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Posts Tagged ‘The Ace of Hearts’

Listener No 4498: Name That Tune by The Ace of Hearts

Posted by Dave Hennings on 4 May 2018

Here we had The Ace of Hearts’s (?) second Listener after last year’s Fifth Wheel (or was it Spare Tyre?) puzzle last year. That was also a circular grid, but this week the cells for the radial entries didn’t quite line up neatly and I found that somewhat confusing at times.

The clues were of the Letters Latent variety, with the wordplay reflecting the 6-letter entry. Moreover, and I think this is a first, as well as going either inward or outward, the radials could start anywhere in their entry, cycling as necessary.

1 (M)ODESTY, 2 R(A)CIEST and 3 SECTIO(N) were rattled off in pretty quick time, and it looked like we were dealing with Manfred Mann (most of whom are still alive and coming up 80). Unfortunately, 4 SCAND(I)C put paid to that.

It wasn’t too long before the true theme was revealed with Man in Black. Well that was Roy Orbison, wasn’t it? [No. Ed.] No, it wasn’t, it was JOHNNY CASH. [Bravo. Ed.] And so, with the theme identified relatively early, the end of the puzzle was in sight.

If only that were true! The clueing technique proved very difficult, and I’m afraid that I decided that I couldn’t wait until the third ring revealed the song lyric, so I scanned the singer’s song titles under his Wiki heading. RING was already in the grid, courtesy of clues 2–5 which were quite easy, and Ring of Fire was soon identified.

That enabled Fire to be identified as the missing definition for the perimeter entries: DISCHARGE, DETONATE, IGNITE, SHOOT, ENLIVEN and SACK. So I had the outer ring and the third ring filled in and the end was in sight. Well, it was, but only with a pair of very strong binoculars! Even the last few clues came very slowly, but eventually all was done. Checking that my final submission didn’t include a silly transcription error took a bit of time.

Quite a challenge, thanks TAoH. I look forward to your next, preferably using a nice 12×12 grid.


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‘Name That Tune’ by The Ace of Hearts

Posted by Encota on 4 May 2018

The song ‘RING OF FIRE’ was number one on the Country Charts for Johnny Cash exactly 55 years ago (Spring 1963, for 7 weeks), according to the font of all knowledge and wisdom (i.e. Wikipedia).

I loved the PDM on this one.  I also really enjoyed the wide range of synonyms used for FIRE around Ring 1 in the interesting Circular grid used:

  • ENLIVEN and
  • SACK

Ring 3 contained the first two lines of the song, too.

What with all that Fire about, then things could easily get singed, so finally we had to add the perpetrator … namely the singe-r … in the centre of the Ring of Fire.

Once all the thematic part was dealt with, it was then that the hard work started – for me at least!  Of the 39 radial clues I still had 26 to solve and, crikey, I found them difficult.  Having little to go on, apart from answer length and a few crossers – but not knowing precisely where those checked letters were positioned – made this a long slog.  The shared characters in Rings 4, 5 and 6 offered a little respite in that it made it much easier to solve clues adjacent to ones already solved.  At 8 minutes or so per clue (whilst watching the Commonwealth Games at the same time, admittedly), it was many hours – in fact the following lunchtime – before I eventually polished this one off.

My rough copy attempt looked like this:

2018-04-15 16.01.48 copy

Hard work, great thematic material – thanks The Ace of Hearts!

Tim / Encota

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The Evolution of East Perry by The Ace of Hearts

Posted by shirleycurran on 1 September 2017

First comment from the other Numpty, “What does East Perry anagram to? Spare tyre? Oh surely we are not having another comment on male physique after Serpent’s jibes about balding oldies! Well, maybe that’s this week’s theme.” And in a way it was. I was already grumbling as this week’s hare (even though there were at least three jumbled ones in the final grid) was not even in the preamble or clues but clearly frolicking there in a bit of a jumble in the setter’s pseudonym, The Ace of HARE*[ts]. Now that’s going a bit far. We’ve still had only a couple of hares decently appearing in four letters in a straight line and one of those was run over by the HS2.

The Ace of Hare*ts

The Ace of Hearts seems to be a new Listener setter so can he be admitted to the drinkie club? Clue 3 was hopeful, ‘From fruitful presses smoots produce Greek letter by hard work’. We opted for NU + TOIL for that, changing the rather obvious sMoots to sHoots, and had to enter it as a jumble. OPIATE came next, ‘Taking leaders aback, each time an ignorant preacher orates is provoking sleep’ We exchanged sHeep for sLeep and took the reversed initial letters. There wasn’t much good drinking here even if ‘Flattering dry fruit remains vital’, where we decided that the fruit had to be flUttering and was composed of ASH and KEY. Ah well, cheers anyway, The Ace of Hearts – or ‘Santé’ if we see you at the bar in Paris.

With that rather generous title, we were soon solving clues with no definition and inserting various types of carriage. TELEGA and BERLIN came first quickly followed by POCHAY, SURREY and DROSKY with HERDIC taking a little longer. Mrs Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary is such a great help in situations like this as there are not a lot of six-letter carriages. Of course we were now able to take a good guess or two and insert BAROUCHE, COUPE, CHARIOT, ROCKAWAY and VICTORIA and were soon left with ?ILL with and I H or G to complete it from the jumbled HIDAGE. Of course, Chambers told us that a HILL or IILL is not a form of carriage but, surprisingly, a GILL is.

The messages produced by extra letters usually causes us lots of Numpty head-scratching but this time there was a kind of repetition in it that resolved itself to THE SPARE WHEEL OF A FOUR WHEELED VEHICLE (after all, if you get V?H?C?E, or W?EEL, there isn’t much room for doubt, is there?) The perimeter letters were resolving themselves, when we ignored the carriages, to A SUPERFLUOUS OR USELESS PERSON OR THING and Chambers very kindly gives exactly that definition for FIFTH WHEEL, so the ‘spare tyre’ of the anagrammed title is not being disparaging about male physique but making a kind of mechanical comment. We know what to put in the centre of our grid (rather than the rather obvious and far less satisfactory SPARE TYRE that was our first thought.

We are almost there with two clues to go and some doubt about which way to enter our OSPREY.  The fish he was catching (the haWk rather than haCk or the clue) was our red herring as we had entered SECURE (jumbled) as our answer to clue 5, ‘Have heartless recluse in turmoil’ changing Have to Save, anagramming REC[l]USE and muttering that ‘save’ was a poor definition for ‘secure’. Well, obviously it was, since we had actually entered RESCUE, heading outwards – but that messed up our careful count of ins, outs, and jumbles, so that we thought one of our remaining clues had to head outwards when both YUKIER and DUYURE were in fact to be jumbled.

Let me say nothing or our reaction to that last word. It took us almost as long to work out as did the rest of our solve but I am sure others will moan enough so I’ll conclude with thanks to The Ace of Hearts for his very complex grid.

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‘The Evolution of East Perry’ by The Ace of Hearts

Posted by Encota on 1 September 2017

For some real comment on this excellent Listener by The Ace of Hearts then do read Shirley’s and Dave’s blogs.  For something a little quirkier, read on…

So was I the only one who spent almost as much time on finding the Honduran town of Duyure as the rest of the puzzle (Clue 10)?

There I was, wondering how to find out how to find border towns in Honduras when it occurred to me – why don’t I ring their equivalent of Citizens’ Advice in the Honduras capital.  It was only then, when dialling the international Country Code for Honduras – 504 – that I realised what was really going on.  I mean, you’re not telling me that a code that spells out Fifth (5) Wheel (O) Four (4) (for the four-wheeled carriage) is a coincidence here, surely ….?  It’s obviously a heavily-disguised phone-oriented puzzle…

People even only marginally associated with telecommunications all have their FAVOURITE TELEPHONE STORY [Are you sure?? Ed.]   So you can’t tell me that this is a jumble of the puzzle’s Title by accident…can you?

As examples, here are three candidates for such a story:

  1. There used to be a red telephone box in Esher High Street in Surrey, UK where one could precede a number with a string of around thirty extra digits and get free international calls – to Honduras, for example (so a friend from Tegucigalpa told me)
  2. Do you remember locks for telephone dials?
    Perhaps one of the world’s dumber inventions.  The key-operated cylinder slotted into one of the holes in a telephone’s dial (remember them?) and locked into place, so the dial couldn’t be turned and so calls couldn’t be made….
    …unless of course one simply tapped out the number on the buttons that the receiver sat on. Tap.  Tap-tap.  Tap-tap-tap.  And the Speaking Clock was yours!  ‘Experts’ used a finger on each button alternately for the longer numbers, doing their best to tap at a rate of ten per second.
  3. When the new digital exchanges came in during the 1970s and 1980s, they were (and still are) incredibly reliable – and would normally stay so unless some well-meaning repairman tried fiddling with the electronics.  So each came with a reduced support team of just one Man and a Dog.  Initially it might appear that the Man was a Fifth Wheel but no, he had a clear purpose – and that was to feed the Dog.
    But what was the Dog’s purpose, I hear you ask?  Answer: to bite the Man if he ever tried to touch the exchange…

Back to the puzzle.  The Ace of Hearts as a pseudonym is clearly no accident but carefully chosen as a pointer to the real number required.  Use the A and H in the keypad below as X-Y coordinates and locate the number they point to: 5.


Now switch back to the dial format to match the puzzle’s shape and add the Fifth Wheel at its centre.  Solved!

Laid back

So why did solving the following Clue 10 take me so long?

  Here border of Honduras is near last of old-timer’s buried jade (6)

I had YU or NAG as the likely pieces of wordplay for ‘jade’ and I guessed the answer had to be somewhere in Honduras – but the rest took me an age!  Eventually I spotted YU (jade) in DURE (an obsolete term meaning last), located DUYURE in the atlas and all was sorted.  In defence of my slow solving, it might have helped if I had known any of YU, DURE or DUYURE in advance.

Finally, picture the scene some time in the future: you’re at your regular Pub Quiz at ‘The Slum & Dog’, and the decider question to win the million is: ‘What is the International Country Code for Honduras?’  Immediately recall Duyure in ‘The Evolution Of East Perry’ by The Ace of Hearts with the Fifth Wheel of the Four (-wheeled) carriage and shout out ’504’.  Your future fortune is assured!*

Thanks to The Ace of Hearts – great fun!


Tim / Encota

*or not

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