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Posts Tagged ‘Vismut’

Hotfoot by Vismut

Posted by shirleycurran on 15 Jan 2021

The last Listener crossword of the year and what a pleasure to see that it is by a lady setter. We already saw Vismut at the start of the year and have also solved one of Skylark’s compilations, but ladies still produced less than 8% of the year’s Listener output. One has to wonder why there is this massive imbalance.

However, Vismut speedily qualifies for the Listener Setters’ Elite Oenophile Set with, ‘Wicked enough to get drunk [messenger] to mislay second letter (6)’. It is Christmas day so she has an excuse, maybe, and we remove the second letter of SKINFUL to produce SINFUL. She declares an alcohol preference with, ‘Spirits essentially short, unless mixed (7)’. We mix UNLESS with the heart of ‘shOrt’ and get ENSOULS. With that skinful of spirits, short or mixed, “Cheers! Vismut.

‘Hotfoot’. It’s an intriguing title (we wonder – are we going to meet Brer Rabbit or ‘The boy stood on the burning deck’?)  We are told that there are seven extra words in clues and that a word’s ‘position in the clue indexes a letter from the answer. These words and letters identify most of a work …’ That is Vismut’s special device that we have already met in her puzzles – a pleasant change from misprints and extra letters in wordplay.

We also have to find the ‘rest of’ that work in the grid and change it to identify a second work.

Ah but then we read that down clues will contain ten misprints of one letter in the definition (misprints after all, but only ten!) and that corrections will ‘spell out a hint to what else solvers must change in the grid, to reveal the second work’s creator’.

It is ‘jollity’ that gives us our penny-drop-moment. The other Numpty with his encyclopaedic knowledge of trivial detail says, “Jollity, Winged Messenger, Magician, Mystic? Those are Holst’s Nicknames for the characters in his Planets Suite.” and Wiki produces the list for us. So we spotted ‘Old’ and ‘Age’ in two more clues, even in the order they appear in the list, though War and Peace were not there.

  • Mars, the Bringer of War (1914)
  • Venus, the Bringer of Peace (1914)
  • Mercury, the Winged Messenger (1916)
  • Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity (1914)
  • Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age (1915)
  • Uranus, the Magician (1915)
  • Neptune, the Mystic (1915)

Of course, we understood when ‘Copper’s village emptied before star shown around (5)’ gave us V(illag)E + SUN< which spelled VENUS “That’s a reference to copper in alchemy,” proclaimed the erudite Numpty. We had to find MARS and there was the Bringer of War hiding at the left of the grid. We saw HOLST there too, down the leading diagonal – naturally!

The corrected misprints spelled out TITLE ODDLY, and we wondered, for a while what we were going to do with the PLANETS SUITE but then realized that the odd letters of the crossword title HoTfOoT spell out H to T. What a delightful endgame. We change the H of HOLST to T and TOLSTOY obligingly appears so we need to change MARS and VENUS to WAR and PEACE. Most satisfactory, thank you Vismut!

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L4590: Bros by Vismut

Posted by Encota on 7 Feb 2020

Those like me who know more about The Durrells from the TV show of the same name might have found this fairly straightforward. [I did visit Gerald’s Zoo on Jersey back in the 1970s too – way ahead of its time!]

Lawrence, the poet and his younger brother Gerry (Gerald) the trainee zoo-keeper, with Keeley Hawes thrown in for good measure … Anyway, where was I?

The leading diagonal initially contained SURNAME and the eleven letters from the Down clues spelt out A FAMILY NAME. With the final name needing to be ?UR???? it could only be these guys!

It turns out that their writing cited both contain “PLACE”: FILLETS OF PLAICE (by) GERALD and, from LAWRENCE, SPIRIT OF PLACE. Both 21 letters, which all fits neatly.

It might have just been me? I initially spelt the soup on the top line as BORSCHT. However, when this needed TECTONICS at 8d to begin with an S, I was temporarily worried: would the puzzle have unannounced clashes?? If yes, it’ll be much harder than first envisaged!

Luckily, with the help of the BRB, I realised I had BORTSCH as a possible spelling too, so quickly fixed that!

The misprints were fun to find, with some nice deception or, at least, options. In 36a’s:

Sparing less food, treated muscle injury (6)

.. the answer looked near certain to be SPRAIN, with the G being dropped from SPARIN(g) before jumbling. I incorrectly guessed that ‘food’ in the clue was a misprint for ‘foot’, which I thought might constitute a last_letter_indicator, even in an Across clue. However, when it came to using letters to spell out hidden the authors and titles above, this provided only gobbledygook. I then spotted the much better alternative of ‘food’ changing to ‘good’, hence indicating that the G was to be dropped and all was well.

A fun and gentle puzzle – my thanks go to Vismut.

Cheers,

Tim / Encota

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Duck by Vismut

Posted by shirleycurran on 31 May 2019

We have met Vismut before in an EV and a rather lovely IQ based on the Oranges and Lemons song but this is a Listener debut and we are at last welcoming a new lady setter, so I am delighted to see her pseudonym and download Duck. Rather anxiously, I scan her clues to see whether she gains entrance to the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit. There’s ITALIAN which is promising, in ‘A Turpin person possibly reversing arrest; mainly involved in criminality (7)’. We decide the P is extra giving us ‘a Turin’ person’ – then she ‘Tapes around 50 cases for change in Macau (7)’ Again we extract a letter and decide she’s tapping those 50 cases (PATS around A CA = PATACAS). No problem then, Cheers, Vismut!

Solving moves along steadily with the occasional smile. ‘Sunny? Hit a tidy lob (8)’ produces TABLOIDY (A TIDY LOB*) It’s the first time we’ve met that word in a Listener crossword but we do find it in the Big Red Book. SALLIS has us puzzled until we find that we have to replace the content of S(teven)S with A LL I to produce the voice of Wallace (of Wallace and Grommit). Nice!

We have also realized, quite early in our solve, that we are not entering any Es in the grid  and that rings a bell – PEREC’s LA DISPARITION. Sure enough, that fills 25 across and we have an inkling of the theme. So E is the ‘character’ that is ‘missing’ in the work. The letters we have removed before solving have spelled out PREMIER AUTEUR. I have kept a careful tally of where those redundant letters appear in their clues. This is a fine, original device. Applying them to LA DISPARITION (5, 1, 4, 5, 11 etc.) spells out SLIP INTO ADAIR. Wiki, of course, tells us that Gilbert ADAIR translated the novel into English and his name appears at the foot of the grid so we have to ‘SLIP’ PEREC into those cells.

We remove that ‘trace of translation’ as instructed in the preamble and replace it with PEREC – we have introduced a couple of Es – the missing character. However, there are five more cells to erase and they are symmetrically placed – A VOID, the title of Adair’s translation. Very neat indeed, all leaving real words, and now we understand the title ‘Duck’. What a fine debut. Many thanks to Vismut.

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Listener No 4554: Duck by Vismut

Posted by Dave Hennings on 31 May 2019

This was Vismut’s first, so nothing to say on prior work. If it got your thumbs-up, you’ll know what it was all about. But if you think I’m going to publish this blog without you-know-what, think again — far too difficult, I’m afraid.

As it was, it was all about La Disparition, a story about a group looking for a missing companion, Anton Vowl (probably a chum of Francis Consonant). Anyway, it was soon obvious from row 7, LA DISPARITION, what was lacking from this crossword’s grid. Sadly, introduction and cluing did not conform, but that was probably asking too much.

Finally, A VOID in row 1 was struck out, and ADAIR, translator for you and I (!) in row 13, changing to La Disparition‘s original author.

Thanks for a bit of fun, Vismut.

Ooh, look, this blog is lipogrammatic! [Bravo, Ed.] — D’oh!
 

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