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Posts Tagged ‘Tangram’

Square Deal? by Tiburon

Posted by shirleycurran on 10 Jan 2020

Tiburon! We greet that with a smile as we are accustomed to having clues tweaked by the Listener editor so can be pretty sure that his will be beyond reproach, but then the second half of the relatively lengthy pre-ramble has us taking a deep breath. We are being instructed to dissect our completed grid into pieces and to rearrange them with complicated details about what unclued letters must be matched. It’s likely to be Christmassy isn’t it? Reindeer or something? Trees have been done before, I find a Christmas tree by Rasputin (who he?) on Dave Hennings’ Crossword database, among others, but it could be that or a snowflake or a Christmas animal? There was a lovely snowflake to be cut out some years ago. We begin to solve.

I search rather despairingly for an appropriate dash of Christmas spirits to confirm that Tiburon retains his Listener Oenophile entry ticket to the dinner. Well, the Stratford event wouldn’t be the same without him would it? However, it seems to be a rather dry crossword – until, that is, we solved 15ac ‘Raised distress signal up the pole (5)’

By the time we got to that clue, we had understood about putting two letters into one cell and using the diagonal line in the correct direction so that ELUSORY and SOUSED could both be read in the right order (and by an astonishing stroke of luck, I had them all facing the right way to aid my cutting up of the grid).

SOUSED is ‘up the pole’, Chambers tells me and that is extremely sozzled. What can I say? Cheers, Tiburon!

We don’t find this solve easy at all and have been solving for a couple of hours before we read the preamble properly and understand about the double letters, so that we can make ARBITRATOR intersect with SPEAR with the A and R sharing a cell, VIBRATO intersect with AMENTA with the AT of one becoming the TA of the other and so on. We know that we have to find nine of these and struggle in the south-west corner to find our ninth, even though the clue to ANTSY is generous, ‘Excited tourists on vaction in New York (4)’ giving us NY around T(ourist)S with an unclued A. I had been attempting to make that ‘monitor’ an IGUANA rather than the VARAN he turned out to be.

We should have seen far sooner that the corrected misprints were instructing us to TANGRAM something. Well, I chop the grid along the lines indicated by the diagonal marks, then, with a cry of delight, fit them altogether and realise that one of our editors has, at last, after a couple of years, located the elusive Poat hare. What a Christmas treat.

Then disillusion sets in as the remaining corrected misprints spell O TANNENBAUM. That isn’t a hare is it? My small grandson was singing that with his school choir a couple of weeks ago when we were with them in California (he’s in a German/English International School). He was drowned out by the four-year-old’s rendering of ‘Let It Go’ from the Disney Frozen but I suppose we have to move with the times).

Back to the cutting and gluing.

A moment of trepidation. How do we tangram a Christmas tree? Of course, I have recourse to my old friend Wiki who shows me one example – and, though I am not sure that we have found all the correct unclued letters, that instruction about the three Es tells me which way up to put the tub so that the soil doesn’t spill all over the presents (and a rather disconsolate hare who thought he was the star of the show).

A rather higgledy-piggledy MERRY CHRISTMAS appears and I highlight it.

Delightfu! Many thanks to Tiburon.



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Chapstick by Tangram

Posted by shirleycurran on 15 Dec 2017

Our first reactions were to the rather unusual grid – 15 by 13, then when I recreated it in crossword compiler, there was the added surprise that it wasn’t exactly symmetrical with a central column of an 8-letter and a 7-letter clue. We stored that information as that was likely to have something to do with that ‘stylised object’ that contained a line, that we were ultimately going to highlight.

Of course, such a large grid led to rather a lot of clues and we checked that there were indeed 50 which were to be treated in three different ways: 30 misprints in the definitions, 10 missing letters in the definitions and 10 first or final letters of solutions. Well, Tangram has opted for an easier way to produce his message than attempting to find a suitable misprint for every definition (which can be a real struggle as any compiler will confirm).

Does Tangram retain his admission ticket for the Listener Ebriates Outfit? Well that speaks for itself doesn’t it? ‘The modern version of Will’s fat bride ate crackers (8)’ gave us EBRIATED (bride ate*) though at that stage of our solve, we were not aware that the message emerging required a P, producing ‘paf’ for Shakespeare’s ‘drunk’. I tried ‘cat’, ‘hat’ ‘dat’ and was delighted to find ‘wat’ which is guess what! A HARE. That’s an original way of playing Poat’s game!

We read on and found ‘In which are two cups. European, back at Celtic Park (4)’ The two cups sounded promising – is Tangram already in his cups? Ah no, we smiled when we realized that these were ladies’ cups in a BRA + E(uropean) which gave us BRAE, so that we had ‘baNk’ rather than ‘baCk’. We supposed it would be a fine malt in those cups at Celtic Park, but no, the very next clue was ‘Aussie might term it frog recipe with fruit (5)’ giving us R + AKEE = RAKEE and Grog for the Aussie.

Tangram hadn’t finished his boozy clues. We struggled at the very end of our solve with ‘What’s a bit of an English pine? (3)’. By this time our message was emerging and we had OVERLAPPING NAMES DEPIC? NEARVERSION OF LANGS FIFTH LINE, so that had to give us a ‘pinT’ for ‘pinE’. I know you could cut a LOG off a pine, but wasn’t aware that it was a Hebrew liquid measure, just a bit short of a pint. That clue was cleverly deceptive too, could it have led to LOP, or LOW for a bit ‘off’.

Pint of what? Well after the RAKEE and the malt, and grog, there was the gin; ‘Singular gin engine managed base for cotton (5)’ Luckily we were aware that a ‘ginn’ or ‘jinn’ is the singular of GENIE or DJINNI etc. so we ducked (or cut) the base of cottoN from an anagram of engine, producing the GENIE, and I raised my glass of gin and tonic to toast Tangram. Actually, the evidence was staring us in the face when we completed the puzzle. There was that fine bottle in the centre of our grid. Cheers!

A couple of hours of solving and we had the message which was unambiguous (if rather wordy) and the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations produced only one Lang and only one quotation with five lines – well six, from his Brahma (which led us to Emerson, and the Upanishads – what a lot this Listener thing teaches us!) ‘I am the batsman and the bat’. So that was the significance of ‘Chapstick’ – not something to smooth the effects of the weather on our winter sports’ lips but a chap and a stick.

That line we had noticed earlier and some loop, made up of presumably cricketers’ names had to produce a bat. GRACE and RICHARDS leapt out at us, then we teased out EDRICH and decided it had to be symmetrical so we needed STEEL and ELGAR. I am originally from Yorkshire so should know a little about the county’s sport but Elgar was a new one on me. thanks for the education Tangram. We noticed that RAVEL was there in the grid, parallel to the bat, just below GOWER, so both men were clearly waiting in the wings.

We went to bed amusing each other with comments about the musicians eleven: “It’s Elgar and Strauss scoring now, Elgar, new to the field, a bit of an enigma, wielding his bat(on) with pomp and circumstance. What an over(ture)! Who is the ninth man? Has to be Beethoven” etc.

Poat’s HARE? Well the plot thickens. Now I am hunting for a WAT, DOE, MARA or HARE in a straight line and they were all out there batting, if somewhat jumbled and confused, but it was the poor little creature that had been rather mangled at the base of the bat who got my sympathy.

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Listener No 4478: Chapsticks by Tangram

Posted by Dave Hennings on 15 Dec 2017

Last year’s Tangram puzzle had Alan Seeger’s poignant “I have a rendezvous with death at some disputed barricade” as its theme. This week, we had Chapsticks which I suspected was a misprint for Chopsticks, or indeed Chapped Lips, that somehow got through the vetting process!

In fact, I probably know more about chopsticks and chapped lips than I do about the theme revealed by this puzzle.

As usual, where there is more than one clue type, I found this a fairly tricky solve. At least we were told the number of each type with thirty definitions having misprints, and ten missing a letter. These together with either the first or last letter from ten answers would spell out a statement referring to an OED quotation.

The last clue type resulted in the revealed statement being unguessable in places until pretty much the end: Overlapping names depict a near version of Lang’s fifth line. Off to the OED, only to discover two Langs. One of these, Fritz, had just one quotation, a somewhat inane comment, if you ask me, about the Western in American history.

So, it was the other Lang, Andrew. Luckily there was only one extract which had five lines: “I am the batsman and the bat, I am the bowler and the ball”. The first of these was line five, and the preamble required us to highlight five characters to give “a stylised object representing the reference.”

Even though I know little about cricket, it didn’t take long to spot GRACE followed by EDRICH down the middle of the grid. (I was helped with the latter by being born in Surrey.) A little inspired guesswork confirmed the other three as ELGAR, RICHARDS and STEEL to reveal a cricket bat. At least, I hope they were the required batsmen.

Thanks for some good entertainment, Tangram, but I think I’ll stick to golf.

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Revision by Tangram

Posted by shirleycurran on 22 Jul 2016

img010 (2)When we saw the ceremonies and vigils to commemorate the opening of the Battle of the Somme, this morning, I commented to the other Numpty “Listener tonight – what’s the betting it is on a Somme theme!” Of course, I had forgotten that when we downloaded Tangram’s puzzle and learned that we were looking for the name of a poet and the first two lines of his poem (with a couple of words shifted into the crossword clues). Our earliest solutions suggested SEEGER to us but the only Pete Seeger verse I know is “Where have all the flowers gone …etc.” and that clearly wasn’t emerging from the letters we were omitting from our wordplay and answers.

Of course I didn’t forget to confirm Tangram’s continued membership of the Merry Listener Setters’ Toping Club and he quickly reserved his ticket with ‘Drink aroused greed, but no one acted like roisterer (8 with an A removed)’ giving (SWIG less I + GREED*) SWAGGERED. Fortunately, Tangram’s taste improved as the clues progressed, culminating with ‘Good water spring; great Scotch, Elgin’s capital extra mature (4 losing a couple of Rs)’ That was more like it – a drop of the mature Scotch – though we were rather puzzled as this clue seemed to give us two sets of wordplay, assuming that ‘Good water spring’ led to G + EYE’ and that GEY = ‘great’ in Scots + E(lgin) also gave us the GEYE of GREYER (extra mature).

Rendezvous_with_deathAt first sight, this crossword looked fearsome, but, in fact, the clues were relatively gentle – obviously they had to be as we were virtually cold-solving as no crossing entries totally confirmed what we assumed to be an answer, since that letter was missing from every word (surprisingly only once was it doubly missing – that R from GREYER). Words like SHADOW quickly appeared ‘Singular trouble with shade (5)’ S + ADO W(ith), and it was immediately evident that this was the word that was to be entered jumbled, as we already had the S?OD? in place.

At that point, we noticed with amazement that our editors or the setter had kindly indicated for us which word was to be entered in reverse and the clue, with the hint of the letters already in place, told us to put BRINEPI[T] there, ‘Recipe in prison ruined pie; it’s full of salt (7) R in BIN + PIE*.

Of course, by now, we had realized that this was not Pete Seeger but his uncle Alan Seeger who appears just above him in the ODQ and that the line of poetry was telling us, sadly that ‘I HAVE A RENDEZVOUS WITH DEATH AT SOME DISPUTED BARRICADE’ … Sure enough, there were the barricade ‘One in command runs close to barricade (5 less D)’ CO + R + [D] ON, and the Rendezvous, ‘Over a scrap in the country (5 + S)’ RE[S]ORT, so we had the third line of the poem confirmed. The ‘spring’ was returned and the ‘shade’ rustled.

We completed our solve after reading that Alan Seeger did indeed not ‘fail that rendezvous’ as he died on the fourth day of the Battle of the Somme.

Many thanks to Tangram for alerting us to this poet and poem on the hundredth anniversary of that dreadful event.


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