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Posts Tagged ‘Serpent’

‘Shock Therapy’ by Serpent

Posted by Encota on 4 August 2017


I loved this puzzle.  The bottom half went in fairly straightforwardly, revealing the letters that would finally form the first row: WIG TOUPÉE HAIRPIECE.  The top half I found much more challenging!

The next stage for me was to find the ‘Condition’ talked about.  Given it had to be 2 words and 18 letters in total, I had no idea.  Some combination of BALDNESS (male pattern or otherwise) or ALOPECIA with something else, maybe?

I’d solved half a dozen or so of the upper Down clues, so had an attempt at finding words that began with the first letter followed by a jumble of all but one of the Upper Down answer’s letters.  For example, in 16d, four letters  E _ _ _ , with the letters of SOYA to choose from seemed to yield either EASY or EYAS.  I then tried to spot a synonym for either of these in the Across clues: 43 across had SIMPLE in it that I’d already removed from an earlier solve of:

  Behave like bird and others in [simple] turn (7)

i.e. EMU and (ET AL)<, giving EMULATE.  So EASY it was – one found, seventeen to go!  The A and the S helped me find 20a E-MAILED and 22a SNAILED, so identifying Woman and Eddies as two more of the required final synonyms.

After some consultation with Auntie Google, the only plausible 18-letter, 2-word condition appeared to be ANDROGENIC ALOPECIA, so I pencilled that in and happily found that each Row 1 letter was also found in the Upper Down clues I had already solved.  Phew!

Did anyone else notice how the puzzle also had a secret, secondary plumbing theme in it?  There was RING (Row 4), for olive rings etc used in compression fittings.  There was ROD (Row 5), for that part in the cistern connected to the float.  And there was COCK (Column 5), as in stopcock.  Clearly Serpent appears to have a DIY interest, too 🙂  Oh, and TRAP (i.e. a U-bend) upwards in Column 14.  Even a PLEET and a TROG were present diagonally, those Suffolk-dialect plumbing terms…

Many thanks Serpent for a very enjoyable solve!

Cheers all!

Tim / Encota


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Child’s Play by Serpent

Posted by shirleycurran on 12 August 2016

SerpentChild’s Play by Serpent? There was a moment of instant recognition – surely not Dysart under a new pseudonym producing another version of his Snakes and Ladders game that delighted us when we were just new solvers and bloggers? Wasn’t that called ‘Child’s Play‘? I remember drawing all those snakes and ladders that were spelled out by the remaining letters when we had deleted the irrelevant ones. (That was in 2009, have I really been blogging Listen With Others for seven years!) But Ilver has produced two versions of his demoniacal Child’s Play in the Magpie, Rasputin gives us difficult chess games for precocious children and Wan had that winning game of Ludo in the Magpie too, so maybe this is some other game.

Nothing to do but solve. Well, of course I must first re-establish Serpent’s membership of the Listener Alcohol Imbibers’ Outfit so I scan the clues for evidence and find a rather scanty ‘Drinkers may pull on these old hats (6)’ STRAWS, obviously, and ‘Several measures taken by Bohemian county once to protect king from the east (6)’ SALOP< round K giving POLKAS. Not much alcohol – I’d better look for some other obsession and oh dear! The evidence is alarming.

He starts with the underwear: ‘Change article of underwear to start to eliminate odours (6)’ gives SMALLS with E(liminate) for A giving SMELLS. Then we get the NUTS: ‘Aquatic plants and fish colonising nuts(6)’ AYU or AI in NADS (by this time our Editor would be telling me ‘We have to avoid offending the more sensitive solvers’). Serpent hasn’t finished yet: ‘The ultimate pair of cojones is framed by dog’s legs (6)’ STAG[S] (or dogs) round ES giving STAGES (or legs).  It gets worse: ‘American with dangly bits set saddle askew (8)’ SET SAD[D]LE* giving TASSELED (US spelling).

It would be unladylike to comment on ‘I must blow divine instrument (7)’ CELESTIA[L] dropping I to give CELESTA or on ‘Perhaps African does lap dances with maid (6)’ LAP + MAI[D]* giving IMPALA. Indeed, I am going to have to rethink the Listener imbibers’ club if our initial clue scan has to be a hunt for louche, lecherous, raunchy and scurrilous clues so I solve ‘Nude art represented nakedness (6)’ NU[D]E ART* giving NATURE, suggest Serpent get his coat and resolve to stick to the drinks next week.

With all those solutions in place and some fine gifts like ANTE, NAAN, PILLOW, EARS and DENTAL, we quickly establSerpent gridish that this is indeed a board game with the words entered boustrophedonaly, most starting on the square where the player’s counter landed as he shook a series of sixes and, obligingly, Serpent has confirmed this as SNAKES going downwards and LADDERS rising fill our centre column. That was a clever touch that left us with little doubt about the endgame (though we did wonder whether, in Dysart style, we had to search for snake names or ladders – but the only type of ladder seemed to be that STEP at clue g ‘Fuel blocks up stage (4)’ PE[A]TS<).

The preamble was clear – ‘The extra letters identify the thematic items, which must be drawn in the grid to complete the puzzle’ and reading the across clues in order gave us a clear sequence of game moves. Following those clues told us where, for example, we had to climb the ladder from the end of SALUTE to the start of POLKAS.

I thought my final grid looked rather a mess with all those ladders crossing but we did enjoy the theme. Thank you Serpent.

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