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Posts Tagged ‘MynoT’

‘Silence’ by MynoT

Posted by Encota on 7 July 2017

First of all thanks MynoT for a tricky puzzle, especially the endgame.  Filling all but the top and bottom rows was pretty painless, as several of the five-letter answers in the early down clues EATHE, NARRE, ESTRO, NEEDY had (very likely) to cross STARTLER in consecutive order which, combined with the 180 degree symmetry and the 15-letter DURCHKOMPONIERT across the middle of the puzzle, allowed much of the grid to fall into place.


Talking of heavily-capitalised text, is it only me that finds this next image funny?  It’s odd, after that ‘helpful’ Microsoft paperclip disappeared from MS Word, one can almost miss its presence.  I did say ‘almost‘.

Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 09.12.48 

Anyway, back to the plot.  One clue that intrigued me was:

Walk quietly to dump and turn over earth (6)

…TIPTOE, which I at least parsed as TIP T.O. E(arth).  Assuming I am right, is TO a new ‘impolite’ version of PTO?  I see it’s in Chambers.

I also thought the most inventive clue of them all this week was

  In single combat man is lost in bush (6)

…i.e. MANO A MANO for ‘single combat’, with the second ‘man’ removed to form MANOAO, ‘a shrub of the heath group’ [Origin: Maori], according to Chambers.

After a short delay working out how to place the two 3-letter words and spending far too long not noticing the four out of five down entries in a row marked two words, then it became clear that the two Unclued entries must be blank.  Those four clues were a nice feature, I thought!

That left .E.NE.NTWO.TIS..UCH.INEA.TW.R. to interpret.  I guessed that the DURCHKOMPONIERT answer had some sort of relevance but got hooked on checking numerous Through-Composed examples out for associated text – especially those ending EASTWARD or ANTWERP – and got nowhere.

Two days later (!) I was sitting on a bench in the garden, armed with my laptop when I thought I’d better have one last go at it.  I luckily guessed that the .INE at the end was EINE (with the foothills of my ignorance in German already in sight) and found an online German crossword solver.  Entering A.TW.R. and having Antwort = Answer appear was a very pleasant surprise.  And with Auntie Google’s help, the final phrase, KEINE ANTWORT IST AUCH EINE ANTWORT – which I hadn’t previously heard of – appeared seconds later.  ‘No answer is still an answer’, paraphrasing slightly.

I loved the clues, I loved the grid construction, but I was niggled by my ignorance that meant I spent 60% or more of the time on the final search.  That’s definitely my fault and not MynoT’s though.  A great challenge, very enjoyable and very satisfying to solve it – eventually!

Tim / Encota

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Stomach by MynoT

Posted by shirleycurran on 29 January 2016

MynoT 002These are early days when the editors generally treat us to relatively ‘easy’ puzzles and MynoT had actually told me that he had a puzzle due and that it was fairly easy (but we all know that setters are good at judging the difficulty of other people’s puzzles but not very good at rating their own) so it was with some trepidation that we looked at this large grid, and with even more anxiety that I copied it into Crossword Compiler (such a useful solving tool!) and saw the astonishing unching and almost total lack of symmetry. What were the editors and MynoT treating us to?

Did I say trepidation? It became sheer panic when we compared the word lengths with the spaces in the grid and found, for example, four eleven-letter words but not a single eleven-letter space in the grid, some eight-letter words, likewise with no place to enter them … and so on.

Nothing to be done – except do a quick run through to make sure that MynoT retains his place as an honorary member of the Listener Oenophiles club, though, with good reason (we have shared a glass) I had little doubt. His seventh clue immediately confirmed his place: ‘Stall with coffee or tea (4)’ GAVE B[Y]RE + W, then with that BREW, MynoT ‘Drank back in warehouse (5)’ DEPOT reversed, giving us TOPED. The toping wasn’t over. Later we encountered ‘Grape skins etc that can be fermented without agitation, liable to wither (11)’ – one of those worrying eleven-letter words that, only with the endgame gave us a new word (for the Numpties who should have recognised the reference to MARC) MARCESCIBLE.

MynoT hadn’t yet reached the end of the alcohol references. Next came ‘Foreign soldier to lubricate in bar (5)’ OIL in PU[B] giving POILU, and finally decanters: ‘America is engaged in conveyances for decanters (11 – another of those ‘over-long’ clues!)’ giving us US in TRANSFERS = TRANSFUSERS. Of course, at this stage we had no idea where we could fit that word.

These clues were a fine set and we raced through them, with about three-quarters of them solved in our first hour but, oh dear, the head-scratching about how to fill our grid. There was just one faint hope, as, running out of highlighters and pens, we had, nevertheless, managed to colour code our word lengths and had noticed that there were five spaces for ten-letter words and four clues that would fit. Putting PINSTRIPED and PANEGYRICS into the top left corner, and ESSAYETTES and STRICTNESS into the opposite corner was our way into the grid fill and we quickly slotted in almost all the words we had already found, leaving an intriguing white strip diagonally up/down our grid from top right to bottom left.

Now what? We could see elements of those extra long words in the grid that was appearing but there were, for example, extra letters like SAT in the centre of TETES-A-TETES and RUN in the middle of FORERUNNERS. ‘SATRUN’? AVENA and MUSE gave us VEN and US — Penny drop moment, ‘Venus’! Of course, from then on it was plain sailing – or almost. We still had to put those extra letters OYSSSAISECMLEHL into the clue order in which they appeared in the grid. What did we find? SYMBOLISE CLASHES.

That was clearly telling us that instead of squeezing the letters of Mercury into that tiny cell, we had to enter the symbol for Mercury. Which symbol? One of the Numpties has done computing for the European Space Organisation and he announces that the symbols conventionally used in these ‘modern’ days are the age-old alchemical ones, so we are rather bemused by that requirement to ‘resolve certain anomalies (in a modern scientific way)’.  We put the traditional symbols in with just a hint of anxiety. It would be a shame to be knocked out by the endgame of the second puzzle of the year if the editors have superior knowledge of some ‘modern scientific’ way of representing the planets.

All in all, a lovely puzzle. Many thanks to MynoT for a most enjoyable solve.

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Delightful Punishment by MynoT

Posted by shirleycurran on 7 November 2014

MynoT1MynoT … hmmm. A friend awarded a recent MynoT Listener puzzle his personal ‘Ascot Lead Coffin’ because of the gap and the massive pdm. needed between the grid fill and the endgame. Let’s hope that isn’t the case this time! (It was for me – my own silly fault – see later!) Just to reassure myself, I scan the clues to check that MynoT still qualifies for the Erudite Listener Setters’ Imbibers Fellowship and at first find not a single alcohol-based clue! (Of course, he redeemed himself in 37ac, ‘Absorbed doctor, endlessly cross (5)’ [DR + ANK[h]).  However, there are lots of places (Edinburgh, Spain, Cyprus, Ulster, France, the US, Thailand, Europe, Hell and indeed the Globe), as well as a range of people (Morse, Edmund, Arthur Dent, Ms Thurman, Aussies, the Queen and Diaghilev). Quite a globe-trotting and universe-haunting  setter with a wide range of clue sources before we even get down to the nitty-gritty.

Always a good plan to think about the title. ‘Delightful Punishment’. Well, that doesn’t tell me much does it. MynoT, I see, has been setting and solving these things for about twenty years so he is clearly making a comment on the two or three years a puzzle is in the pipeline awaiting its fate, and the weekly schadenfreude of attempting to solve.

There’s a worryingly short preamble with a mention of clashes but no helpful guiding number – just ‘several’ and a conclusive word is merely going to be ‘hinted at’. Nothing for it – start solving. This is where I make my mistake. Using a crossword-compiler grid can help by producing possible solutions. We usually solve in pencil but just this once, I set up a grid and, of course, because clashing letters fit better into the cells if they are in lower-case, do just that. Big error!

MynoT2The clues are straightforward and generally fair with a couple that are astonishingly generous, ‘Blinds without special fabric (9)’ gives us PERSIENNES less S to get PERSIENNE, and ‘Toby’s hat in ballet for Diaghilev (8)’ requires just a little Googling to find that Diaghilev commissioned de Falla’s ‘Le Chapeau Tricorne’.

Clashes appear regularly and we are almost able to predict where they have to be, as clearly MynoT is too experienced to allow any non words to appear in his final grid, so it has to be shorter words that intersect with, for example, GEOSTRATEGY or TEMPTRESSES that have to have plausible words that could result from resolved clashes. That is how we spot a rather strange frequency of certain letter combinations. We have five of el, three of vw, three of pr, two of fe, an oq, an it and a pb.

Now we justify our membership of the Listener Solvers’ Grid-starers’ Club. It is fairly obvious which of the letters in most of the clashes – but not all – is going to be chosen in order to produce real words but sneaky MynoT has foiled us there with the second clash that could give either LASED/LIGHT or EASED/EIGHT. We feed these pairs of letters into TEA in the hope that a key word will emerge (but of course it doesn’t even when we read them backwards or top to bottom of the grid). In any case, we have sixteen clashes and there are going to be only fifteen in that word we have to find. We attach numerical values to them and attempt to find the letter they add up to or the letter in between them (of course that falls down very quickly).

I am just about to abandon and cook dinner when the other Numpty, who has written the letters down on a sheet of paper in upper case suddenly says ‘It couldn’t be the actual shape of the letters could it?  Of course it could! What an original device. We immediately write SUPERIMPOSITION under the grid and thank MynoT for his delightful punishment.


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All Write for The Listener by Mynot

Posted by shirleycurran on 9 May 2014

MynoT 001The hint in the title didn’t pass us by but we had got a long way into our solve before we managed to apply it to this rather unusually shaped grid (Yes, I realize now that the quotation dictated the shape of the grid). The preamble was slightly daunting with warnings that we had to adapt a certain number of ‘clue answers’ and that ‘the same number of other answers (not thematically treated) have ‘clues’ suffering thematic treatment, in one case twice’.

That wasn’t all of it. We were also instructed that we were removing a letter from every entry and entering it in the ‘peripheral cell of the same row or column as the entry, thus disclosing a slightly modified relevant quotation’.

I took a deep breath and scanned the surface readings to see whether MynoT was reserving his place in the Listener Setters’ bar and he seemed to be mildly dubious about it with ‘Drunken Gabrielle emits bile, tossing drink (6)’  We did some subtraction and removed bile from Gabrielle then anagrammed the GAREL to produce LAGER- and wondered what antics we were going to perform to enter that word, so that it didn’t clash with a truncated LENGTHEN at 42ac. (The French no good? In that case extend … (8) LE + NG + THEN)

The realization that we were actually changing words in the clues to homophones came fairly quickly as ‘They may be played by bows or in large numbers, belles (6)’ was obviously OR in TENS and TENORS are musical instruments of the string variety (that are played by BOWS) or BELLS. So we looked for homophones in the clues and found lots: LEMON for LEMAN, RITE for RIGHT, ERNEST for EARNEST, POLL for POLE, LYE for LIE, NOT for KNOT, BRED for BREAD, RACK for WRACK, PHAT for FAT (a bit of a give-away, that one wasn’t it?), TEE for TEA, BARRES for BARS, PRAYS for PRAISE, and WON for ONE (no way a Yorkshire person pronounces those two the same way!)

However, for a northerner who makes an undue fuss about homophones appearing in crosswords (it is so rare that our vowels sound like those of you southerners who make up the majority of setters and solvers) I have to admit that MynoT has done pretty well, as that is the only truly contentious one that I can moan about.

So, good, that meant that we were able to fill lots of our grid and work out some of the letters that had to migrate into the quotation.

Working out how to thematically treat the answers to ‘the same number of clues’ was not so easy. Some, like URN, giving us EARN, TIME leading to THYME, and ISLES giving AISLES appeared at once and, even when I had a full grid, I was still short of a few.

How then, did we have a full grid. Well, that quotation round the perimeter was very kind. FLYTE leading to FLIGHT was the pdm. and we were able to sort out enough quotation letters to know that we were going to TAKE CARE OF something. ‘?AKE CARE OF THE …’ AND THE SENSE WILL TAKE  ?ARE OF ITSELF’ we were told and Google produced the rest. Knowing what letters were migrating into the perimeter gave us the key to our remaining head scratchers and we learned that CHETAH could be spelled with one E, that our composer had to be FAURE and that REMENS are ‘Royal cubits’!

We had to struggle to work out where our last couple of homophone clues were coming from. AFFEAR had gone into the grid as the only word that would fit but now we learned that AFFEER is ‘to reduce to a certain fixed sum’ and we worked out that convoluted word-play ‘How sick leper (person shunned) becomes healed (4)’ (HOW* = WHO  + LEPER less PER = WHOLE, giving us a homophone for HOLE – quite a feat!) The surface reading for that cue worked too!

Two hours of solid workout and a full grid that must have taken many more hours to compile. Many thanks MynoT.

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