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Posts Tagged ‘Tip-top Condition’

Listener No 4630: Tip-top Condition by Twin

Posted by Dave Hennings on 13 Nov 2020

This was Twin’s second Listener of 2020, the first transporting us to the world of Superheroes and their alter egos. A few months before that, we had the Captain’s Mistress / Connect-4 puzzle. This week we had a load of down clues where the wordplay gave us a wrong letter that had to be entered into the grid — initially.

The first thing to notice was that the two unclued across entries were both 13 letters. What’s more, every letter was checked. Now if I’d counted the number of down clues I’d have found there were 25 and, lo and behold, 13 is just over half of 25 so perhaps the wrong letters coincided with one of the unclued entries. Unfortunately, that’s not what crossed the mind of this solver

Instead, I made a swift start with the acrosses, and TROMINO, NORN, CEE, ECHE (or would it be EECH), ETNA and SUES were slotted into the top of the grid. Tackling the downs, soon gave (with a wrong letter) CLEP-CLOP, RHENE, SHCRTS, SHLNE and SMETE.

Now it has to be said, that when I resolved the definitions in each case, I only saw one answer: evidence of horse?, &lit. for a river, clothing, cast light, smite, unite closely, work. This was partly because, for example, cast light, which could be present or past tense, I saw as SMITE rather than SMOTE. I don’t remember which clue finally enabled me to see the light, but luckily it was fairly early on. Consequently I was very happy to find that CLOP-CLOP was an alternative to CLIP-CLOP — I’d only ever heard of the latter.

Knowing all this, helped me with one of the affected clues, 7dn Ran rings round cops, finally outwitted (6) FOSLED which I finally analysed as FLED around (O + (cop)S) with outwitted as the definition. This gave FOILED and FOOLED as the two possibilities.

Three other clues caught my eye. 37ac Songs about religion, excluding Sabbath and holy ceremonies (7) was SPIRITUALS – S – PI to give RITUALS. 2dn Stays base jumping, accepting affliction it may result in (6) was the sneaky ABVDES (with its wrong letter) derived from BASE* in VD (it being, well, you know, it!). As for 39ac Two thirds of a mile, approximately — hard, like those in the country (8) with YOKE LIS (a couple of lis) + H! I think I’d get short shrift if I went into my butcher and asked for “a yoke of sirloin steaks”!

I had deduced the upper unclued entry before the grid was complete: EVEN CLUES’ ENDS with the lower entry as UNAMBIGUOUSLY. The ends of the even clue numbers gave odd clues’ opening letters. Lawks! This was beginning to remind me of Loda’s In Clue Order, On and On way back in 2009 where there were about half a dozen messages to uncover before drawing a large ∞ symbol in the grid.

So the first letters of the odd clues gave us The Listener no. in binary. Having worked it out by hand, I double-checked with my favourite mathematical website WolframAlpha. For a bit of fun, I also asked my computerised assistant (yes, I’ve got one) and all was confirmed. Once that was slotted into row three, all ambiguities were resolved.

Great fun. Thanks, Twin.


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L1001000010110: ‘Tip-top Condition’ by Twin

Posted by Encota on 13 Nov 2020

What a neat puzzle!  Thank you Twin

[add grid here]

The clues were accurate and generous, with very precise definitions throughout.

The most beautiful part of the puzzle was of course the definitions in 1 through 14 down.  Coming up with ways to clue the words in the form AiB and AoB, e.g. 11d’s RIOTED and ROOTED, with the same definition must have been great fun!  Those verbs where the past participle is unchanged came in handy of course helped – e.g. defining both SMITE and SMOTE using ‘Traditionally beat’!  But there were several delights that went beyond that!  11d’s ‘…caused radical upheaval’ for RIOTED (the behaviour of human  radicals) and ROOTED (the uprooting of plants) probably being my favourite.

Of course the fun in the puzzle didn’t stop there.  The first hint EVEN CLUES ENDS led us to looks at the last letter of 8a, 12a, 18a etc, which spelt out ODD CLUES OPENING LETTERS.  Then reading 1a, 15a, … it spelt out THE LISTENER NO. IN BINARY.  4630 in base 10 becomes 1001000010110 in binary, which then gets entered into Row 3.  Excellent!

As I say, all great fun – it was only a shame that it was over too quickly!  Please pass my thanks on to Twin.

Cheers & stay safe,

Tim / Encota

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