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Posts Tagged ‘Twin’

L4576: Striving by Twin

Posted by Encota on 1 November 2019

What is the Question? To Life, the Universe and Everything? Apparently it is What Is The Maximum Number Of Moves Possible in The Game Connect-4? And perhaps not the implication that the Universe counts in Base 13 from the “What is 9 x 6?” suggestion in the HHG2TG series after all.

Lots going on in this puzzle! First letters of spare words in most clues give the two instructions:

  • READ TOP LEFT OF EACH SQUARE and
  • DRAW ALL DISC OUTLINES.
  • The first of these led to a new phrase: SPARE WORDS LAST LETTERS ARE MOVES IN COLUMNS A TO G.

At this stage anyone who had been guessing that the theme might be the game Connect-4 would most likely feel that the Penny had indeed dropped in the right place.

Six clues had secondary answers not to be put into the Grid. Working backwards and forwards I determined, I hope correctly, that these were CAPTAIN’S MISTRESS: SHADE FOUR WINNING DISCS. As an aside I’ve no real idea why the game is/was also called Captain’s Mistress. Ideas ‘on a postcard’ please (i.e. via Comments).

Shade those ones in and it is a welcome win for (Blue) Player 2.

And the Title as a cryptic synonym for Six-in-a Row? It seems strange to have embedded the Roman for six, VI, in a word for Row, i.e. STRING leading to STRI(VI)NG, instead of four? Maybe.

Tim / Encota

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Striving by Twin

Posted by shirleycurran on 1 November 2019

Our first run through Twin’s clues produced a number of solutions, EH WHOW, for example, where we saw a hidden pair of Scottish words when we had removed ‘engulf’ ‘Some in Nineveh who [engulf] warriers lament for Queen of the South (6, two words)’. CEORL, TASSET, MONIST, AVALE, HAEMIC, TRACEUR – these were not the words we usually introduce into the Numpty dinnertime discussions and there had to be a reason for them that became evident when those initial letters of ‘spare’ words spelled out READ TOP LEFT OF EACH SQUARE and DRAW ALL DISC OUTLINES.

Of course, knowing that there was a message there helped us to complete our gridfill and we found yet another message in those ‘top left’ letters: SPARE WORDS LAST LETTERS ARE MOVES IN COLUMS A TO G.

No, I hadn’t forgotten to confirm that Twin retains his entry ticket for the next Listener Setters’ Oenophile Knees-up and, indeed, with a stunning compilation like this we’ll be raising our glasses at the bar. That’s if his ‘religious adherent’ hasn’t managed to enact some kind of prohibition: ‘Religious adherent’s eagerness to close pub up, any number inside drinking (7)’

Those ‘remaining clues’ that were ‘actually two clues overlapping, one for the grid entry and another for a word of the same length, whose definition is the overlapping part’ were the hardest to solve. We put ZEST around a rising INN, giving ZENNIST, then put WINING (drinking) around N (any number) and produced WINNING as the fifth of the ‘non-grid answers’ (grateful for those guiding letters CMSFWD that condirmed which clues were giving us the words). So cheers, Twin!

‘Regiment panics at …’ had produced CAPTAINS as an anagram, and we worked out that ‘Film about bodyguard’ was MIST RE SS. As usual, time for Wiki who tells us that ‘The Captain’s Mistress is supposedly the game that so engrossed Captain Cook during his long voyages, that his crew gave it the name that has stuck to this day. Modern day copies such as Connect-4 are simply rehashed versions of this game.’

Now we understand why we have to treat the grid as 42 two-by-two squares. I label my seven columns A to G and find, with astonishment, that the last letters of those 42 ‘spare’ words all end with A,B,C,D,E,F, or G.  What a feat to have managed to spell out the message with the first letters of those words, and still divide them into six sets that would produce a successful Connect Four game (even if that did lead to some rather shaky candidates like ‘eighty-one’, ‘Ford’,  and IMDb).

Wiki tells me that the first player will always win if he plays correctly but my green played first and I find a row of four orange counters in my grid so I now have to SHADE FOUR WINNING (orange) DISCS and create a new grid where, using ‘two alternate colours’ I draw disc outlines (alternate, obviously, as the players have to insert their discs into the ‘grid’ in turn).

What a superb compilation. Many thanks to Twin.

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Listener No 4532: How? by Twin

Posted by Dave Hennings on 28 December 2018

I’d forgotten that Twin had a puzzle last year. That was based on the Agatha Christie classic, Murder on the Orient Express and coincided with the cinematic release of the latest version of the film, this time starring Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot.

This week, every down clue had a thematic word which had one letter changed and needed removing before solving. The correct letters would spell out a place and a person and some misspelling of the unclued entry. I’ve never been asked to misspell a word in a Listener before!

The preamble told us a lot of things, one of which was that the grid had to “accommodate the answers” in some way. That sounded horribly like they would have to be jumbled. Luckily a short way into solving, it could be seen that the numbers in brackets were larger than the entry space available and so referred to the answer length.

Solving went pretty smoothly, and it soon became obvious that some cells in an entry would have to hold more than one letter, and two seemed to be the amount of cell-cramming required. Meanwhile, although the extra words could be extracted fairly easily, the letter change and jumbling was trickier.

Now I’ve noticed before when solving a puzzle that I tend to focus on the clue in hand without any overall perception of what is happening elsewhere in the grid. This time, although I was aware that the double-lettered cells all fell at the start or end of entries, it was only much, much later that I saw that they all lay in the centre of rows and columns.

In fact everything came together swiftly at the end. Bigger on the inside described the cell-cramming and also the thematic place — the TARDIS®. Two hearts also described the place’s occupant and how the unclued entry needed misspelling.

This last bit nearly tripped me up, since it seemed obvious (!) that the unclued entry would be missplelt as GALLIFFREY since that conformed roughly with how it would be pronounced. Unfortunately, that would not conform to the “two hearts” instruction and thus needed to be entered as GALL–II–FREY — two hearts in two ways.

Tidying up the extra words in the clues, each could become, with one letter changed, a synonym for doctor, most of which could be confirmed by Mrs Bradford. For example: freeze→breeze (a new one to me), pull→pill, drum→drug, etc, with my favourite being the simple GOC→Doc. This last was part of my favourite clue 27dn [GOC] reorganised MASH hospitals, with 46 missing eye disorder — an anagram of MASH hospitals after all the esses (46ac) have been lost — OPHTHALMIA.

I should also mention my difficulty in parsing 26ac Two supporters — pair following the lead of Nottingham Forest supporter? (8). I initially had the pair following the lead of Nottingham as (N)OP(qrs…) but then couldn’t work out the supporters which looked like PROP and ROOT. Of course, the pair following was (N)OT(tingham) with PRO and PRO being the two supporters.

Finally, TIME AND RELATIVE DIMENSION IN SPACE needed highlighting as well as the A in row 1 representing the flashing light of the old police box.

I’ve come across Doctor Who puzzles before and was surprised that none apparently used this trick for entering answers in the grid. Thanks, Twin — great fun.
 

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Listener 4532: ‘How?’ by Twin

Posted by Encota on 28 December 2018

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I finish the highlighting in this enjoyable Doctor- and TARDIS- based puzzle only to see I’ve coloured in ‘ACE TIM’ in Row 2.  Why Twin, that’s very kind of you to compliment me so.  No, really, you shouldn’t have …

Great to see Nina’s brother NINO making an unannounced appearance in Column 4, too.

I enjoyed the grid-filling PDM when, in the middle of trying to make sense of how to fit GRAND OPERA with SAVAGEDOMS and TIRADE, I spot they have digrams in common – DO & RA – and the two-letters-per-cell everywhere within the TARDIS outer wall, that is ‘bigger on the inside’, suddenly makes sense.  [Aside: talking of digrams, that reminds me, I must write that frequency analyser for Playfair breaking that I have always meant to have a go at!]

The added misprints in each down clue that became words that meant DOCTOR – pill, drug, change, leech etc – were an early spot, what with ‘burgeon’ and ‘cuter’ being two of the pre-correction words that became Surgeon and Curer.  There were three or four such words where initially there were options – Letch changing into either Leech or Leach, for instance – but these were easily resolved once the rest of the hidden message appeared.  That message constructed from all misprint corrections in order of course read BIGGER ON THE INSIDE: TWO HEARTS.

There were a few clues here I found tough to parse.  In particular these four:

  • Pier shop’s lead weight is 20-50 pounds (9, two words) took me a while!  I hadn’t previously been aware of a SWISS ROLL being a type of pier that can be unrolled.  But even once I had that part I still struggled with the wordplay.  It was only when I recalled the answer to 20d was SRO that it became clear: S+W+IS+SRO+L+L, a heavy-duty six-part charade.
  • In 26ac’s Two supporters – pair following the lead of Nottingham Forest supporter? (8), I could see the answer must be PROP-ROOT defined by ‘Forest supporter?’  but how did the rest work?  In error I had presumed that ‘pair’ would become PR and got very stuck.  At last I had it: PRO+PRO+(n)OT(tingham).
  • Thirdly was 40ac’s Someone choosing to rein in temper while one beams (12, two words).  Other letters meant it was going to be OPTICAL MASER and ‘one beams’ seemed a fair enough definition for that.  But the rest?  There’s OPTER (someone choosing) and CALM (…temper..) in there??  Eventually the ‘ah, got it!’ moment: I’ (for ‘in’) + CALM (temper) + AS (while) in OPTER.  So ‘rein’ alone was the Container&Contents_indicator – I guess that’s fair enough.
  • And the fourth and last I still can’t parse, at 13d:

Rat out of (vat) … lose it outside of vintage bar (6, two words)

Checked letters strongly suggest this is ?LOWON, and so only BLOW ON appears to work. I guess this can be defined by either ‘Rat’ or ‘Rat out’.  I’ve assumed that ‘vat’ is removed to become another ‘doctor’ word (i.e. vet).  But how does the rest work?  BLOW=lose it, perhaps?  ‘vintage bar’ = old meaning for bar, such as ‘pound’ which in turn could become L??  Ah, hold on – maybe it’s (estop) deleted from BLOW ON(es top)?  Using ‘outside of’ to mean ‘apart from’?  If yes, then that’s very sneaky!

And finally, the Title?  I wondered if first letters were going to be cycled round to the back, but that didn’t happen in the Grid.  Hmmm …

Maybe it’s simply the instruction to Doctor (vt) Who, resulting in How, as one example, i.e. How?  It’s the best I can come up with …

Wishing you all a peaceful Xmas break.  With the final Listener of 2018 just about to appear, I know what I’ll be doing for a little while this weekend!  For those particularly who’ve submitted all 52, best of luck with your 2018 performances 🙂

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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How? by Twin

Posted by shirleycurran on 28 December 2018

This didn’t look too daunting on first sight: a rather generous grid with an unusually large number of totally open lights that may well solve themselves if we manage the intersecting solutions, a short preamble and the promise of a couple of messages to decipher once we have changed a letter in each of the thematic extra words in the down clues. That sounds like an original and intriguing new device.

“Well”, we say, “obviously we will have to solve the across clues first”, and we start … and there is instant consternation. ‘Is it lost at sea side twice a year (12)’ gives us {IS IT LOST}* = SOLSTITI + side = ALLY so we begin to enter SOLSTITIALLY … and run out of space two thirds of the way through the word. Something is going on! A quick check establishes that it is the words that end or begin in the centre of the grid that have these extra letters that we must, somehow, double up. DISC CAMERA is our next over-long word and by a stroke of luck, we recognise that the SC can also be used for TRANSCENDS, so we are underway.

Of course, I spotted that little HARE who obligingly appeared in the very first clue, ‘What’s flatter when taken from head of rabbit over hare? (8, two words)’ This hare was in a RUSH, and the rabbit was just CHAT but we had to use Chambers to find that a CRUSH HAT is a collapsible opera hat.

Twin had a few clever clues like that in store for us: ‘Two supporters – pair following the lead of Nottingham Forest supporter? (8)’ gave us a smile and PRO + PRO + the 2nd and 3rd letters of NOTTS to give us a supporter, or PROPROOT (yes, we needed Chambers again!)

I didn’t need Chambers, though to establish Twin’s continued membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Elite. ‘Droids pull barrels into background (6)’ was the second clue we solved, putting B into ROOTS to give ROBOTS. ‘Rat out of vat, lose it outside of vintage bar (6, two words)’ moved from barrels to a vat, and shortly we were in ‘Orwell’s bar’, ‘Seats all filled up, Orwell’s bar bodes well (3)’ There’s standing room only now  and soon ‘One’s worried about splashes over cork (6)’ (the splashes are WETS< so our worried one is a STEWER). No real cause for worry, “Cheers, Twin! No doubt see you at the bar in York.”

It was GALLIFREY, Doctor Who’s planet of origin, that came next and we understood that we were creating a Tardis in our grid – BIGGER ON THE INSIDE than it looks and that phrase TIME AND RELATIVE DIMENSION IN SPACE helped us to complete our grid fill but we had to do a bit of Numpty head-scratching to see how to adapt those extra words in the down clues. QUACK had been an early find (from QUICK) but I had thought we were going to find a flight of birds (COB from CUB, GULL from PULL – how wrong one can be!) Of course, INTERS gave us INTERN, JAWBONES gave SAWBONES, DEALER gave HEALER and that delightful PAD gave PhD, and the message confirmed that our object to highlight was the Tardis with its article (A), the light on top. TWO HEARTS, we were told (I am not a Doctor Who addict but do know that the Doctor has a second heart and that solves the problem of that single I in the heart of our grid), so we obligingly doubled the I in GALLIIFREY. Yes, I muttered about MATINESSES (I suspect the editors did too – MATINESS is not a countable noun, even if Chambers allows one to pluralise it, but Twin has performed an astonishing work of art in managing to make double letters in words like OPTICAL MASER and OPHTHALMIA intersect, so a bit of setter’s licence is in order – and, as the other Numpty said, at least we were not instructed to submit an audio recording of those elephant sounds the Tardis makes as it takes off.

Delightful, thank you, Twin.

A post script: when I had finished my blog, I went onto our site to read the ones on Oyler’s Scumbag College that went up last night and was struck with horror on opening Dave’s blog. “Oh no”, I thought, “he has done that unforgivable thing we are always afraid of doing – accidentally publishing his blog before the puzzle is closed”. Looking a little more closely, I realised that it was simply that Dave had done a bit of time-travelling, seen Twin’s solution at the end of December, and decided to feature it when he wrote his blog before Twin’s puzzle was even set. Nice, Dave!

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