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Posts Tagged ‘riddles’

Escape by Xanthippe

Posted by shirleycurran on 17 Jul 2020

Our first reaction was “What an original grid!” The preamble was original too, promising us riddles that we would need to solve to escape four rooms. We (U) began solving unsure whether those walls could be crossed by our symmetrical solution to the clues but it soon became clear, when BEER crossed one of them, that we could ignore them in our solve and pay attention to them when we were ultimately manoeuvering our way out of the rooms.

BEER? Yes indeed ‘Hoppy drink preferable – Tom’s not teetotal (4)’ gave us BETTER losing TT and producing an extra word ‘Tom’s’, so I need not worry about xanthippe’s retention of his admission ticket to the Listener Setter’s Oenophile Outfit, even if he feels BEER is preferable. Cheers, Xanthippe!

Xanthippe’s clues were all of that fair and generous kind and, as we had the good fortune to solve the four 12-letter ones early on, our grid fill was speedy. ‘Honour promise, don’t fire English weapon (12, three words)’ gave us the amusing KEEP ON (don’t fire) E SWORD.

Equally amusing and so clever was ‘Muddled how to make even 11? (5)’ The answer to that last clue that we solved had ro be ADDLE and we smiled when we realized that if we ADD LE, we convert EVEN to ELEVEN.

We are not very good at finding redundant words in clues. I think we solve too quickly without justifying every word, so that we had some rather incomplete riddles to solve and needed a supper break before we scanned our clues more carefully to get:

ALWAYS COMING: NOT ARRIVING

WHERE TOM’S IN WORK WITH POTTER BUT CLAY NEVER GETS BAKED

TALL WHEN YOUNG: SHORT WHEN OLD

BARRED CELLS – HERE PRISONERS DON’T ENTER.

I could see that the answer to the last one was CROSSWORD – a self-referential comment on our barred cell grids that aren’t the kind that prisoners are kept in (well, yes, admitted, we do spend some frustrating, head-scratching hours trapped in the things but …) and that led us out of the grid at the bottom cell, so the U could go there (or does he become I or ME?) and that established his starting point in the room above and there he was, pointing us at TOMORROW.

From the start, the other Numpty had been saying “Tom Riddle, he’s in a work with Harry Potter” but I hadn’t taken it on board and CHAMBER OF SECRETS was the last solution to be entered after CANDLE had shown us where it ended. I am told these are familiar children’s riddles that appear on the Internet and of course, there they are. I should have asked a five-year old.

I drew U’s ‘complete’ path, crossing all the cell borders from his original position to his final external cell but was then left with. a nagging doubt. He has escaped, so I imagine we have to remove him from his original position – or have we?

Many thanks to Xanthippe for a different and entertaining puzzle.

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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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