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Posts Tagged ‘Malva’

L4543: ‘Migratory Birds’ by Malva

Posted by Encota on 15 Mar 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 

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 …


Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4543: Migratory Birds by Malva

Posted by Dave Hennings on 15 Mar 2019

Ah, it’s nature week again with Malva (formerly Dipper). Last year’s puzzle was based around alternative names for birds. This week gave us the shortest preamble for a very long time, and just explained what we had to do once the grid was filled — highlight three muddled birds.

As I read through the across clues, I marvelled at Malva’s ability to incorporate a bird in each one. However, my solving was not so marvellous, and after 7 or 8 across clues, I decided to try some downs. No luck!

I then wondered if the birds were just extra words that needed to be removed before clues could be solved. Going back to 1ac, that idea failed to fly — pardon the pun! Finally getting my brain into gear, 15ac Elegise nandoos creatively in cast iron (12) seemed to be a likely anagram, but just a couple of letters too many. “SPIEGELEISEN”, I said out loud, but not until I’d read “spiegeleisen” in Mrs B under iron! I must admit that I didn’t really expect to find that there. Disentangling elegise from it, I found that the clue should have read Elegise snipe creatively in cast iron (12), the snipe coming from 8dn.

How cunning, and how obvious from the title! So, for the next couple of hours (actually, a bit more, I think) all these birds had to migrate to different clues before they could be solved. Very enjoyable. My favourite clue, primarily because of its novelty, was 9dn. Once the heron and been replaced by the kokako, we had Idiot putting any odd bit of kokako under beetle (4) — DOR + (K(okako) or (ko)K(ako) or (koka)K(o))!

Finding the three birds in the grid that were muddled was relatively straightforward, helped by the preamble: “each 5 letters, in a vertical line.” CRAKE was the first to pop up, in column 11. TEREK took a bit of time (column 6), followed by VIREO (column 4).

Thanks, Malva, for a nicely thematic and entertaining puzzle.

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‘Milky’ by Malva

Posted by Encota on 15 Jun 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 Jun 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 Jun 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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