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Posts Tagged ‘Lysander’

L4656 ‘Co-star’ by Lysander

Posted by Encota on 14 May 2021

It feels a long time ago that I solved this one!

My final solution looked like this:

However, getting there wasn’t trivial! Luckily for us solvers, most of the clues were generously straightforward.

For example, 11d’s Cold greeting in letter (3) gives CHI.

In some ways, however, the clues were an add-on: the real challenge was finding the cipher that allowed us to encode the clues answers, creating the entries above.

I quite liked the fact that L(eft) and R(ight) encoded as each other and that A, I & E formed a ‘ring’ of encoded letters, with A becoming I etc. There may have been other patterns in the encoding. As an aside I did like the Title’s “River Avon-like” nature, with the enciphering of Co in Co-star demonstrating the Star-Star equivalence.

The ‘way in’ was spotting the difference in length between answers and grid entries. This gave insight into how many original letters needed to encode as two encoded letters. As an example, 1 across’s answer had 5 letters and its entry 6 letters, so one of the letters of the answer BALER had to be encoded as a letter-pair and the rest as single letters. I followed this round the grid and ended up with an intermediate stage that were the scribbles below:

And from there it all fitted together! By the end it felt like I had solved a jigsaw where you first had to make the pieces yourself, lightly disguised as a crossword! Great fun – thanks Lysander!

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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Co-star by Lysander

Posted by shirleycurran on 14 May 2021

“Who could Lysander be?”, we ask ourselves, as we gaze in shock at the words ‘All clue answers must be enciphered before entry in the grid’. I don’t think we’ve met him before.Of course, I scan the clues to see whetherwe are admitting a newcomer to the Listener Setters’ Elite Oenophiles, and, though at first we see some very gentle and solvable clues (in fact all but about half a dozen of them) and there is a splash of RED in a couple, prospects look pretty grim for Lysander.

‘Red mineral’s salability about halved (5)’ suggests BALAS to us, but we see at once that there are six cells to fill, so one of those five letters must be ‘replaced by two letters’. ‘At first collect Irish red earthenware with a glazed finish (4)’ gives us first letters CIRE, but again, there is an extra cell, so one of those letters will be replaced by two.

By a process of elimination, we have soon identified the eleven letters that are not going to be enciphered as two letters. They are the almost predictable A D E I L N P R S T and U, so while the other Numpty solves most of the clues, I complete an initial grid with, for example JJIGG, where JIG needs to be entered as five letters.

Our last four solutions (BULK, CION, SOGER and MELIC) take almost as long to solve as the rest put together but there we have a complete grid. Now what? It is approaching midnight when I finally understand that the grid in front of me is spelling out the enciphering. For example, at the bottom right, I am told that Z = DN (two of those eleven letters). The Q, at the start of Q-SHIP encodes to ER From the intersecting E of LEANY and the R of CIRE. The K of FOLKSY and BULK gives me just two possible letters, I and N and so on, because of where those words intersect with CARY and LIRAS.  So I now have to replace those double letter entries with the 15 enciphered sets of double letters, producing a rather odd-looking second grid. More head-scratching!

B has become NT, C = NS, F = LI, G = NI, H = IL, J = TL, K = IN, M = DI, O = EL, Q = ER, V = RI, W = SI, X = DS, Y = IP and Z = DN.

Each letter, in the enciphered grid, has to be replaced by one or two letters but in this grid number two, I have LENTIL, TELLER and ADITS, for example displaying their original letters. TEA comes to my aid. I enter 9ac LIELLINSIP as 1231124526 and it tells me the entry has to be REARRESTED – that’s six of the encodings solved. It is almost a pleasure to work out the remainder and ten of the original eleven letters go into new real words (including SARSA, DISPART, DESSE – some strange words, but I do realize that here we are dealing with a lipogram of 15 letters, not just one! Quite a compilation.)

I am left with LE?NE, SP?RES, and EST?RIL and U to encipher with the letter that will complete them – it has to be O. Full grid and it is well after midnight and the G and T glass is empty. Oh yes, the oenophiles. Of course Lysander continued that RED theme in his final grid – it’s flowing down the right hand column and there’s a SPIRIT too, in the penultimate row, so “Cheers, Lysander!” And the co-star? We wonder about the title that would back-solve to NSEL- NSEL. Is that telling us something?

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Listener No 4656: Co-star by Lysander

Posted by Dave Hennings on 14 May 2021

A new setter this week. A straightforward (albeit asymmetrical) grid greeted us, and a nice short preamble. I anticipated an easy solve until I read the first six words: “All clues must be enciphered before entry…”. Lawks! And each letter was to be replaced by either one or two letters, all twenty-six being different.

It was fairly obvious that I wouldn’t be able to determine the coding for each letter until the grid was complete, but one thing that seemed necessary was identifying which letters were to be replaced by two letters — at least, I thought that seemed likely. I listed the alphabet, although I wasn’t too sure how that was going to be used!

Starting on the clues, 1ac Struggler loses races in farm equipment (5) eluded me but was a 5-letter answer fitting a 6-letter slot. (Thank you, Lysander, for not just giving entry lengths against the clues.) 5ac Unlimited mixture with sesame seed (6) came to the rescue with LENTIL and that was a 6-letter entry, so all its letters were encoded by a single letter and I marked them in my list with a single •. Ah yes! Double letters would be marked •• and would eventually give the two letters from which they were to be encoded.

9 Friendly female stirring yolks (6) was also easy with FOLKSY fitting a 10-letter entry. Answers came thick and fast, and after my first pass through the clues, I had all but a dozen resolved. Of these, only six consisted of single-letter encoding: LENTIL, RIEL, LIRAS, TELLER, INSULAR, ADITS.

From this, it could be deduced from BRADS at 1dn that the B was a double letter, as was the X in LEX at 3dn and the C in CIRE at 6. I marked these double letters across the grid lines. It soon became clear that, with these double-letters intersecting single-letters, we would end up with an interim grid with each cell containing one letter from which the final grid could be decoded. Thus the C at 6dn would be encoded in the same way as the N and S of 5ac and 9ac.

After my first pass, all but Q and Z didn’t appear in any answer, but needed to be as we were told “all 26” were encoded differently. These would eventually be given by 14ac Queen has trendy craft that was deceptive (5) for Q-SHIP [Q + ’S + HIP] and 31dn Small business needs European for international second point (3) giving BEZ [BIZ with E for I]. Q-SHIP held me up for some time as I had crossing letters giving it beginning ER…!

So the grid was complete with a single letter in each cell. Where to go from here? A cursory examination of the grid showed that only the letters A, D, E, I, L, N, P, R, S, T, U were in the grid, although I wasn’t sure how important that was. What did seem important was that 21ac PIDSIP, 8dn LIPPIP and 27dn SIILIP had a lot of LIPs, SIPs and PIPs! With a bit of trial and error, these three became DENTED, REDDED and TEERED. REARRESTED at 9ac soon got resolved and everything flowed nicely from there. The final grid contained the same letters in its coded form as given above but with an O and no U.

A careful checking of the answers, entries and final grid made sure that everything was correct. Well it was, once I corrected SARSI at 23ac to SARSA!

Thanks for a remarkable puzzle, Lysander. Where did the idea come from?

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