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Posts Tagged ‘In Self-defence’

Listener No 4486: In Self-defence? by Lavatch

Posted by Dave Hennings on 9 Feb 2018

I think we’re always in for some entertainment with a Lavatch puzzle. His previous was just over a year ago with King Lear‘s “The wheel has come full circle” and before that, with an almost similar theme, Ken Livingstone’s Congestion Charge!

This week, we had a misprint of one letter, the correct letters spelling out part of a text. Once the grid was filled, we had to change one letter in each row to give a two-word phrase, with the replaced letters spelling out a four-word phrase.

I managed to get a few entries scattered around the grid fairly quickly, and that enabled a lot more of the grid to be filled — just not as quickly! I was lucky this week. With just 20 entries, I had the following from the corrected misprints: THER… TO… E… L… B·AR… S. Despite this phrase never having appeared in any legal document in the UK, it features large in a certain document on the other side of the Pond. Having spent six years working there may have helped The right of the people to [keep and] bear arms shall not be infringed to reveal itself. All this within the hour.

Controversial territory from Lavatch and the Listener this week, especially for our American solvers I dare say?

It was only as I filled in the correct letters alongside the clues I had yet to solve that I checked to see where the misprints lay. Amazingly, they were all the second letters in their clues. Now that was clever, not to mention difficult to achieve, I suspect. It also explained why there were quite a few clues beginning A something.

It seemed likely that the two-word phrase that had to appear in the final grid would be SECOND AMENDMENT, but its placement could wait until I had actually finished the grid.

Piece of luck number two came once the grid was complete. A rereading of the preamble helped me focus on “… solvers must similarly change…”, and 1ac ENTERS and 5ac PULLETS could become ESTERS and PELLETS by changing their second (unchecked) letters. STARLET/SCARLET and FERMATE/FORMATE came next and so on down the grid. Was this a phenomenal piece of grid construction or what?!

The letters replaced by this process gave NUTECGOKISSTOSN, and a bit of doodling was required. On the third or fourth try, I had NGUSSIONS… and GUN popped nto my head followed not too long after by the required phrase STICK TO ONE’S GUNS. Absolutely stunning!

I wondered how much grid jiggery-pokery was required to get all the words differing by only their second letter to give the two phrases. Would it be rude of me to wonder if a bit of software was used?

No matter, this was a fantastic puzzle. Thanks for the masterpiece, Lavatch. I hope there’s another one soon.

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In Self-defence?

Posted by shirleycurran on 9 Feb 2018

In Self-defence?

Before we even started to solve Lavatch’s ‘In Self-defence?’ I looked up ‘I Shot the Sheriff’ to see whether there was any likelihood that Lavatch had been out doing a bit of shooting, but, of course, it was going to turn out that the guns were used rather differently. And what about the alcohol? Naturally I scanned the clues to see whether he qualifies for his admission to the Listener Setters’ Wine-lovers’ Setup and the outcome was dubious. He had ‘Spilling almost 10 litres? 50 fully overturned for little birds (7)’ What a convoluted clue! We back-solved later when PULLETS had to be the answer and we had worked out that the ‘Spilling’ was to become Shilling, giving us S. Almost TE(n) + L = 50 + L = litres, UP = fully and the whole lot ‘overturned’. Well there might have been some good wine there but the whole lot was spilled.

1d seemed more hopeful as it started with ports, ‘Ports initially missing building projections (5)’ But it was not to be. Those ‘ports’ became ‘parts’ = LEAVES and we removed the initial letter to get the EAVES or ‘projections’. ‘A part liquid once in other packaging one upended (5)’ seemed to be the last hope, but, sadly, it turned into ESILE, a ‘tart’ liquid once – no wonder it was ‘upended’ (ELSE round I<). I despaired about Lavatch’s admission right to the Listener Setter’s Oenophile Club (Enophile?) – but did I need to worry? We had spotted the SECOND AMENDMENT and had even worked out which words contained 14 of the 15 letters it contained and sussed that ‘STICK TO ONE’S GUNS’ was the four word idiomatic phrase and I was desperately struggling to find a final N to complete SECOND – and there it was! ECOLOGY turned to ENOLOGY (the US spelling, of course, justified by a little note at the start of the ‘OEN’ headword in Chambers). Well, if Lavatch is an OENOLOGIST/ ENOLOGIST, what more is there to say? Cheers Lavatch!

It sounds as though we solved easily and a couple of friends tell me they solved this in about an hour but it took us a lot longer. The four corners of the grid were almost separate and indeed, we solved them one after another with two or three unfamiliar words (BRUTER, TILLERED, SKELLIE) helping us on our way. Fortunately, our solve speeded up when we realized that the message appearing from the misprints was THE RIGHT OF PEOPLE TO BEAR ARMS SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. Now we could work backwards to discover the misprints and complete our solve.

Skip this paragraph if you hate groan-worthy cracker jokes (though I am told Charismatix’s Christmas EVs that ask you, for example, why Rudolph and Prancer didn’t manage to be sold on E-Bay (they were TWO DEER!) get almost record entries – that set of compilers is a group of us who store up these dreadful things). A fellow solver sent me this: “Why does Michelle Obama wear short-sleeved shirts?” Answer: “Because of her right to bare arms.”

I bungled not only in finding the N by converting ECOLOGY to ENOLOGY, but also as I had opted for the E of EASE to give me the final M of AMENDMENT (EASE/MASE).  I kicked myself this morning when it was perfectly clear to me that ATOK had to change to AMOK. We had the last T of STICK TO ONE’S GUNS. What a clever construction, managing to include those letters that would spell the theme and anagram to an apt idiomatic message. Nice one, Lavatch!

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‘In Self-Defence?’ by Lavatch

Posted by Encota on 9 Feb 2018

First of all, thanks Lavatch for a cleverly constructed grid this week!

I found some of the clues hard, with their misprints in place.  There were four or so in the style of 1ac, 1d and 21d, where the solver had to “Think of a word that, when it’s first letter is removed (or similar), becomes a completely different word that means the same as another word that’s only one letter different from the (misprinted) word provided” – and where it wasn’t clear which of the words was the misprinted one!  Once you had the answer it was relatively straightforward to be sure it was right.  However, cold-solving such a clue was pretty much beyond me and I was pleased to have various letters from other clues helping me out with these few!

Once the phrase generated from the misprints began to appear: “The right of people to …” it was clearly very likely that it’d be the Fifth Amendment – the right to remain silent.*

After all, it’s the anniversary of the Presidential inauguration this week, and that might be relevant (The right to remain silent on Twitter, perhaps?  Just a thought.).
So, just to check, there’d be a confirmation at the 5th clue telling us what to do, if I’m right.  Ah yes, “PULL IT”, i.e. remove it.  There were thus clearly two hints that we should say nothing in our submissions this week, so I duly blanked everything out like so.  Easy!
And the ‘apt’ idiomatic phrase?  Is Lavatch suggesting we aren’t very adventurous in our drinking?  I dutifully added the phrase: STUCK TO ONES GINS below the grid.
Cheers all,
* OK, so I didn’t really.  My attempt looked like:
2018-01-20 16.34.18 copy

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