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Posts Tagged ‘Malva’

Listener No 4587: Of Course by Malva

Posted by Dave Hennings on 17 January 2020

Malva is the ornithological version of Dipper the Gardener, his previous puzzle with its migrating birds appearing less than a year ago in March. Here we had the answers and the clues being altered thematically, half one way and half another.

Cutting a long story short [Pun intended? Ed.], the thematic adjustents consisted of losing the last two or three letters of words. This seemed a bit vague to me, but assumed that all would be made clear later.

My favourite clue, due its novelty, was 7dn 4/13 + 2/3 + 3/4 + 1/6 is example of sum[ach] (4) for RHUS. I wondered if Malva thought this would be accepted by the vetters — or was it their clue?! And thank goodness he didn’t use this technique in his clue for BANDOLEONS! I also liked some of the thematic adjustments, like pass[age], fun[gal] and aster[oid].

Reaching the endgame, I must confess that the link between the title and the missing letters didn’t jump to mind. After all, losing two or three letters is not quite the same as scoring fewer shots, golf being a game where fewer is better! It needed me to find ALCATRAS in column 4 of the grid with its definition in Chambers telling me it was “a name applied to several large water birds, such as the pelican, gannet, frigate bird and albatross”. Kerching! And there in row 10 was ERNE the Eagle.

I have only ever seen one person at my golf club get an albatross, a rare feat indeed: as we left the green of a par 5, a ball rolled up and into the hole — from 220 yards away. One lucky teenager!

Slotting the SARDINE under the grid finished the puzzle. Thanks for the entertainment, Malva. I’d have been mortified if I hadn’t got there.
 

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Of Course by Malva

Posted by shirleycurran on 17 January 2020

“Malva” we said – does that mean birds? (Or birdies? But we didn’t think of a golf course ‘Of Course’ at this stage – that came after rather a lot of head scratching when we had a full grid, a sardine and a couple of large birds attacking it at almost midnight.)

I didn’t really need to confirm Malva’s right of.admission to the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit as I believe he earned that earlier this year. However, I did my customary hunt and there was ‘port’, ‘Lett succeeded hiding in part of harem in port (6)’. By this time we had understood that we were removing two or three letters from the solution or from a word in the clue. We opted for LETT(er) in ODA, giving ODESSA. Not much port there. A more convincing quantity of GINS was upturned in ‘Count fish traps backwards (4)’. We decided it was a COUNT(ry) fish, a SNIG. A rather muted “Cheers, Malva”. Clearly there might have been a few EAGLES and ALBATROSSES but no hole-in-one, when Malva would have had to buy a round for everyone in the clubhouse but we’ll settle for the port and gins.

Filling the grid became easier as we progressed and long words like NYSTATIN, HEPATICA and SPATTERDASH and BANDOLEONS were offered to us by TEA or Crossword compiler using the letters we had, but it was the short words like HAFT, FIAT, SORRA and TETRA that proved to be the most difficult, since we didn’t have the reassurance of word length provided. Still, we soon had AR, IDE and NS as the alterations for the three italicised clues and those jumbled to a SARDINE.

That creature  might not be happy to see either of the ‘examples of a strand in the theme’. We could see a potential CAT, an ERNE and an ALCATRAS in the grid but it took us a long time to suss that two of those were an eagle and an albatross – so the penny dropped – they were what were clipping off the tails of the poor sardines, or being two or three below par ‘of course’.

An interesting new device, Malva. I must remember next time a grid is giving me trouble – just choose a few long words and chop the ends off when I get to a bar. Many thanks for the last Listener crossword of the year.

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L4587: ‘Of Course’ by Malva

Posted by Encota on 17 January 2020

A neat puzzle with an infuriating endgame!

I had a bout of thickness, where I had no idea what the Title was referring to. So I visited the Nineteenth Hole for inspiration …

After too long, it turned out I was on a golf course. That achieving two or three under being called an Eagle and an Albatross I did know. Spotting them in the forms highlighted above – in particular ALCATRAS – was much, much harder!

Finding the additions in the clues was fun,
e.g 35d. Prune aster to wrap in waxed cloth (4)

With a couple of crossing letters and the definition ‘to wrap in waxed cloth’ it was clear that the answer was almost certainly CERE. But why?

Realising that ‘aster’ was actually ‘3 under’ and should have been reading ‘asteroid‘ made it clear. The clue really read: Prune asteroid to wrap in waxed cloth (4)

So, start with CERES, prune off the S and we’re sorted. Good fun!

Cheers,

Tim / Encota

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Migratory Birds by Malva

Posted by shirleycurran on 15 March 2019

Haven’t we met Malva’s birds before? We had an astonishing flock this time, forty-three in all, I think, if we count the HERON and TIT that migrated from the clues into the grid, as well as the three jumbled ones. It didn’t take us long to find the ones in the clues and to see that they each had to migrate to a different clue, though I had never heard of a KOKAKO or a PRION. The last three, the rather confused wee things, the CRAKE, TEREK and VIREO were more difficult to spot.

Alcohol? Not a drop but some fairly gory eating going on. ‘Old noble juror reversing right to eat innards of raven (5)’ We switched the raven for the prion and we reversed RT round its innards to give us TRIOR. We were decapitating birds, ‘Don Quixote maybe decapitating grebe in front of King Edward (6)’ – we swapped the grebe for a stilt, removed its head and got TILTER – and had a Maori meal of the last of buzzards, for just over a pound. It took us a while to work out where we were going to get our T to put into KAI to give KATI. Was it the tit, the peewit, the parakeet, the stilt or the avocet? We needed to keep a careful record of the birds that had migrated in order to suss the wordplay of our last few clues.

SCRIGGLED was our final entry and fortunately, we knew we still had that grebe to place so we were able to anagram SCALDING GREBE less BEAN to produce a word that Chambers tells me means writhed – ‘After spitting out jumping bean, scalding pintail twisted and writhed about (9)’

What can I say? I thought Malva was a bird lover, but we have a peewit that’s lost wing, that decapitated grebe, a half-hearted stork, pigeons that go weird, a very sad swift lacking bone, odd parts of a kite used to make rosin and mangled bird remains all over the grid – a mighty massacre, almost reminiscent of the Jago wren event of several years ago. It just won’t do, Malva! I wonder whether your setter’s blog will tell us that you have quit the twitching and are taking up cookery, train-spotting or stamp collecting.

But it was a great grid to fill and a lot of fun. We’ll look forward to the next flight.

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L4543: ‘Migratory Birds’ by Malva

Posted by Encota on 15 March 2019

Warm wishes from Sunny Suffolk, the home of RSPB Minsmere where numerous fans of this puzzle most likely congregate before heading off to warmer climes for the winter.

2019-02-23 21.54.56 copy

I greatly enjoyed the moment when it became clear that birds, one of which featured in every clue, ‘migrated’ from one clue to another before solving could finally take place.  Of course half the fun was finding that the wordplay nearly worked in some cases before the move but was in error – and it was that which allowed me at least to see what was actually going on.

There were 38 clues/birds to migrate: I sorted the first 25 of them, then resorted to a small checklist (see right hand side of diagram above) to compare the remaining (13) birds at that time with no new home with their potential wordplay ‘nests’ [I think this analogy has gone way too far: Ed.]

I particularly liked the subtlety in the clue,

  Idiot putting any odd bit of heron under beetle (4):

Now we’ve seen DOR for beetle before (and I’ve forgotten it several times, too!), so the idiot looks like it may well be DORK.  But how does the final K come from the rest of the wordplay?  Well, one of the birds still looking for a new home is the ‘KoKaKo’: and ‘any odd bit of KOKAKO’ is the letter K, so all is sorted.  That also used up one of the two remaining birds beginning with a K, allowing me to be certain that the one left, KINGFISHER, moved to 28d’s,

At the start, prion to roll up wooden ball 
(4)

The wooden ball was a KNUR, made up of K+RUN<, so replacing ‘prion’ with ‘kingfisher’ sorted that one out too.

The correct repositioning of the birds in the clues was for me the most fun part.  There were three jumbled birds also hidden in the grid, in vertical lines.  I think I went through all of Mrs. Bradford’s 5-letter birds in all the columns and could only find – jumbled in contiguous cells – VIREO, TEREK and CRAKE, which I’ve highlighted.  I’m not sure I haven’t missed something far more subtle hiding there, but what I’ve done meets the spec of the Preamble, so I called it a day at that point.

Prior to that I had hunted out as many 5-letter birds as I could find in each vertical, in case that was going to give me further enlightenment – you may detect their faint tracks in the image above.  And when I was reminded by Mrs B that ‘Wonga’ was a bird then I did try, naturally with a very high level of interest, to find it in the grid.  However, it appears that bird has flown.

Finally, I did quite like the Sarf London description of birdsong at 32a, pronounced TWI’ER.  I’ll get my coat …

Cheers,

Tim / Encota

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