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Posts Tagged ‘Vagans’

Hear, Hear! by Vagans

Posted by shirleycurran on 18 Mar 2022

On Dave Hennings’ Crossword Database we find that Vagans has already produced an IQ crossword and an EV but this is his first Listener. What can we expect? The preamble is short and succinct and we learn that we will be looking for extra wordplay letters. Those are going to spell a quotation missing its last word. That word is going to prompt us about what to highlight – 51 letters in straight lines.

A debut Listener crossword. Can we admit Vagans to the Elite Listener Setter Oenophile Outfit? I have read almost to the bottom of the first column of clues with some misgivings but there I see a beauty: ‘New wine essential: Muscat’s half gone, Merlot’s empty (4)’. We use half of MUS(cat) and empty M(erlo)T to produce an extra M and MUST. Cheers, Vagans! (Indeed, when we have a full grid, I spot ‘Fish in bog staggering people (7)’ and we put an EEL into REARS giving us an extra A and REELERS. It seems there has been some alcohol consumption going on of that MUSCAT and MERLOT.)

The clues are fair and generous with a surprising number of those extra letters emerging naturally from the clues and we tease out “HE THAT HATH AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH UNTO THE …”

Now we need the Internet to complete the statement and prompt us that we are looking for seven churches. Ephesus – Smyrna – Thyatira – Sardis – Philadelphia and Laodicea with PERGAMOS becoming PERGAMUM in our grid.

What a fine debut. Many thanks to Vagans.


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Listener No 4700, Hear, Hear! by Vagans

Posted by Dave Hennings on 18 Mar 2022

New setter time again, so no idea whether to expect a tough or a gentle puzzle; this especially true since they sounded like something out of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. [That’s the Vogons. Ed.] Anyway, fairly standard clueing with extra wordplay letter not entered which would lead to most of a quotation and 51 cells needing to be highlighted.

Some fairly generous clues started me off with 1ac Levantine character, male, entering sacred river (5) leading to ALEPH [ALPH around [H]E]; 7ac Dubious muddled prospectuses missing out advantages (7) for SUSPECT [PROSPECTUS[E]S* – PROS], and good old Nancy indicating Frenchness in 12ac Nancy’s found here learning about bygone allure (8) for LORRAINE [LORE around [T]RAIN)].

Not all the clues were that straightforward but they were all solid. I particularly liked 22ac First name in restaurant reviewing chicken stuffed with game (4) for EGON (Ronay) [[H]EN around GO]. And not wishing to steal Shirley’s thunder, 43ac’s New wine essential: Muscat’s half gone, Merlot’s empty (4) was superbly alcoholic for MUST [MUS(cat) + [M](erlo)T].

Eventually, the extra letters spelt out He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the…, with the missing word being churches. Excuse me for not knowing what part of the Bible that comes from, but Google told me that it is Revelations 2. Referring to my copy of the Authorised Version which I still have from schooldays (courtesy Surrey Education Authority), there is a little map of the seven churches of Asia: EPHESUS, LAODICEA, SMYRNA, THYATIRA, PHILADELPHIA, SARDIS and PERGAMUM.

A nicely packed grid. Thanks, Vagans.

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