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Posts Tagged ‘Mira’

Bleak Expectations by Mira

Posted by shirleycurran on 15 Oct 2021

After last week’s long haul solving the Enigmatist Variety Show, we were hoping for something easier and it was a relief to download Mira’s 13 X 13 grid with just five lines of preamble, symmetrical bars, a set of across and a set of down cues and only a pair of identified clue gimmicks. Mira? A new setter? We asked ourselves, but the quality of the clues soon suggested that he was not quite a newcomer.

Still, I needed to confirm that he retains his place at the Listener setters’ bar (even if that’s the last place I remember seeing him). He gave us little doubt, ‘Budding wine fancier uses a round schooner (9)’ I’m not sure that we would regard SAUTERNES as Pudding wine, but the verbal exchange soon gave us that P, and we produced a ‘fancier’ (anagrammed) USES A round a TERN for the schooner. Then he was into the beer, ‘Whence inspiration for the Kop? Half a pint at least (5)’ His Kop became a ‘Koi’ which breathes through its gills and, of course two GILLS produce half a pint – what a fine play on words!

There was a short diversion into ‘dry’ or TT in the wordplay of PETSITTER (one in charge of mewer) but he was soon back on the beer, ‘Flaws in Poldark’s ego, lifting European beer(5)’ Chambers tells us that ‘CH’ is I in south-west England, say Cornwall, where Dickens was so shocked by the conditions in the Poldark mine. So we raise that ALE in CH and produce CHELAE (maybe the claws of the petsat cat?)

Still more mixing of the wine and beer. ‘Alcoholic drunk briefly excited (4)’ Oh dear, that had to be the setter’s favourite ASTI (not quite ‘astir’) giving us an alcoholic drink. What can I say? Cheers, Mira!

There were lots of smiles, and the title and all those Dickensian names in the clues (Pip, The Avenger, Leeford, Endell – yes, she’s in David Copperfield – Sowerberry, Rouncewell, Wardle, Augustus Snodgrass) and CRUMMLES as a solution led us on a fine goose chase but the exchange that emerged from the corrected misprints “DO YOU EXPECT ME TO TALK?” “NO MR [BOND] I EXPECT YOU TO DIE” took us to Goldfinger and a fine endgame where, in a kind of lipogram, we highlighted the only examples of the letters BOND to produce a mini James Bond shape and saw that evil LASER directed at him.

Impressive setting and fun to solve. Many thanks, Mira.


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Listener No 4678: Bleak Expectations by Mira

Posted by Dave Hennings on 15 Oct 2021

The first new setter for a few weeks with Mira and what looks from the title like a bit of a Dickens mishmash. Some dialogue to be uncovered here via misprints plus a few extra words. A brief scan of the clues identified Sowerberry, Scrooge and Snodgrass lurking within, further hinting at the Dickens theme, although I’m not sure that Mr Muscle or Poldark appeared in any of his novels!

I do enjoy misprints, mainly because they make a welcome break from extra letters in wordplay, but I may be in a minority here. That the misprints were in the definitions made life somewhat easier.

I got off to a slow start, especially since I was convinced that 1ac Mining colleagues requiring smeary dirt steam treated (9) was a sop to Ms Curran, Mining being a misprint for Wining! After solving 11 Roesti cooked after Mum turned pan off (8) for AMORTISE [MA< + ROESTI*] and 12ac Why was The Avenger, Pip’s servant, ultimately engaged? (5) STEED [SEED around (servan)T with Why the misprint of Who], I moved onto the downs and 1dn MISE [MISE(r)] enabled me to see that we were talking about Dining colleagues at 1ac with MESSMATES [MESS + STEAM*].

Onwards and upwards and the grid filled nicely, pretty much top to bottom although it was by no means a very easy solve. Along the way, there were some entertaining clues, including the Avengers one mentioned above.

17acBudding wine fancier uses a round schooner (9)SAUTERNES(USES A)* around TERN with Budding for Pudding
37acMr Muscle flexed for Baz’s top luvvy (8)CRUMMLES(MR MUSCLE)* and Baz for Boz — Dickens again!
5dnIt’s thought we heard crackers on small plate being served up (6)MADGESMAD + SEG< with heard for hoard
26dnGerman formerly in the House, possibly lacking aspiration, lost her seat (6)TERESA(HER SEAT – H)*; a reference to the late Teresa Gorman, British MP; toughie for overseas solvers

There were also a couple of sneaky clues. 15ac Part of Hertford’s repast, regurgitated? (3) which was a sort of &lit (the first time I’ve seen that with a misprint, I think) for ERS with the definition requiring Hereford (cows) and the wordplay (Hertford’)S RE(past)<. I think! And 3dn Maxes out credit card — starting thus? (4) for SEES with Maxes for Makes and credit card beginning with two Cs! Moreover, I don’t think I’ve ever used a SQUILGEE before!

And so we had corrected misprints revealing “Do you expect me to talk?” “No, MrI expect you to die.” I needed to google to reveal the Goldfinger scene in the laboratory where Bond is about to be sliced in two with a LASER, from the extra words in clues — Leeford, Augustus, Sowerberry, Endell, Rouncewell.

A nice bit of highlighting finished things off with the letters of BOND in the shape of Sean Connery (?) and the LASER beam rising up to almost meet him.

Great fun, Mira. It’s always nice for the endgame to produce a smile.

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