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Posts Tagged ‘The Name of the Game’

The Name of the Game by Chalicea

Posted by shirleycurran on 26 Apr 2020

I think people hear more than enough of the Numpties on these pages and don’t normally write a setter’s blog but so much has come to me from friends (and the many who were friends until they put the three billiard balls outside the bounds of the ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL billiard table, this committing a foul in the game of billiards, and wrecking their all-correct Listener records – if they still had them after mangling lower-case Greek letters in Opsimath’s the week before) that I thought I should write a few words of apology.

My original grid was carte blanche because it required no bars until a final set to be drawn around IKB’s name, thus delineating the thematic item. One of my problems, as a setter, is producing too many words and editorial tweaks pointed out that there was no need for the bars as a solver would realize that his three coloured blls had to be on the table – so words cut, as they were very cleverly by the second editor, producing succinct and better peamble and clues – we do owe those editors so much – but he had over-estimated the nous of the solver and the floor was littered with balls – so sorry!

Masses of praise has come over the ether, or whatever it is, for my knowledge of billiards, (actually I am rubbish at snooker which is the nearest I ever got and I know next to nothing about the game but the Internet is great isn’t it?) but It was Shark who did the last test-solve of my puzzle and he had a billiard champion in his family, and is also an astonishingly able test-solver. The warm comments about what was good about the puzzle should really go to him. My speciality is the Brunel bit – he is one of our heroes and I have been astonished by the number of solver and setter friends who tell me that they live within a mile, say, of the Great Western Railway and didn’t know it was Brunel’s billiard table. If he had played his game (billiards?) a little better we would have his wide gauge everywhere.

So many thanks to testers, our superb editors and dear John Green (no, not to Tim and Dave – fellow bloggers – what’s all that about alcohol!).


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Listener No 4601: The Name of the Game by Chalicea

Posted by Dave Hennings on 24 Apr 2020

It has only been nine months since Chalicea’s last Listener with its Brucie Boy and Bannockburn theme. This week we had a carte blanche with a final grid that was almost 180° symmetric. I’m not sure I’ve seen that spelt out in a preamble before.

Nine clues had to have a word removed before solving with a message given by the initial letters of the word either side. In the final grid, an area bounded by a name would need shading — in the conventional colour, and not too much I hoped — together with three items.

As you may know, Chalicea is a member of the Gin Worshipping Ring but tries not to reveal that in her clues. However, she frequently, and sub-consciously, introduces alcohol to her entries. Here, every one had a shot or two (or more) of GIN & TONIC. Some were quite blatant, such as KINGDOM and OVERBOOOKING. One was just neat gin — GLEEMAIDEN. Shame on you, Chalicea.

Back to the puzzle, and we had a fairly straightforward solve, although the link between the extra clue words didn’t jump out at me: red, Jenny, cannon, eccentric, nurse, white, kiss, pills, yellow. However, the two entries that made the grid slightly unsymmetrical (9dn and 25dn) were LONDON and BRISTOL.

A bit of googling was still required to find out how BILLIARD TABLE linked the two. At first, I wondered whether Brunel and his engineers used Maidenhead Bridge as a large snooker hall before the tracks were laid. Sadly not! Because the track was so straight and level from Paddington to Swindon and beyond, it was referred to as Brunel’s Billiard Table.

ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL could be found in the grid marking out a billiard table with letters O for the White, Red and Yellow balls. Lucky for Chalicea, a yellow ball is now used rather than a white ball marked with a black spot. Who knows how that could have been an extra word in the clues! Lots of green shading was required at the end, not any of the bizarre greys, blues, oranges and reds that I saw in Google images.

Another gentle puzzle, thanks Chalicea.

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The Name of the Game by Harribobs

Posted by shirleycurran on 6 Nov 2015

Life by Harribobs 001Harribobs? Not quite a new name as we have his ‘What is the Word?’ in the current (October) Magpie, and struggled to draw that spade in Jake’s Treasure Hunt on Derek Harrison’s Crossword Centre last month but this is a first Listener so I rather anxiously have to confirm that Harribobs qualifies for the Listener Setters Alcoholic Haze Club.

He leaves me in little doubt as after a brief visit to the shopping centre, ‘Dashed small dog attempted to leave shopping centre (8)’ (SMALL CUR [T]RIED less MALL = SCURRIED) we find ‘Many going after American wines (7)’ (Well, who wouldn’t in a mall? We are due to visit the Napa Valley in a couple of weeks’ time and I can’t wait to taste the Zinfandel – my favourite). However, this gentle little clue deceptively leads us to our local stuff [A]MER(ican) + LOTS = MERLOTS.

The boozy clues continue with ‘Will always heading for saloon bars (6)’ ([L]L + EVER + S(aloon) = LEVERS) then, not surprisingly, ‘Drunken centaur emits a belch (5)’ (CENTAUR less A* = ERUCT). The drinking continues with ‘Dry run waived by mounted army? (4)’ ([F]ORCES less R(un)< = SECO) – so Harribobs has started to mix the reds and whites and perhaps not surprisingly we find ‘Top defenders renouncing suggestion of strong alcoholic drinks (9)'(LI[D] + BASTIONS less S(trong) = LIBATIONS).

This crossword is flowing with alcohol –  (see you in the bar next March, Harribobs!) but also with a lovely set of solvable clues and our grid fills steadily with a message appearing: START CELLS HAVE ELEMENT OF LIFE, SHADE SECOND GENERATION. We had understood from the preamble that we were going to play a game with the completed grid and the rules were laid out clearly, though I managed to bungle by adding a generation at the start while the other Numpty, a new man, cooked supper.

Fortunately, he managed to apply the rules correctly and, in the meantime, I cheated and found a simulator on-line that did exactly what he was doing and produced the word LIFE as the second generation. Wikipedia also told me that CONWAY created this game, and, sure enough, almost symmetrically, there he was in our grid.

We had, of course, noticed that there was a minor unching aberration in the initial grid (where SASSY and ESTOP had two unchecked letters out of five) and know that the editors would not let that through without good cause. Now, seeing that astonishingly neat endgame, I was amazed that there were not more unching aberrations and do hope that Harribobs will br giving us a setter’s blog to explain how he managed to perform this feat.

What a stunning début. Many thanks to Harribobs.

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