’ I’ve seen others use on the Internet for him on Row 7, too – though perhaps I imagined that?  And, now we’re talking of Wordsearches suitable for publication in Viz magazine,  this grid would certainly be a good contender.  I can spot at least five …  🙂

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