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Posts Tagged ‘Lath’

Harry East by Lath

Posted by shirleycurran on 24 Dec 2021

We downloaded the most unusual grid we have seen for a while and had to colour three strips alongside the clues for three different clue devices, missing letters, misprints to correct, and a strange new device, seven pairs of consecutive letters that had to be suffixed by the number of letters in the clue’s first word.

This was Lath’s second Listener puzzle but I still thought I should confirm his membership of the Listener Oenophiles. He left little doubt. ‘Gas making oik again into beer’s content (6)’ Not much surface sense there but we guessed we had to put THEN into the EE of beer, giving us ETHENE, a gas making oil.

‘Ian’s brains sharpen when tipsy (5)’ The Scottish Numpty said “That has to be HARNS, so we have a pair of letters extra there – but do we use Ian or Ian’s PE3 or PE4?” We opted for PE4 (fortunately).

Lath moved onto the gin (except that we decided DECIMÉ had to be ‘Old French tin or coinage), ‘Old french gin measure chilled with twist (6)’ we twisted EM and ICED. No wonder he’s tipsy mixing the beer and gin. Cheers, Lath!

Solving progressed steadily and the very last word we entered was WHITE. We already had BLACK DAMP at 10 across and the emerging question WHOSE MATE IS IT? suggested to us that we had to play a game of chess – but how? Solving that, with a few bungled moves, took us as long as our grid fill.

Misprinted letters corrected to OBEY BLOCK OF THIRTY-TWO CELLS and we could read in the centre of our grid ERASE THESE LETTERS PLAY ALL THE MOVES. We did as instructed, then did as hinted by the two colours, adding notation (1 to 8 and A to H in the 16 blank cells) and attempted to play the seven moves indicated by PE4, PE5, BC4, BC5, QH5, NF6, QF7.

We don’t know a lot about chess so were not sure what we had to make of the letters that moved in the game S C H O L (that queen moved again to checkmate the king) A, and R, the poor pawn that went back into the box without having moved, but the Internet was a great help and explained SCHOLAR’s MATE in four moves.

Scholar’s mate in four moves

What an astonishing compilation!


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L4688: Harry East by Lath

Posted by Encota on 24 Dec 2021

An interesting chess-based puzzle that features perhaps the most famous checkmate there is, known as SCHOLAR’S MATE.

  1. (P)e4 (P)e5
  2. Bc4 Bc5
  3. Qh5 Nf6
  4. Qxf7++

In this puzzle the letters in the appropriate cells representing the pieces are, in order, S-C-H-O-L-A-R, so providing the answer to the hidden question WHOSE MATE IS IT?

I think that’s about it. My thanks to Lath


Tim / Encota

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L4610: ‘Tale of the Unexpected’ by Lath

Posted by Encota on 26 Jun 2020

Some tough clues and a non-trivial endgame – thanks Lath!

Kindly we were provided with a clear pointer upwards on the leading diagonal, which spelt out WINGS OF EAGLES. Thus finding out more about this famous event was just one Google search away.

Finding the EPSOM DOWNS course on the grid was still quite tough – for me at least! DERBY was fairly easy to spot. I vaguely recalled Tattenham Corner as a place from my childhood … but couldn’t find it here. Aside: was it really built purely for the racecourse? Luckily I then spotted FURLONG and could join up the pieces to form DERBY ONE MILE AND FOUR FURLONGS.

I was a little unsure which N to pick from Column 7 at the centre of taNNin. I watched a re-run of the race on Youtube and noted there were no sharper turns at that point on the racecourse so opted for the straighter one. Though I may well be missing something!

Thanks again to Lath for a tricky yet enjoyable puzzle!


Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4610: Tale of the Unexpected by Lath

Posted by Dave Hennings on 26 Jun 2020

A new setter greeted us this week, although part of me wondered if it might be a collaboration. An interesting device here in that five pairs of clues needed swapping with their first letters and their clue numbers leading to the location of a notable event which needed to be drawn in the grid. Moreover there was a dummy clue which would give two important men, presumably related to the event.

Clueing was relatively gentle, with acrosses 7 DISMAL, 16 BRED, 17 LEFTY and 19 NARIAL being slotted in quickly. Quite a few more went in on the first pass although I was aware that there could be some swapping involved. In fact, unless 9dn was DEBTS, either BRED or LEFTY would need moving — or 9dn SEBAT!

About half the acrosses were in before I started on the downs. Again, some went in quickly with 2 HEEHAW, 3 RULER, 4 IRMA and 5 KEEL leading the way. The FOGDOGS, SEGGARS and ROLFERs were new to me and 18dn was the dummy clue since Badge pair go in Derby again (4) did not lead to the unchecked YAWN. Soon the grid was finished and time for the endgame.

The clue swapping involved 1ac↔40ac, 12ac↔45ac, 17ac↔20dn, 21ac↔44ac and 13dn↔35dn. The initial letters of these gave D E P N S S O M W O. My first attempt at unjumbling them gave POW DOMNESS followed by PEMNS WOODS. As so often the case, it just jumped out at me — EPSOM DOWNS. I would have been mortified if I hadn’t got this since I was born and raised in Epsom.

It didn’t need a giant leap to guess we were in Derby territory, especially since, pre-pandemic, it took place early in June. Drawing the shape of the Derby course started at the end of row 3 and continued left, down and right in the grid to spell out DERBY, ONE MILE AND FOUR FURLONGS (what’s a few yards among friends). There were a few detours that could be made, especially around the ONE. I assume all would have been marked OK.

Now we had to decipher the clue numbers: 18 was the dummy clue, 40 1 the swap with the greatest difference and 20 17 the one one with the smallest. My first guess was that we were looking at the 1840 running of the Derby when Little Wonder came through to win his only race. Sadly the horse wasn’t findable in the grid, at least not by me. However, WINGS OF EAGLES was to be found sneakily hiding in the SE–NW diagonal. That was horse number 18 who won the 2017 running of the race at 40/1. Finally, unjumbling the dummy clue at 18dn (Badge pair go in Derby again) gave the jockey PADRAIG BEGGY and trainer AIDAN O’BRIEN.

An interesting trip into the world of horse racing — at least it wasn’t Cheltenham! Thanks, Lath.

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Tale of the Unexpected by Lath

Posted by shirleycurran on 26 Jun 2020

A new setter? We weren’t too daunted by the preamble, though yet again it looked as though there was some elementary numerical work to do in the endgame. We began solving at once and a fine set of clues with very clear definitions which tallied exactly with Chambers’ definitions appeared. I like that! I liked Lath’s numerous alcohol references too. There’s no doubt that he earned his place in the Listener  Setters’ Oenophile Elite. ‘Possibly local fruit’s not in (7)’ prompted us to think of our local fruit which tends to be grapes, and isn’t anywhere near ‘in’ yet, but we had to remove IN from AUBERGINE giving us our local, which is, in effect, a rather splendid Auberge with first classs wines.

Soon afterwards we found ‘Shrub-like draught to drink (I’m dubious) (6)’ Well, I’d be dubious about drinking a shrub-like draught – better stick to the crosswords favourites, RED and ASTI, but we parsed that as DOSE ‘drinking’ or containing UM, giving DUMOSE = ‘Shrub-like’.

Fortunately there was a ‘Shelf with wine angled in a certain way (8)’ (on its side gathering dust with maturity, I hope, as we decided this was RED on the LEDGE = LEDGERED). Then we had a reverse hidden clue – one that wouldn’t go into the light we had for it, as LEFTY seemed to be fitting into that space at 20d, and LEFTY had to be the solution to  clue 17 (Pink length of yarn wrapping feet (5)) ‘What Newquay only bottles up is drink (5)’ Chambers tells me that NOYAU is brandy flavoured with bitter almonds or peach kernels. Sounds as if Newquay is this week’s Listener destination. Well, cheers, Lath!

The clues that had to be swapped quickly fell. We exchanged DARFUR and SHREIK, CARDIO and OEUVRE, VIGILS and USNEAS and GISARME and ISATINE and our grid was full. TEA unjumbled the initial letters of the relevant clues and gave me EPSOM DOWNS so I feared the ‘Unexpected’ of the title was going to be the suffragette Emily Davison throwing herself under Anmer, the King’s horse (yes, that was the theme of my own very first Listener crossword many years ago) but no, this was a far happier event.

18 was clearly the ‘dummy clue’. ‘Badge pair go in Derby again (4)’ certainly didn’t win ‘Clue of the year’ for its total lack of surface sense and it clearly didn’t lead to the solution YAWN that had appeared all by itself, but I had to do the elementary maths to discover what two names we were looking for, 18 40-1 2017 emerged and, of course Wiki provided the rest, telling us that WINGS OF EAGLES, horse no 18, an absolute outsider, won the 2017 Derby for Aidan O’Brien with Padraig Beggy in the saddle.

There was the horse, tearing up the non-dominant diagonal and FURLONGS had galloped out at us some time before, but we still had to find some semblance of the Epsom race course in 27 contiguous cells.  We were indeed faced with a poser there, as I imagine most solvers were. Which N of TANNIN? Neither gives the gentle curve of the course and I can imagine the fury of solvers who bet on the wrong horse (Don’t you mean letter? Ed.).

But this was beautifully set and great fun. Many thanks, Lath.


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