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Posts Tagged ‘Malva’

‘Milky’ by Malva

Posted by Encota on 15 June 2018

Malva L4504

I’d first of all like to offer my thanks to Malva for a nicely themed puzzle!

When I see Malva’s name it reminds me of a coffee advert that used to be on when I was a child, for something – I think it was – called “Mellow Birds” (or was that Mallow Birds?), so when the Title ‘Milky’ was also present I was doubly surprised.

And, as an aside, I see from the Listener Setter list that Malva used to be Dipper.  Why the change from a bird-themed name to a plant-themed one, I wonder?  Intriguing … I’d love to hear!

I think this was the third Malva I’ve solved – what with MINSMERE delightfully featuring in the first and RED-NECKED PHALAROPE in the second (I always see that pencilled into my copy of Chambers Crossword Dictionary whenever I refer to the ‘birds’ list …).

Initially PETROL/PETREL in the Thematic clues was a gentle way of confirming the Bird-based theme, in the Thematic clue:

Fuel converting oxygen to energy (6)

And I spent far too long trying to solve my last one:

Someone keen on confrontation appears at the end of fight and brawl (11)”,

knowing at that stage that it was a bird but incorrectly trying to shoe-horn in a T for the end of (figh)T, rather than spotting the charade SPAR ROW HAWK.  D’oh!

I also should have read the Preamble and noticed from the start that the rest of the clues were in conventional order.  I didn’t miss it for long – but long enough!  I’ll add that to my ever-growing list of PICNIC* items.

I’m hoping there’s no other 6-letter synonym for Milky that is also a Bird, so I have opted for GENTLE.


Tim / Encota

*The usual:   Problem In Chair Not In Crossword



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Milky by Malva

Posted by shirleycurran on 15 June 2018

We’ve been struggling lately so it was a relief to see Malva at the head of this week’s crossword. “Ah, probably birds again” I said and had spotted FALCON, PETREL and VIRGINIAN QUAIL before the other Numpty joined me and began a speed solve of the relatively generous clues. Well that was a gift of an anagram wasn’t it? ‘Eccentric aunt living in Iraq, having left behind outskirt of Newport (14, two words)’ We removed NT from AUNTLIVINGINIRAQ* and there was a bird that wasn’t even in Mrs Bradford’s list – and soon we had RINGDOVE, SONG THRUSH, SPARROWHAWK and HUMMINGBIRD too, though we were not yet sure how they were going to fit into the lights that were appearing symmetrically when i created a putative grid on Crossword Compiler.

Of course, those other, 12-letter long anagrams leading to ENCARNALISES and CARTON PIERRE helped enormously with the grid fill and soon we were left with just those six words to complete. Of course I had been keeping an eye out for evidence that Malva retains his place at the bar but there wasn’t much drinking going on in his clues or grid. ‘After tea, Irish saint meeting solitary leaders (6)’ gave us CHA + IR +S and we suspected that even the tea was probably ‘milky’ but, at least, that did give us one extra word; SOLITARY which suddenly made it all clear. HERMIT had to fill that light at the bottom right and Chambers told me that was also a HUMMINGBIRD.

The alcohol? Well, there were wine-flavoured fruits in what turned out to be 18d, but that was about it. Cheers, anyway, Malva!

PRION was the next to fall, (or fly, if you will) “That’s a PATHOGEN” said the other Numpty and Chambers told me it is also a PETREL. The ARM had to be a MUSKET, which I now know is a SPARROWHAWK, MAVIS, our SONG THRUSH was obviously a WOMAN, QUEST filled our final light and that explained SEARCH and RINGDOVE so we were left with the FALCON or the VIRGINIAN QUAIL to paraphrase and slot below the grid and the extra word NICK to justify.

What is that bit about resolving ambiguities? Aha: I find that there is an alternative spelling for the RINGDOVE. She can be a QUIST or a QUEST so we clearly need that SEARCH to tell us which of the spellings to use. Clever!

Fortunately we have the latest edition of Chambers that reinstated that list of names in the appendices and imagine my surprise to find that COLIN is also a name for NICHOLAS so the VIRGINIAN QUAIL or COLIN took flight and our grid was full – except for that MILKY word that somehow had to define a FALCON. We wondered about MERLIN – was he white? Has a CANNON or a TERCEL anything MILKY about it? Not really. “Got it!” said the other Numpty – It’s a GENTLE.  All done and thoroughly enjoyed in just under a couple of hours. Many thanks, Malva.

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Listener No 4504: Milky by Malva

Posted by Dave Hennings on 15 June 2018

Malva, in case you didn’t know, is Dipper-that-was. Under his previous pseudonym, he regaled us with his garden and associated exploits. Now he has a bit of a twitch going, and his previous puzzle, a year ago, had birds of different colours to be entered in those colours. I wondered if the birds this week would disappear in a somewhat milky hue.

Thematic clues had wordplay only, so I passed on them for the time being, although they were probably birds. I failed with the first (CONACRE was new to me), but URSON, POM-POM, OUD and DILATE were solved, and it seemed fairly straightforward where they would go in the grid, even though both grid and clues were unnumbered.

The 12-letter entry Embodies clearness in a broadcast (12) was an obvious anagram, and starting with CLARANISSEEN, I soon spotted CARNAL and then ENCARNALISES, although it wasn’t a word I’d come across before. Skipping ahead to the other 12-letter entry Lacking potassium, error in packet mix for modelling material (12), I could see that it was another anagram, this time of error in packet without the K (potassium), but unfortunately CARTON-PIERRE would have to wait before being entered.

It was only after I had come across my second clue that I couldn’t fully understand, that I reread the preamble and realised that there was an extra word which would enable, among other things, resolution of any ambiguities. Luckily, I hadn’t suffered too much head-scratching before noting this.

After my first run through the clues, I thought I could see a ROBIN trying to appear at 4dn (if the grid had had clue numbers). I tried the thematic clues, and was surprised that the first was easy and led to FALCON (Cornish river conservation (6)). PETREL, SONG THRUSH, SPARROW-HAWK and something QUAIL also appeared. Tinkering with the remaining letters of the anagram gave VIRGINIAN, and Mrs B had ‘colin’ (not ‘robin’) under Quail. Lo and behold, Chambers had ‘Virginian quail’ under colin.

The rest of the solve went pretty smoothly. It was with song-thrush→MAVIS←woman I think, that I could see that the extra words in the clues were other definitions of the words to be entered:

  • humming-bird→HERMIT←solitary
  • petrel→PRION←pathogen
  • ringdove→QUEST←search
  • song thrush→MAVIS←woman
  • sparrowhawk→MUSKET←arm
  • Virginian quail→COLIN←Nick (I never knew that Colin was a diminutive of Nicholas!)

Finally, falcon→GENTLE←Milky enabled the slot under the grid to be completed.

Thanks for some nice ornithological entertainment, Malva.

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Listener No 4456: Shady Characters by Malva

Posted by Dave Hennings on 14 July 2017

This was Malva’s second Listener, the first being of an avian theme. However, he’s a sneaky blighter since he used to be Dipper, whose garden featured in his crosswords under that pseudonym. It has to be said that I am not an expert on flora or fauna, so fingers were crossed on this one.

As it turned out, filling the grid was straightforward. The extra wordplay letters led to distinct jumbles of words which indicated how some answers needed to be entered. Those in clues 2–7 were llyeow and were followed by bule. It looked as though we were dealing with colours. The full set was Yellow, Blue, Tan, Sand, Butter, Green, Red, Ruby.

Some of them were hardly colours of the rainbow, but that helped with the endgame. Examining the entries in the grid, and remembering Malva’s new hobbyhorse, SHANK, PIPER and TIT stood out like a sore thumb and were obviously to be prefixed by one of the ‘colours’. SHANK could have either RED or GREEN as its colour, but START could only be RED (I think).

So out came the coloured crayons which haven’t seen the light of day for some time. (I now do highlighting in Paint before printing the grid for my entry.) Although, butter, sand and yellow are pretty much the same in my book, I still tried to make them slightly different. [I think you failed. Ed.] I know JEG is fairly lenient when it comes to that sort of thing. I did wonder whether highlighting the cells in each word, with letters the same as elsewhere in the grid would be allowed. Probably… but I didn’t want to risk it.

The birds were, in grid order:


That just left the first and last letters of the extra words in the remaining clues: PropagandA, CompatiblE, HollywooD, AttacK, OmnivorE, No-onE, PondeR, LasheD, RenaissancE. These could be rearranged into two 9-letter words to give a bird that needed to be entered below the grid thematically in only 15 letters.

Well, it didn’t take long to realise that the colour had to be three letters, and I soon had the PEA-DARKEN ELDERCHOP. Except that wasn’t in Chambers! Perhaps the ALE-DARNED HOP-PECKER. Nope! [Tim will undoubtedly have some others. Ed.] In the end, it was the RED-NECKED PHALAROPE who got slotted in.

Thanks for more avian shenanigans, Malva.

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‘Shady Characters’ by Malva

Posted by Encota on 14 July 2017

Do I recall correctly that the last Malva Listener was the MINSMERE one?  Clearly in the weekend where Radiohead* are playing their fourth ever Glastonbury live set, we’ll need to be transported from the Suffolk coast to the depths of Somerset, i.e. there must be a Radiohead-based clue hiding in here somewhere.  Ah, yes, there it is, 15 down – with the track ‘Dollars and cents’ from their fifth album, Amnesiac (2001):

  Dollars and cents adult invested in baking equipment (4)

Mr O’Brien (one of R’s guitarists) and his sour dough bread-making project get a mention in this same clue, too.  [What??? Ed.]

Back to reality: …what is going on in 12 across?

  Men abandoning magic to practise crystal-gazing (4)

This was one of the clues where the wordplay indicates the answer with an extra letter.  My first parsing was perhaps ‘original’, by which I mean wrong:  ‘MM’ for Men (it seemed to work in Chambers, just about) being removed from a word for ‘magic’, namely SCRUMMY (in the ‘delightful’ sense), leaving SCRUY.  Remove one letter, U, leaving SCRY, which was definitely the definition.  But this led to a jumble of LLYUOW being required at the end!  Once I later knew it had to be LLYEOW, i.e. YELLOW*, then eventually I spotted S(or)C[E]RY, with OR for ‘men’.  Phew, I’d made hard work of that one…

The remaining challenges came at the end – which words to colour as which, and which to leave alone.  With there being a REDSHANK and a GREENSHANK to choose from, luckily there was one other place to put RED, in REDSTART and nowhere else for GREEN, so that one was sorted.  But what about a possible BLUE-EYE at 9d?  This didn’t look promising, as its intersection with (TAN)AGER at 7a meant that one character would have to have two different colours.  For its defence though, BLUE TIT was the only two-word (two word?) bird involved – was that relevant, somehow?  A careful re-read of the Preamble seemed to suggest No, so BLUE TIT it was.  And a BUTTERBUMP as a bittern was a new word for me, too.

That left whether to write the letters in the appropriate colour or to highlight them.  Well, there’s no mention of highlight anywhere, so it appears to be that the letters should be written in the appropriate colour.  And the title, ‘shady characters’ seems to back this up.  Some, however, especially a yellow HAMMER – and even more so a butter BUMP – aren’t going to show up too well, so it may need a bit of gentle background shading simply to make it readable.

2017-06-24 19.01.52

However, I’d rather No Surprises: I wonder where I could check that that is OK: Computer?
[Radiohead cracker joke mode off]

Finally, thanks to Mrs. Encota for colour advice and use of her appropriate colour
pencils 🙂  Words that sounded like ColourSoft and InkTense (?) and ..and …. kept appearing, along with the ‘what particular shade of Tan were you after?’ questions.  I think I got away with nodding ‘wisely’.


Tim / Encota

*One of those that Ian Hislop on Have I Got News For You might call “a modern beat combo”.  And if all goes to plan (given I’m writing this on 24th June & scheduling it for reading after 14th July) I will have seen Radiohead live again in Manchester last week!  Does anyone else remember that Douglas Adams piece in the H2G2 series where he talks about the biggest problem with ‘time travel’ not being the engineering but actually the need for new verb tenses, e.g. for describing what you did in the future last week?  I’m getting déjà vu feelings from the future about it right now…

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