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Posts Tagged ‘Poat’

Listener No 4572: Don’t Tell by Poat

Posted by Dave Hennings on 4 October 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.

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Don’t Tell by Poat

Posted by shirleycurran on 3 October 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.

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

Posted by Encota on 21 September 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)

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Game Box by Poat

Posted by shirleycurran on 21 September 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!


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Listener No 4518: Game Box by Poat

Posted by Dave Hennings on 21 September 2018

I’m normally fairly good at remembering a setter’s previous puzzles and normally start each blog with a summary of their recent oevres. This week, however, my mind went a complete blank, pretty much like the grid which was a sizeable 14×14 without bars. No doubt Poat’s previous puzzle would come to me before this blog is posted.

Here, we had an interesting entry device whereby each clue led to one, two or three answers which were entered inwards until it met the edge of the grid or an “obstacle”. At first, I wasn’t sure whether inwards included diagonally. It soon became clear that it didn’t.

The first clue (excluding See 23 at 1) was 2 Hubristic racer to try finding energy at the end (4) and completely eluded me, but luckily 3 Unusually sportsmanlike, foregoing free pass to keep for Boris (7) was more forgiving with KREMLIN, and 4 was similarly straightforward Sturgeon’s intending change of title before new government (7) for ETTLING.

All in all, the clues were good fun, especially the likes of 12,29 Secretly broadcast opener of Two Ronnies (8, two words) for INTER NOS. There were also some tricky ones, such as 15-2 Young McGill student? Cheeky with a change of heart, showing internal transposition, straight to this point (5;6) leading to FROSH and HERETO (HE-TER<-O).

Once the grid was finished, apart from a few empty cells, the perimeter yielded THE FASCINATION OF either SHOOTING or, more likely I thought, SHOPPING. Unfortunately, Google didn’t have anything exciting for the latter although predictably it had lots of images of shops and also, less predictably, a discarded shopping trolley.

In fact, the puzzle was based on a quotation from P.G. Wodehouse’s The Adventures of Sally: “The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun.” But what were the ten thematic elements that we had to find in the grid. Having seen some disgusting images of armed white hunters standing over dead elephants and lions, I hoped they were not the targets.

Seeing GOLDEN EYE, soon enabled me to narrow my search down to types of duck. The empty squares in the grid, including the six “objects”, had to be filled and the ten ducks highlighted. This was fairly straightforward given the letters provided by the preamble, MADCAP POTS BAG LOADS: GOLDEN EYE, EIDER, SCAUP, BALD PATE, GARROT (backwards), SCOTER, HARELD, SMEE, POCHARD and SHIELDRAKE.

Good fun from Poat, thanks. But as the envelope to St Albans slipped from my hands into the letterbox, I realised that I hadn’t actually gone back and solved clue 2.

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