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Posts Tagged ‘Little Hare’

To Good Friends by Little Hare

Posted by shirleycurran on 3 Dec 2021

We have a soft spot for hares, especially little ones, though this one was not hiding in the preamble or in the clues or even in the grid, except in a rather convoluted way in the top left corner of our completed grid, but in plain sight as the setter.

Just a little hare

This Little Hare qualified for his Listener Setter Oenophile Outfit membership with his last two compilations, ‘Vingt-et-un’ and ‘Death in the Afternoon’ but, once we have read the reasonably short preamble, I check through the clues to confirm continued eligibility.

‘Browbeaten guy drank about quarter of pint (9)’. Poor fellow! We decided that he was HENPECKED and that HE NECKED around P(int). A few clues later he was ‘Slightly tipsily on vacation, Hyacinth lazily pens notes on game (10)’ TIGHTISHLY after just a quarter of a pint! (We put together the notes, TIS, H(yacint)H, L(azil)Y and the game TIG).

There was more to come. ‘Custom bend in rod oozed regularly (4)’ Chambers told us that USE + the end in roD gave USED which is a way of saying ‘boozed regularly’, so we had to move that B. Then we had ‘Weaver’s cheer, a shot knocked back (4)’ We opted for the TAHA or weaver bird (TA for ‘cheers’ and A H(ot) reversed). Oh my, with the quarter pint, the booze, this shot then the Porto, the alcohol was flowing. ‘Porto lass finally gives a greeting (5)’ We are due to sail from Hull to Rotterdam a few hours from now so it was the port we thought of when we had moved that O (HULL + lassO finally giving HULLO). So “Cheers, Little Hare! Perhaps we’ll see you at the bar in Stirling next March.

Oh dear yes, Jumbles, one clue answer jumbled in every row, and a letter moving in all the other clues, and not content with just this, Little Hare would have us shuffle all the rows around to create a logical column. Actually, it was one of those solutions to be jumbled that gave us our first answer: “They detect particles …That has to be CLOUD CHAMBERS” said the other Numpty.

Fortunately, we had the down solutions to help us enter the jumbles and we teased out, BLESTE BE YE MAN YT SPARES THES STONES and realized that we were going to have to move some bones around to make that centre column spell the bard’s name and put his body back in the correct order, as we could see that FOOT, SHOULDER, KNEE, NECK and so on was a travesty.

‘The new order resolves an ambiguity’. We wondered but then realized that one might hesitate about which of dem bones, HIP or THIGH, goes on top, but of course, SHAKESPEARE resolved that as well as DEM DRY BONES that obligingly went back in order at the right hand side of the grid. What a fabulous compilation!


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Listener No 4511: Death in the Afternoon by Little Hare

Posted by Dave Hennings on 3 Aug 2018

This week we had Little Hare’s second Listener, his first being based on Housman’s “When I was twenty-one…” from A Shropshire Lad . Here we had a title that made me think of an Agatha Christie novel, which wasn’t surprising given the number of books she wrote, most of them about death — Death in the Clouds, Death on the Nile, Death Comes as the End, etc, etc. Unfortunately, Death in the Afternoon wasn’t one of them. That was by… but I jump ahead.

In four clues, we had to remove a string of letters and unjumble them to reveal “four connected individuals.” Twelve others had misprints in their definitions. That left twenty that were normal.

1ac Cooked committee rissole, ditching fish and chips (6) looked as though it had a hidden sequence of letters in it, but it failed to make sense for me. I was lucky with 5ac By settling, does sway people initially in universal votes (6) where a bit of doodling of P and U and AYES/YEAS/NAYS/NOES finally helped me to see UNPAYS with the misprint correction by settling, does away. (A lot to be said for doodling.)

Unfortunately, most of the remainder of across clues left me floundering. 16ac Uses the rawhide strip that is discovered in Madagascar (4) and 23ac Ed’s worked back in Middle Temple (4) obviously led to RIEM (IE in RM) and TELD (hidden reverse), although I failed to note the extra letters in the former and misprint in the latter!

As it was, the left-hand side of the grid came together much quicker than the right, where there were some devious clues. Top of the list was 28ac Rebuffed son accepted girlfriend over late gala: dad sues regulator (5) which made absolutely no sense at all. In fact, it turned out to be my favourite clue with Daedalus needing to be removed to show the clue as Rebuffed son accepted girlfriend over late gala: dad sues regulator (5)!

For me, that last clue needed almost a full grid and the phrase to be discovered from misprint corrections: Ariadne’s clue. We were in the land of Theseus, his labyrinth and the Minotaur. 1ac did not, in fact, contain the jumble of one of the individuals, being just an anagram of COM (for committee) and RIS. The other characters were revealed by 16ac with its anagram of Uses the, 31ac With Darius, caring for wild herbs possessing hollow stalks (9) for PROWESSED but missing Icarus* and 8dn Remains near aid and bows (6) for STICKS and Ariadne*.

The clue in the message referred to the meaning given under clew in Chambers: “a ball of thread, or the thread in it (archaic)”, which was used by Theseus to retrace his steps in the maze. It didn’t take long to find THREAD OF ARIADNE in the grid, snaking down from STICKS and ending in a middle arena.

I have to say that I found the use of the word arena a bit confusing. I guessed it was just referring to the central region, with its arrangement of bars perhaps representing the labyrinth but I wondered if it had a deeper meaning. Anyway, there was the MINOTAUR reading left then right and needing to be erased. DAEDALUS, on the other hand, who supposedly designed the labyrinth, could be seen running up column 1. That just left ICARUS (“who does not survive”) to be entered beneath the grid.

The title referred to a book by Ernest Hemingway on the tradition and ceremonies of bull-fighting, supposedly one of the best on the subject. Who am I to argue.

Thanks for a fun puzzle, LH.

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Death in the Afternoon by Little Hare

Posted by shirleycurran on 3 Aug 2018

No sign of that elusive little hare for over six months then what do we have here? Death in the Afternoon by Little Hare! That sounds like something to do with bullfighting and Hemingway. I scan the grid to see whether Little Hares consume enough to retain access to the Listener Setters’ toping set-up and find evidence a-plenty and also a reference to that novel: ‘Quitting university, journo starts to edit Ernest’s novel Bullfighting with Horses (7)’ What a clever clue! That gives us JOURNO less U anagrammed (novel) with E(dit) E(nest) and we get REJONEO which Chambers tells me is Bullfighting on horseback with rejones. Of course the Hare is offering a red herring.

‘This person who hands out absinthe could be a born hedonist (5)’ provides a subtractive anagram and A BORN HEDONIST less ABSINTHE gives us DONOR. (Yes, the Hare was continuing his red herring and prompting us to look for Hemingway’s lethal cocktail of absinthe and champagne wasn’t he – and we were caught.) ‘Rocky landscape in Japan where one is into – and after – the local wine (6)’ puts two Is into SAKE giving SAIKEI, which Chambers tells me is a miniature Japanese landscape. Not content with absinthe and sake, the Hare moves onto whiskey: ‘Unionist hastened to secure shot of whiskey, a malt (6)’. Disappointment when that turns out to be one of the misprints giving us U(nionist) + RAN + IN = URANIN, a salt. ‘Natural growth in a vineyard in California (7)’ gives us A CRU in CAL = ACCRUAL. The hare must be tipsy by now but is still producing first-rate clues. ‘Soundproof superior bar Henry put in cave (6)’ tells us to bar the H from HEAD and put it into a DEN, so DEADEN. ‘Teeming with Clara’s rum (6)’ gives us W + CLARA* = ACRAWL. This certainly was a record pub crawl! Cheers Little Hare!

As we solved, we have been spotting those extra jumbles of names in the clues. ‘GaLA: DAD SUEs regulator (5)’ gave us an extra DAEDALUS as well as OFGAS, the gas regulating body. USES THE rawhide strip that is discovered in Madagascar (4)’ produced THESEUS as well as RIEM. ‘Remains NEAR AID and bows (6)’ put ARIADNE into 8d, ‘her clue’ where her thread was to start – and what a superb CLUE or CLEW it was. Chambers tells me that a clue is ‘a thread that guides through a labyrinth! (Yes, Listener clues are so often that for us!) ICARUS has to be our fourth character, the one who does not survive. We find him ‘With daRIUS CAring for wild herbs possessing hollow stalks (9)’ putting PRO and WEED round S(talk)S to give PROWESSED = ‘with daring’. Poor ICARUS. We also find him under the SEA in our grid with DAEDALUS steering up the left hand side, safely far from the SUN that is shining at the top.

We trace our CLUE, THREAD OF ARIADNE following diagonally contiguous cells to the arena where, of course, the MINOTAUR is boustrophedonally lurking and, like THESEUS, we eliminate him. What a thematically rich grid! Many thanks, Little Hare!

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‘Death in the Afternoon’ by Little Hare

Posted by Encota on 3 Aug 2018

Clearly this week’s Title or Title Plus Setter contained secret messages, in jumbled form:

1. To those who thought they’d recovered from the nightmare of a previous Listener: “No, not the defiant Hare!”

2. A passing reference to the World Cup final on the weekend of publication: “The Football entertained any hither”

3. What happened after the attempted escape from Crete, from the wings‘ point of view: “Rent, their Athenian boy fell to death”

4. Heartless newspaper headline the following day: “The lofty Athenian – no terrible death?”

Or not.

2018-07-16 08.31.00


Tim / Encota

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Vingt-et-un by Little Hare

Posted by shirleycurran on 29 Apr 2016

Little Hare 001I had the pleasure of test-solving this crossword by Little Hare some time ago. I should add that test-solving didn’t provide me with an instant solution to this one this week, as Little Hare has worked on it and almost completely re-written his clues since the earlier versions I am familiar with. That’s evidence, yet again, of the hours, days, weeks, no even years when we add the editors’ input, the rewriting and the final polishing, that go into the production of a single Listener crossword.

There was plenty of confirmation of Little Hare’s membership of the Listener Topers’ Club in his earlier versions, Angostura bitters, French wine and fermented fruit, but this version was ‘spiritless’ (29ac, ‘Band, spiritless, returned to Thailand = POOR< + T giving TROOP) I was rather troubled about confirming Little Hare’s membership but he redeemed himself in his grid: right at the bottom we find RED (Golden boy follows rule of law (3) = R(ule of law) + ED) See you at the bar Little Hare!

Those extra letters in down clues were so subtly hidden that they didn’t at once give the game away, and we had to tease out the A E HOUSMAN quotation, “WHEN I WAS ONE AND TWENTY I HEARD A WISE MAN SAY …’ that introduce a familiar poem.

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard a wise man say,
‘Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;

Give pearls away and rubies
But keep your fancy free.’
But I was one-and-twenty,
No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard him say again,
‘The heart out of the bosom
Was never given in vain;
’Tis paid with sighs a plenty
And sold for endless rue.’
And I am two-and-twenty,
And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.

Vingt-et-unOf course, for those who made a lucky guess at the theme on seeing that very helpful title, Vingt-et-un’ and teased those first two lines out of the down clues, the solving was rendered slightly easier since identifying the six items (PEARLS, RUBIES, POUNDS, CROWNS and a couple of GUINEAs) that the voice of the poem and the compiler kept, was a great help with some of the solutions, and we knew, in advance, that the HEART was given ‘with sighs a plenty’ and must disappear from the completed grid.

It wasn’t all so easy though. Surprisingly (or perhaps not as I usually find it to be the case) it was the shorter solutions that were tough. ‘One following from map (3)’ giving FACE minus F(ollowing) = ACE’, ‘Spades pulled from ridge on European island (5)’ giving CREST less S(pades) +E(uropean) = CRETE, and the most original and ingenious, ‘Spin first in low court (3)’ giving MOO with its first letter ‘spun’ = WOO. I don’t think I have seen that device used before – brilliant!

The entire puzzle was, as I said before, elegant, and a joy to solve. Many thanks, Little Hare.

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