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Posts Tagged ‘Stick Insect’

L4564 ‘There and Back’ by Stick Insect

Posted by Encota on 9 August 2019

Picture the scene.  You are catching up on those episodes of Killing Eve that you’ve been meaning to watch and hear all their talk about ‘The Twelve’.  Who can they be?  Then you pick up this week’s Listener crossword and – perhaps – all is revealed.

Given it was 50 years on this 20th July, it would have been a missed opportunity if The Listener hadn’t featured a Moon Landing Puzzle.

This one was delightful in that it included all Twelve U.S. astronauts to have walked on the Moon’s surface – in order of touching its surface, I think.  ARMSTRONG and ALDRIN were gently hidden on Rows 1 and 2, right through to CERNAN and SCHMITT on Rows 11 & 12.

My favourite clue was (before and after one letter was deleted):

Aptness of Bill Sikes’ girl following pro(f)’s contrary church rule (11)

… for CONCERNANCY, with its split of definition and wordplay in the middle of Bill Sikes – very neat!

Tim / Encota


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Listener No 4564: There and Back by Stick Insect

Posted by Dave Hennings on 9 August 2019

Stick Insect’s last puzzle was two years ago and had a theme courtesy of a maxim from Plato’s Protagoras: “That man is the measure of all things”. I seem to remember that a bit of googling (or duckduckgoin) was required for it. This week, we had a theme that positively shouted itself out. From the title and the requirement to highlight twelve surnames, we were dealing with the fiftieth anniversary of the first moon landing in 1969.

I have to admit that only nine of them rang a bell with me, and I tried to fill the grid without getting help from the them. However, I couldn’t avoid ARMSTRONG and ALDRIN in rows 1 and 2 giving me such help.

The grid construction for this puzzle was excellent, as was the thematic nature of the clues — half one way, half the other. And then there was the icing on the cake: the order in which the astronauts set foot on the moon was the order in which they appeared from top to bottom in the grid, culminating with CERNAN and SCHMITT. What is (sort of) interesting is that, although Schmitt was the last man to step onto the Moon, Cernan was the last one to leave it.

For those who needed extra help with the theme, the extra letters in the clues to be removed before solving gave We came in peace for all mankind which appeared on plaques attached to the Lunar Modules which were left on the Moon. Finally “ONE GIANT LEAP” went beneath the grid.

It took this anniversary to make me realise how incredible it was to achieve the feat of “… landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth”. I can imagine that a few people must have commented “What did he just say?!” In the end, the Apollo program required about 400,000 people and nearly $300 billion in today’s money. Sadly, some of the test astronauts died before Apollo XI succeeded.

Thanks for the puzzle, SI.

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There and Back by Stick Insect

Posted by shirleycurran on 9 August 2019

We thought we were so clever when we guessed that this was going to be about Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings – “There and Back” with twelve dwarves’ names to highlight in the completed grid – Oin, Gloin, Nori, Dori, Bifur etc. but when ALDRIN appeared between that obscure word QAWWAL and DRINK, we had to have a speedy rethink and realized that we had already entered ARMSTRONG as part of mARM [S] TRON and Galley. A very different there and back.

DRINK! Ah yes, ‘Male’s one day at racecourse gave us an extra M that we were looking for in WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND, AND LEFT US WITH ‘Ale’s D + RINK. I was relieved as my initial run through the clues had produced ‘menu item’, ‘Try water’ and ‘Spirit’ but no convincing proof that Stick Insect retains his admission ticket to the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Elite. But there it was: “Cheers, Stick Insect!”

Yes, the clues were generous and we needed to check only a few of our solutions. Romansch is spoken not a long way from where we live but the spelling RUMONSCH was new on us. ‘Odd boy with school dialect’ gave us an extra O so that we had RUM = odd, ON = by and SCH = school, giving us the ‘dialect’.

We had to check CHELLEAN too. ‘Revolutionary left Nepal confused once regarding early culture’. We needed to extract the P from the material leaving us with CHE L + NEAL*. We hadn’t heard of a QAWWAL religious singer but, of course, Stick Insect carefully spelled out what we needed and at that point, we were able to consult Wiki’s list of astronauts and fill our gaps.

How impressive that Stick Insect managed to produce the jumbled letters of ONE GIANT LEAP from those twelve names. Even more impressive that he was able to construct a 52-word grid with 26 words heading backwards, to fit all that material in and give the 26-word message that the first moon-landers gave to any stray outer-space dwellers. Nice, thank you.

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‘Rod and Bill’ by Stick Insect

Posted by Encota on 20 October 2017

When it comes to anagrams of Title and Setter above: brain’s distinctly blocked.

And trying to think of words that mean both a Man and a Measure is too tricky.  NORM service will hopefully be resumed with L4472.


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Rod and Bill by Stick Insect

Posted by shirleycurran on 20 October 2017

We start, of course, by attempting to anagram Rod and Bill but that gets us nowhere, except to comment that they are short forms of men’s names. We take note that there is to be a thematic modification and soon begin to spot the clues where that will occur as two of our earliest solves (‘Troubled séance about dead can upset rare dominating influence (9)’, and ‘Handle pop ration to dole out fair share (5)’) give us obvious and generous anagrams for ASCENDANCE and APPORTION, both of which are too long for their lights. Soon afterwards we find yet another anagram, ‘A rich myth, woven without pattern (6)’ which clearly gives us ARHYTHMIC, again too long for its light, and further on still one more anagram, ‘Tube transports do bless loves in turmoil (9, two words)’ which gives us BLOOD VESSELS – three extra letters there. Surely not another anagram? ‘Take stock of resources of poor statesmen (8)’ gives us MEANS TEST.  I get into trouble for over-using anagrams but I counted fifteen whole or partial ones in Stick Insect’s 51 clues – I think he wins this year’s anagram cup. That being said, his device, where we had no indication of the actual definition of the word to be entered after ‘thematic modification’, meant that his clues had sometimes to be rather generous (which we always appreciate) – and they were.

‘Soar up rows (4)’ giving OARS, ‘Revised abandoned diet (4)’ giving EDIT, ‘Second pensioner’s Bronx pay-off (4)’ giving S + OAP = SOAP. There was the rather surprising ‘Italian company XI’s goodbye (4)’ that had to be CIAO but it was the first time I had seen the Roman 11 (XI) used as O. That’s a clever one to remember (and poach!). Stick Insect had us slightly worried as, with such generous clues, there had to be a dastardly end game in store. Our grid filled and soon we had the habitual Numpty head-scratch when APRON seemed the likely word to enter where we had APPORTION, and BLOODLESS where we had BLOOD VESSEL.

‘Vessel’ – Ah yes, have I forgotten to check Stick Insect’s continued membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit? No, that was easily confirmed some time ago with ‘Bar game in British Museum (4)’ LOO in BM = BLOOM, ‘Perhaps bring onto board old port company heads (5)’ CO + O PT = COOPT, ‘City spirit’s ancient warning (5)’ LA RUM = LARUM and ‘Drinks dispensers corrupted nature society (7, two words)’ NATURE* + S = TEA URNS. OK, the last was tea but that was sufficient evidence. “Cheers, Stick Insect! I hope we’ll meet at the bar at the next Listener setters’ dinner in Paris”.

Those initial letters had spelled THEAETETUS and Google obligingly supplied the rest – well, most of it. We learned that Plato, in that dialogue, using the sophist PROTAGORAS, said that ‘Man is the measure of all things’. Right, so we were replacing ‘measures’ with ‘men’. We found a substantial list of measures in the Big Red Book and worked out that

DANCE in ASCENDANCE had to be replaced by SION (a Welsh form of John),

PORTION in APPORTION was to be replaced by RON,







SIZE in RESIZES by DAN (yes, it could be CAL, short for Calvin, producing RECALS. CAL is not in the Chambers list of names, but neither is LES of 47ac. I’d be surprised, though if anyone opted for that!),

and SING in CASING by ROB.

A full grid and the conviction that we were going to find the letters of PLATO somehow providing an image of 16 cells in four straight lines. That was surely going to be Leonardo’s Vitruvian man. We hunted and we hunted, then, by a stroke of luck, saw that a couple of chevrons appeared in the grid, spelling respectively AOEA and ORAS. That couldn’t be by chance!

It was some time later that light dawned and we used the second of those to give us a slightly less muscular and elegant man in the form of PROTAGORAS.

Thanks to Stick Insect for a challenging introduction to a text we are not familiar with. (No, it isn’t at the head of my Christmas wish list!)

Poat hares galore!

What about Poat’s hares? Of course they were there en masse, gambolling amongst the cowpats and Vitruvian man’s legs.

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