Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Posts Tagged ‘Vismut’

Linked by Vismut

Posted by shirleycurran on 22 Jul 2022

After last week’s long, hard solve, we were glad to see that Vismut was this week’s setter with a mere five lines of preamble that repeated (five times!) the word ‘link’ that we had already seen in the title. She was certainly making sure that we got the message and giving us a very broad nudge about the theme.

We had solved almost all of the numbered clues before we faced the linked ones (yes, there was the word again!) The first of those was very generous, telling us with IMAM that an M was the link we neeed (with IMA clued and OWRA) ‘Mosque officer at first is mortified/ after barrow boy regularly served up alcohol (4;5) MOWRA, we discovered, was alcohol distilled from flowers.

Alcohol! And further down those clues we found ‘Production of smash Chinese drink made artificial and neutral when brewed across islands (6;13) That gave us SAMSHU and UNNATURALISED with the wordplay for both words lacking the U. Clearly Vismut retained her place in the Listener Setters Oenophile Elite. Cheers, Vismut!

The letters emerging as links soon spelled MARY MACARTHUR (good to have a lady setter highlighting a female cause). I knew of her as a suffragist but needed Wiki to explain her support and success in CRADLEY HEATH, over the STRIKE of the WOMEN CHAIN MAKERS and there were three links of a chain in our full grid, giving us those words.

Amusingly, we hadn’t seen how the numbered clues were linked and feared that we were missing something until the other Numpty, with a smile, pointed out that the last letter of each clue was the first of the next – so yet more thematic chaining with a comical message or non-message emerging; THERE IS NO MESSAGE HERE. Great fun, thank you, Vismut.

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Called to Order by Vismut

Posted by shirleycurran on 24 Sep 2021

We were initially puzzled about how we were going to enter our solutions when ‘some answers must be entered at another number’ and even when we had understood that the orders (to be sorted out) were ROUNDS, QUEENS, JOKERS, PRIORY, KENNET, and ROLL-UP, we failed to use that information to see where to place our answers.

Indeed, that was after we had ‘cold solved’ all but four of the clues and had managed to fill the top half of the grid by inverting a couple of clues (EROTIC and CANADA) to fit with RECUSE, A RAVIR and DONING and found, putatively, HIGHLIGHT RINGER OF CHANGES in the unclued answers and assumed that bell-ringing was the theme. That, of course, gave us the placing of our remaining solutions and spelled out the ones we still needed (ACHAGE, ULITIS, MESSES and AGNAME). So our solve really was back to front and it was only afterwards that the Internet told me the order of ROLL-UP, for example (543216) and showed me why I had entered the clues in that set in the order 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 26. So it was a tough solve for us.

I know nothing at all about bell-ringing but the endgame gave us less trouble. An Internet list had shown us that ARCHERS was an order, so it was easy to see that the R of RINGER had to be inserted into ARCHES and be replaced by its alphabetic neighbour to give SINGER – and who was the singer of CHANGES? (coincidentally my son took his three-year old to Brixton yesterday, and was telling me about the adulation still accorded to their hero DAVID BOWIE).

What a clever compilation, Vismut. Oh, and the Listener Setters’ Toping Elite? No doubt at all that she qualifies: ‘Entertained by drink, Ian or Angela cried “Good health” in Maori (6)’. KIAORA was hidden in there with an extra N. ‘Nancy’s night included casual drink with dope (6)’: the dope was a NITWIT and we extracted a U from NUIT and added W(ith) IT. So “Kiaora, Vismut!”

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

L4675 Called to Order by Vismut

Posted by Encota on 24 Sep 2021

Well, this one was intriguing, on a subject of which I am almost entirely ignorant!

Thanks Vismut!

I recall tens of years ago someone at work once bringing in a book of bell-ringing ‘sequences’ (I am sure there’s an official word I should be using here!), with ‘his’ bell highlighted down the pages in squiggly fashion.  I’d never seen such horizontal lines being given names, though!

For most of my time solving this puzzle I wasn’t sure that the ‘sets of six’ in the preamble meant 1ac-to-13ac, 14ac-28ac etc and had been assuming the sets of six could be any combinations of six answers.  As you might imagine, this slowed me down somewhat!  Eventually I had cold-solved enough clues to start jigsawing them together: it then became clear that many of the entries were in their expected places.  And only then did I really see what was going on, once jumbles of JOKERS, PRIORY, KENNET, QUEENS appeared as the added letters in consecutive sets of six!

I was also initially surprised by the order of the second set of answers – and only realised much later on that there were (at least) two ways of considering the given number sequences, namely:

(a)    Unjumble the letters in each six and write down the order.  This seemed to give
ROUNDS (then take the nth letter it gives the sequence 123456 (to spell ROUNDS)
QENUES (then take the nth letter it gives the sequence 142536 or 145236 (to spell QUEENS)
JREKOS (then take the nth letter it gives the sequence 154326 (to spell JOKERS)
PIRROY (then take the nth letter it gives the sequence 132546 or 142536 (to spell PRIORY)
KENNET (then take the nth letter it gives the sequence eg 153426 (to spell KENNET)
ULLORP (then take the nth letter it gives the sequence 543216 (to spell ROLLUP)
All matched the entry order except QUEENS, which seemed to go in as 135246.

(b)   Take the name of the sequence, write the sequence for it alongside it and then take out letters from it in that order.  This seemed to give
QUEENS (whose sequence is) 135246 (and whose letters in that order are) QENUES
JOKERS (whose sequence is) 154326 (and whose letters in that order are) JREKOS
PRIORY (whose sequence is) 132546 (and whose letters in that order are) PIRROY
KENNET (whose sequence is) 153426 (and whose letters in that order are) KENNET
ROLLUP (whose sequence is) 543216 (and whose letters in that order are) ULLORP
These all match up with the orders of the extra letters derived from clues.

From (a) I was expecting to see the name TITTUMS or JACKS (I think they were) for set 2.  But from (b) it seemed all to be OK for it to be QUEENS.  It is still slightly baffling me why this works one way round and not the other – perhaps just coincidence, or perhaps all the others ‘flip’ between two letter-orders when that sequence is applied?  Not sure!

Thanks again to Vismut – I loved it!  

Cheers & stay safe,

Tim / Encota

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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!

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.


Tim / Encota

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »