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Posts Tagged ‘KevGar’

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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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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