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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

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