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Posts Tagged ‘The Ace of Hearts’

L4616: ‘Disco Lovers’ by The Ace of Hearts

Posted by Encota on 7 Aug 2020

I found this puzzle a slightly strange one, in that I had pretty much all the endgame sorted with only a third of the clues solved.

The five perimeter clues were generous in their wordplay, resulting in five synonyms for the word ‘friend’:

  • COMRADE, and
  • MATE

The spacing given in Ring 3 was very helpful, where I think I had .OGAN fairly early on as the character’s surname, and a message that looked much like BLESS ME FATHER FOR I HAVE SINNED. A quick bit of help from Google and this gave me MAEVE BINCHY for the central Author and BENNY HOGAN the Character. I liked the longer version of the quote, which was hiding a letter at a time in the Clues and which, according to, reads:

Bernadette ‘Benny’ Hogan:
Have… have you ever gone all the way with a girl?
Jack Foley:
No. Not quite.
Bernadette ‘Benny’ Hogan:
Would you like to?
Jack Foley:
Bernadette ‘Benny’ Hogan:
No. It wasn’t an invitation – just a request for information.

Having got these thematic bits sorted this early (to be honest it took until near the end to confirm where the last pair of consonants from the Author’s name fitted in the asterisked cells), it still took until late Friday evening to polish it off!

And the Title? Are we to read that as Disc O’ Lovers? That’d seem a reasonable interpretation given the Dublin setting. Maybe?

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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L4537: ‘Rollerball’ by the Ace of Hearts

Posted by Encota on 1 Feb 2019

It was the first – that I can remember – of  ‘that‘ cinema-trailer-voice:
In the not too distant future, wars will no longer exist.
But there will be … ROLLERBALL

OK, so I’m showing my age, listening as a kid to early commercial radio in the UK.  But how might all that have any relevance to this week’s puzzle?

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I almost got caught out by Radial 24:

  • Decorates circle in umbelliferous plants (8)

Initially there seemed to be too many of said plants from which to choose.  However, given it appeared to need six letters and be a plural, then ANISES seemed a good bet.  This is where I nearly went astray.  I imagined ‘decorates’ to be ANODISES with one letter missing for the Grid Entry.  But the gaps made it look like AODISES was to be the entry, so I put that in.  It was only when double-checking the defining phrase of AN ENCLOSURE TO DRIVE HUNTED ANIMALS INTO, that I realised that it was the D that needed to be missing.  And only then did I realise that the word defined by ‘decorates’ was ADONISES, with the D missing in the entry.  That was a close shave, especially so early in 2019!

As someone who hasn’t been solving thematics for long, and there not being that many circular thematics amongst those, I did wonder initially if a solver could assume that ring-based answers are to be entered clockwise unless stated otherwise?  I began by assuming not, so may have been unnecessarily complicating things.  Luckily a few checked cells showed that – in this case at least – these were to be entered clockwise, so things got rolling again.

I particularly liked the very first clue:

  • Bit into chocolate bar, almost losing tip of tooth (7)

… which I parsed as BIT inside KI(t)KA(t), with a separate instruction to delete each of the  Ts – very neat!

And the Title?  ROLLER=Wagon plus BALL=Circle, with the film title bluff.  Maybe?

Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4537: Rollerball by The Ace of Hearts

Posted by Dave Hennings on 1 Feb 2019

This week we had TAoH’s third Listener following on from the fifth wheel last year and the Blarney Stone the year before. Here we had a circular grid, not that it should have been a surprise since the previous two were as well. (Confession is good for the soul — circulars aren’t my favourite.)

However, there was a lot going on, so it looked as though it would be interesting. Indeed it was. Most radials would go inwards, but seven (thanks for the info) would go outwards. Unfortunately, they all needed to lose a letter before entry and these letters would spell out a definition.

The perimeter and Ring 5 were clued by wordplay only, but TaoH was kind in making most of them very straightforward. Although I quickly slotted CAISSON, GONDOLA and TELEGA into the perimeter, I failed to see what they might have in common. The first two had a watery connection and the last was a Russian wagon. A quick check in the BRB showed that they were all types of wagon.

Fiddling around with the Radial clues took a fair amount of time, even though some were helpful. Sometime later and I had a few of the letters in Ring 5 such that I could solve its outstanding clues. Thus the definition was A MOVABLE PIECE OF FURNITURE WITH SHELVES. More failure to understand on my part, and it was some time before I looked up wagon in Chambers.

The remaining two perimeter wagons were DEMOCRAT and KIBITKA. The latter was clued as Bit into chocolate bar, almost losing tip of tooth, leading to BIT in KITKA(t) – T. KitKat in the UK was originally made by Rowntree’s. That company was bought out by Nestlé which subsequently closed it. Typical!! In the USA it is made under licence by Reese, a division of the Hershey Company — so heaven knows what it tastes like!

Finally, we had the letters dropped from the Radials giving An enclosure to drive hunted animals into and CORRAL soon went into the centre of the grid.

Thanks for an entertaining puzzle, Ace. (Confession number 2 — I hate westerns.)

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Rollerball by The Ace of Hearts

Posted by shirleycurran on 1 Feb 2019

We don’t see many circular grids these days and this was a rather unusual one with seven-letter radials and just two rings of clued words which were irregularly broken into words. Of course ‘Rollerball’ deceptively led us to suspect that we were going to construct a roulette wheel but our earliest solves of those perimeter clues (GONDOLA and PIECE) put paid to that assumption.

I hunted for the alcoholic clues and they produced a foregone conclusion: ‘Drunks using ride sharing app for old ruins (8)’. That gavels SOTS putting UBER in the place of O(ld) so SUBVERTS. ‘Waving luncheon voucher pours excess (8)’ {LV POURS}* gave us OVERPLUS so The Ace of Hearts really needs to control the intake – but ‘Cheers’ anyway.

Solving was initially a struggle as, until we had the perimeter and the fifth ring, we were unable to enter our radial solutions of which we had a dozen before a grid fill could be undertaken. However, once the grid fill was started, the procedure became easier and soon we realised that DEMOCRAT, KIBITKA, CAISSON,GONDOLA and TELEGA had a feature in common; they were all types wagon.

So what was a circle of wagons doing round the edge of that circular grid? As we solved, those six letters, CORRAL, in the asterisked cells appeared and what does Chambers tell us? It’s AN ENCLOSURE TO DRIVE ANIMALS INTO (and ‘A defensive ring of wagons’) so we had the message that was being produced by the ‘letter … omitted wherever it occurs’. More puzzling was the definition ‘A MOVABLE PIECE OF FURNITURE WITH SHELVES’ that appeared in the ring five in from the perimeter but surprisingly, the Big Red Book told us that that is a definition of a wagon. So it allotted together rather nicely. Thanks to The Ace of Hearts.

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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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