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Posts Tagged ‘pot plant’

L4626: ‘Pot Plant’ by Karla

Posted by Encota on 16 October 2020

Any setter with a pseudonym from George Smiley’s world gets my interest straight away! Thanks Karla for a fun puzzle!

Here we had a puzzle based on snooker. All eight coloured balls in snooker appeared, with each deleted from an answer to create the grid entry. So:

  • [RED] LINE
  • is this one [BLUE] PRINTS (at 13a)?
  • [BLACK] MAIL, and

It seemed to be possible to jumble the 12 omitted letters from wordplay to make ONE FOUR SEVEN, the maximum break in snooker.

And the ‘above advice’ from the Preamble might be described as CLUE TIPS. Remove one letter from this to leave CUE TIPS, a more snooker-related phrase.

One of the easier Listeners of the year. Though I perhaps enjoy harder puzzle more, I do love the variety that the Listener dishes up – you really don’t know what you are getting until you get solving!

My thanks to Karla for a nice debut puzzle!


Tim / Encota

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Pot Plant by Karla

Posted by shirleycurran on 16 October 2020

We haven’t met the name Karla before and we read the preamble with a hint of trepidation. There seemed to be three instructions here and two of them were going to affect twenty of the thirty-seven clues. The first few clues we solved were normal and a skeleton grid appeared with COHABITEE, RAP SHEET (what a fine clue! ‘Criminal past here (8,two words)’ anagrammed to those words that record a criminal past), SPENT FORCE, REGISTRANT, PROSPECTS, DRYING, SYDNEY, FUSSED, AZOTE, AIRY and EID AL-FITR. There were generous anagrams and succinct clues that had us slightly worried. Where were those extra letters and words coming from? (And where was the alcohol? Surely we can admit this ‘new’ setter to the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit?)

Then there was a speedy p.d.m. ‘Use of threats, a defence in bygone battle (4)’ “MAIL” said the other Numpty “and we seem to have an extra BLACK – and here’s BLUEPRINTS with an extra BLUE.” “RED CARD” I responded gleefully, so we have the ‘Red’ after all, and if these are snooker balls, we are goig to find ‘white’ (as we did, ‘Giving up standard part of stone floor (4, two words)’ gave us WHITE FLAG) – so “Cheers and welcome Karla!”

Yes, I know that the RED card had to be converted to a YELLOW one when we needed our red for the red line, and the BLACK shirts had to be BROWN but we soon had our full complement of colours, with those GREEN berets and the PINK panther, and a full grid too. However, we had solved rather quickly and had only ten of the 12 extra letters. While the other Numpty returned to watch the snooker, I had to carefully work through the clues to find an R in REITERATE (‘Keep repeating obligation to retire European judge (9)’ – we had to reverse TIE = obligation, + E RATE – that was tricky!) We were left with only one word where there could be our last extra letter and it had to be a final letter: GLUTEN, ‘Coeliacs don’t tolerate such cheek (6)’ Imagine my amazement when the Big Red Book told me that a ‘glute’ is a bum muscle!

Those 12 letters gave us a rather appropriate ONE FOUR SEVEN (we had stopped watching the snooker where O’Sullivan had just drawn equal to Hill at 3-3, in order to download the Listener). All that was left to do was find the eight-letter phrase and CLUE TIPS seemed a likely candidate – we had certainly has a couple in the preamble. We highlighted it and erased the L to get our cue tips. Thank you Karla for a very clear and engaging first crossword – if it is a first.

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Listener No 4626: Pot Plant by Karla

Posted by Dave Hennings on 16 October 2020

I spy a newcomer to the ranks of Listener setters. Karla was head of Moscow Station in Le Carré’s Smiley novels and his real name is never revealed. Would our Karla be similarly secretive?

Here we had eight answers losing a word before entry. From the title, I had a horrible feeling that we were in horticultural territory and that’s not my favourite subject. The removed words are a thematic set. First or last letters omitted from the wordplay in twelve other answers will need arranging to give a three-word phrase.

The first thing I noticed was that there were a lot of two-word answers — eight to be precise. Would they be the thematic answers losing something?

1ac Viewer’s irritation about major UK road block (6) gave STYMIE so I thought I’d try the crossing down entries. 1dn was SCOFF and 2dn was TO LET. This last one couldn’t be thematic since the wordplay gave the full answer. Of course, I should have got 3dn Use of threats, a defence in bygone battle (4) sooner for BLACKMAIL, but heigh-ho.

I gradually worked my way down the grid and finally got the PINK PANTHER although sadly it’s not in Chambers. PINK was the giveaway to steer us towards the colours of snooker balls. The last two snooker themes were No 4222 27 from Mango in 2012, and No 4291 MAXON by Schadenfreude in 2014. Of course there was Chalicea’s billiard table earlier this year.

Although there were a couple of colours that could fit two clues, (BROWN/BLACK SHIRTS and BLUE/GREEN BERETS), they eventually resolved themselves to WHITE FLAG, BLACKMAIL, PINK PANTHER, BLUEPRINTS, BROWN SHIRTS, GREEN BERET, YELLOW CARD, RED LINE. The clue to WHITE FLAG was one of my favourites: Giving up standard part of stone floor (4, two words) for its nice definition.

Unravelling the letters omitted from the wordplay took a few minutes. Seven something and Four something were both tried, but a bit more jiggery-pokery gave us ONE FOUR SEVEN, the score of a maximum break in snooker. CLUE TIPS was an easy spot, and erasing the L gave CUE TIPS.

Good fun. Thanks, Karla.

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