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Posts Tagged ‘Post-it Note’

Are there 3Ms in Trammmp?

Posted by Encota on 11 Nov 2016

What a superb theme from Tramp this week, combined with some kind clues.  Having solved the majority of the clues fairly quickly, Philip Larkin’s Annus Mirabilis soon came into view and I find myself highlighting the beginning of the first line ‘Sexual intercourse began…’ in the grid, along with the CHATTERLEY BAN and the Beatles’ first LP, described here as PLEASE TWICE ME.

With this one I felt as if I’d got the beginning right (filling out the grid), got the end right (highlighting the two key rows LADY CHATTERLEY BAN, PLEASE (PLEASE) ME and the number 63 in the centre, based on Larkin’s first line ‘Sexual intercourse began…’ but took longest time joining the two up – ensuring that I found all the missing 22 letters from the appropriate clues.

It’s so easy to be wise after the event when realising the wordplay would cover all letters apart from those in the ’63’ single curved line.

My usual rule with Listener preambles had applied again – I had understood the words but not the sentences!  As part of this I hadn’t cottoned on to there potentially being more than one letter deleted from any given clue, so I’d finished everything required for submission without having all letters found in the clues – and only having .ARKIN as the source of the poem.  I knew the L was there somewhere hiding in the last few clues – no idea how I missed it!

So the deleted words in reverse order were:

homIly and

…and my second favourite librarian LARKIN came into view (yes Karen, the person who introduced me to Philip Larkin, it’s you 🙂  ).

So what’s with the Title ‘Post-It Note’ this week?  I can find the (rather depressing) quote from John Larkin, the Australian author (born by chance in 1963): “Despite the post-it note with her phone number on it, she’s already little more than a fading memory.  They all are.”  That’s not relevant.

Then I thought for a moment that there were 3 Ms in the puzzle as a nod to 3M, the famous patent holder of the Post-it note.  But no, I make it at least five.  Discount that one too.

Aah, got it: ‘Post-it’ in the sense of ‘not ante-the other’.   I did spend a few minutes looking for a suitable (or unsuitable) Carry On-style double entendre that used the word ‘it’ to add here but failed miserably.  [All suggestions welcomed]  I may go looking for it later (oh dear…).

Finally, as a bit of pointless trivia (and as the Queen was saying to me only last week, “Tim, never name drop”), in the very early 1980s I was introduced as a 20-ish year old at college – “you simply must come and meet him” – to  John (JAT) Robinson.  In 1960, as the then Bishop of Woolwich and a leading theological thinker, he had spoken for the defence of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, describing it as ‘a book every Christian should read’.  I didn’t know much of that then but, having just solved Tramp’s delightful puzzle, it seems somehow more significant now.

And I don’t own ‘Please please me’ – bit too ‘poppy’ for me, sorry – but I may, in respect to this enjoyable puzzle, just go and put on the Beatles’ White Album instead…

Tim / Encota

PS The man himself can be heard speaking the poem currently at


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Listener No 4421: Post-it Note by Tramp

Posted by Dave Hennings on 11 Nov 2016

I was sure that I’d come across Tramp as a setter before, but Dave Hennings’s excellent (😄) Crossword Database didn’t mention him. I eventually found him lurking on fifteensquared as a setter with a fairly regular monthly puzzle in the Guardian.

listener-4421Here we had 22 squares which were omitted from the wordplay in their respective clues, and six others with an extra word which had one letter in common with their entry. A bit of line-drawing and highlighting would be requried in the endgame.

1ac Cuts for late study? Come on, try working (9) was an obvious anagram, and necro-something seemed likely. NECROTOMY soon got slotted in, followed by EXHORTED, CLAD and MELEE, the last having an E excluded from its wordplay; I decided to circle these letters in my grid. Next came 13ac CHATTER, but the rest of the top left quadrant remained unsolved.

I then concentrated on the top right. 8dn Welsh girl happy with men (6) looked like it could be GLADYS, but the YS made no sense. 12ac ELAPSE enabled me to home in on GAYNOR (with a circled N). GAIR, ISAAC and RENNETS came next, but again a lot of that corner remained blank.

This was hardly surprising because extra words and more than one missing wordplay letter in some clues all made for a slowish grid-fill.

However, I worked my way down to the bottom right corner courtesy of EASEMENT, PO[S]T-WAR, PAR[L]E and GYROSTATS and on to the bottom left. After about 90 minutes, the grid was coming along nicely, and my circled letters were beginning to help. I spotted SEX near the middle of the grid — don’t be childish! — and I managed to trace out (most of) SEXUAL INTERCOURSE — stop it! — following it. BE•AN completed the shape of 63, and a bell rang at the back of my mind. Unfortunately, it refused to come to the front.

Meanwhile, the extra words in clues only gave me KRA in the downs (and had to be read in reverse), partly because I had overlooked circling some of the extra words. St Mark seemed a possibility were it not for the sex! Reviewing the downs, and children enabled L to appear. Philip LARKIN was finally revealed, a far more likely candidate for a risqué poem:

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(Which was rather late for me) —
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles’ first LP.

We are often treated to Penny Drop Moments in Listener puzzles. Here I had a Big Grin Moment when I saw CHATTERLEY BAN and PLEASE TWICE ME in rows 3 and 10!

There were some good clues here. Tricky (for me) wordplay included the clues at 12ac Starts to envisage stop — light turns — go (6) (E S PALE rev) and 1dn Marble run: can adult [keep] going first? (6) (R with NICK A going first). (I remember a time when most Listener preambles ended with “Punctuation should be ignored.”)

I particularly liked the surface reading for 24dn British and American [children] going up to bed for a bit of a story (7) for SUBPLOT. BGM clue goes to 28ac Initially drew, won, lost, lost — what did “won” mean? (5) for DW[E]LL, won being an archaic word for ‘dwell’.

My close shave for a wrong entry was at 44ac End cycling for kids, say (4) where I had initially pencilled in TUPS, even though STUP wasn’t a word. Chambers gives kid3 as a small tub, with STUB being the end of a cigarette.

listener-4421-my-entryAll that remained was to draw 63 in a continuous line through the appropriate letters in the middle of the grid. Not for the first time recently, this proved a bit tricky, mainly because it was somewhat top-heavy with the upper half of the 3 especially being bigger than the lower. I got there in the end after a couple of failed attempts.

Thanks for a thoroughly entertaining puzzle, Tramp. Amusing title too.

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Post-it Note by Tramp

Posted by shirleycurran on 11 Nov 2016

tramp-larkin-001What do we have? A new setter! Well, Tramp isn’t completely new is he? The first time I encountered his pseudonym was as one of the setters for the 3D Calendar Puzzles for Erik Westbrook’s BBC Children in Need and RNIB project. We have solved some entertaining Grauniad crosswords of his and I understand that he has written several puzzles for the Indy including two barred-grid puzzles for the Inquisitor (as Jambazi) and one puzzle for the FT (as Skitnica) but this seems to be his first venture into the heights of the Listener’s advanced thematic cryptics. We must welcome him and check whether he is granted admission into the Listener Setters toping set-up. Oh dear, what do I find! This setter clearly has other habits but apart from a touch of sack’ in ‘Electronic trails to sack for online comments (5)’ (DO with E ‘trailing’ and an extra OC that will contribute to our curve in DOOCE) I don’t find a trace of alcohol. Now ‘dooce’ is an intriguing new word for me (and probably what I’ll be getting for commenting on all Tramp’s sexy clues and his even more sexy endgame ‘to sack for online comments’).

‘I like nurses (4)’ gives us an additional A and I +AS (AIAS). Then he’s into the foreplay: ‘Kiss on date, ignoring one of fusion dishes (6) ‘ Gives us TEX-MEX with the ME as additional letters. Then it’s ‘Choose endless sex on request (5)’ (PLEA + SE(x)) My oh my! At least he’s grateful, ‘Requests some Valentine’s red roses must be sent back (6)’ (ORDERS is rather laboriously hidden in there with ‘Valentine’s’ merely producing the final S).

It gets more intense, ‘Red-hot topless sex, kinky girl urged (8)’ [(R)ED-HOT with (S)EX]* = EXHORTED with the extra girl giving us an R for the six-letter narrator of the theme that we are hunting for. We find a ‘boob’ and some ‘going up to bed’ and ‘Uses right to interrupt old lovers (6)’ (RT in EXES = EXERTS but it must be time to draw the curtain on these randy activities.

Seriously, though, this was a most amusing and fine set of clues and our grid filled steadily. Better still, six extra words produced letters that they shared with their relative solutions (CHILDREN, FATHER, GIRL, KEEP, HOMILY and LENGTH) and in reverse spelled out LARKIN for us. What an original and intriguing device.

Of course several Larkin poems spring to mind and after all that sexual activity in the clues and the fact that CHATTER/LEY  had already appeared in our grid, I suspected that we were going to find some reference to the f**k word ‘They f**k you up your mum and dad …’, but then the title (that I still haven’t understood – I am told that it is a witty one) led me on a wild goose chase. When I entered ‘Larkin Post-it Note’ into Wikipedia, I was led to another Larkin whose novel ‘The Shadow Girl’ name contains the line ‘Despite the post-it note with her phone number on it, she’s little more than a fading memory’. But it wasn’t to be.

Of course the ODQ is the solution. If you submit a crossword based on a literary quotation that isn’t in there, your editor is likely to send it back with a sad little comment about attempting to exploit obscure literature. Fortunately, there, in the ODQ, I find the very first Larkin quotation:
Sexual intercourse began/ In nineteen-sixty three/ (Which was rather late for me) – Between the end of the Chatterley ban/ And the Beatles’ first LP. (Annus Mirabilis 1974)

How well I remember both of his benchmarks. My father was one of the Justices who was asked to give a professional opinion on D H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and he endearingly had it wrapped in brown paper on his bedside table. You can imagine what a temptation that was to his young daughters and which pages we devoured with wide eyes. The Beatles’ Please Please Me (PLEASE TWICE ME) – how we loved it and how social mores had changed when it was released in 1963.

The grid was full and here was yet more sex! Tracing those letters ‘SEXUAL INTERCOURSE BEGAN’ in our grid produced a rather strange shape that looked a little bit like a couple of intertwined hearts (or participants) but it didn’t take a lot of imagination to see ’63 there – and to smile! Thank you, Tramp for a stunning start.


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