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Posts Tagged ‘Mr E’

Listener No 4672: Form..ation by Mr E

Posted by Dave Hennings on 3 Sep 2021

Last year’s puzzle from Mr E had ALL being lost from entries but reappearing bigly in the final grid. This week, extra words in the clues would formulating a line from a song (given by second letters) and a prefix of some sort (given by nth letters).

As expected, the clues were quite tough with some smooth surface readings disguising what was going on, and extra words adding to the confusion. Time here only to reveal my favourites.

  • 11ac Locals obey these [medics], as will our queen when ill (10, two words) gave us LIQUOR LAWS [(AS WILL OUR Q)*].
  • 21ac [Anyone] playing along with Mr E may be a lug (9) for ANGLEWORM [(ALONG + MR E)*]
  • 6dn Eruption of Krakatoa could be threat to this NZ tree (6) for KARAKA [TO + KARAKA = KRAKATOA*]
  • Best of all: 16ac Chicken crosses road to get the ultimate in [chicken] happiness (6) for HEAVEN [HEN around AVE (avenue)]

Listing the second letters of all the extra words enabled the prefix to be easily identified: The lit[h]tl[n]e one st[l]ops to shut[e] th[r]e d[r]oor. Examining those remaining extra words revealed that it was their fourth (thematic) letters that had to be used to give conson, not a prefix I’ve used before!

Googling the songs line gave the children’s rhyme The Ants Go Marching, each verse telling us how they marched (one by one, two by two, etc) and what the little ant stopped to do, in our case to shut the door. Prefixing ant with ‘conson’ gave consonant and some grid examination was then required to identify the participants and non-participants.

The diagonal near the bottom right — DDNJFZNT — gave me a nudge in the right direction, with MBGH to its right and SLDQ in the top left. Filling in the groups of four in between and we had all the consonants with AYOIEU in the bottom left.

The title, of course, was not Formulation but Formication.

A neat idea, nicely executed. Thanks, Mr E.


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L4625: ‘If P Then Q?’ by Mr E

Posted by Encota on 9 Oct 2020

My solution looked like this:

With an (I paraphrase) ‘Is all lost?’ theme, COVID on Row 9, analgesia down the right and Alkie at 5d, all looked pretty bleak.

A not-too-tough but a well constructed puzzle, built around the phrase IF ALL IS NOT LOST THEN WHERE IS IT? [Also available on Etsy on fridge magnets and badges].

I had one or two incorrectly guessed extra words to begin with: eg in 35ac I had TALAPOINS defined as ‘monkeys’ and was assuming that ‘Green’ was superfluous. Easily fixable though, once it began to be clear what the hidden message might be – and when I discovered that ‘Green monkeys’ were actually ‘a thing’.

Wishing you all well,

Tim / Encota

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My Nap by Mr E

Posted by shirleycurran on 26 Jul 2019

Redstart and Wren flew out at me as I was printing Mr E’s crossword so I suspected that we were going to have something like a Hedge Sparrow compilation. Of course, I then checked that Mr E was retaining his admission to the Listener Oenophile Elite and he left me in little doubt. The ‘pints’ started it off (though they were ‘cuckoo’). ‘Sundials upended – note one among cuckoo pints (9)’ gave us SOL + I in ARUMS = SOLARIUMS. Things became a bit more boozy with ‘Members of Russian sect do OK mixing brandy with shrub (9)’. We extracted the brandy as an extra word and mixed DO OK with SHRUB to get DUKHOBORS (fortunately the other Numpty had heard of them so our grid fill advanced substantially).

Things improved after that shrubby brandy, ‘When imbibing spirit, they may favour the young bourbons (7)’. Again we extracted the alcohol and opted for AS rounf GEIST, giving us AGEISTS. With the pints, followed by the brandy then the bourbons, we can safely say “Cheers, Mr E!”

The grid filled easily except for those wretched jumbles. Yes, we spotted the WIRE, the MUSTELINE and the SUCKER but how were we going to jumble them. Fortunately a phrase emerged from the extra letters WHAT AN ADDITION TO … THAT WOULD BE and better still, BECKETT. I pride myself on knowing Beckett’s works quite well having worked with students on ‘Malone Dies’, ‘Waiting for Godot’ and ‘Endgame’ many times, but I had never encountered ‘Company’, and the ODQ was no help. Yet again, thank you for the Internet.

And what a delight to see that adding a little COMPANY (CO) to those jumbled words would give CONTUMELIES, COCKSURE, COWRIE, COPPERNOSE and CONCIERGE. We were left with one empty cell: TOE? Well, I know that the TOEA is the coinage of Papua New Guinea and that is ‘sort of’ on edge of Australia’ but can ‘ordinary’ be coinage and is TEA a writer of mysteries. Flummoxed! I wondered whether any solverswill opted for TOEA (and not TEY round O, TOEY, which apparently means ‘on edge’ in Australia.

Gentle and good fun. Many thanks to Mr E.

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L4562: ‘My Nap’ by Mr E

Posted by Encota on 26 Jul 2019

As soon as 17ac’s entry began to look like -NCIERGE I knew we were in for a treat.  Mr E’s use of the not-so-easy-to-find quotation, “What an addition to company that would be”, from Beckett’s novella Company, was delightful.

It transpired that the ‘normal’ clues had to be entered in a jumble, such that the addition of CO- for Company at each start would form a new word.  So, as well as (CO)NCIERGE, the puzzle featured (CO)WRIE, (CO)NTUMELIES, (CO)CKSURE & (CO)PPERNOSE.

And the Title?  With Mr E, we’re clearly in good (CO)MPANY*.


Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4562: My Nap by Mr E

Posted by Dave Hennings on 26 Jul 2019

Two years ago, Mr E gave us Nostrum, with Alice, The Mad Hatter, a Raven and a Writing Desk. That had a lot going on, and came close to tripping me up. This week, a puzzle that looked likely to reflect part of my day during hot summer weather.

Here, we had a few normal clues — well, thanks. Unfortunately, they had to be entered all jumbly in accordance with a quotation found “several times in a work”. The remaining clues had an extra word to be removed with their initial letters spelling out the quotation (minus the title) and the writer’s name.

In fact, the clues started off being quite straightforward, with 1ac [Weary] flyer to get going again around beginning of December (8) giving REDSTART and 7ac Pervert [hates] wife — and all others (5) for WREST, although the pervert meaning was new to me.

With but a rotor as an anagram for OBTURATOR, the top was looking good. Unfortunately, my solving speed began to look less good as there were some interesting clues to unravel but some entertaining surface readings. I particularly liked 14ac Flower from tree in Penny Lane [neighbourhood] (7) (PRIMULA — RIMU in P + LA) and Chemical engineer in Sweden [discussing] the best source of tungsten (9) (SCHEELITE — CHE in S + ELITE). 10dn A bit of rainfall [looming], he drops out of the running (5) (TRACE) describes me when it comes to playing golf.

The normal clues led to GENERIC, SUCKER, MUSTELINE, WIRE and PROPENSE. Three of these could easily be entered as there was only one unch: NCIERGE, CKSURE and WRIE.

Eventually, I had the titleless quotation and author given by What an addition to that would be. Beckett. Unfortunately, my ODQ revealed nothing that could come to the rescue. However, with NCIERGE and CKSURE across the middle of the grid, CONCIERGE and COCKSURE stuck out like a sore thumb and with CO + MY NAP giving COMPANY, I was on the right track. [CO]WRIE was at 7dn.

My ODQ still didn’t help, so it appeared that this was a puzzle where a couple of ducks were required. (I’ve changed my search engine to duckduckgo!). Company is a novella by Beckett in which “… what an addition to company that would be…” appears several times.

So, just finishing off those two ambiguous entries, gave us [CO]NTUMELIES and [CO]PPERNOSE. I think I owe thanks to Mr E for having the cocksure concierge across the middle of the grid as I am not sure that I would have made the connection quite so quickly if they had been downs.

Thanks for an enjoyable puzzle, Mr E.

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