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Posts Tagged ‘Multiple Deletions’

Multiple Deletions by Ifor

Posted by shirleycurran on 29 Jun 2018

My oh my, what a preamble! We read our way through it twice then resorted to colour-coding to sort out what we were expecting to do. It was clear that we had to find that letter in every clue that was going to spell out part of a verse describing the filled grid. Those letters were going to be anywhere in the clue but, having solved a number of Ifor’s crosswords in the past, we could be sure that they would be cunningly hidden in the instructions for anagramming, enclosing, or in some other way altering clue elements – as indeed they were, ‘cringing’ for example, leading us to ‘ringing’, ‘blagged’ leading to ‘bagged’, and ‘shout’ leading to ‘shot’.

More worrying was the instruction that 20 clues must have one or more letters deleted to form the non-word grid entry. ‘One or more’ – but which? We were still asking ourselves that some time later. The next instruction added complexity, telling us that nine symmetrical pairs of entries would behave in different ways, one where we would delete from the wordplay and the other we where would delete from the definition. Even that central, unclued column was going to undergo deletion and the deleted letters would appear below the grid. It sounded ferocious!

Of course I needed to confirm Ifor’s right of entry to the Listener setters’ oenophile elite and clue 11 gave a little hope – drunken already! ‘Drunken filth repeatedly talking about big cheese in Chicago (13)’ HIGH-MUCK-A-MUCK was a new one on me and not much proof of oenophile expertise and it wasn’t until almost the end of our solve that we found ‘Spare cash following [S]ale (9, two words)’ which gave us BEER MONEY. So all was well, “Cheers, Ifor! See you at the bar.

Clue solving was fun and some very long words speedily appeared: ENUNCIATOR, SCINTI-SCANNER, COUNTERCHANGE, FILIBUSTEROUS, NON-COMMERCIAL, SUB-MACHINE-GUN, CONSENTANEOUS – but what was going on. We had done some careful counting and knew that anywhere between one and six letters were coming out of these to produce the grid entry – but which?

Those pairs of words were a help as PHONEMICS could clearly lead to PHONICS and KINGSHIP to KINSHIP, so a grid fill began, peopled with HIPPO and SUSHI, COUP and BONY but we needed that part of a verse to progress any further and fortunately the words WORLD, CUNNINGLY and ELEMENTS appeared and led to a penny-drop moment. Google confirmed that John Donne in his Holy Sonnet Number Five said ‘I am little world made cunningly of elements’. So that explained the ‘world shape’ of the grid and told us how to fill it – Elements! – Obviously only the single letter ones.

There was still some hard work to do filling the final gaps in our grid and we marvelled that For could have constructed this astonishing compilation. The last move was a delight when we realised that the non-elements that had to be removed from that central column told us to DELETE!



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Listener No 4506: Multiple Deletions by Ifor

Posted by Dave Hennings on 29 Jun 2018

Last year’s Ifor puzzle noted the achievement of Edward Eagan and the coincidence of his two Olympic wins for boXing and boBBing. Without jumping ahead too much, this puzzle delighted us with an even more fascinating coincidence.

I’ve always thought of Ifor as the deletions king. For example (from another puzzle): Revamped department after sacking rogue and seductress (7) leading to DEPARTMENT* – AND* for TEMPTER. So this week, he was in seventh heaven with clues and entries having deletions galore. I was somewhat worried that 20 clues would lead to non-word grid entries, but hopefully things would be definitive.

It took me some time to get my head around the different clue types: all of them had an extra letter; 20 clues were normal, nine had definitions for the entry but wordplay for a longer word, and nine had definitions for a longer word but wordplay for the entry. I decided to highlight entries in the grid according to their clue type: yellow for normal, green for entry given by definition, and orange for longer word given by definition. I won’t show you my worksheet since I got the colouring wrong a couple of times and it looks a mess!

I failed with 1ac Contents of noisy show shot during filming (8) and 6 Tricks on University senate going wrong, taking in Academician by agreement (13) looked like CONSENSUAL or some variation; it turned out to be CONSENTANEOUS — CONS + (ON U SEN[a]TE)* containing A. 13ac Poe paid him to shift large river creature (9) looked like an anagram of Poe paid him but with an extra letter. It didn’t take too long to see HIPPO, but I needed C to reveal HIPPODAME, which was new to me. Mind you that had to go into a 6-letter space.

After a pass through all the clues, I had solved precious few. Even the straightforward normal clue at 24dn Sounded like a horse we hid[e] craftily outside pub (8) WHINNIED couldn’t be entered as the letters needing to be dropped for a 6-letter entry could be any of them. It did, however, enable me to mark its symmetrically opposite entry 3dn as a normal clue.

Progress was very slow, almost as slow as Sabre’s from the previous week. All the clues were up to Ifor’s high standard but, even so, some were tricky to unravel. For example, 15ac New zoo that unveiled trick flying after acquiring one group of sparrows (11) led to ZONOTRACHIA — (N ZOO [t]HAT (t)RIC(k))* holding A. There were also some far-from-everyday words, such as SCINTISCANNER and HIGH-MUCK-A-MUCK.

The message finally spelt out by the extra words in clues was nothing to do with Winnie the Pooh (“I am a bear of very little brain”) but I am a little world made cunningly of elements. Even then, it took a couple of seconds for it to sink in: the letters that were in the grid were all the single-letter chemical symbols. Thus there was no A, D, E, G, J, L, M, Q, R, T, X or Z. The quotation was from John Donne: “I am a little world made cunningly / Of elements and an angelic sprite”.

The final tidying up was spotting that Nadal becoming nada was the “change in capitalisation” in the preamble, and working out what some of the longer words were before being reduced. 14dn PIC was reduced from its longer word DEPICTED (described minutely), and 23dn Let down hammer of Colt — in rearming must prepare to shoot with bow (8) wasn’t UNCOCKED but TURNCOCK: rearming became rearing and we had C (Colt) in RUT< (must) + NOCK (prepare to shoot bow) — now that's the devilish clue of the day!

The last step was to work out the deletions that needed to go beneath the grid. This wasn’t all the letters in the list above, but just those from [D]ONN[E] HO[L]Y SONN[ET] FIV[E], and they spelt out the best BGM (Big Grin Moment) for many moons: DELETE!

Once again, I was amazed at the foresight of authors and other famous people of yesteryear who have been used in Listener themes. John Donne could have written Holy Pentameters or included these lines in Holy Sonnet Four, but no, neither would have enabled DELETE to be spelt out.

Thanks for a really tough challenge, Ifor. Phew!

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