Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Posts Tagged ‘Tibea’

Listener No 4589: Progress Report by Tibea

Posted by Dave Hennings on 31 January 2020

The third collaboration from our illustrious editors/vetters. The previous one marked 25 years since the Listener Crossword first appeared in The Times and used excerpts of articles from the newspaper of that day. This week, we had wordplay leading to mutilated forms of entries with definitions leading to the the correct forms — but for a different entry. Two 4×4 blocks had to be unjumbled to reveal current progress. I don’t know about you, but I was confused!

In fact everything came together fairly easily, starting with the nice clue at 4ac Concerned with non-drinker outside Rover’s Return (9). In fact, you didn’t have to know anything about Coronation Street addict (I’ve only ever watched one episode) to see that RETROVERT was (RE + TT) around ROVER.

An example of the trickiness this puzzle provided was 12ac Silky cotton length in the part of pantyhose one’s got out of (8) with its misleading silky cotton definition (for VELVERET at 8dn) and giving L + AS + TIGHTS – I for the initially nonsensical LASTGHTS (eventually to become THOUGHTS).

Two other clues amused me. 27ac Repeated lies following credit crunch (6) gave CRISIS — IS + IS after CR. 34ac Part for Milo O’Shea directed as well as the rest (8) gave LOOSHEAD which became LOOSENER in the final grid and lost the definition as well as the rest (to 15ac) and gained laxative (from 33dn).

I’m not too sure when the penny dropped for me. I was helped by knowing that the last Listener puzzle in The Listener was number 3089, and this was puzzle 4589. 3089 was, in fact, a mathematical puzzle, Squarkode by Klan (whose death was sadly announced alongside). Don’t ask how I knew that; just one of those things.

When the grid was complete, the two 4×4 blocks read LAST OF LINE UNDERNEATH THIS MASTHEAD. With a bit of jiggery-pokery, plugging the correct definitions into the clues revealed the correct grid with THOUSAND AND A HALF, THE TIMES LISTENER.

Great fun, thanks Tibea — onwards and upwards.
 

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

22SEs Square by Tibea

Posted by shirleycurran on 15 April 2016

Tibea Listener 001Tibea? That’s the two editors working as a team isn’t it. They gave us a relatively easy numerical crossword (if that isn’t a contradiction in terms) some time ago. I wonder what devious tricks they are up to this time. Well, the sight of the grid raised a mutter: we couldn’t create this, at least, not easily, on Crossword Compiler (which is always a useful asset as it prompts us with possible words when we have a normal grid – any port in a storm!)

Then we read the clues. Did I say clues? Call those clues? A friend commented to me later that with some careful Googling of the Times website, you could find all of these texts and render the first part of the task easy but we didn’t need to resort to that. With only a few errors, we were able to complete these texts and discover that we had excerpts from The Times of March 23, 1991, so evidently we were dealing with a twenty-fifth anniversary. Obviously the demise of the Listener. (Our errors were guessing TEXT when ultimately we needed LINE, and SORROW, when Mr Barnes reaction was stronger and HORROR was required at the state of the oiled cormorants.)

Yes, of course (as if there was any need to!) I checked that Tiburon and Kea have retained their membership cards of the Listener Tippling Gang and they emerged as honorary founder members with that entire anecdote, Altruism in a glass, recounting the sale of a £45,000 consignment of 12-year-old House of Commons own-brand Scotch whisky with the comic line, ‘While delighted by the prospect of the deal, the gin-drinking MP was unable to add a personal recommendation. “I never touch the stuff,” he said,. “It makes me feel sick.”‘ One has to wonder what the other MPs who do like the stuff thought! We poured ourselves a measure and began to hunt for jumbles to fill the rest of our grid. Cheers, Tibea!

This task was laborious rather than difficult with the most difficult aspect being finding the section of text where, for example, we were to look for a three-letter word that began with F or D and was repeated several times (FOY and DOR) or checking the spelling of CONVEYER/CONVEYOR (jumbled in VERY ENCOuraged – how easy it would be to put an O in that final unch – I wonder whether some solvers will!)

We had gaily put TEXT in at 25NE but were faced with a corner that wouldn’t work, as no TE?HE would fit at 25SE – clearly that had to be LETHE and the jumbles were in each LIST. With that obstacle removed, we completed our grid, refreshed the glasses of 12-year-old Glen Morangie and began the grid stare for the milestone. TIMES, of course, emerged at once and the Tibea team had generously told us that we were looking for a ‘symmetrical’ 13-cell representation, which left very few possibilities. We had already spotted the ambiguity in clue 35SE which could yield FAST or RAST so we knew roughly where to look  and, of course, found FIVE TIMES FIVE – the twenty-five year anniversary of the day when ‘Many crossword enthusiasts will be delighted, therefore, to see it reappear from today unscathed, and under the same joint editorial team, in the Saturday Review.’

I can’t resist commenting on the lovely coincidence with today’s news. We have just learned that the Inquisitor series will not die with the print version of the Independent – ‘It is inconceivable (to borrow words) that a puzzle with such a following should be allowed to die with its magazine’ and we are delighted that it is appearing from today in the Saturday I.

Thanks to Tibea for an enjoyable and very different challenge.

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Listener 4289: Popularity Contest by Tibea

Posted by Dave Hennings on 2 May 2014

SCENE: The Editor’s office, July 2013.

There is a desk in the centre of the room. There is an in-tray on the desk containing two letters. There are two chairs, a big one behind the desk and a small one in front of it.

Enter Editor and Sub-editor. Editor sits behind the desk, Sub-editor in front of it.

Editor: I see the in-tray has come back.

Sub-editor: So it has. The last time we saw that was with the Doctor Who puzzle last November. What has it got for us this time?

Editor empties the contents of the in-tray onto the desk, takes the first letter and opens it.

Editor (reading letter): It’s from a Max Turner and he says that he has been grappling with the Listener crossword for a couple of years now, and so far he has had little success. He is coming to the opinion that it is too elitist and needs to include puzzles that the average punter has got at least some chance with. He seems to think that there’s an inner circle that the ordinary solver cannot get into.

Sub-editor: Do you want me to write the standard reply from you, saying thanks for the letter and you’ll pass it to the relevant person… i.e. me?

Editor (handing letter to Sub-editor): Yes, please. Mind you, it reminds me of that puzzle that you and I thought of some time ago which played on the fact that ESOTERIC and COTERIES were anagrams.

Sub-editor: Yes, except that failed because we couldn’t agree on our pseudonym. Neither Edisub nor Kuron seemed to have the same cachet as Mango or Rasputin. What’s in the other letter?

Editor (picking up second letter): That’s odd… it’s postmarked next Friday!

Sub-editor: I expected nothing less!

Editor (opening and reading letter): It just says “How about this?”. It is unsigned. There’s a completed puzzle attached with the title Popularity Contest with circled squares that read ESOTERIC from top to bottom, but COTERIES from left to right. MORE LIKE THIS is the Phrase written under the grid. Well that’s a coincidence.

Sub-editor: I doubt it! Who’s the setter?

Editor: Tibea.

Sub-editor: Sounds like it’s a joint puzzle.

Editor: Why didn’t we think of that?

Sub-editor: We probably will.

Any similarity to actual events is entirely disjointed.

Fast forward to April 2014.

Listener 4289Another new setter this week in the guise of Tibea. From the preamble, it seems that the editors have had lots of letters pleading for the Listener to be dumbed down! Hopefully that won’t happen. After all, there’s the Inquisitor, Enigmatic Variations, Spectator, Magpie and Crossword, all catering for the solver who needs a little bit extra than the daily 15×15 block diagram gives. Indeed, the standard of the Listener varies from week to week, if not from setter to setter. I wonder where Tibea will stand on the difficulty front? And why was he selected as setter for this puzzle?

Twelve answers were of the Letters Latent variety, whereby a letter needed to be removed from the answer, as often as it occurs, before entry. In this puzzle, letters in brackets referred to answer, not entry, length, so a bit of help there.

There was a nice variety of clues on my first pass through them, from the simple anagram at 12ac A he-man, I demolished a West Coast city (7) which gave ANAHEIM, to the misleading use of ‘ground’ and ‘houses’ in 17ac Ground around houses left with small lump (7) for NODULAR. Despite being given entry lengths for the LL clues, I didn’t solve any in my first run through, although 15dn Red shifts (4) was certainly an anagram, given its 3-letter entry slot. NERD seemed likely! I was also perplexed by the wordplay for TABU at 6dn Prohibition is what fills the bath with rum, essentially.

I wish that it had been 11ac Joint badly twisted (9, two words) that gave the game away for me, but HIPLLI looked like gobbledygook. In fact, it was G[r]ASS [r]OOTS at 18ac and MULTITUD[e] at 43 that put me on track. The thematic words were all words for ordinary people. hoi polloi (yes, I should have got that first) defines it best in this context as ‘(derog) n the many; the masses; the rabble, the vulgar’; grass roots also includes the phrase ‘rank and file’, used in the preamble.

Although the puzzle wasn’t tough, it wasn’t particularly easy either. I liked the way that most of the LL clues lost more than one letter on entry, especially the three Os in HOI POLLOI and three Ts in THIRD ESTATE. The clues were all spot-on as well, with the likes of 19dn Article on education was blooming written in Elizabethan verse! (5) where the last four words were used to indicate a ‘(Spenser)’ word.

And as for 25dn Rafael regularly, having missed baseline stroke, holds following service (8) for the thematic entry R[i]FF-RAFF: RFE (alternate letters of RaFaEl) holding F (following) RAF (service) with the bottom stroke of the E removed… sheer genius. And not the work of a novice, if you ask me!

For some time 27dn Built in, with one side turning to the other (7) looked like it it was WRECKED, but that seemed unlikely, since neither the wordplay nor definition was there! It turned out to be ERECTED (built) with ELECTED (in) changing L for R.

I was close to filling in my submission grid, and part of me realised that I wasn’t entirely happy with 6dn TABU. It took a bit of time to wonder if there was another word TA·U, and a quick run through the alphabet led me to ‘what fills a bath being a TAP, and TAPU is a Maori word for ‘taboo’.

Listener 4289 My EntryAll that remained was to enter the three words formed by the Letters Latent under the grid: More like this, a phrase that can be read in one of two ways, depending on the stress. Coincidentally, and courtesy of the QI elves and a tweeter called @Grammarly:

“I never said she stole my money” has seven different meanings, depending on the stress.

And so thanks to Tibea for an excellent puzzle. I hope you gang up against us again in the near future.

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »