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Posts Tagged ‘Verbascum’

‘Way Out’ by Verbascum

Posted by Encota on 31 Aug 2018


So, if the EVENT HORIZON is the ‘edge’ of the black hole, what is inside it?  In Listener 4515 there appeared (at least in mine) to be the jumble of the letters ETESIMRTCAOM.  “What might have been destroyed to make this soup?”, I know you’ll be wondering.  Some options:

  • The mysteriously named COMET ARTEMIS
  • Its Schwarzschild Radius being measured in ATOMIC METRES, whatever they are
  • A crushed item, the MASTIC METEOR
  • Perhaps, in space, it is TIME TO SCREAM
  • Or, said in suitably Messianic tones, STAR … TIME … COME
  • All powered by the TOTEMIC MASER

Then I noticed the huge hint in 28ac’s, Maybe propose for a prime minister before entering Number 10 shortly (8).  Some may have fallen for the trap thinking this was actually, Maybe propose for a prize minister before entering Number 10 shortly (8), with the single misprint and the answer being NOMINATE – MIN A in NO TE(n).   Actually it was a hint, via ex-Prime Minister BLAIR.  BLAIR is clearly a charade of B( for Black) and LAIR (for Hole).  Thus BLACK HOLE, in some fanciful manner.  Simple.

At least, that’s how I solved it.


Tim / Encota


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Way Out by Verbascum

Posted by shirleycurran on 31 Aug 2018

We were delighted to find such a short preamble with no mention of jumbles. Nineteen clues with misprints whose correct letters spell out a hint – and some clashes where we have to select the correct letters that will reveal what escapes from a boundary. We wonder about Devil’s Island or Alcatraz then set to work.

I don’t have to read far to confirm that Verbascum has his right of entry to the Listener Oenophile Outfit when his clue 14 reads ‘Not waving arms about, I’m fuddled with ale (6)’. A(bout) + I’M + ALE (fuddled) gives us AMELIA so we decide that there is a misprint there for not Having arms. Fuddled with ale! Oh dear, but ‘Cheers, anyway, Verbascum.

Those corrected misprints were really helpful and the other Numpty was very much on home ground so that when we had realized that ‘Pitched ocean around Greece, from the east win in lilt of Milton’s (8)’ gave us ARGESTES and an S corrected misprint (liLt to liSt) and he saw SCHWARZSCHILD, all was clear. ‘Schwarzschild radius’ he announced.

He traced out the EVENT HORIZON and that told us that HAWKING RADIATION had to be escaping. Those words not only neatly circled the EVENT HORIZON but they also conveniently resolved our remaining doubts about words and completed our grid. We were left wondering why Queen Victoria’s hoRse would be called REPROVE since we needed an R corrected misprint there but Chambers tells us that ‘rouse on’ means REPROVE for a different Victoria.

Most enjoyable, thank you, Verbascum.

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Listener No 4515: Way Out by Verbascum

Posted by Dave Hennings on 31 Aug 2018

If you don’t recall having solved a puzzle by Verbascum, that’s not surprising. His last was over 5 years ago in January 2013 with its Carolus Linnaeus/Isaac Newton/Binomial theme. This week, we had a boundary and some clashes with a message providing a hint.

As it turned out, this was a fairly gentle and straightforward solve with Schwarzschild radius coming out of the extra letters. I vaguely remember having heard of it, although I couldn’t remember exactly what it was. Googling prompted me with a black hole reference, and from there it didn’t take long to see EVENT HORIZON around the centre of the grid.

All that was left was to resolve the clashes which revealed what came out of it. The first thing I noticed was a possible TION to the north-west of the “horizon”. Working my way back I was able to deduce RADIATION and then HAWKING, and I definitely hadn’t heard of Hawking Radiation. Slightly back-to-front logic, but I got there without further googling.

Thanks for an enjoyable solve, Verbascum. Will I have to wait another five years for your next?

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Two Names by Verbascum

Posted by shirleycurran on 25 Jan 2013

Red herring 001One thing you could always be sure of finding in a Numpty blog has, for the last two years, been at least one stinky red herring. We are very good at pursuing a false trail. BRB has just taught me that the red herring is connected with drawing a herring across the track to put the dogs off the scent. We very easily lose the scent.

Listener setters have been rather clever at producing red herrings. I have only to go back to Gos’s Murder Mystery of last August, where he had us almost misled into highlighting Dr Fell, rather than HM, and Dysart led us a fine dance hunting for Kafka works rather than those of Haruki Murakami, last April.

However, this must be the first time the RED HERRING has actually turned up in the grid. (And has it? As usual, I am struck by doubt as there is a convincing herring swimming down diagonally across my grid, and if I suitably colour him RED, that will surely satisfy the rubric. But those corrected letters spelled out CLUPEA RUFA and if I translate those two names, I get RED HERRING – two words. Should I then also highlight the RED that appears at the end of PALISANDER? Perhaps this is just a red herring!)

We started our solve rather dubiously, as the preamble seemed complicated. Clearly solutions needed to be entered to lead us towards those two names. However, we were lucky again and within minutes had our TRACE ELEMENT (with a bit of Numpty discussion about whether they can be found in wood – Chambers finally convinced us that this was one of the misprints – WOOD for FOOD), TURN UP TRUMPS, PROCREATIONAL, PALISANDER and BINOMINAL. There were plenty of generous anagrams and hidden words in this one. Perhaps it is editorial policy to give us a gentle lead in to the year.

Of course, though, Verbascum indulged in the compulsory Listener compiler alcoholic tipple with his ‘Wine from GreeN/Ce King sale ultimately isn’t a hit (7)’ (Giving R = king, salE + ISNT A* = RETSINA), even if he didn’t find that resin-tasting Greek stuff much of a hit.

BINOMINAL led us to LINNAEUS and we removed one N(ame) from it producing BINOMIAL. We didn’t instantly link that term with NEWTON (the other Numpty claimed that ‘everybody did binomials, Laplace, Gauss, Euler, Poisson to name but a few’) but Wikipedia did and, naturally, that led us to the apple tree. By this time, we had GOYA in place ‘Artist regularly dipped into goody bag (4)’ (GoOdY bAg) and the PY led us to PYRUS MALUS.
Red Herrings

Red Herrings

We had a full grid and CLUPEA RFA G appearing from our extra letters. It wasn’t difficult to work out that CLUPEA was a generic name for herrings and there was our herring, swimming down our grid. G and g were clearly both Newton’s concerns, so we suspected that we needed a U to turn our herring into a red one. Finding that from 7, 8 or 9 down took us a minute or two.

‘Fine rogue for pinching body part (4)’ (Fine* = NEIF) We had opted for the Shakespearian word NEIF with Dickens’ Oliver Twist in mind. What else would he use his fist for but ‘pinching’? But it was not to be – we needed a more pugnacious interpretation, perhaps a Scottish Robert Burns’ NAVE version of the obscure word to produce that necessary U for our CLUPEA RUFA and ‘punching’ it had to be.
So there it was. A couple of hours’ enjoyment that all fitted together thematically giving me an excuse to decorate the grid with at least one red herring (and maybe two!) Many thanks to Verbascum for an entertaining start to the Listener year.

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