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Posts Tagged ‘KevGar’

Never -ending? by KevGar

Posted by shirleycurran on 1 Jun 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 Jun 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 Feb 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 Feb 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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A Conversation by KevGar

Posted by shirleycurran on 22 Apr 2016

Sealing Wax 001There was a sigh of relief when this week’s grid looked normal (not last week’s slanty thing) and had clue numbers and no mention of jumbles, misprints or missing or extra letters produced by the wordplay. Sure there were going to be clashes in several (unspecified number – oh dear) cells and we had to highlight ‘six cells whose contents, if removed, would represent the position at the end of the conversation’. We had a suspicion already, that was speedily confirmed when SEALING WAX filled the light that shortly appeared at the right of the grid.

However, first of all, I needed to confirm KevGar’s continued membership of the Listener Alco Downers and that took a moment.’Echo reckless with spirit – ancient Greek measure (7)’ gave us ECHO* = CHOE + NIX which Mrs Bradford told us was a Greek measure. Three clues further down, he was into a different drink, ‘Different drink to follow tea series (6)’ which gave us CHASER, and we found a ‘Goblet, Chinese apparently (5)’ HAN + AP = HANAP, so membership confirmed.

As I skimmed through the clues, the other Numpty was slotting answers in as fast as he could read, almost, and the grid was quickly three-quarters full with OYSTERCATCHER appearing down the centre – a generous compound anagram ‘Story teacher made up about tale of exotic bird (13)’ STORY TEACHER [exoti]C* and, with CARPENTER obviously filling the light where we had C?R?E?N?T?R, we found lights where we could insert WALRUS, CABBAGES, SHIPS and SHOES and KINGS, since we were clearly on familiar ground – or a familiar beach, I should say.

The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings

All the same, I have to agree with Alice that ‘They were both very unpleasant characters’ even if they have entertained us and become part of most people’s literary vocabulary. I should imagine most solvers twigged the theme very quickly and filled at least one of the lights without working out the wordplay of the original solution, which was clearly not KevGar’s intention.

We had just one light left, 28ac TER?, ‘Bust brawling woman, suppressing a yawn at Ibrox (4)’. Mrs Bradford told me that TERM is a word for ‘bust’ and that ‘a yawn’ is A GANT, so we had a full grid after a little over an hour. Not just a full grid, but a degree of anxiety and befuddlement, since, shock horror, we had a handful of clues we hadn’t solved. We could highlight the poor OYSTER victim of the verse (a pity that KevGar couldn’t somehow remove him leaving real words) with sadness that those young things were so gullible, and, with no feet, walked a mile or so to ‘converse’ about subjects that really could have borne no interest at all for them.

It is too risky to ‘solve’ a Listener crossword without understanding all the clues, so we had to laboriously backtrack to discover, in all, 21 clashes. We had already spotted that MIFF (Become annoyed with note played very loudly’ MI + FF) clashed with SLOES (Fruit delays, reportedly) but now had to find ‘Old city pollution enveloping lake, almost rank’, which gave us STAIN around L[ake] + GRAD[e] = STALINGRAD, producing four clashes with SEALING WAX. Obviously SERPENTRY (‘Rare snakes close together, shut up inside’ SERRY around PENT) gave us four clashes with CARPENTER.

RINGS becoming KINGS had appeared on our first run through but we had a struggle to find HERBAGED (New Hebrides, half forgotten, old and grassy = HEBR* + AGED) to give five clashes with CABBAGES. TAURUS becoming WALRUS wasn’t so difficult but the one that really challenged us was SHIPS. Clearly our VESTA had to become VESPA but that left me a rather vulgar SHITS at 32ac and I have confidence that our editors would have drawn a red line through that. Of course, I didn’t have to solve the clue but later, a friend kindly told me that SLIPES are ‘runners’.  There’s my new word for the week!

Many thanks to KevGar. I am a great Alice fan. Carroll is a wonderful source of material for setters isn’t he, and, as usual, this produced an endearing and entertaining theme.

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