Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Posts Tagged ‘Kruger’

Not the Rockies by Kruger

Posted by shirleycurran on 14 Apr 2017

On first sight ‘Not the Rockies’ was rather daunting since it was almost carte-blanche except for those bars and the circles and we were given just the one clue number. I made myself a grid with Crossword Compiler and realized that the key to solving was going to be that one 12-letter word that actually broke the symmetry with a 7 and a 6-letter word sharing the other vertical edge. Oh dear! What a lot of 7, 6 and 5 letter words with just four 4-letter ones that might help us to fit our solutions in. Clearly we were in for a lot of cold-solving before we got anywhere.

Yes, I saw Mr and Mrs Kruger at the bar at the setters’ dinner not too long ago, so didn’t really worry about his annual admission ticket to the setters’ tippling club but he confirmed it anyway with ‘Gang drinks American bottle (5)’ What fun – we have CREW and US bottled as an anagram so we put an extra W in our coloured strip down the margin of our clues and mark CRUSE as the solution. So Kruger must have opted for the California reds – but no! ‘Clearly showed wine, and so on outside front of Education Department (7)’ gave us E[T]C + ED around some of the French stuff VIN = EVINCED. Well, cheers, Kruger!  See you at the next gathering.

Fortunately INEQUALITIES gave us our way in, ‘Ignore mass in principal characteristics putting Earth in deviations from orbital motion (12)’ MAIN less M(ass) with an A as the extra letter followed by E(arth) QUALITIES. (What a clever clue!) and we were able to begin a putative grid fill, with IYNX, YULAN, NITRIC, INYALA and so on obligingly filling that top corner. A probable message was emerging: ANSWERS CONTAINING N … TOP ..S TO THE BOTTOM seemed likely and the penny dropped.  We hadn’t made any use at all of that hint in the pre-ramble that ‘grid entries are clued in pairs. In each case, one answer from the pair must be entered somewhere in the upper part of the grid and the other answer in the lower part’ but now we realized that we had an N in all the entries in the top half and an S in all the others.  Even better, the letters D,W,R,T,F,A and a ? had filled our circles and we smiled as WATFORD was the obvious anagram (and put an O in the remaining circle.

Of course that gave us a smile when we realized that the word INEQUALITIES was appropriate in two ways. We northerners (or at least some of us from rural areas where there are very few or no public services) have a chip on our shoulder about the inequalities that mean that spoilt people in the south east seem to have cushy lives and all the facilities they could desire and more – inequalities indeed, and, in the context of the puzzle, what a splendid word that has its N in the north and S in the south.

Hah, the Watford Gap that we believe divides us! Wiki tells us all about it being the place where northern and southern English divide. And sure enough, DIVIDE fills the unclued light and with a bit of searching, we see that we have NORTH above it and SOUTH below it. How good to have an unambiguous end game. But did I say ‘end game’? With consternation, I realize that we still have unsolved clues and gaps in our grid. ?A?NOR is ‘Woman spotted locally playing horn (6)’. The woman must be GAYNOR with the H of ‘horn*’ as our extra letter so GAY must be a dialect word for ‘spotted’. The Big Red Book confirms that for me and I am left with ?SHMO?E and one remaining clue ‘Old antiquarian spy supports growth of hair (7)’  That leads to our last p.d.m. as we remember learning how the Ashmolean Museum burned or destroyed the infested remains of the last dodo. So ASHMOLE it has to be ([T]ASH + MOLE). Thanks to Kruger for an enjoyable challenge.

Ashmolean Hares

Ah, I almost forgot – the hares. They had obviously received the Ashmolean treatment this week and were rather mangled but they were there!

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

‘Not The Rockies’ by Kruger

Posted by Encota on 14 Apr 2017

Thanks first of all to Kruger for this enjoyable puzzle!

The pairing of the clues – i.e. knowing that one of each pair would be in the top (what eventually turned out to be the Northern) half and the other in the bottom half – was a clever and interesting technique, especially given its thematic relevance that was finally revealed to us near the end.

Fortunately (for me) I solved Clue 1 very early on, which hugely reduced the number of options available.

Ignore mass in principal characteristics putting Earth in deviations from orbital motion (12)

That looked like (m)AIN QUALITIES with E(arth) inside of it.  With the first A being the extra letter to be removed, that gave INEQUALITIES.  A quick check in the BRB confirmed deviations from orbital motion as a lesser-known meaning of INEQUALITIES and I was properly started.

It looked like the four 4-letter entries would really help next, given two of them started with the first I and U of INEQUALITIES.  I’d solved three of them but wanted the fourth to double-check I had them right and thus where they fitted in the grid.  I then twigged that Jock’s ankle was CUIT, leading to UNIT as one of the entries.

However, I didn’t spot what the hidden guidance was saying – namely ANSWERS CONTAINING N TO THE TOP AND S TO THE BOTTOM until I had perhaps only three left to enter into the grid.  Nonetheless it did still provide a useful cross-check of what I had entered.

And I spent a long while on my LOI, which was VILLOUS.  The definition was so accurate – with long, soft hairs – that I was almost certain of the answer very early on but I simply couldn’t make the wordplay fit.  Eventually I hope I got it right with VILL(a)[N]OUS, a spelling of VILLAINOUS of which I was not previously aware!

As we owned our first house in Watford, then the circled letters seemed to make sense pretty quickly – thankfully no relation to the ‘Watford Gap’ of Motorway (and childish but funny Roy Harper song) fame.

And the Title?  I am assuming that The Rockies are seen as the East-West divide in North America -and thus the ‘Not’ in describing this puzzle?  Though I may have missed a whole layer of thinking here – not entirely sure!

Thanks again – most enjoyable!

Tim / Encota

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Listener No 4443: Not the Rockies by Kruger

Posted by Dave Hennings on 14 Apr 2017

One of our more prolific setters greeted us this week, although most of his puzzles have appeared over at Inquisitor and Enigmatic Variations. Last year’s Kruger was the first of the year with “You win a few, you lose a few” and before that we had the Thatcher quote “There’s no such thing as society.”

A novel clueing device here, with each pair of clues contributing one entry to the top half of the grid and one to the bottom. Not for the first time of late, we had some cells inscribed with circles. The grid was symmetrical apart from 1dn, and that seemed to be a good place to start: Ignore mass in principal characteristics putting Earth in deviations from orbital motion (12). I tried ECCENTRICITIES, but that was 14 letters. Perhaps ELLIPTICITIES, but that was 13. Perhaps the wordplay was something like MAIN – M + TRAITS, but nothing came to mind. (Feel free to tell me this was the first clue you solved!)

Well, that was 15 minutes wasted!

Looking at clue lengths, there were an awful lot of 5-, 6- and 7-letter words. However, there were only four 4-letter entries, so I tried them. In hindsight, I’m not really sure why, but I did. Ten minutes later, and I was encouraged to have got all of them:

  2b: Dance movement frequently followed by expression of disgust in Cape Town (4) was FRIS (FR + IS[s])
  5a: One end of pin pierces Jock’s ankle (4) was UNIT (N in [c]UIT)
11b: Warm oven (4) for [t]OAST
17a: Once flying family, brother quits part of New York following case of indecency (4) IYNX (I Y + BR[o]NX – BR)

So, success on the 4-letter front, but I needed other entries to help fix their places. I started on the clues in order. I found a lot of them fairly forgiving, although they needed careful attention. And so, 1½ hours later I had finished my first pass through the clues… I think the longest I have ever taken. However, it was very rewarding, with just over two dozen solved.

With YULAN from clue 12, I tried IYNX and UNIT in the top left leaving OAST and FRIS for the bottom right, possibly linked by SERAI. If ELTON and NITRIC went in at the top, that gave I•E•U… for 1dn and I finally tried INEQUALITIES — M[a]IN – M + QUALITIES with E inside. This completed Answer for the first word of the guidance spelt out by extra wordplay letters.

Now ISAAC, THISTLE, IMSHI and EO IPSO could be slotted in at bottom left and the grid had a basic structure with which to slot in other entries and solve the remaining clues. The last two I solved were 19b Sulphur absorbed in small quantity primarily enhances substance used in printing (6) for TUSCHE where •USC•E looked like MUSCLE for ages, and 4b Father embracing older relative rejected Don Juan in the end (6) where ERNANI revealed himself to be Don Juan in Verdi’s opera.

The best surface readings for me were 7b Initially locked out, Israeli wrecked unfurnished inn (5) for SERAI and 15a Disgusting tail of llama’s left covered with long, soft hairs (7) for VILLA[n]OUS – A (also very late in being solved).

The extra wordplay letters now spelt out Answers containing N to the top and S to the bottom. This even applied to 1dn. Full marks if you noticed that while filling in the grid. [I’ll do the marking. Ed.] I wrote down the circled letters DWRTOFA, and my first doodle of an anagram gave me FORDTAW and WATFORD looked the likely word.

Watford is a small village in Northamptonshire with Watford Gap close by. Through the Gap runs the M1 Motorway, the West Coast Main Line and the Grand Union Canal. It is often considered to be the border between the North and South of England, the so-called NORTH-SOUTH DIVIDE with their associated INEQUALITIES. I guess the Rockies are considered the East-West divide in the USA.

Great fun, thanks Kruger. Not an easy solve (about 3½ hours, I think), but very entertaining and a marvellous grid construction.

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The One Left Over by Kruger

Posted by shirleycurran on 22 Jan 2016

The One Left Over Kruger 001Here we are again – the start of another year of Listener puzzles and, with this being a leap year and our having one on the very first day of the year, we will be in for 53 struggles. I download with trepidation, even though I know that the editors tend to give us a couple of relatively gentle puzzles at the start of the year, possibly to encourage those contestants for the Radix trophy. Kruger! We are accustomed to some fairly complex puzzles by Kruger in the IQ series so we wonder.

Of course, I know from those lively and stimulating pre-Listener Setters’ Dinner sessions in nearby hostelries that I don’t need to have any anxieties about Kruger’s continued right to a centre seat in the Tipply Listener Setters Fraternity/Sorority but I check anyway and he quickly confirms his membership: ‘Ends wasted from ethically different alcohol (4)’ gives us MO[W]RA. Not much further down even the ‘Sediment disappears (4)’ (Oh dear, Kruger – drinking the dregs!) giving us [F]LEES, then he moves onto Bourbon or something like that, ‘Drink acceptable in America (4)’ giving us USUA[L]. Cheers Kruger!

By now, we are reassured. These are generous and gentle clues and our grid speedily fills. Almost as speedy is the deciphering of the message that is is appearing. YOU WIN A FEW, YOU LOSE A FEW. However, we have to carefully complete our grid spotting those extra letters in the word play in order to work out what the one Left over is going to be. Could that be a cryptic hint?

Soon we are left with an ‘Actor once taking part of herb gardener (6)’ B[O]GARDE, hidden and that gives us EASL? at 9 down. That must be EASLE the ‘final ashes’ of our Scottish Bard, I believe, and we are looking for a W to make our two sets of letters coincide. Of course, we are in Harry Potter country with the WEASLEYS, Ron’s family, and the final Y is cast, so we have a complete set of letters and a double check tells us that the L is missing from the second set. (Perhaps that is the reason for the unusual 12 by 13 grid – Kruger needed 21 across clues and only 20 down ones.)

We enjoyed our first Listener crossword of the year. Thank you, Kruger.


Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Company Liquidation by Kruger

Posted by shirleycurran on 27 Mar 2015

Kruger Company Liquidation 001Company Liquidation by Kruger – now that was a helpful title wasn’t it? The preamble wasn’t too disturbing either. We were going to have yet another crossword with the wordplay leading to an extra letter and those letters were to spell out a quotation and its originator. Slightly more worrying was the information that the quotation would ‘describe the treatments affecting most answers’. Was that going to be the jumbles I loathe? The title actually prompted us to suspect that we were simply going to ‘liquidate’ a company or two (C for corps? CO for company?)

We immediately spotted that the word lengths didn’t correspond with the cells available, and were thus given the extent to which we were to remove letters or parts of words and the very first clue we solved, ‘Off key singer or grand instrument player (12)’ gave us ORGAN-GRINDER with an extra S and suggested that the company we had to liquidate might be a GANG, since we had room for only eight letters. That was the first moment of dismay, when we suspected that our solution was to be made up of ‘not real words’: ORRINDER indeed!

Kruger had almost immediately (on the first clue read-through) confirmed his renewed membership in the Setters’ with ‘Ran around kiln, intoxicated (7)’ which gave us BLED round OAST = BLASTED with an extra O (but we had that extra letter dilemma). He had TALENT ‘Attractive young girls almost cry without wine? On the contrary (6)’ (CAL[l] in TENT with an extra C) as winophile company too … Hmm Kruger!

The dilemma was soon resolved: ‘Speak fondly about trees with new romantic author (7)’ gave us COO round O[A]KS + N, Catherine Cookson, but when I attempted to remove the C, the K clashed with LOTUS ‘Perhaps jujube beside lake is unusually stout (4)’ L + STOU[T], it began to look as though the S was the victim of the liquidation.

Of course, a couple of generous clues soon confirmed that suspicion, ‘Unruly classes – ones without divisions throughout the year (6)’, was obviously SEASONLESS (with an extra C produced by the wordplay) and since our entry had to lose four letters, those were going to be SSSS. ASSESSED was the final hint we needed, so the gridfill, after about twenty minutes, was a logical teasing out of words from the letters that were slowly peopling it.

We had found the GANG in ORGANGRINDER and now found GUILD in DUTCH GUILDER, COOP in HENRY COOPER (yes, that indeed reminded me of where one of the two Ronnies kept the fish in that fabulous crossword sketch – the CO-OP – it is a SOCIETY isn’t it?), LEAGUE in BELEAGUERED, BAND in ABANDONMENT, ORDER in BORDERLINE and BODY in BODY CHECK. Lots of forms of ‘society’ (that word was appearing from the extra letters!)

I had to admire the ingenuity that had gone into making all these non-words intersect – quite a feat.

We still had to suss out the quotation about SOCIETY, too and, of course, Margaret Thatcher’s words slowly revealed themselves, ‘There is no such thing as Society. There are individual men and women, and there are families’. I wonder how deeply she had thought about that statement before having it appear in Woman’s Own. She is a great source of quotations for compilers, isn’t she? Like A A Milne and Lewis Carroll.

We slotted in our last two words TRENI[S]E and that unusual spelling of HAMP[S]TER and sent a silent vote of thanks to Kruger for a straightforward and relatively gentle solve. The other Numpty says each week, ‘All those solvers who claim a crossword is ‘not hard enough’ should be careful what they wish for – a real stinker must be on the books’.

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »