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Posts Tagged ‘Lavatch’

Listener No 4486: In Self-defence? by Lavatch

Posted by Dave Hennings on 9 Feb 2018

I think we’re always in for some entertainment with a Lavatch puzzle. His previous was just over a year ago with King Lear‘s “The wheel has come full circle” and before that, with an almost similar theme, Ken Livingstone’s Congestion Charge!

This week, we had a misprint of one letter, the correct letters spelling out part of a text. Once the grid was filled, we had to change one letter in each row to give a two-word phrase, with the replaced letters spelling out a four-word phrase.

I managed to get a few entries scattered around the grid fairly quickly, and that enabled a lot more of the grid to be filled — just not as quickly! I was lucky this week. With just 20 entries, I had the following from the corrected misprints: THER… TO… E… L… B·AR… S. Despite this phrase never having appeared in any legal document in the UK, it features large in a certain document on the other side of the Pond. Having spent six years working there may have helped The right of the people to [keep and] bear arms shall not be infringed to reveal itself. All this within the hour.

Controversial territory from Lavatch and the Listener this week, especially for our American solvers I dare say?

It was only as I filled in the correct letters alongside the clues I had yet to solve that I checked to see where the misprints lay. Amazingly, they were all the second letters in their clues. Now that was clever, not to mention difficult to achieve, I suspect. It also explained why there were quite a few clues beginning A something.

It seemed likely that the two-word phrase that had to appear in the final grid would be SECOND AMENDMENT, but its placement could wait until I had actually finished the grid.

Piece of luck number two came once the grid was complete. A rereading of the preamble helped me focus on “… solvers must similarly change…”, and 1ac ENTERS and 5ac PULLETS could become ESTERS and PELLETS by changing their second (unchecked) letters. STARLET/SCARLET and FERMATE/FORMATE came next and so on down the grid. Was this a phenomenal piece of grid construction or what?!

The letters replaced by this process gave NUTECGOKISSTOSN, and a bit of doodling was required. On the third or fourth try, I had NGUSSIONS… and GUN popped nto my head followed not too long after by the required phrase STICK TO ONE’S GUNS. Absolutely stunning!

I wondered how much grid jiggery-pokery was required to get all the words differing by only their second letter to give the two phrases. Would it be rude of me to wonder if a bit of software was used?

No matter, this was a fantastic puzzle. Thanks for the masterpiece, Lavatch. I hope there’s another one soon.

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In Self-defence?

Posted by shirleycurran on 9 Feb 2018

In Self-defence?

Before we even started to solve Lavatch’s ‘In Self-defence?’ I looked up ‘I Shot the Sheriff’ to see whether there was any likelihood that Lavatch had been out doing a bit of shooting, but, of course, it was going to turn out that the guns were used rather differently. And what about the alcohol? Naturally I scanned the clues to see whether he qualifies for his admission to the Listener Setters’ Wine-lovers’ Setup and the outcome was dubious. He had ‘Spilling almost 10 litres? 50 fully overturned for little birds (7)’ What a convoluted clue! We back-solved later when PULLETS had to be the answer and we had worked out that the ‘Spilling’ was to become Shilling, giving us S. Almost TE(n) + L = 50 + L = litres, UP = fully and the whole lot ‘overturned’. Well there might have been some good wine there but the whole lot was spilled.

1d seemed more hopeful as it started with ports, ‘Ports initially missing building projections (5)’ But it was not to be. Those ‘ports’ became ‘parts’ = LEAVES and we removed the initial letter to get the EAVES or ‘projections’. ‘A part liquid once in other packaging one upended (5)’ seemed to be the last hope, but, sadly, it turned into ESILE, a ‘tart’ liquid once – no wonder it was ‘upended’ (ELSE round I<). I despaired about Lavatch’s admission right to the Listener Setter’s Oenophile Club (Enophile?) – but did I need to worry? We had spotted the SECOND AMENDMENT and had even worked out which words contained 14 of the 15 letters it contained and sussed that ‘STICK TO ONE’S GUNS’ was the four word idiomatic phrase and I was desperately struggling to find a final N to complete SECOND – and there it was! ECOLOGY turned to ENOLOGY (the US spelling, of course, justified by a little note at the start of the ‘OEN’ headword in Chambers). Well, if Lavatch is an OENOLOGIST/ ENOLOGIST, what more is there to say? Cheers Lavatch!

It sounds as though we solved easily and a couple of friends tell me they solved this in about an hour but it took us a lot longer. The four corners of the grid were almost separate and indeed, we solved them one after another with two or three unfamiliar words (BRUTER, TILLERED, SKELLIE) helping us on our way. Fortunately, our solve speeded up when we realized that the message appearing from the misprints was THE RIGHT OF PEOPLE TO BEAR ARMS SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. Now we could work backwards to discover the misprints and complete our solve.

Skip this paragraph if you hate groan-worthy cracker jokes (though I am told Charismatix’s Christmas EVs that ask you, for example, why Rudolph and Prancer didn’t manage to be sold on E-Bay (they were TWO DEER!) get almost record entries – that set of compilers is a group of us who store up these dreadful things). A fellow solver sent me this: “Why does Michelle Obama wear short-sleeved shirts?” Answer: “Because of her right to bare arms.”

I bungled not only in finding the N by converting ECOLOGY to ENOLOGY, but also as I had opted for the E of EASE to give me the final M of AMENDMENT (EASE/MASE).  I kicked myself this morning when it was perfectly clear to me that ATOK had to change to AMOK. We had the last T of STICK TO ONE’S GUNS. What a clever construction, managing to include those letters that would spell the theme and anagram to an apt idiomatic message. Nice one, Lavatch!

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‘In Self-Defence?’ by Lavatch

Posted by Encota on 9 Feb 2018

First of all, thanks Lavatch for a cleverly constructed grid this week!

I found some of the clues hard, with their misprints in place.  There were four or so in the style of 1ac, 1d and 21d, where the solver had to “Think of a word that, when it’s first letter is removed (or similar), becomes a completely different word that means the same as another word that’s only one letter different from the (misprinted) word provided” – and where it wasn’t clear which of the words was the misprinted one!  Once you had the answer it was relatively straightforward to be sure it was right.  However, cold-solving such a clue was pretty much beyond me and I was pleased to have various letters from other clues helping me out with these few!

Once the phrase generated from the misprints began to appear: “The right of people to …” it was clearly very likely that it’d be the Fifth Amendment – the right to remain silent.*

After all, it’s the anniversary of the Presidential inauguration this week, and that might be relevant (The right to remain silent on Twitter, perhaps?  Just a thought.).
So, just to check, there’d be a confirmation at the 5th clue telling us what to do, if I’m right.  Ah yes, “PULL IT”, i.e. remove it.  There were thus clearly two hints that we should say nothing in our submissions this week, so I duly blanked everything out like so.  Easy!
And the ‘apt’ idiomatic phrase?  Is Lavatch suggesting we aren’t very adventurous in our drinking?  I dutifully added the phrase: STUCK TO ONES GINS below the grid.
Cheers all,
* OK, so I didn’t really.  My attempt looked like:
2018-01-20 16.34.18 copy

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Round by Lavatch

Posted by shirleycurran on 20 Jan 2017

lavatch-round-001We had a large grid here and a title that set us thinking. ‘Round’? Was Lavatch footing the bill for the first round at the bar at the Listener annual drinkie? I checked his right to his ticket and found evidence at once. ‘Glaswegian’s to gulp drink and cut jaw clumsily (6)’ We’re heading up to join the rest of the family for a Glaswegian Hogmanay tomorrow so WAUCHT is a familiar word and that gave us our first corrected misprint with CUT JAW having to become CUT HAW*.

That’s the trouble with the misprint device, isn’t it? Even in a competent set of clues like this lot, there are some rather glaring anomalies. ‘Surveyor’s red, by lake, showing colder period in glacier (7)’. No, Lavatch wasn’t talking of the surveyor’s Zinfandel or Merlot, it had to be the obvious rod and gave us STADIA + L. And who’s heard of a ‘satin bear’? ‘Satin bear’s fur sadly somewhat worn away (4)’ That had to be Latin, rather spoiling Lavatch’s empathetic picture of the poor worn out bear, so we opted for URSA (hidden).

There was red wine though: ‘Vineyards turning quiet start to sell vintage malts (9)’ CRUS< EASE + S. Sadly these were not vintage malts at all but the old word for HALTS – surceases. Then later in the clues things became lively: ‘A pair of ravers behind clubs offering revel (7)’ Slight disappointment again when the ravers turned out to be two Rivers (R and OUSE) but there was a CAROUSE anyway so I think Lavatch earns his admission. See you at the bar, Lavatch – Cheers!

This was a speedy and steady grid fill for us, that was moved forward and completed in one big p.d.m. when CATHERINE was the only word that would fit one of the unclued lights. FERRIS, MILL, GEAR, ESCAPE, DAISY, CART, STAR and PRAYER quickly followed and, of course, there was a familiar quotation from King Lear just where it clearly had to be, circling the centre. THE WHEEL IS COME FULL CIRCLE. That is fairly appropriate for a crossword that will appear in The Times tomorrow morning, the last day of the year.

No hare

No hare

I wonder how many solvers wondered about that intriguing phrase in the pre-ramble: ‘those of their unchecked letters that are inside a thematic area are all different’. Oh my, how careful the editors are being (obviously determined to avoid another HARE event – well, I had to mention that elusive hare, didn’t I?) I spent ages attempting to see what some solver, determined to be cussed, might have highlighted and of course there it was; you can have a GEAR WHEEL but your car might also have a REAR WHEEL. That is pre-empted since the unchecked R of CATHERINE is within the thematic area. Clever!

Thank you, Lavatch.

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‘Round’ by Lavatch

Posted by Encota on 20 Jan 2017

A gentle puzzle to end 2016 – many thanks to Lavatch.  And many thanks to all at The Listener for a very enjoyable 2016 of puzzles!

At the end of Her Majesty’s 90th birthday year, it was excellent to see her featured as ER, along with MARA, that ever-appearing hare-like creature returning, in such a Smiley fashion.  It must be a sign – for a better 2017 perhaps…


But more seriously…the solving path for me went something like this:

The use of ‘inside’ in the Preamble plus a Title of ‘Round’ meant a closed shape would be required; so when ?ERRI? appeared on Row 1 after solving a few clues then FERRIS and therefore WHEEL looked like the way forward.  CATHERINE went in quickly as did a few more.

As the Instruction began to appear as HIGHLIGHT THE ?ATI? QUOTATION IN SYMMETRICAL FORM, I confess that I did start by fooling myself that the missing ‘word’ was probably LATIN with the L somehow coming from YEARN changing to LEARN – and thus spent a few moments scanning the Grid for some Latin words – then the C appeared and I realised that THE ?ATI? was actually all one word, THEMATIC, so reading overall:

After completing the Grid then, as usual, I entered the ‘gridstare phase’, which I am normally pretty slow at; luckily, however, I spotted WHEEL on a diagonal in the NE of the puzzle and, with a slight change to the L selected, soon spotted the full circle (in more ways than one).  A quick double-check to be sure the unchecked letters (G, R, E, S, H) within the circle were all different and that one of those was repeated just outside the circle (R), and all was solved.  THE WHEEL IS COME FULL CIRCLE.

So ends my first ever year of attempting The Listener.  I’ve submitted all 52, though have little idea how accurate I have been: if I manage 80-90% correct then I will be very happy!

Finally, a belated Happy New Year to All involved with The Listener!  I look forward to meeting some of you again at the annual dinner in a couple of months.

Tim / Encota

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