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Posts Tagged ‘Hedge-sparrow’

Listener No 4620: Six-pack by Hedge-sparrow

Posted by Dave Hennings on 4 September 2020

As one might expect from his pseudonym, most of Hedge-sparrow’s Listeners have had a flora or fauna theme. I wondered what environmental bent this puzzle would have. [Ha! Ed.]

Here we had a group of six with double clues, only one of which was given a clue number. The entry method for each pair of clues was that suggested by the group they belonged to. Well… I’m not exactly a physicist (in fact, I’m not even vaguely one), but I felt smug when, after a few minutes thought, the theme popped into my head. I knew that quarks came in pairs and remembered there was up/down and bottom/top but needed a google to discover strange/charm.

Alll that was left was to solve the clues and slot them into their correct entries in the grid. I identified the quarks associated with each set fairly quickly but even so, exactly what went where provided some nice entertainment with some good clueing from H-s.

Having got my smug hat on fairly early, I was woeful in not spotting the TOP in STOPWATCHES as I entered 1ac after 2dn TAIL and 2probably-up VIOLONCELLO. All came together very neatly although I wondered why Auguste Escoffier was chosen as the French chef in 11dn/25dn Heating vessel used for Vietnamese dish of duck meat, about to be replaced by Escoffierian article (4;6) ANTE/OMELET. I’d also not heard of FOGGY BOTTOM and PYCNON before.

Among some entertaining clues, my favourite was probably 31set1 UK zoo’s keeper initially replacing dead reptile is returning with migratory quail’s dry fruit (9, two words; 7) with its somewhat bizarre surface reading, but leading to WHIP SNAKE [WHIPSNADE with K(eeper) for D] and SILIQUA [IS< + QUAIL*, migratory=wandering].

I forgot to mention that the clues that had to be jumbled — set 3, strange/charm — had a misprint in one letter in the definition of one of the clues. This spelt out raluvof which unjumbled to give flavour, which Chambers gives as “(in particle physics) any of the five, or probably six, types of quark”. That’s quantum physics for you! The origin of Quark itself is given as “From word coined by James Joyce in Finnegans Wake (1939)”. And what a stroke of luck that the STRANGE and CHARM could be anagrammed to GARNETS and MARCH, although they were part of the up/down set.

Identifying the six types of quark in the grid, together with QUARKS itself, was a pleasing end to the puzzle with (Murray) GELL-MANN and (George) ZWEIG (who separately proposed the quark model) from the circled letters going under the grid.

Thanks for an enjoyable puzzle, Hedge-sparrow.

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Six-pack by Hedge-sparrow

Posted by shirleycurran on 4 September 2020

Nine lines of pre-ramble! Is that a record? I checked and found that three others have been so long this year and Elap’s numerical more than doubled that figure but still, it’s somewhat daunting, as we learn that we are receiving double clues with only the first one located and numbered; clues are in three sets, to be entered in ways ‘suggesting their set’s types’. One set will be jumbled (groan!) and there will be a misprint in one of the definitions in each of the clues in that set. Correct letters will give us a relevant term and the circled letters will disentangle to give us two names. We take a deep breath and pour ourselves a double.

Drinks! Ah yes, does Hedge-sparrow retain his place with the Listener oenophiles? He leaves little doubt: even the title gives us a ‘six-pack’ then ‘figure cold drink’s needed (4)’ We add C to ONE giving CONE but don’t know where to enter that yet, as TALUS has filled 13ac in our grid. I have realized that the first half of each pair of clues is going into its prescribed place and the second half into one of the unclued slots (which I shade, to help with the grid-fill). The next clue is already revealing the effects of that mixing of a six-pack with ‘one’, ‘girl comes round in a befuddled state (9)’ gives us LOUISA around IN A* producing LOUISIANA. By clue 36 he’s well away: ‘Heavy drinker – singular one wanting last shockingly expensive vintage (7,4)’. We add S to WILLER producing SWILLER and Chambers tells us that LAST can anagram to SALT which is a ‘shockingly expensive vintage’. We raise our glasses – “Cheers, Hedge-sparrow!” More about red wine later!

Set 2 yields solutions fairly speedily when I attempt to enter WHIPSNAKE and VIOLONCELLO it becomes clear that the iinstrument has to be entered going ‘UP’ in order to fit with TALUS and SILIQUA so we can assume that half of each of the set 2 answers will head upwards (and we already have GODOWN at 30d), but that gives us a poser. In what way have SILIQUA and WHIPSNAKE been entered differently?

We already know that Set 3 are to be jumbled producing real words and we tease out OBELISED/SIDE-LOBE, TENGE/GENET, REPRO/ROPER, RIOT/ROTI, EACH/ACHE, SUPINE/PUISNE, MANUAL/ALUMNA, CRUISER/CURRIES, SEES/ESSE, CELLAR (more of that wine!)/CALLER, DINGO/DOING, VOTE/VETO and ACUTE/CEUTA. These have given us the misprints RAL?VOS (I still don’t know how we got the F) and those unjumble to FLAVOURS and our penny-drop moment. QUARKS has been staring us in the face for a while and I have laughed when FOGGY BOTTOM was offered to us by Crossword Compiler, STOPWATCHES, too!

We don’t even need to check that the circled letters spell GELL-MANN and ZWEIG and now we realize that in Set 1, half the clues went into the TOP of the grid and the other half into the BOTTOM. UP, DOWN, TOP, BOTTOM, CHARM and STRANGE – six types of QUARK. I wonder how CHARM and STRANGE explain their set but I gather that both words can be anagram indicators. What an impressive construction. Many thanks to Hedge-sparrow.

Red wine and Murray Gell-Mann! We had the pleasure of his company at a dinner party. The hostess had set a beautiful table with a white cloth covered with a lace one and he dominated conversation (a group of ten maybe) with lots of expansive gestures with his right arm, launching my glass into the air. We were on the meat course and my red wine flew across the table. Gell-Mann said nothing and the hostess simply replaced the wine – then he did it again – and again. Three ugly red splodges. No-one said a thing (his wife, Margaret, was opposite, next to the other Numpty) and my embarrassment grew. Afterwards, the hostess said “He always does that!”. If only she had warned me in advance! I remember that event more than anything I learned about quarks. But let me raise a final glass to the great man who is sadly no longer with us.

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L4620: Six-pack by Hedge-sparrow

Posted by Encota on 4 September 2020

What a lot is going on in this delightful puzzle from Hedge-sparrow!

A Physics-teaching friend gave me, a couple of years back, a copy of “Particle Physics Brick by Brick” by Dr. Ben Still, which is subtitled “Atomic and Sub-atomic physics explained in Lego” – and I still refer to the diagrams in it to remind me the precise differences between quarks, fermions, leptons & related particles …

I loved how this puzzle gave you just enough – e.g. by giving the entry positions at least of half of the answers, even if you weren’t sure of the entry techniques to begin with. I started off pencilling in the first half of each double-clue where I knew them, until some clashed. Then I needed to make some sense of those clashes!

The TOP and BOTTOM of sTOPwatches and foggyBOTTOM in place were good hints. What are there six of, that include Top & Bottom? So QUARKS it was. The construction is very clever:

  • seven of each set of 14 are entered in the TOP half of the grid, the other seven in the BOTTOM half
  • seven are entered in the grid DOWNwards and seven UPwards
  • and can one tell the other entries that have been ‘charmed’ or made ‘strange’ from each other? Not sure! Jumbles for the remaining 14, anyway!

And then QUARKS appearing symmetrically across. A very nice grid 🙂

We then had the addition of those characters Gell-Mann and Zweig, plus misprints corrected to FLAVOUR in Set 3 to help us know which was the jumbled set. Loads of thematic material – very, very good.

As an aside, I was astounded to hear that SIDELOBE didn’t exist in the usual crossword dictionaries, as it has been in common use in communication systems design all my life! Surely a serious omission from the BRB and similar?

And was I the only one to work out the Total Charge of all the clues? [Erm, yes. Ed.] Each one combined an up-type quark (charge: +2/3) with a down-type quark (charge: -1/3). That makes +1/3 per double-clue, times 21 clues, making the Total Charge on all clues a healthy +7. Now how many crossword-related blogs have you read that ever give you such an interesting stat as that?

Tim / Encota

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L4567: ‘Going Concern’ by Hedge-sparrow

Posted by Encota on 30 August 2019

Another neat puzzle from Hedge-sparrow.  This is my rough version.
Of the extinct creatures I could find HUIA, BAIJI, AUROCHS and QUAGGA evenly spaced around the grid.  The means of determining which letters were involved made for an unambiguous and quick endgame – which I think makes a change from some recent puzzles.  No requirement for Highlighting, too 🙂
Were the four extinct creatures purposely picked to be of lengths 4, 5, 6 & 7 to match the Puzzle number (or vice versa)?  I am assuming Yes.  At least I do hope so!!
SCAN0624 copy
Instead of the unchecked letters in the eight endangered ones I knew [really? Ed.] Hedge-sparrow would be hiding something in the checked letters.  These turned out to be the LOWER CASE letters left in the following:
kaKApO sAOlA FOssa AXolOtl KAtIpO saigA bOnObO rHiNo

So I went for, as Hedge-sparrow did, a range of rarer species.  Jumbling these other letters together, and the result? “Becoming ever rarer in our towns & countryside, forests, plains, oceans and mountains: BATS, POLLS, OKAPI, LINGS … and T-BARS”.

It was all going so well but I definitely went downhill after the last one.
Tim / Encota

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Going Concern by Hedge-sparrow

Posted by shirleycurran on 30 August 2019

There’s a celebration of an anniversary of the mini car this month so, when I read the title ‘Going Concern’, I expected a crossword about that, but Hedge-sparrow is known for his compilations concerning living things so we held our breath, but only after checking the clues to confirm his place amongst the Listener oenophiles.

Alcohol, drop of malt on tap, poured for drinking companion (6)’ gave is M(alt)ONTAP* = POTMAN for a drinking companion – and left us with little doubt, and one extra word ALCOHOL from which we extracted the LO.  Then, ‘Utensil fermenting esteemed Bordeaux (8, two words)’ produced the rather surprising ST JULIEN with a J missing from the anagrammed UTENSIL. We looked it up and found that it is indeed an esteemed Bordeaux. Cheers, Hedge-sparrow – good taste too! None of the regular crossword ASTI or ALE.

A generous set of clues soon filled our grid, especially when SLIMED appeared to the right of the ST JULIEN (Male in drag, smeared with goo (6)’ SLED round M with an extra I). “That can’t be right” said I “as it means the unclued word has to end with TL”. “AXOLOTL” said the other Numpty and we had the theme. “These must be rare animals heading for extinction or already extinct. ‘The eight unclued entries are items tht may join the hidden ones before long’. We were able to add KAKAPO, KATIPO, SAOLA, SAIGA, FOSSA, BONOBO and RHINO to the axolotl and had our complement of eight.

I studied TS Eliot’s works a long time ago and pride myself on being able to recognise quotations from them, but this one took a while (of course, the ODQ quotes only the two lines that precede ‘WHERE IS THE LIFE WE HAVE LOST IN LIVING’, from The Rock.

I had kept a careful check of those extra letters, colouring them as we found them, so HUIA, AUROCHS and QUAGGA were spelled out for us and we were left with some doubt about the BA?JI. Chambers didn’t seem to have that creature and we weren’t totally confident about IRON for the ‘grating (Run over grating (4)- giving us the extra letter and RON). However, Chambers has ‘grating’ or harsh for IRON and our friend and ally Wiki produced a BAIJI for us.’The baiji (Chinese: 白鱀豚; pinyin: About this soundbáijìtún , Lipotes vexillifer, Lipotes meaning “left behind”, vexillifer “flag bearer”) is a type of freshwater dolphin thought to be the first dolphin species driven to extinction due to the impact of humans’.

Yet again, the Listener crossword has taught us about something.

A most enjoyable crossword, even if rather disconcerting in its theme. Many thanks to Hedge-sparrow.

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