Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Posts Tagged ‘Poat’

Elusive Figures (Return of the Hare) by Poat

Posted by shirleycurran on 17 Sep 2021

Poat, (of Hare fame, see below)! The grid took us by surprise and the other Numpty had to explain to me how an entry could go in in any of six directions. Of course, many of the entries didn’t have that range of possibilities though the first alcohol I spotted in the grid (REDS), ‘Potter’s group of 15 radicals (4)’ with a double definition, the red snooker balls and political radicals, clearly was one that would have to be inserted later, as it did.

MOR ‘Local girl marks getting gold (3)’ soon told us that Poat’s next alcoholic clue ‘Butt with wine overlapping came up again (6)’ (rear overlapping with rosé giving REAROSE) had only two possible directions left. And so it went on with some long answers fixing the directions of entries. Of course, with that overlapping butt and the reds and rosé, Poat clearly retains his place amidst the Listener Setter Oenophiles, “Cheers, Poat!”

Long solutions like VILLAGE IDIOT, HäLLEFINTA, INTANGIBLE, PECKSNIFFIAN, AS LARGE AS LIFE and so on, helped us with a task that had initially seemed very daunting and soon we had a full grid with sets of extra words that we realized were appearing in a familiar numerical sequence – the triangular numbers 1,3,6,10,15,21,28 and 36 – spelled out 3 like plane/ figures: group/ 64 east of/ two little points/ tango in corner/ group of 16/ in centre tool/ grape and vetch.

We had spotted those two little points, ‘one accent is required’, in LäNDER and HäLLEFINTA as we solved but it still took us a while to suss what had to be successively erased from the grid – three triangles – a 64 cell one, the little T(ango) and 16 cells in the centre of what was left.

Three triangles to remove

We had definitions for tool, grape and vetch and, of course those prompted us to the favourite setters’ words HOE, UVA and ERS, but there was some grid-staring before we managed to spot the the three interlocked shapes with those letters in their extreme cells. Then came our red-herring – ESCHER and EULER seemed to be candidates but the need for a sum of 39 created a very strange third member of the complete sequence of thematic names. Fortunately, a little hunting on the Internet told me that this was a PENROSE triangle so Euler became REUTERSVäRD and we had completed this brillint compilation.

The HARE? Maybe I should recap for newer solvers. Poat is renowned among setters for his, dare I say ‘sneaky’, hare who crept into the preamble of a crossword and had to be highlighted. We loved that little hare as we spotted his mischievous trick, and he eliminated all the solvers who were ahead of us in the ‘All correct’ list and won the Solver Silver Salver for the Numpties. What’s more, I found him in every crossword and included him in every single Listen With Others blog for the following year until he trotted off for his hairy holidays or staycation or whatever. But we knew Poat would not write a crossword without allowing him to creep back into the grid, pre-ramble, or clues and, sure enough, the sneaky little beast has returned in clue 31 ‘Disturbed the northern ground undER A High place (8, 2 words)’ That gave T + UNDER* + UP = TURNED UP. He has indeed. Welcome back little hare!

Return of the Hare


Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Listener No 4572: Don’t Tell by Poat

Posted by Dave Hennings on 4 Oct 2019

Last year’s Poat was based on PG Wodehouse’s Unpleasantness at Buddleigh Court. (“The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun.”) I expected a fairly tough workout this week.

Here, we had seven clues that needed to be treated according to a literary technique before solving. I think it safe to say looking back, that I hadn’t a clue what that could possibly be. I just highlighted it and started solving.

A full run through all the clues, and I was none the wiser. I was, however, surprised at how much of the grid was filled — I’d say about 30%. (OK, I’m easily pleased!) It wasn’t much later that 4dn Moped around part of church in total control (5). VESPA looked likely for the Moped part, and APSE< for part of church. That just left the V, which could easily come from middle of service a few clues further down at 8dn.

So clues had bits swapped around? If so, the literary technique still completely passed me by. Even without being affected, some clues needed some thought to be sure my answers were right. Even 1ac At hospital see my heart stop (3), which was obviously HOA, took a bit of time to realise that the my referred to Poat — H + (P)OA(t)!

Also worthy of note was 28dn Common accompaniment to pain? (6) giving BEURRE. In daily Times speak, this was a cryptic definition, although I don’t think they appear very often in the Listener. Here, pain was French bread. Bizarrely, beurre appears in Chambers, but pain doesn’t, except in the guise of pain au chocolat!

I think the rejigging of the clues gives:

23ac/25ac Running behind with elite guards leaving site of ancient culture (6, two words) LA TENE
25ac/4dn Poet’s to go off Australian in total control (7) EMPAIRE
34ac/26dn Little creations Paul Bocuse endlessly whipped up (8) OPUSCULA
4dn/8dn Moped around part of church after middle of service (5) VESPA
8dn/14dn Regarding unfinished public toilet on the throne (6) REGENT
14dn/23ac … Scottish one’s turned sick during sea voyage (7) LILLIAS
26dn/34ac Vessel over in Russian capital must be unloaded on the wings (7) MUDSCOW

With grid complete, the circled letters gave, top to bottom, RUSRBGUOH and it didn’t take long to unravel BURROUGHS. I assumed this would be the William S who was a somewhat (for want of a better phrase) off-the-wall author in the middle of the twentieth century. The initial letters of the answers to clues affected by the chopping around gave one of his partners, which I initially assumed was in a professional sense. VRLLEMO, however, was easily unjumbled to give VOLLMER, one of Burroughs’s wives.

More Wiki revealed that Burroughs had a “cut-up” period and that explained what was going on. All that was now left was to identify the musical work that we were required to highlight. At 13 letters, I assumed that it would be one of the diagonals, but I would need to treat the two columns and then two rows thematically before that may or may not be confirmed.

I stared at the grid for a few minutes wondering what to do. The left hand column seemed a logical starting point. Whether Poat was being deliberately helpful, I don’t know, but KENT at the bottom could be replaced by RING from column 11. And blow me down, TAPEWORM would then become GAPEWORM, which I’d not heard before.

Columns done, now the rows. LACKED now appeared to the right of row 10 and that could replace LEGMAN in row 3 to give CHADDAR, RECENT, TEEMING and EDDA in the north-east, with TECHY, DEGREE, DEBARRING and BERGANDER appearing in the south-east corner.

Identifying THE BLACK RIDER in rows 2, 3 & 4, not one of the diagonals after all, finished it off… I hope! (I should add that cracking the endgame didn’t take the five minutes that this blog may indicate!)

Thanks for a pretty tough workout this week, Poat.

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Tell by Poat

Posted by shirleycurran on 3 Oct 2019

We are stranded on North Uist as all ferries have been cancelled because of strong gales, and, of course, The Times is not availble and I have no printer so have to solve this Poat crossword with a small computer screen and it turns out to be one where I really need a paper copy, since clues are curiously wandering around. Sort of HARE antics (no, hand slapped – don’t mention the Poat Hare!) Does Poat retain his entry ticket to the Listener oenophile outfit? ‘Matching Chinese drink from time in China (7)’ TEAMING fits what I have in the grid, though I can’t quite suss the wordplay, so I insert it with a rather lukewarm ‘Cheers, Poat!’

Our solving continues in that way, we seem to be splicing parts of different clues so that, with a lot of doubt, my grid fills until I have just one empty cell in LI?LIAS and the first penny-drop-moment. Those letters spell BURROUGHS and a quick Google check tells me that his technique is the ‘cut up technique’

So ‘Scottish one’s turned sick /during sea voyage (7)’ combines bits of two clues ILL< goes into SAIL< and, I realize that that is one of the seven clues that perform according to his technique  Joan VOLLMER is the wife he deliberately/accidentally killed during a game of WILLIAM TELL so we know that those VOLLMER initial letters lead us to the ‘cut-up’ clues and what a red herring! Poat tricked a lot of solvers by having the subject to highlight hidden in the preamble some years ago. Surely he isn’t going to hide Guillaume TELL in the title?

Thirteen letters – we desperately hunt for some way to treat two columns and then two rows with the ‘cut-up’ technique and produce GUILLAUME TELL and, of course we fail and it is in desperation that we hunt through Burrough’s works for another with thirteen letters and see THE BLACK RIDER hiding sneakily at the top right of our grid with three letters that we have to somehow ‘cut up’.

Oh but this is subtle! First I have to swap KENT/RING (at the bottom of columns 1 & 11), then I swap LACKED and LEGMAN from rows 3 & 10.

Don’t TELL – indeed, ‘Do BLACK RIDER’

Poat at his typical tricksy – many thanks.

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

‘This is not the HARE you’re looking for’ aka ‘Game Box’ by Poat

Posted by Encota on 21 Sep 2018

Thanks to Poat for a challenging and enjoyable puzzle.

SCAN0518 copy


There were several sub-clues I particularly enjoyed:

  • I damn Foucault’s concept (4), [for IDEE];especially
  • Wise or foolish – which mixing Roofies with this could be (6)
    [for OWLISH – fantastic dual definition and subtractive anagram]and the quite brilliant
  • one in the wings, advancing Othello’s end … (4) [for IAGO – fabulous!]

There appeared to be a possibility for the ‘glancing contact’ with the obstacles not to work as the physics might suggest – and so I spent more time than I should really have done on ensuring that the 90 degree turns were as expected and not some ‘random corner-turning generator’.  The latter luckily proved not to be the case!

The beginning of the PG Wodehouse quote, “THE FASCINATION OF SHOOTING …” appeared without too much pain: the focus was then very much on the specifics of the words in the Preamble, especially “ten targets of a specific kind”.  Sounds like singular ‘duck’ rather than ‘ducks’, I think?  So when, initially, I only found 59 cells covering the ten duck, I wondered what Poat had had in mind.  There were options for pluralising (up to) three of the duck – HARELD (ho ho, by the way!!), GOLDENEYE and SHIELDRAKE – though one of the three didn’t automatically pop up in the electronic BRB I did half-wonder if ‘Chambers is the primary reference’ was perhaps being taken rather seriously. Other adjustment options included DRAKE vs SHIELDRAKE but that didn’t free up the appropriate 61 cells either.

Eventually I realised my mistake – I’d initially gone with BALD as a type of DUCK and not BALDPATE.  The extra cells at ‘TE’ made up the shortfall and all was sorted – I hope!

From again re-reading the Preamble there didn’t seem to be any need to add bars and I wasn’t sure if the position of the six obstacles were required either.  As some bars were crossed by the duck I left those out; and I gently dotted in where the obstacles were, in case it was of any interest.

Teasing seasoned solvers with 2d’s HARELD (i.e. those who solved Poat’s last Listener, where some readers might recall there was ‘some debate’ about the location of a HARE) was funny.  Thanks again to Poat – I loved this!


Tim (the setter Encota)

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Game Box by Poat

Posted by shirleycurran on 21 Sep 2018

The other Numpty said at about noon, “What are we going to get tonight?” and with an uncanny premonition, I replied, “It must be time for another Poat crossword.” And there it was. Even as I printed it, I could hear the pad of tiny hare paws (hopefully not in the preamble!) That little HARE who appeared in the searcH AREa in the preamble of Poat’s last crossword has made Poat a Listener legend and caused disarray and desolation in over half of the solvers of that crossword. We have been pursuing him ever since (and he did appear in the one about the HS2, only to be then run-over by the train) but finally, in despair, we let him head off for his hols at the start of this year. (Blackpool, I believe!)

We start solving and there he is! Clue 2 ‘Hubristic racer to try finding energy at the end (4)’ That’s a reference to The Tortoise and the Hare fable, isn’t it? The proud speedy hare being defeated by the diligent, plodding tortoise, and ‘try’ is HEAR with the Energy moving down in the clue. So Poat is honouring his little hero – or is he?

And does Poat retain his admission ticket to the Listener Oenophile Outfit? Of course he does. We find three solutions to ‘Seen up in expensive bar venue, Frank’s wine spilt by queen with old love for romance (5:6:3)’. In fact that ‘bar’ seems to be a legal reference to VISNE which is reversed in expENSIVe, then WINE* with ER gives us WIENER, the German sausage, and the initial letters of With Old + O (love) produces WOO, for ‘romance’, and we’ll have to drink to the little hare’s safe return, so ‘Cheers, Poat!’

Of course that gave us 14 letters that would stretch right across the grid, as did ORA/IAGO/PARITOR, ETIOLATE/OCTETS and CITHER/LETRASET so we had a starting point for our gridfill. We worked out how to enter HASTEN/WOOLCOMBERS in a total of four different columns and established the position of our first obstacle. AERIEST and FLATTERING clearly had to go off at 90° angles and they gave us our second. And so it went on. With an almost full grid and a second putative HARE appearing at the foot of the tenth column, we sussed that THE FASCINATION OF SHOOTING was to fill those alternate perimeter cells. SURELY NOT! Was this going to be Poat’s attempt to wipe out, forever, the memory of the little beast? OWL and TERCELET had appeared. Was Poat going on a rampage ‘MADCAP POTS BAG LOADS’?

We have to express a strong objection. Such violence, together with scurrilous terms, sexual references and all the rest of the forbidden guff, should surely be banned from Listener crosswords!

With a full (or almost) grid, we had to fit those letters into the gaps and realised that, in order to place all 18, we would have to use the six cells containing obstacles. This was a demanding but enjoyable endgame to produce ten targets and at first the little HARE seemed safe as they were not animals at all but sitting ducks that appeared: SHIELDRAKE, SMEE, POCHARD, GOLDENEYE, SCAUP, SCOTER, EIDER, BALDPATE and wisely beating a retreat, one I hadn’t heard of, a GARROT. That made nine ducks. The potential HARE in column ten becoming just another duck.

Surely the goldeneye, scoter, eider and pochard are protected birds. Frankly, this will not do. Google tells me that the hare is only protected in Scotland. That doesn’t seem fair.

Number 10? What can I say? Mrs Bradford tells me that a HARELD is a duck, so Poat has brought the little fellow back, just to convert him into a duck and shoot him. Shame! I rest my case!


Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »