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Posts Tagged ‘Oxymoron’

Listener No 4623: Tears by Oxymoron

Posted by Dave Hennings on 25 Sep 2020

Every now and then, before seeing the weekly Listener, I wonder who the setter might be. This week, I wondered if it might be Tiburon, Ferret or Shark. Imagine my surprise to see that it was none of those but instead Oxymoron. I wouldn’t have guessed that in a month of Sundays since that is the Sunday Enigmatic Variations pseudonym of our late departed Schadenfreude. I wondered if this was a present from the guys at EV where Oxymoron may have been scheduled to appear after the now-averted closure of that series.

Here we had a grid containing clashes in some cells that would give thematic items that would eventually need replacing. The replacement would be given by an extra word in some clues to non-clashing answers that had only one letter in common with their entry, a technique originated by this setter, I believe.

As usual, the clues were generally tricky but fair and the clashes were slowly eked out. Unlike some other puzzles, the clashes weren’t jumbles, but spelt out the thematic items in sequence of across/down or down/across letters. Thus, HEAVEN, STAR and GOSPEL were easily uncovered.

Unfortunately, none of those, nor SHINER, RANGER or RIVAL, gave me any inkling as to what the theme may be. With most of the grid complete, I decided some ODQing was required, and chose “gospel”. Luckily, there were only six entries, and the first gave “Four for the G. makers   Anon 19:7”. (In an older edition, it was under Songs, spirituals, and shanties.) This is The Dilly Song featuring “Green grow the rushes O.” So Tears = Rushes as in speeds along!

With that, I could finish everything off. However, I was a bit concerned about 33ac Hard growth on west-facing tree (6). The wordplay seemed to give CORN + RE<, but surely the tree was CORNEL. The entry for corner didn’t help, so a bit of reverse engineering was required to see that under tree was “to drive into a tree, to corner (also fig)”. So CORNER it was. (Mrs B would also have helped.)

All done and dusted, with the extra words revealing that the number was to replace the thematic entries. In reverse order, 12–1: APOSTLE, HEAVEN, COMMANDMENT, SHINER, RANGER, STAR, WALKER, SYMBOL, GOSPEL, RIVAL, BOY, ONE.

Farewell again, Oxymoron. Enjoyable as always.


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Tears by Oxymoron

Posted by shirleycurran on 25 Sep 2020

Imagine our surprise on finding a crossword by Oxymoron. We have already said our ‘Goodbye’ to Schadenfreude (his other setter pseudonym). Here we find ‘Tears’ – another sad goodbye? Is it disrespectful to wonder whether the first clue, ‘Strange letter about ancient ghost’, is a ‘beyond the grave’ comment? Ah, no. We invert RUM EL and find a LEMUR (and, of course, that rum, as well as the ‘angel’s share’ in clue 9 will provide the necessary alcohol to drink to Oxymoron’s health). We raise our glasses.

A mere five lines of preamble and we are left in no doubt about what we are going to do. Across and down clues are going to provide us with the two parts of words and we will replace those in our grid with something that will ‘replace the thematic item’. We guess already that this will be some kind of symbol, probably a number, and when RIVAL, WALKER, RANGER and SHINER appear from the combined elements of our solutions, a familiar song is evident; ‘Green grow the rushes, O’.

That LE from the LEMUR has to combine with the APOS from APOSTATIC to give us number 12, ‘Twelve for the twelve apostles’.

Still, we know that we will need to find GOSPEL-MAKER, COMMANDMENT and LILY-WHITE BOY and those are clearly going to provide a challenge for Oxymoron. Then we see that we can combine TELE-COMMAND with CLEMENT in the bottom right-hand corner. – one problem solved – we have one of the commandments.

‘Moral offences disturbed slaves in North Island (8, two words)’ anagrams to VENIAL SINS and this is clearly going to give us the VEN of the ‘Eleven who went to Heaven’, but we waste too long attempting to pair this with a word beginning with ELE, when what is needed is one beginning with HEA (for HEAVEN) and when ANGELUS and GOSPODARS pair up to give us GOSPEL (‘Four for the Gospel makers’) we realize that Oxymoron has been obliged to take a few short cuts, HEAUMES gives us the ‘old-fashioned headgear’.

So OSBORNE (the playwright in 34) pairs up with the Y of STILTY (hidden in ‘Limited amount of foreST IN TYrone) to give us simply ‘BOY’ for the ‘lily-white boy’ (clearly he’s lost his purity on that RUM and the heroin of clue 6, ‘Sixteen seen taking heroin (6)”). We have already found our SHINER in clue 16’s SHINiness, so this is clearly one clue referring to another (we always mutter about those) and gives us SHEEN.

We have our twelve and all that remains is to replace them with the appropriate numbers. Another Oxymoron gem with challenging but fair clues.


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L4623: ‘Tears’ by Oxymoron

Posted by Encota on 25 Sep 2020

A precisely constructed and clued puzzle from Oxymoron (aka the late Schadenfreude).

For me the toughest clue by far was 33a’s:

Hard growth on west-facing tree (5)

I think I first attempted it when it seemed more likely that the answer would have 5 letters, which threw me somewhat.

Then I realised it may well have more and found a tree CORNEL (or CORNELIAN), which looked promising. The CORN part for ‘Hard growth’ was easy. But was the rest of the wordplay going to be some sort of cut-down LEG (i.e. ‘on’ in cricket), reversed? LE’ Before Wicket, something like that? No sign of that in The Dictionary.

Eventually I ‘bothered’ to look up tree in the BRB and happened upon, for me at least, the following unexpected definition:

tree (vt): to drive into a tree, to corner (also figurative)

So CORNER was the answer, with simply RE< for ON, so providing the ‘NE in the grid of ONE (All Alone etc from the song Green Grow The Rushes O).

The prompt to use the ODQ version was vital as there appear to be so many versions of the song to choose from: I was looking for RAINER at 8 and ARRIVAL at 3 initially, for example!

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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