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Posts Tagged ‘Karla’

Diamond by Karla

Posted by shirleycurran on 13 May 2022

With three different sets of seven to find (extra words in seven across and seven down clues, and seven letters omitted from wordplay) we had a few coloured pencils working and soon had two rather strange sets of words that didn’t say much to us (jumps, dog, fruit, fish, burst, evening, and sign, with early, absolute, stool, master, pop, sheet and concrete).

We had a full grid, as Karla’s clues were generous, before TWINKLE appeared in alternate columns reading across the grid and that could only say one thing to us (of course, the ‘Little Star’ was ‘like a diamond in the sky’) At that point, the other Numpty, who had left me with the endgame and headed downstairs to cook the dinner – yes, a modern man! – commented “The letters of TWINKLE are in alternate columns aren’t they, but the rows must be significant – Notes? They must be in the positions of the notes of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star'”

Now those sets of extra words made sense – dogstar, star fruit, star jumps, star sign, evening star, starfish, starburst – music master, sheet music, pop music etc. – one set for STAR and one for MUSIC and we realized that we would have to consult Wiki to be sure that we were selecting the right letters of I WONDER to give the second line of the tune.

Good fun, just right for a Friday evening though we were now faced with a bit of a dilemma. Do we put two rows of notes or two rows of stars (or even one of stars and one of music to match those two sets of seven?) I opted for stars with serious misgivings.

Well, the stars are prettier aren’t they?

Did I forget something? Of course! Karla has set a Listener puzzle in the past – that one about the perfect snooker score – but does he retain a place amongst the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Elite? Oh dear! It was a bit of a watery do ‘One fruit is infusing must-have cordial (7)’ We put IS into A NEED and removed the fruit, giving ANISEED. ‘Liquid X burst on short pier (6)’ We used MOL(e) and TEN for the X, removing the burst, to give MOLTEN. There was a drop of hope with PIMENT (spiced, sweetened wine) but it turned into PIMENTO – just wood.

However, my problem is resolved. Take a look at the photos of the Listener dinner at Stirling.

There is Karla, holding his glass in the fourth photograph – Cheers!

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L4626: ‘Pot Plant’ by Karla

Posted by Encota on 16 Oct 2020

Any setter with a pseudonym from George Smiley’s world gets my interest straight away! Thanks Karla for a fun puzzle!

Here we had a puzzle based on snooker. All eight coloured balls in snooker appeared, with each deleted from an answer to create the grid entry. So:

  • [RED] LINE
  • is this one [BLUE] PRINTS (at 13a)?
  • [BLACK] MAIL, and

It seemed to be possible to jumble the 12 omitted letters from wordplay to make ONE FOUR SEVEN, the maximum break in snooker.

And the ‘above advice’ from the Preamble might be described as CLUE TIPS. Remove one letter from this to leave CUE TIPS, a more snooker-related phrase.

One of the easier Listeners of the year. Though I perhaps enjoy harder puzzle more, I do love the variety that the Listener dishes up – you really don’t know what you are getting until you get solving!

My thanks to Karla for a nice debut puzzle!


Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4626: Pot Plant by Karla

Posted by Dave Hennings on 16 Oct 2020

I spy a newcomer to the ranks of Listener setters. Karla was head of Moscow Station in Le Carré’s Smiley novels and his real name is never revealed. Would our Karla be similarly secretive?

Here we had eight answers losing a word before entry. From the title, I had a horrible feeling that we were in horticultural territory and that’s not my favourite subject. The removed words are a thematic set. First or last letters omitted from the wordplay in twelve other answers will need arranging to give a three-word phrase.

The first thing I noticed was that there were a lot of two-word answers — eight to be precise. Would they be the thematic answers losing something?

1ac Viewer’s irritation about major UK road block (6) gave STYMIE so I thought I’d try the crossing down entries. 1dn was SCOFF and 2dn was TO LET. This last one couldn’t be thematic since the wordplay gave the full answer. Of course, I should have got 3dn Use of threats, a defence in bygone battle (4) sooner for BLACKMAIL, but heigh-ho.

I gradually worked my way down the grid and finally got the PINK PANTHER although sadly it’s not in Chambers. PINK was the giveaway to steer us towards the colours of snooker balls. The last two snooker themes were No 4222 27 from Mango in 2012, and No 4291 MAXON by Schadenfreude in 2014. Of course there was Chalicea’s billiard table earlier this year.

Although there were a couple of colours that could fit two clues, (BROWN/BLACK SHIRTS and BLUE/GREEN BERETS), they eventually resolved themselves to WHITE FLAG, BLACKMAIL, PINK PANTHER, BLUEPRINTS, BROWN SHIRTS, GREEN BERET, YELLOW CARD, RED LINE. The clue to WHITE FLAG was one of my favourites: Giving up standard part of stone floor (4, two words) for its nice definition.

Unravelling the letters omitted from the wordplay took a few minutes. Seven something and Four something were both tried, but a bit more jiggery-pokery gave us ONE FOUR SEVEN, the score of a maximum break in snooker. CLUE TIPS was an easy spot, and erasing the L gave CUE TIPS.

Good fun. Thanks, Karla.

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