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Posts Tagged ‘KevGar’

‘Never-ending?’ by KevGar

Posted by Encota on 1 June 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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Never -ending? by KevGar

Posted by shirleycurran on 1 June 2018

After muttering about an over-long preamble with too many things going on, the other Numpty started solving at such a rate that all I could do was wield the pen and try to keep up. Clearly music was a theme as Rachmaninov appeared in the first clue – even if he only gave us an R for ur anagram,’After bizarre opening of Rachmaninov music is later orchestrated (12)’ SURREALISTIC, with an extra M, declared the Numpty, and followed that with SYNTHESISERS at the opposite end of the grid – but we had an extra word there: LATER – that was going to give us a potential L or R and define a word that was to lose a letter. An original device!

I hardly had time to scan the clues to check KevGar’s retention of his place at the bar but there was plenty of evidence as our solve progressed. ‘Sneaks back in service as beer brewing comes around (9)’ We couldn’t work out the wordplay of that one but REABSORBS fitted our grid and brewing BEER seemed to give us an extra E. ‘Scary actor using old rum dropping dead (6)’ was less of a problem. We dropped the D(ead) and got LUGOSI with the anagram USING OL giving us an extra N. ‘Tree debarked and chopped down when imbibing top class port tanked up (9)’ added port to the beer and rum – no wonder he was ‘tanked up’! Cheers KevGar!

We decided that the PORT was extra in that one and defined RIO which had lost a T in clue 13. (t)RE(e) was FELLED around U, so REFUELLED. That was another fine, generous clue and we were keeping a careful record of the MARIJUANA/POT, FEMALE/SHE, SISTER/CLARE, URINE/PEE, LATER/AFTER, ELVES/PERIS, REFEREE/HEAR, PORT/RIO, HOUSE/QUINTA and FOOT/PES that were going to give us a choice of first or last letter to unscramble together with the ten letters docked from defined words. Those, we decided, were TTTSHPANEP.

It was CARL NIELSEN who appeared next, along one of the diagonals (where else!) and we used the two letters of REFEREE to correct the spelling of his names so we knew what 19 letters we had to produce the work that preceded the INEXTINGUISHABLE. ‘Music is life and like it ….’ our extra letters had told us. There was the infinity symbol coiled round the centre of the grid and Google told us that we were looking for THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS to write below the grid. Still, it is always a good idea to check — and consternation: our letters didn’t work. We needed another M and we seemed to have an extra P. It sounds as though KevGar has invented temperapents – some sort of intermediate ski slopes. Thank you anyway!

Later: Ah, a correction has appeared that gives me a metropolis instead of a port so goodbye to my intermediate ski slopes!

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Listener No 4502: Never-ending? by KevGar

Posted by Dave Hennings on 1 June 2018

KevGar’s last Listener was all about the numerous Burns poems which were addressed to various people, places or things. Before that we had the Walrus & the Carpenter eating oysters.

The title of this puzzle immediately made me recall Loda’s In Clue Order, On and On way back in 2009, which led to the infinity symbol via about half-a-dozen messages. In fact, the preamble told us that we would need to “draw a line in a thematic shape in the grid”, but it was too soon to jump to conclusions, wasn’t it?

There were three things going on with clues and answers: 10 answers lost a letter, the resulting words being defined by an extra word in 10 other clues; the remaining 20 clues had an extra wordplay letter not entered.

1ac Bizarre opening of Rachmaninov music is later re-orchestrated (12) looked like a straightforward anagram of R music is later after a letter is dropped, but it wasn’t obvious whether bizarre or re-orchestrated was the anagram indicator. A few clues later, with R and A in place, SURREALISTIC came to the rescue and I was off.

It didn’t take too long to discover that the 10 letters dropped from clue answers were the last in each, but it needed the extra wordplay letters to put me on the track of the theme: Music is life and like it…. I thought the ending might be something like … a lot do I.

Before resorting to Google, I decided to try and find the composer (I assumed) in the grid. A few minutes later, and I could see Harry NILSSON trying to appear in the main NE–SW diagonal, with the EL changing to LS.

Luckily, there was a lot more work to be finished before everything could be satisfied, and the first was to check that the Nilsson quotation was accurate. Indeed it was, but not by Harry, but by CARL NIELSEN! And so, with a couple of commas inserted, it finally read as Music is life and, like it, inextinguishable.

That enabled the infinity symbol to be drawn through the letters of INEXTINGUISHABLE in the centre of the grid, and I felt smug that my initial thought about the title was spot on. [Nobody likes a smart-arse! Ed.] More googling revealed Nielsen’s fourth symphony to be The Inextinguishabale, in Danish Det Uudslukkelige, apparently.

The home straight now, and we had to find the title to go under the grid, another piece by the composer. It seemed obvious to try his symphonies first, and No 2, The Four Temperaments, seemed likely, having the required 19 letters. It was already evident that the first and last letters of RefereE would be used to correct the composer’s name in the diagonal, but I double-checked that the dropped last letters plus the other extra words gave the 2nd Symphony:

T T T S H O A N E P plus Metropolis Sister lateR Elves Foot femalE housE Marijuana Urine

I always find drawing things in the grid a bit fiddly, having to ensure that lines go through the corners of cells where appropriate. This week, I also remembered a comment about Loda’s puzzle that the infinity symbol is slightly larger on the right side compared to the left. A comment was made in the notes that a symmetrical symbol was accepted and I hoped the same was true this week.

Thanks, KevGar.

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Listener No 4434: Addresses by KevGar

Posted by Dave Hennings on 10 February 2017

Last year’s KevGar puzzle took us for a walk with the Walrus and the Carpenter, Lewis Carroll’s bizarre oyster-chomping duo from Through the Looking Glass. This year, we had to find some addresses, but not before some cold-solving of clues in alphabetical order of their answers.

listener-4434What’s more, several cells needed to accommodate two letters. Oh dear! I immediately thought of our infamous golden hare puzzle from last year where we were faced with exactly that.

The difference this week was that the two letters weren’t generated by clashes but were used in both across and down entries. For entries without double letters, two consecutive letters needed to be dropped from their clues and these would spell out the first line of an address. This didn’t sound too taxing, so on with the solve.

There were four 12-letter entries in the grid and for the clues, just one, the others being 13 letters. Thanks KevGar for making life a little easier by giving the answer lengths. The first of these, clue vi Fluid love surrounds endless line around Oxford University (13, two words) didn’t make any sense at this stage, but ix Choo’s short heel confusing model (12) looked like an anagarm of Choos short heel minus a couple of letters. Well, that too would have to wait.

Clue xxxiii Square, for example — square dance endlessly takes in area without direction (13) had me thinking of PARALLELOGRAM, but apart from being in roughly the right place in the list of clues, the wordplay stumped me. Luckily, clue xliv (I needed to look that up) Rotten onion, an issue barring European cases of forming workers’ groups (13) was easier to disentangle as UNIONISATIONS.

A quick pass through all the remaining clues, and 45 minutes later, I had a dozen answers but, obviously, an empty grid. Another 45 minutes, and I had eighteen answers, of which half would be entered into the grid, one letter per cell. But not yet.

All these gave a nice alphabetical structure to the clues, and more were solved but not slotted in. However, I wondered whether ABACI could go in the top left quadrant with BUNKO (it would later turn out to be BUNCO) and CIDED crossing it, the CI going into a single cell. QUADRILATERAL and AQEOUS HUMOUR were also soon in the grid and a short while later, I had AULD••••SYNE staring out at me from the NW–SE diagonal. Thanks for that — I tentatively (it could be a red herring) put LANG in the middle four spots.

listener-4434-my-entryAfter a total of three hours, I had a full grid (with CLOTHES HORSE being woefully slow in coming), and it was time to put the dropped letters from the clues into conventional clue order. It looked somewhat gobbledygook-ish, but in fact spelt out Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face from Address to a Haggis by Robert Burns, the English equivalent being Good luck to you and your honest, plump face.

Now I remember from another puzzle [You’re thinking of No 4121 To… by Navajo back in 2011. Ed], that Burns had a fair few poems which were addressed to various things, including a mouse, a louse, a house and toothache. HAGGIS was an easy spot, and TOOTHACHE reasonably so, but a bit more googling was required to uncover UNCO GUID and the DEIL.

Well that was four and I needed one more. I guess we were supposed to blithely highlight AULD LANG SYNE and be done with it, but in fact EDINBURGH was the fifth addressee running up the last column.

Thanks, KevGar, this was good fun, and congratulations on all the thematic words in the grid. I’m just sorry that there was no MOUSE… so I’ve added one!

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Facing heather to eat rice pudding*

Posted by Encota on 10 February 2017

I recalled the second line of Mr. Burns’ Address to a Haggis, namely GREAT CHIEFTAIN O’ THE PUDDING RACE!*, but somehow managed to forget the first line entirely.  The title of this blog above of course comes from the (thankfully) long-forgotten ninth verse that used to accompany dessert 😉

Some kind definitions in this strong puzzle from KevGar, without which this could have been really tough!  Loved the puzzle – thanks KevGar!

I’d solved around 20 out of 44 clues before I dared trying to get some into the Grid.  At that stage I only had two sets with a shared letter-pair: BU-NC-O and U-NC-LEAR and strongly suspected they’d intersect at NC; I also had LO-AM-IER and OG-AM as entries needing fitting.  Like most of you I had, near the start, done the Enumeration analysis.  For example, there are 3 x [13] and 1 x [12] clue(s), and four [12] entry locations, so presumably three of them must have a double-letter cell in them.  I had the majority of the answers requiring a 6-letter entry space, which really helped since two pairs of these intersected: UNCLEAR/LOAMIER and PLAYER/FISHIFY.

I do always enjoy puzzles where the clue answers are alphabetically-ordered – once you get a few then you can often narrow down what you are looking for quite quickly.  As an example I had the 7th answer CLOTHES-HORSE and the 10th ERSH.  so the 8th and 9th needed to fit between them.  With a first letter of C,D or E then it was much easier to guess an artist, and once I’d guessed [DE]GAS for Rabbit artist (5) then [DE]RAY as an old word for disorder in the clue Torpedo disorder forgotten (5) followed quickly.

So, after completing this week’s Grid, I appeared to have the seemingly incorrectly ordered letter-pairs of FA-IR-FA-YO-UR-HO-NE-ST-SO-NS-IE-FA-CE.  There appeared to be several words in there but one or two looked out of place to this Numpty.  I double-checked that I had (a) collected them up in order and (b) hadn’t inadvertently included a pair of letters from the other Clue type where they’d needed to be added and not subtracted. No, all seemed fine.  I then ringed every word in the Grid that didn’t contain a letter-pair in a cell and, no, I really hadn’t missed any.

So that left a bit of investiGoogling and it had got as far as ‘Fair fa your’ before the prompt knew what I was after and prompted FAIR FA’ YOUR HONEST SONSIE FACE.  To quote an employee of Mr. Burns (Ed: what?) – doh!

So we had an Address to a Haggis.  What other Addresses is Mr. Burns famous for?  [And no, not Burns Manor on the corner of Mammon and Croesus Streets]  I could find:

  • Address of Beelzebub
  • Address to a Haggis
  • Address to Edinburgh
  • Address to General Dumourier
  • Address to the Deil
  • Address, to the shade of Thomson,…
  • Address to The Toothache
  • Address to The Unco Guid, and
  • Address to the Woodlark

It was fairly clear where HAGGIS was in the Grid, though it needed a bit of playing with the ‘IS’ in the last cell to vaguely satisfy its use (or at least to try and satisfy me!) in three different directions.

GRUB NIDE down the right-hand column looked very EDINBURGH-like.

The TO-OT pair jumped out as the start of TOOTHACHE.

UNCO GUID is there in Row 2.

That left DEIL as another diagonal highlight.

That made all five – and they were all Addresses by the same source, Robert Burns.  A final check that there weren’t any additional ‘a’ or ‘the’ to be included – nope.

An elegant extra was of course the leading diagonal’s content of AULD LANG SYNE.  I hope no-one rushed to highlight that [as it’s not formally an ‘Address…’] and missed one of the others?  Gut instinct says that at least one person will have been rushed and will have done that – but what do I know?

Great fun.

cheers all,

Tim / Encota

PS Was it only me that thought they might also have spotted at least parts of (Address to) GENERAL DUMOURIER in the Grid:
GENERA on Row 7, UMOUR on Row 1 and IER on Row 3?  Spooky!

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