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Posts Tagged ‘KevGar’

Realisation by KevGar

Posted by shirleycurran on 1 Jan 2021

I read in Dave Hennings’ Crossword Database that this is KevGar’s eighth crossword in the Listener series. We read the preamble with some apprehension as we are not very good at finding definitions that have wandered away from the entries that they apply to and we realize that we need to keep careful control of the ‘one or two’ consecutive letters that are ultimately going to tot up to 23 and spell out three further thematic items (whatever those turn out to be).

Types of wine, I wonder, as KevGar hasn’t included much alcohol in his clues to confirm his continued membership of the Listener Setters’ Elite Oenophile Outfit. He just scrapes in by sprinkling rosé around, ‘Holy water container sprinkled rose spray (9)’. We anagram ROSE SPRAY to get ASPERSORY – a generous clue.

There were a number of generous clues and the bottom half of our grid was nicely peopled by dinner time (almost, though we were flummoxed by the EMYD as we had entered EMYS as a familiar turtle word which gave us a problem with the CLOSED SHOPS). But then we were head-scratching.

It was the ‘WASP’ that clearly defined the HORNET who appeared in 9d where the clue obviously spelled out TRET, ‘Concerning having two tons without waste allowance (6)’ that hinted to us what was going on. TRUMPETFISH then appeared where the clue seemed to be spelling ELFISH. ‘Tricky rock-star swaps centre for female, hard to follow (11)’ (Elvis with V changing to F). That had to be the SWIMMER who had sneaked into the UEYS clue.

We realized that we had to find another nine instruments (and one in the title) that were each going to replace a couple of letters in their solution (or a letter) and produce words that had to be defined by RINGLEADER, STINGRAY-LIKE, HOUNDS, EDGES, PIPED, TRAMPS, FOLLOWS, BULB and YELLOW. This was a tough solve but we finally produced our FLUGELMAN, WHIPLASH, BASSETS, SHARPENS, TUBATE, HOBOES, SEGUES, CORM and LUTEIN and decided that our instruments were the FLUGEL, WHIP (yes, Collins confirmed that it is an instrument, as did Mrs Bradford), BASS, HARP, TUBA, OBOE, GUE (that crossword favourite), COR and LUTE.

We had 21 letters from the original solutions that those instruments had replaced, so we were puzzled about how those were going to spell out three more instruments. They formed, nicely, into a CLARINET, a TROMBONE and a PIANO. But then we realized that the ORGAN that was supporting this rather weird orchestra and appearing in REORGANISATION (our new title) was giving us another two letters and converting our PIANO to a seven-letter PIANOLA.

Thank you KevGar. This was challenging, particuarly, for us, as we are not much good at solving tricky clues like the ELFISH one where we flounder around looking for an 11-letter word when the original solution has only six letters (OK we finally found our fish).

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Listener No 4637: Realisation by KevGar

Posted by Dave Hennings on 1 Jan 2021

KevGar’s last puzzle was called Brexit based around European IVR codes, and as I write this, we are on the verge of actually leaving the transition period and going out on our own. Half the world thinks that we are shooting ourselves in the foot, but who am I to comment! [Oh, OK, I agree.]

This week, no extra letters or misprints, just eleven answers to be modified before entry with eleven others containing one-word definitions of those entries. It wasn’t surprising that I didn’t get 2ac Tricky rock-star swaps centre for female, hard to follow (11), obviously thematic and destined to be a 6-letter answer to go into an 11-letter entry (ELFISH). 11ac Ayrshire’s own muslin’s not so OK (6) was easier though — NAINSOOK – SO – OK and was also thematic.

The across clues went in fairly easily with only one more thematic entry, hardly surprising since there was actually only one more — POETS at 24 getting expanded to 7 letters. I was pleased to get 1dn Novel type (9), guessing that it was probably thematic. Ignoring the (9), ROMAN got pencilled in, followed promptly by COTE at 2dn (6).

Once the downs were finished, I had a couple of extra answers needing treatment — TRET and NIM — and a handful of extra words in clues, including wasp and hounds.

A short while later, I got 6dn Once they were in receipt of letters, actors using exhibition space for parking (13) (helped by CHEKHOV, OMASA and OPINE) to give THESSALONIANS. It was one of my favourite clues with THESPIANS having P replaced with SALON. With the UEYS, ECAD, FELLAS and STENS (although that would change to SHARPENS), FISH and then TRUMPET came to mind and musical instruments seemed to be our theme.

After that, things came together nicely, my favourite clue being 2dn Australian [swimmer] turns up each year, sloshed to start with (4) for UEYS. The clue that took me longest to unravel was 23dn, mainly because I had never heard of a whip as a musical instrument (or at least I’d forgotten it).

The letters replaced by the various musical instruments gave EL NA PO RO CO T TR EN IB AM NI. They would need to be unjumbled to give three more instruments, lengths 8, 8 & 7. The trouble was that they only gave 21 letters. A few minutes cogitation made me realise that the change needed to the title would provide two more.

I don’t know how lucky I was with the remaining steps, but ORGAN going into the title to give REORGANISATION was step one. I think I had been expecting ORGAN to appear in one of the grid clues. That provided the extra AL, and the first instrument I got was CLARINET. PIANO was lurking there somewhere, so how about PIANOLA? And then TROMBONE got me home and dry.

All in all a fun puzzle with a good endgame. Thanks, KevGar.

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Brexit by KevGar

Posted by shirleycurran on 19 Apr 2019

We’ve suffered the UK parliamentary shambles all day, no, I mean all week/ month/ year, so I groaned when we saw KevGar’s title. We needed something to lighten the atmosphere. Well, it certainly did! We saw the SEPARATIONIST anagram at once, ‘Parisian set to convert one Brexiteer perhaps (13)’ and that was quickly followed by ZOOEA ‘Ozone, not nitrogen, mixed up with a number of larvae’. The Z and S in place suggested CZARDAS (dance) and we spotted the ‘dance’ definition to remove from ‘Working the dance clubs, eat out (6)’. And we were off on our tour of the European Union as it was CZ (Czech Republic) that had to be added to ARDAS ‘Sikh prayer raised pitiful (power-shifter) god (7)’ (SAD RA<).

I had to consult the Internet to create a list of the IVRs of the 28 EU countries and we carefully crossed them off, one by one, wondering how KevGar was going to include BG, CY or LV, but, of course, he managed. What a feat of construction. Clearly a member of the elite Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit, but he did confirm that, ‘Tiny amounts of ordinary booze in alcoholic convulsions? (5)’ We put the O into DTs, giving DOTS, and later added the L of Luxembourg to give DOLTS, which was defined by ‘dullards’ from another clue. So the ‘booze’ had to be moved and it defined BIRLE. That put IRL (Ireland) into BE ‘One third of animals remain (5) (BEasts) and Chambers tells me to BIRLE is to ply with drink, so ‘Cheers KevGar!’

The grid filled, thanks to KevGar’s generous clues but were left with a missing couple of letters. Which of Malta, Portugal or Belgium was going to complete the ANE that had appeared with ‘Woman climbed one (space) in the Grampians (4)’. We needed to work through all the wandering definitions to check which was left: Bloated gave us ASTRUT: transmute gave CYANISE (bit of a long stretch, we thought): acid gave SERINE: hollow gave DIMPLE: latest led to SLOWEST: weapons got rid of Bulgaria by producing BBGUNS, food was KAI: the RHINE was the river: marks were GRADES: saying was a SAW: hail was SALVE: power-shifter was the DEVOLUTIONIST: sped was PELTED: perfect was FINISH: shoot was a GERM: outline was SKETCH: metal was CHROME: check was ARREST: grease was ENLARD: space was ROOM and move was FLIT so we were left with the scamp and destruction to place. REP(robate) dealt with the scamp and we were able to put Belgium’s B on BANE to give us ‘destruction’.

We had a final smile. What was EST doing up there at the top of the grid? It was defined by ‘awareness-raising’ – that programme that is so useful for crossword setters needing to get rid of the EST letters, but the clue? The penny dropped. ‘(Sped) right into most outstanding French city (5)’ put R into BEST giving BREST but what had happened to the BR? Oh dear, yes indeed – when KevGar set this, it was going to appear on BR EXIT day – poor BR – missing from that fine collection of 27 other nations. Good fun: thanks, KevGar.

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Listener No 4548: Brexit by KevGar

Posted by Dave Hennings on 19 Apr 2019

KevGar’s previous puzzle could easily have been the title for this one as well. As it was, Never-ending? had the composer, Carl Nielson, as its theme.

Those of you who visit here regularly will know that Listen With Others does not enter into political debate, and this week will be no exception*. I will say that when I saw the title, my heart sank. I thought that the Listener would always be a safe sanctuary from the comings and goings at Westminster and in Brussels.

However, this week’s puzzle was a fine compilation, and was an attempt to picture the European Union after the UK left on 29th March. Packing 27 countries into the answers to give new words must have been a tough feat, but KevGar managed admirably. Bulgaria and Czechia crept in by the skin of their teeth.

The pièce de résistance was the UK/BR exiting the grid at 5dn. In the end, the UK did not leave the EU on 29th March (will it ever?). Nevertheless, that didn’t spoil this enjoyable puzzle. Thanks, KevGar.


*Yeah, right. I voted Remain. Brexit has made this country a laughing stock around the world. The only consolation is that the USA under its current president is running us a close second!

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‘Never-ending?’ by KevGar

Posted by Encota on 1 Jun 2018

I love Treasure Hunts, especially those involving puzzle-solving!  You may know the type, where you have to unlock something before another feature will work.

Question. But first, how could a puzzle be Never-ending, I hear you ask?

Answer. Why not put something sneaky in it – like that cryptic many years ago where about five clues were normal but all the rest contained crosswordese-sounding rubbish (you may recall what I mean, such as “Reservists confused by top-class uprising“, that sort of thing), leaving solvers perplexed and unable to reach its end?  Now that’d be Never-ending!

In Listener-speak (i.e. theme-based puzzles) this could also happen nearer the puzzle’s overall completion – we could perhaps refer to it as the NeverEndGame – where it appears there’s a way to complete it but actually there isn’t.  If one was to do this, it would be only be fair if one gave a hint that something bizarre was happening – maybe a synonym for ‘bizarre’ on Row 1, for example?  But wait a MINUTE, what’s this I see at the top of the Grid below?

2018-05-12 16.40.44

In this week’s puzzle there were ten hidden words in clues and ten synonyms for them appearing  in the Grid.  For me the ten were (in no specific order):

  • 16a Female – SHE 6d
  • 10a Marijuana – POT 32d
  • 19a Sister – CLARE 23a
  • 35a Urine – PEE 33d
  • 36a Later – AFTER 26a
  • 15d Port* – RIO 13a   *more later…
  • 1d Elves – PERIS 32a
  • 9d Referee – HEAR 12a
  • 18d House – QUINTA 11d
  • 24d Foot – PES 33a

Twenty other letters were hidden in twenty clues, as an extra letter in each wordplay.  After a while it became clear these spelt out six words:


I didn’t recognise it but soon looked it up and found the phrase


associated with the Danish composer Carl Nielsen.  And there he was (after a couple of minor changes, to an R and an E), hiding on the trailing diagonal in the grid.  So far, so good.  The Preamble even told us that these letters (R & E) would be the first and last of one of the ten left-hand words in the Bulleted list above and there, sure enough, was RefereE.  That only leaves nine of the words! Excellent!!

The Preamble then told us to combine a list of ten letters (obtained elsewhere in the puzzle) with the first or last of the other nine words on the left-hand side above – FemalE, MarijuanA etc.  The ten letters obtained elsewhere were: A,E,T,P,S,T,H,T,N,O.  So, using [AB] to mean A or B (but not both), we had to find an appropriate work by Nielsen that used, in any order, 19 characters from:


Now, you might think that is where the answer would just pop out but no, this is The Listener, that’d be far too easy!  One might at this stage have checked the completion date of Nielsen’s ‘Inextinguishable’ 4th Symphony (1916, if you are asking), and then spend hours scanning the Titles of all his earlier works (there are lots, trust me 😉  ) for a 19-letter title using the above.  You might also initially have been quickly drawn to his 2nd Symphony – DE FIRE TEMPERAMENTER, or (in English) THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS – but, on closer inspection would find it wasn’t quite all present in the letters above.  Darn!  So you’d then scan all his earlier songs, and then his earlier string quartets for obscure subtitles and then repeat all the above in any other languages you felt might be relevant – but to no avail.

So the NeverEndGame would appear to have succeeded in achieving its (lack of) end.  Now what?

But, wait a moment, let’s have a closer look at
A,E,T,P,S,T,H,T,N,O,[FE],[MA],[SR],[UE],[LR],[PT],[ES],[HE],[FT].  [Really? Ed.]

If you carefully untangle this one gets:


Clearly that was the Hidden Message all along!  Apparently the first solver to email the Editor with this phrase wins – what a fantastic Treasure Hunt!  [Well, that’s my interpretation of what happened, anyway]  And only on receipt of such an email does an Automated ‘correction’ get issued.  So, soon after, this appeared on the Listener website:

Listener No 4502 Correction

A correction has been added to Listener No 4502 as follows:

CORRECTION: In Listener 4502, the clue for 15dn should read “Tree debarked and chopped down around university metropolis filled up again”.

A new PDF will be made available as soon as possible. We apologise for the error.

And in the Bulleted list above, ‘Port’ was now changed by this to ‘Metropolis’ and the possible pair [MS] replaced [PT] in the search above, now becoming
Once that had been unlocked/established, the Treasure Hunt was easy to complete and Nielsen’s Symphony #2 ‘The Four Temperaments‘ at long last came into view.  And, fortunately for us successful solvers, the QM in the Title, ‘Never-Ending?’ was justified after all.



Tim /Encota


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