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Posts Tagged ‘KevGar’

A Ghost Story by KevGar

Posted by shirleycurran on 24 Jul 2015

Timeo Danaos 001The preamble wasn’t too daunting and promised us something artistic at the end where we were going to replace ghosts by something more frightening. ‘some clues contain a misprint of one letter in the definition’. That ‘some’ is always mildly disconcerting (in this case it could be anywhere from two to forty-three) though they did reveal themselves fairly quickly and spell out Virgil’s Aeneid for us so that we had a stab at the theme long before we had a full grid.

But I am leaping ahead to that rather nice Trojan dog that my ten straight lines created (he does look a bit like a scotch terrier, head on, doesn’t he?). First I had to do my usual scan through the clues to check that KevGar still qualifies for the Listener topers’ club.

What do I find? ‘Drug’ in three of six consecutive clues; ‘A cold symptom observed returning before drug (5) (SEEN< + E = NEESE), ‘Adult swallowed up by hard drug — cry of dismay (3)’ (A in H H) and ‘Reprimand detective (mostly) found with drug — no fine (6)’ (REBU(s) + KE(f) with that ‘no fine’ meaning ‘endless’) and even JOINTS at 23dn in our grid. I find food; a ‘Young person eating wild animals around start of dinner: they’re made for di[V]ing (12)’ that produces SPRINGBOARDS and our first misprint. I find a ‘Fish starter of grouper with bits of cabbage (6)’ (G + RUNTS), ‘Fluffy Scotch eggs’ and ‘partner swapping’, and someone applying paint ‘topless’. What are setters coming to! – Standards are clearly dropping – but not a drop of alcohol.

Still, these are attractive and approachable clues (there should be a club for setters who have managed to include TSETSE in their grid – or maybe a more elitist club for the stars who have managed to avoid it, and all the other old chestnuts like PA, the Maori fort or their MERI, that ubiquitous ASTI, or the revolutionary CHE). However, KevGar’s TSETSE soon revealed its thematic function so he might be excused.

Yes, we had been solving for under an hour when VIRGIL appeared and which of us didn’t study Book II of the AENEID in our Latin classes (and which of us remembers any lines other than TIMEO DANAOS ET DONA FERENTES?) Amusingly, in the context of the current Greek problems, the Numpties were quoting that ‘fear’ of what the Greeks could do to each other earlier this week. I remembered something about ‘ut’ and ‘et’ clauses in Latin that we looked up:

‘Fear clauses take the construction of ut/nē + subjunctive. They are terrifying, because the meanings of ut and become reversed. In fear clauses, ut means “that not” and means “that.”Timeō veniat. I am afraid that he is coming! Timeō ut veniat. I am afraid that he is not coming!’ (I think the current Greek mess is a bit of an ‘ut’ situation!)

Trojan dog.

Trojan dog.

… but, of course, what we found when we checked our sources was that older versions of the ODQ have one slight difference from current ones and that, inexplicably, ‘ferentis’ appears in the place of ‘ferentes’. Chambers resolved it all and the other Numpty cooked supper while I hunted in the grid for what had to be a Trojan horse.

An endgame like this is right up my street. None of that grid-staring that solvers on the message board are currently complaining about in Elfman’s ‘Revelations of John’. A rather lean horse quickly emerged and it took only a minute to find ‘GHOSTS in some form’ hidden in there and replace them with GREEKS.

We thoroughly enjoyed this crossword with its lovely endgame.  Many thanks, KevGar.

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A Birthday Surprise by KevGar

Posted by shirleycurran on 25 Apr 2014

KevGar 001There was Numpty consternation when we saw that title, A Birthday -A-B-C(E-F) by KevGar, then read the word ‘numeric’ in the preamble (quite a pre-ramble this time!) ‘Seven clues are numeric expressions in which the letters A to F represent the first six numbers in a series. The answers to these clues are members of another series, deduction of which will allow solvers to translate the answers into the corresponding grid entries’.

Nothing to do but solve. Well, there was the initial read through the clues to see whether KevGar qualifies for the Listener Setters Tipsy Crowd membership and he is one of the rare setters who doesn’t! Not a single alcoholic clue: that is truly rare! Ah, wait a minute, that was sly! DEPOT at 33ac – he TOPED in a revolutionary way.  However, there were quite a few musical clues: we had SHELLAC from ‘Uproar in endless pillage – 78 for example (7)’ (HELL in SAC[k]), INCISOR ‘It cuts poor Rossini missing start of sonata with four beats in a bar (7)'(ROSSINI* less S[onata] round C), and RECREATIONAL ‘Amusing record, well-balanced, covering half of extended play (12)’ (REC + RATIONAL round E). The penny didn’t drop yet.

Those seven extra words stood out, especially the Q of QUEEN’S (after all, what a kinky surface reading! Whatever would a king be doing in the queen’s cat litter?- The mind boggles!) That was probably going to be followed by a U, and URETHANE stood out (Intermittently spray this URETHANE on garden feature – (we are learning to look for potential extra words hidden in clues which use the ‘regularly’, ‘now and then’, ‘oddly’ or ‘intermittently’ device – clearly that is the subtle place to hide such a word). SHODDY, AUTHOR, RESTING, ENGRAVING and SCOTTISH completed our set, all of them being obviously redundant in their clues, and we had the indication that we were to use SQUARES.

I have to kick myself that it took so long for the penny to drop. We soon had enough letters to make DRUM-ROLL, SCHOOLMASTER, PHILOSOPHER and MERCURY the only options (or almost) in those clues with the lines of letters. All the same, it wasn’t until the letters in circles spelled out HAYDN that it all came together.

CLOCK, BEAR and MIRACLE filled our remaining empty cells and, in well under two hours of happy solving, we had a full grid. The math Numpty did some speedy calculation: 1² +2² +3² +4² +5² = 55 and Symphony 55 was the Schoolmaster, and so on. The Internet confirmed that the Clock was 101, Mercury 43, Drum-roll 103, the Bear 82, Miracle 96 and Philosopher 22. and we didn’t even need to check on the Internet that Symphony No 94 was the SURPRISE, giving a birthday Surprise.

We had that rather intriguing ECCO at 35 across and wondered why there was the odd clue ‘Beginning of eighth chapter about [AUTHOR] over there (4) when B + C + E would give ECHO. Perhaps KevGar will honour us with a setter’s blog and explain that strange omission (was it an editorial deletion or requirement?)

All done, with not a single groan! That is rare for the Numpties. Well, not quite all done. We had to find another three-letter symphony and convert it to a numeric expression. The HEN stood out, (poor little thing, who would write a symphony to a hen!) and was quickly converted to the expression A-B+C+D+E+F.

Thank you, KevGar, delightful!

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