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Posts Tagged ‘Salamanca’

Postprandial by Salamanca

Posted by shirleycurran on 22 Dec 2017

‘Jumbles’, I groaned, but needn’t have worried. The other Numpty was racing through his grid fill and had it a quarter full before I had reached my habitual scan of the clues during which I highlighted ‘Calls group to drink (7, two words)’ and inserted RING SUP (or RINGS UP if you will), all the evidence I needed of Salamanca’s continued right to his admission ticket to the Listener Setters’ Oenophiles’ Outfit. I didn’t need to worry as the entire crossword  celebrated that merry drunken postprandial song that we so much enjoy in THE HOBBIT when poor Bilbo Baggins is taunted and encouraged to quit his unimaginative settled life-style by the uninvited company of dwarfs and co. Alcohol flowing freely, glasses chipped and bottles smashed, so cheers Salamanca – A Paris, I hope.

It was a speedy grid-fill but I have no quarrel with that, The clues were unambiguous and some of them were delightful. ‘A French river bore (9)’ gave us that lovely deceptive use of two meanings of bore UN DERWENT. ‘Bathroom fixtures reflect cry of granny perhaps (7)’ used that rare word AVAL (of a grandparent) and had her SOB, turning the whole caboodle over, producing LAVABOS. ‘Nurse treated ailing gent outside hospital (11)’ gave us an anagram of AILING GENT around H and we smiled again as NIGHTINGALE went in.

Only one clue gave us a new word, IGUVINE, and the wordplay was all we needed ‘From Umbrian town, hybrid fruit’s not left turning on climbing stem (7)’. We turned UGLI without the L on a VINE and checked with Uncle Wiki who assured us that that word meant coming from GUBBIO . We’ve been there and found the wealth of culture fascinating.

Our smiles grew even broader when we saw a number of familiar words and recognised the thematic song. Of course, filling those unclued lines just about completed our grid. Yes it was a speedy fill but it was most enjoyable from start to finish. Many thanks to Salamanca.

Ah, the Poat hare. There was a leaping one at the foot of the grid but the tiny one curled up in the centre was clearly worried about the  ‘Ferocious hunter when caught in rural trap (6)’ AS in WEEL giving us a predatory WEASEL. Will our poor little hare last to the end of the year, I wonder?


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Listener No 4479: Postprandial by Salamanca

Posted by Dave Hennings on 22 Dec 2017

The last Salamanca was two years ago with its TS Eliot Four Quartets theme plus some anagrams of his name, including litotes and toilets. This week’s puzzle appeared to have a theme more appropriate for Christmas afternoon with a Listener (or two) to help the meal go down! (I wondered what the Editors had in store for us over the weekend before Christmas.)

My first pass through the clues uncovered precious few across entries but over half of the downs, so I was expecting a quick solve. I liked the way that a grid could have a lot of 3-letter entries which were clued as a 6-letter answer, jumbled to give two 3-letter words.

Although most of the grid went in fairly smoothly, the unclued thematic entries were not revealed early on. What’s more, as I entered the likes of BURNing CORKS and CHIPping GLASSES, I still had no idea what was going on. Luckily Salamanca thought we (well, I) might have a problem, and provided the source in circled cells. Doodling these in my notes, I had BHITBOEHT and THE HOBBIT was soon identified.

A bit of googling was needed to identify the lines from the song sung by the adventurers, culminating in “That’s what Bilbo Baggins hates!”

Not a tough puzzle, but entertaining. Thanks, Salamanca, and well done on getting all the thematic elements into a neat 12×12 grid.

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A Tester Laid Out by Salamanca

Posted by shirleycurran on 18 Dec 2015

Salamanca TS Eliot 001An interesting title there (remind me not to volunteer to test-solve any of Salamanca’s). Of course we attempted to anagram it or parts of it and came up with nothing at all. It was a lot later that the extra letters in the message suggested a different way to decipher it, though, since the lower half of our grid filled up first (as did, I am sure, most solvers’) we soon saw LETTERS OF TITLE spelled out. The upper half took longer.

We had already murmured about the complex preamble that told us that four groups of solutions were thematic grid entries in equal-sized sets of variations. Counting the unclued lights told us that these were going to be groups of four so we knew that we were hunting for four quartets. The penny should have dropped with a thud at that point – but it didn’t – despite my having almost learnt the work off by heart when it was a set text at A Level. Instead, I was anxiously scanning the clues to confirm Salamanca’s renewed membership of the Listener Happy Quaffers’ Club, and, of course he gave evidence at once: ‘Heavy drinker – accordingly head to throb (3)’ (giving SO + T(hrob) = SOT) followed by ‘A quiet drink where burnt-out remnants fall (6)’ (A + SH + PI[N]T = ASHPIT) and later a sort of tippler’s moan, ‘Drinks dispenser – provider of glasses a quarter short (5)’ (OPTIC[I]AN less AN = OPTIC).

Our grid filled quickly and soon the lower half was complete, with the exception of the last letter of 38ac RAA?. This had to be RAITAS but the word play spelled out RA + AS, so was IT the ‘common omission’ that together with STOLE (‘Didn’t pay for posh ladieswear (5)’) explained the variation. The penny still didn’t drop, even when we realized that IT was also extracted from OOB[IT] ‘Expression of disapproval upset a shabby type (3) (BOO reversed), ENM[IT]Y (‘What comes before O good grief? Bitterness (EN + MY) and STA[IT]HS (‘Embankments on the Tyne raised square 37s (5)’ (HATS were the subject of 37 so that gave us S HATS<).

Four figures of speech, MEIOSIS, HYPERBOLE, EUPHEMISM and TAUTOLOGY had leapt out at us as our grid filled, and now we found MENS WASHROOM, THUNDERBOXES, LOO and WCS (I rather liked the reference to W C Fields in that one!) Thus we had three of our groups and when 2dn gave us an extra V (‘Stick up profitless number (6)’ CUE< + [V]AIN = EUCAIN) we finally worked out that it was ‘even’ letters of the title that would give us the name (TAKE AND READ EVEN LETTERS OF TITLE). There it was: T S ELIOT, which had anagrammed to those TOILETS, produced a figure of speech, LITOTES, added IT to STOLE in another anagram, and, as we now realized, paired off SOLE with TIT and TILE with SOT.

I like the way that this all came together in the end. Thank you, Salamanca.

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The Glady Marsh by Salamanca

Posted by shirleycurran on 12 Feb 2010

One of the ‘Stripey horse Z???A (5) team re-read Conan-Doyle’s ‘A Study in Scarlet’ at Christmas and wittered about it as we attacked this one.  “Must be REDDEN, though that doesn’t quite fit the clue – the DEN should be in the RED” … and so on. We had a fine start; no misprints to find, no words to invert, no verbal antics at all – just our style!

We even spotted LESTRADE when the bottom half of the grid filled with unusual speed. RABETTING SAW was a lucky start (thrown up by an anagram solver – Oh dear! But it didn’t find LEASING MAKER for us, and whoever would have thought that was a ‘speaker of seditious words’?) KOP caused us a problem. Yes, we know that was a hill in South Africa and it was confirmed by its intersecting words, RECKAN, DITTO and ENSEPULCHRED, but what has it to do with ‘one of Scotland’s hill’s round’? (perhaps Denis will explain the wordplay and that strange apostrophe?)

There we were with half the grid filled and no idea at all what NEST, WAND and BETS had to do with anything. We should have gone back to ‘A Study in Scarlet’ at that point and found GREGSON, but we usually spend so much time fishing for scarlet herrings that we resisted the urge, this time – sadly!

It was ESTREPED that was the break through. 1ac and 1d suddenly seemed to be within reach. We could choose between WRITING ON THE WALL and DENIZEN OF THE DEEP. With our dread of red herrings in mind, we opted for the former, and, of course, the rest fell into place.

“Ah yes, that was it RACHE – ‘vengeance’ in German – and those two warring detectives thought it was RACHEL written in blood. We have to think erroneously like them. That gives us THEA, GLADYS, MARSHA – lovely!”

The rest fell into place. WAND(A), BETS(Y), NEST(A), SOPH(Y) – nice clue that one and Chambers filled the gap in my knowledge with the information that SOP came from the drugged sop the Sibyl gave to Cerberus to enable Aeneas to enter the Underworld – PEAR(L) – I am wondering why a PEA is Catherine’s veg. – LAR(A), LIND(A) and ANGEL(A).

How nicely it all came together in the end. Of course, I had to get out the pencils and add a few red-herring clues, dripping blood down the wall.  Sometimes this Listener solving thing can be a pleasure and not a nightmare. Thank you, Salamanca.

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