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Posts Tagged ‘Quinapalus’

Two Solutions by Quinapalus

Posted by shirleycurran on 25 May 2018

We are staying at the bottom of a cliff on Ibiza with relatively limited solving resources and had to drive across the island to the nearest ‘locutorio’ and cope in Ibizenco (the local version of Catalan) to get our weekly challenge – and the moment that I saw a quadruple carte blanche and the name Quinapalus, I knew that it was going to be that challenge. I read through the preamble and gave an awed gasp but did, of course, confirm that Quinapalus reserves his place at the Listener bar: after all, he is a previous winner of the Ascot Gold Cup. ‘Ale is recognised by these kings quaffing one (6)’ gave us SHAHS who were rather surprisingly drinking that beer but we put one (I) into them and got SHIAHS. So cheers, Quinapalus.

The preamble warned us that we were looking for someone with two preoccupations that would appear to us just before a riddle in a work of one or three words in yet another unclued light. Some cells were going to contain two letters entered diagonally – obviously leading to two different answers and there were going to be two gaps. There was one redeeming feature – top-bottom mirror symmetry.

We solved rather slowly as it was our turn to cook (for ten!) and these clues had the Sabre touch but with a few assumptions, I managed to begin a grid fill with that obvious KERB* giving us a Nellie or a BERK, and AITU, EMIGRE, RIZLA and KNEEPAD intersecting with it at the top right. Word lengths provided a putative grid but we were rather baffled by 38/41 and a string of clues from 30 to 42 that seemed to lead to those double solutions with letters entered diagonally: WITLESS/WITNESS, SCLIMS/SCRIMS, POOTER/POSTER, SCREE/SIREE, GLARY/GOARY, VEX/WEX (a new word for me and somewhat appropriate as the Ibiza temperature had just dropped to 8 degrees and it was pouring while we heard that in London the temperature was 29 degrees!) SUNG/LUNG and DORT/RORT.

We should have found LEWIS CARROLL and the REV C L DODGSON a lot earlier – an obvious choice of theme for Quinapalus with his mathematical riddle. ARGAND. DIAGRAM appeared using the diagonal GR of the two names but it took us several more hours and some Googling to find the remaining diagonal letters that helped us spell out PHANTASMAGORIA and RHYME AND REASON. I found the first riddle and groaned to see that I had to solve a quadratic equation and that somehow the solutions were to be marked in the ARGAND DIAGRAM obviously using the axes of the original carte blanche grid.

INDICES SURDS, MOVE BOTH Xs VERTICALLY, the corrected misprints told us. Fortunately there were five rather high-ranking CERN physicists in our party and I passed my problem over to them. X2 + 7X + 53 = 11/3. ” (Solving a quadratic equation is like falling off a log, they told me – it’s simple.) That’s minus 3.5 and plus or minus the square root of 37 i – that’s just a tad more than 6″. Then ensued a long discussion about exactly where in the grid we had to put those two Xs that we were moving vertically and marking (reasonably) accurately in the grid. I think that word ‘reasonably’ is an editorial addition to avoid another Poat hare. We have to have two solutions so those Xs must move just over the demarcation of their original cells (in TUXES and MIXEN) so that the also complete the words SEXT and SAXE and fill the empty cells and we have our two solutions. Too clever for me! It took us twenty-four hours to solve. I wonder how long it took to set. Many thanks to Quinapalus.

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‘Two Solutions’ (or ‘Hip-Hop ft. Dr Dre’) by Quinapalus

Posted by Encota on 25 May 2018

I don’t know about you, but I found this one hard!  I am not a particularly fast solver but this one was much nearer to 10 hours than the (perhaps) more typical 3+ hours-ish!  I finished at around 1 a.m. Sunday.

The puzzle contained two clue types.  I’d seen this first clue type once before, I think, and even had a go at writing one or two in the past.  To recall, the clue was in a form such as:

<Definition1, with N letters> +

<Definition2, with N letters> +

<Wordplay for the (N-1) letters that Defs 1 & 2 have in common>

A gentle example appeared at 30d:

See stupid confuse wisest (7)

‘See’ is WITNESS, ‘stupid’ gives WITLESS and the rest of the clue ‘confuse wisest’ is the jumble-based wordplay for WIT.ESS.  Simple, eh?

The other clue type featured a misprint in each definition which had to be removed before solving.  Many of these I found tough, for example:

Raised letter containing leak and joint buckled (7)

I could see from checked letters very early on that this must be KNEEPAD – but why?

At long last I spotted that buckled should become BUCKLER, a protector according to Chambers, then it was PEE ‘N’ in DAK ( a letter), all reversed.  Always hard when two of the pieces of a clue are unknown to you!

Once a few letters started appearing in 5d I had .H.N..ND…… and wondered if it might be CHANSON DE GESTE, the Song Of Roland etc but that soon didn’t fit with other crossers.

[surreal mode on]

What with DJs appearing in various stages at 26ac and, later on, at 11ac, plus the mention of rapper Dr. Dré himself in 29ac, the theme was obvious:  hip-hop.  Given the entry at 5d, it was clearly all based around Peter Spirer’s 1997 hip-hop film documentary Rhyme and Reason

This was soon confirmed by finding, in the grid, RAP, in Row 5,  (Dr.) DRE at 29ac, and the hip-hop stars NAS and ICE-T from Spirer’s film in contiguous cells in the grid.  And, what with HIP and HOP being only one letter apart, this was surely part of the solution.
2018-05-07 22.14.38
There are those who feel I have completely lost the plot – and that the Solutions referred to in the Title are actually all drinks.  Again, finding in contiguous cells, LAGER, RED, RUM, TEA & CHA, as well as (Creme de) CASSIS already at 35ac gives some substance to this argument.  And when I found that PHANTASMAGORIA is a cocktail – involving melon & raspberry liqueurs with pineapple juice, if you’re asking – then that pretty much proved it.  Maybe.  But whoever heard of Listener setters & solvers liking alcohol, or a cup of tea, or both?  I therefore obviously discounted this option.
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Finally, I’m riddled with some vague thought that a Quadratic might be involved somehow … but as that’s only of second order, I’ve ignored it.
[surreal mode off]
We’ve had some amazing puzzles in Listener 2018 series already but this must surely be one of the finest.  Quinapalus has taken school-level Maths combined with a famous Oxford don’s poetry to create one of those delightful crossover puzzles that should suit polymaths everywhere.  Tough wordplay, an astounding grid, multiple angles to a theme including poetry, solving quadratics and the oxymoron that is simple complex numbers.  Though I suspect not everyone will agree, an ideal Listener puzzle, in my humble opinion!
Cheers all,
Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4501: Two Solutions by Quinapalus

Posted by Dave Hennings on 25 May 2018

Has it really been over four years since Quinapalus’s last Listener?! The theme of that puzzle (No 4297 German Serial Composition) was the fabulous Hedy Lamarr and her contribution to mobile phone technology — frequency-hopping.

This week, a carte blanche faced us — well, blanche apart from barred lines dividing the grid into its four quadrants. Eventually, it would have mirror-symmetry about the horizontal axis, which was unusual. Fifteen clues contained two definitions to words differing by one letter and wordplay to the common letters. In the relevant cells, the two letters had to be entered diagonally “so that all grid entries can be read”. Another weird preamble-ism, and were the italics just to ensure that I read the word correctly?! The remaining clues had misprints in their definitions.

I started off reasonably well, with 7ac BERK, 8dn EMIGRE, 9dn RIZLA, 11ac TUXES (loved the PJ/DJ misprint), 13ac THIAMIN and 17ac SMUGGLE/SNUGGLE, my first non-misprint clue. I thought it’d be fairly safe to put most of these in the top right corner, but that didn’t mean that the remaining clues in that quadrant were a doddle. As time progressed, the bottom right corner turned out to be a bit of a pig as well.

Especially with a long preamble, it needs to be double-checked to make sure nothing is overlooked that helps the solving process. The first thing that I needed to reread the preamble to remind myself about: “Numbers in brackets are the number of cells in entries, two of which initially contain a gap.” Consequently, I failed for far too long to realise that 1ac and 46ac had only 3-letter answers, SET and SAE, despite their (4) designation. Other traps I set myself were thinking that the correct version of “wellie” at 7ac was “wallie” rather than “nellie”, and overlooking the 3-letter entry at 12dn by putting four bars at the top and bottom of column 4.

All in all, this led to the bottom left corner being a bit of a pig as well! Luckily, the letters in column 7 helped me see RHYME AND REASON. I’ve been doing these puzzles for too long not to look for what the alternatives could spell out, and PHANTASMAGORIA was there. Together, these two hints led me to the Lewis Carroll book Rhyme? and Reason?, which I thought had been the subject of a puzzle before, but the Crossword Database didn’t give anything. Come what may, CARROLL and DODGSON could go in at the end of row 11. The start of that row would obviously contain LEWIS, but how would CHARLES LUTWIDGE be entered? (In fact, it would be REV CL.)

I put the alternatives I had so far into row 11 and column 7. In fact, the options could go diagonally in either order. Were these then the two solutions referenced by the title, and would JEG have to accept them in either order? Oh well, his shoulders are broad.

Referring to the book, it didn’t take long to track down the riddle, being one of four in a section near the end:

Yet what are all such gaieties to me
Whose thoughts are full of indices and surds (At least that resolved the nellies/wallies problem.)
x² + 7x + 53
= 11⁄3.

This can’t be right, the quarterly mathematical wasn’t for a couple of weeks. However, that good old quaratic formula, which was drummed into me at school, came to the rescue!

x = (-b ± √(b² – 4ac)) / 2a

So, with 3x² + 21x + 148 = 0, x = (-21 ± √(441 – 1776)) / 6

Well that stumped me, as it required the square root of -1335.

Time to change tack for a bit. I still had to decipher 14dn which looked as though it ended in DIAGRAM. At this point, a grin crossed my face as I saw that this determined the order of the two surnames and thus the two book references. JEG would have a (relatively) easy time, after all.

Eventually, I found ARGAND in Chambers — “a gas- or oil-lamp admitting air to both the inside and outside of the flame” — but that was of no use at all! I needed to read the preamble yet again to remind myself that 14 wasn’t in Chambers but in the ODE:

Argand lamp an oil or gas lamp fitted dwith a cylindrical burner… ” Drat! Back to that lamp again, but at the bottom of the previous column I saw:

Argand diagram a diagram on which complex numers are represented geometrically using Cartesian axes, the horizontal axis representing the real part of the number and the vertical coordinate the complex part.”

Yet again, I resorted to my favourite mathematical site Wolfram Alpha and keyed in the equation. Unfortunately this time, it totally confused me, giving the result as:

+i/6 × (√1335 + 21i) or –i/6 × (√1335 – 21i)

I don’t think we did Argand Diagrams at school, and I’m not sure we even dealt with √-1 and i. Be that as it may, having jumped ahead to the endgame, I still needed to complete the grid and unravel the message spelt out by the corrections to misprints: Indices surds. Move both x’s vertically. (If nothing else, this helped me fully understand 4dn What’s written after Is? They follow Hs in lexicon (4) with Hs becoming Xs — psi words following chi words in a Greek dictionary, I’m assuming.)

The two X’s were in column 3 and moving them up/down into the empty cells gave SEXT and SAXE, leaving behind TUES and MIEN. Their main role though was to tell us where to plot the two values of x, but what exactly were they? Luckily, Wolfram came to the rescue again with a button to show “Approximate forms”. This showed x ≈ -3.5 ± 6.0896i. So I plotted a point half way along cell 3 in the top and bottom rows, and approximately 0.1 up/down.

At least, I think that’s what was required of us. Whether I got everything right, or made a silly mistake, this was a phenominal puzzle from Quinapalus. Many thanks for a fascinating journey.

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German Serial Composition by Quinapalus

Posted by shirleycurran on 29 Nov 2013

Quinapalus 001We completed our solve almost 24 hours ago and yet I have been putting off writing my blog – ironing, shopping, thinking up a few clues, solving a couple of weekend crosswords – and why? Well this crossword by Quinapalus was simply too mind-boggling and every time I look at it again, a further bit of brilliance appears. What is more, although I have little doubt that my solution is correct and that I have understood the preamble, I am still convinced that there is one aspect that I do not and probably never will understand.

Those notes under the grid that are, I am told, from Mantra by Stockhausen, and can be read to give a frequency, say nothing to me, though I am sure my columns are now in the right order as they give a FREQUENCY in row five, followed by HOPPING, SPREAD and SPECTRUM and that is when HEDWIG KIESLER appears in row two with the columns in that order (‘SORT COLUMNS BY FREQUENCY’  said the corrected misprints). That, according to Wikipedia, was the original name of Hedy Lamarr.

Hedy Lamarr was a familiar name as the fair used to come to my country village when I was small and we threw ping-pong balls into the throats of swans. If one rolled out into the slot with Hedy Lamarr on it (that meant nothing to me at the time), we won a goldfish in a plastic bag of water. Of course, the poor thing died within a week (what atrocious cruelty). However, we had that name imprinted into the long list of useless information that children store.

Useless? What an eye-opener to find that here was yet another achieving woman of the early century (was it 1913 or 1914, her year of birth? – There seems to be some discrepancy) who not only starred in Ecstasy, Samson and Delilah and White Cargo, but also thought up the FHSS (Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum, a technique for reducing interference in radio broadcasting).

After a rather astonished read of the preamble, where nothing much made sense to us (as is so often the case), I did a quick scan of surface readings, just to confirm that Quinapalus was retaining his membership card for the Listener tipplers’ club and he was modestly there, consuming mead and becoming plastered (obviously) ‘Suffer when one’s imbibed most mead (5)’ (with meaN for meaD LET round AS giving LEAST) and ‘Scots capers abort drinks gathering in company (6)’ (aboUt for aboRt and SUPS round CO giving SCOUPS – clearly in his CUPS by this time).

We found the clues tough and some of the misprints raised wry smiles. One in particular amused us. Wikipedia confirmed what the other Numpty knew – that UNECE (one of three abbreviations, not two, as claimed in the preamble, aren’t PEC and PCAS abbreviations too?) was founded in 1947. Thus we had an L corrected misprint when MCMXXVII became MCMXLVII. Now that was original wasn’t it!

There were a number of happy moments like that and the grid-fill took about three hours, with a few gaps remaining but five clues that clearly would not provide misprints. Those gave us SAMSON AND DELILAH and WHITE CARGO, or so we thought, as we hadn’t, at that stage, understood the word play at all. We thought the Fs, that were clearly performing oddly, had to have something to do with the muscial notation.  It was only hours later that we understood the brilliance of the hopping frequency (f), which, in each of those clues, hopped backwards or forwards to make sense. Thus ‘In German fund, let off deposit’ became ‘In German und, left off deposit’ (AND = LAND less L)

Quinapalus 002‘Monkfish is risky with indication of additive’ became ‘Monkish is frisky with indication of additive’ (WITH* + E) This was the frequency hopping. We had a third title, ECSTASY, too then what was claimed to be ‘a facetious description of the thematic person associated with the titles’. HEDWIG KIESLER was being described as ‘BIT OF SCREEN CRUMPET’ and this S[creen] CRUMPET, when ‘SPREAD’ or anagrammed, gave us SPECTRUM.

Yes, all of this was brilliant, but it was when I attempted to rearrange the columns that I realized what a remarkable piece of compilation this was. How did Quinapalus manage to create this grid that gave real words in its original form, yet produced those four words when it was rearranged, putting her name in its correct order (obviously adding the G and another E and resolving the ambiguity of the two Is and Es that were already there). I simply can’t get my head round the feat of compilation.

There was a minor issue with the question of how this should be submitted. Just rearranging the letters meant that all the bars were in the wrong place, and were those notes part of the columns? Were we expected to cut the grid and recompose it with the notes in ascending order of frequency? Hmmm! That would make a nasty cut in the treble clef. Well, if the editors did require that, I fear there will be very few ‘all corrects’ at the next Listener dinner. (Not another KOHb event, I hope!)

There was that last delightful little touch too. We actually had EREQUECY on row 5 but we were told  that we had to erase part of an abbreviation of the third title. ECSTASY (E) had to lose just that one bar to become an F and give FREQUENCY. I thought that was hilarious and completed this with such a nod of approval for Quinapalus that my head is sore. Honestly!

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Small but Perfectly Formed by Quinapalus

Posted by shirleycurran on 2 Mar 2012

Yes, there is no denying that this little crossword was ‘Small but Perfectly Formed by Quinapalus’. It was the first one I have encountered by Quinapalus, though the name is familiar. Where do we immediately go for help when we are faced with some obscure verbal jumble or playfair code? Quinapalus, of course!

However, the preamble was anything but small. It filled almost as much space as the 27 clues and was just a mite daunting. I shelved my anxiety about ‘three dimensions … the shape of a cuboid … shown in four layers which solvers should imagine stacked in front of each other’. After all, we are becoming accustomed to the monthly BBC CiNA calendar 3D puzzles.

As usual, the clue length indicators were helpful, since we could at once see how many letters were coming out of the ‘Width’ clues. I slotted in PORTIERE as PORTIR and wondered whether this  puzzle could continue to be so gentle. Indeed, it was! The solutions just fell into place and very soon we had SHAPE written alongside our width clues.

I jumped to the wrong conclusion and decided that we were hearing Shakespeare’s Mercutio, telling us that Queen Mab ‘is the fairies’ midwife – she comes in shape etc.’ but soon realized that we were in a far more sombre tragedy when the rest of the excerpt appeared and we heard King Lear telling us ‘My dimensions are as well compact/ My mind as generous and my shape as true …’

This device of clues in three dimensions was magic and, with the help of Crossword Compiler’s ‘find word’ device, we soon had an almost full grid.

No numpty red herrings? Of course we had! The very last clue was one of the first we solved and although we couldn’t justify the E at the end, we slotted in ASSERTIVE (When very laid back one’s against claiming one’s rights) AS + TRES (rev) + I + V (against). You can imagine what a mess that made of the north-east corner of our grid. Of course, ASSERTION was required.

We had three blanks in our grid when all our words were neatly in place but, of course, the endgame filled those for us. I had been dreading the moment when I would have to confront those conflicting concepts – a cuboid, three dimensions, four stacked layers. However, the quotation appeared after just a few moments’ head scratching, just as Phi is claiming the endgame should, in his essay in the editorial section of the February Crossword Magazine. (Not a bad rule of thumb is it? One should certainly not have to spend more than twice as much time on the pay-off as in solving the clues!)

I though this was a delightful and very ingenious compilation. Easy – but I am not complaining, especially when we are expecting a nightmare numerical puzzle next week. A Friday evening Listen With Others blog is a rare event for me but a thoroughly enjoyable one. Thanks to Quinapalus!

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