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Posts Tagged ‘Waterloo’

Listener No 4598: Xword by Waterloo

Posted by Dave Hennings on 3 Apr 2020

Sad to say, but this was the final crossword from Waterloo who died in December 2019. Including this one, there have been 29 Waterloos, the first way back in 1963, although not all are in the Crossword Database (yet).

His puzzles consisted of a variety of quirky techniques, such as no. 4254 Political Correctness Gone Mad where male terms were replaced by their female counterparts (such that SITTING ROOM was entered as SITTINBRIDE). My favourite was OO! Spectacles? where letters or combinations of letters were clued by their appearance (eg costermonger’s barrow gave TO and knuckle-duster in a down clue gave BB).

This final puzzle involved some space-saving techniques such that CARETAKER was entered as AKER, NEUROLOGIST as NLOGIST and TICKETY-BOO as ETYBOO.

And for a final bit of quirkiness, consider the excellent clue at 31dn Sad Australian missing a time in Darwin, say for NATURALIST (AUSTRALIAN – A )*+ T. Well, the preamble says that “The Chambers Dictionary (2016) is the primary reference”, so I thumbed through to see what it gave for natural. Hmm… that didn’t look right: “a character (y) cancelling a preceding sharp or flat (music )”. (y)?!

Opening the software on my PC, I found “a character cancelling a preceding sharp or flat (music)” with no symbol given at all. Trying the app on my iPad, I was finally shown “a character () cancelling a preceding sharp or flat”.

Having nothing better to do [! Ed.], I decided a bit of research was needed. Chambers (2008) has the character in brackets but (2003) and (1998) have nothing. Before that, (1988) had the character again. Similar weirdness exists in the various editions for flat and sharp with (2016) giving “(w)” and “(x)” respectively. Bizarrely, they all seem to give double-flat and double-sharp correctly — ♭♭ and 𝄪.

I knew there was a reason why I kept old editions of Chambers but, of course, I ignored what (2016) told me and entered ! [Back to sanity. Ed.]

Thanks for some good fun over the years, Waterloo.


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Xword by Waterloo

Posted by shirleycurran on 3 Apr 2020

It is, of course, sad that Waterloo will not see his last Listener in print, especially as it is on the date of the Listener Setters’ Dinner at Ettington where we could have raised a glass to him – ‘It’s impossible, completely banning Kelvin from Strathspey distillery (7, three words)’. We opted for Knockando and removed the K (Kelvins) getting NO CAN DO. I think that lovely clue would have earned him life membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit. We’re raising our drams anyway – Cheers, Waterloo.

We expect a relatively easy crossword when it is the date of the annual dinner and we raced through this with a few smiles along the way. We were hunting, for example, for an Aussie word for ‘sad’ in ‘Sad Australian missing a time in Darwin, say (10)’. It had to fill just four cells so we needed a symbol that would use six and, of course, that clever clue had nothing to do with Australia’s Darwin (or not much – did Darwin in the Beagle call in there? – Yes, Wiki tells me: The greater Darwin area is the ancestral home of the Larrakia people. On 9 September 1839, HMS Beagle sailed into Darwin harbour during its survey of the area. John Clements Wickham named the region “Port Darwin” in honour of their former shipmate Charles Darwin, who had sailed with them on the ship’s previous voyage which ended in October 1836. The settlement there became the town of Palmerston in 1869, but it was renamed Darwin in 1911.[9] The city has been almost entirely rebuilt four times, following devastation caused by the 1897 cyclone, the 1937 cyclone, Japanese air raids during World War II, and Cyclone Tracy in 1974.[10][11])

That ‘sad’ was the anagram indicator and, when we removed A T(ime) from AUSTRALIAN*, we found a NATURALIST. We had to consult Google to find the symbol for NATURAL. What a fine clue.

We were amused how the symbols functioned differently in across and down clues so that the 1 could be the ONE of a GRAVESTONE but the I of EYESIGHT, and the pound sign functioned as a POUND in EXPOUND but as LIBRA in LIBRAN. I wonder, though, whether we were the only solvers to struggle with 36 across and 36 down for precisely that reason. We know the fourth book of the Bible is NUMBERS but couldn’t see how to make the N we wanted to put in that cell fit with 36 across ‘Nervous about wartime organisation, left abruptly (7)’. We spent as long on that single clue as on all the rest of the crossword (and we already had the ‘hash’ symbol in the grid – Duh!) Of course, it was SHY around ARP L, giving SHARPLY for ‘abruptly’ and using the almost identical ‘sharp’ symbol. Thank you, Waterloo.



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The Alcoholic Baseball Player by Waterloo

Posted by shirleycurran on 23 Jan 2015

WaterlooFirst of the year, and I didn’t have to read far down to justify Waterloo’s membership of the Listener Setters’ imbibers club – an alcoholic baseball player indeed!

Waterloo’s alcohol-inspired clues continued with ‘Wound string around bottles, initially, with unfinished wine (5)’ (S[tring] A[round] + B[ottles] + RE[d], giving SABRE) a bit of a clunky clue, but generous to the solver, as I feel the first of the year should be, especially after the difficult ones we have just struggled with.

The preamble, also, raised a Numpty smile as there was a catcher high on rye – I doubt such a drunkard would last long in a US baseball team, but we laughed at the device. We continued to laugh as solutions revealed themselves.

Some of the misunderstanding of this modern Mrs Malaprop were hilarious. We particularly enjoyed ‘Three Men in a Boot’ (A journey in an overfilled car), ‘Lord of the Files’ (The boss in the office) and ‘Knickerless Nickleby’ (A naturist at large).

The Turn of the Clue

The Turn of the Clue

Our complete list of malapropisms was: The Scarlet Pimple, His Stark Materials, Sinning in the Rain, North and Southey, Three Men in a Boot, The Den of the Affair, Bunfight at the OK Corral, The Midwich Cuckolds, Horrid Henley, The Lady Varnishes, The Thirty-nine Stops, The Code of the Worcesters, The Oddity, Pride and Perjuries, The Ragged-Trousered Philatelists, Immunity on the Bounty, Threw the Looking-Glass, Lord of the Files, Knickerless Nickleby, A Suitable Buy, The Uselessness of Literacy, and A Few from the Bridge. The word-counts of these misunderstandings were a great help: we might have had a lot more trouble had it not been for those.

This set of comical malapropisms provided a speedy and amusing Numpty solve with just the odd final doubt. That 4d clue had us scratching our heads: ‘Upright author appears from poem reading this (4)’. We had M?ST so clearly our answer was MAST (upright) but it took us a while to solve the wordplay. We had to read M ‘as’ T (poeT being switched for poeM, to produce our solution). This was a step up in difficulty from the rest of the clues but that was fair enough as there couldn’t be much doubt about the definition.

I thoroughly enjoyed this bit of fun and noticed, from comments on the Answerbank and comments that reached me later from fellow solvers, that a number of lady partners and relations of solvers thought this was great fun, while the men seemed to grumble, finding the titles obscure in some cases. When I remarked to the other Numpty that literature was perhaps a more feminine theme than some of the usual Listener ones, as we are perhaps the ones who read widely, while the men pride themselves on working out base 24 or (mis)understanding about the coincidence of clock hands, he accused me of stereotyping and claimed that he thought this one was ‘really good – different and much more fun than most’. Stereotyping or not, the truth is that we don’t see much poetry or literature in our Listener crosswords, so ‘Thank you, Waterloo’ for that romp.

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Political Correctness Gone Mad by Waterloo

Posted by shirleycurran on 30 Aug 2013

It’s  a Numpty soapbox issue that there is an imbalance of the sexes in the crossword world – all those male setters (how many Listeners by women annually? Two or three? Difficult to be sure but I doubt there is a gentle lady hiding behind a pseudonym like MrE, Shark, Sabre, Kruger or Waterloo … hmm, now there’s a thought. This was a surprising compilation for a pseudonym that brings to mind warlike themes. We must be due for a ‘Waterloo by Waterloo’ in the not too distant future!) Bloggers too and vetters – mainly men, I think. I suspect solvers, too, are largely men with their feet up on office desks in the city; not harassed housewives multitasking at home.

Politically Correct 001So was Waterloo really shocked to find a male bias in his puzzles? Well, the preamble already produced a joyful laugh and the fun continued. Like last week’s Dilwitch’s All Change, it was immediately clear that many of the solutions were not going to be real words but there were a few gifts that quickly filled the four corners of the grid. ‘False leg part found after end of Paralympics’ (S + HAM), ‘Swallow,  perhaps, without a touch of embarrassment in disguised relief’  (FLIER = RELI[E]F*) ‘Entangle Shakespearean personality with no end of hubris’ ([S]ELF). ‘Absurd Uzbek’s content to do with official literary language’ (hidden URDU).

My first reaction to Waterloo’s clues was ‘What a relief that these lead to solutions that can be easily verified in Chambers’. With four corners filled with ‘easies’, we  took on the more serious task of solving the long clues. ‘Disagreement of spirits which French characterised by round arches’. What a strange surface reading! However, I was taken back to days of explaining to fourteen year olds the difference between the Gothic and Romanesque arches in the ‘Cloître de Saint Trophime’ in Arles (a superb example of architectural development!). RoWOMANesque. We were underway.

We had ?H?E? and a putative MISTRESS as we continued round the perimeter. TEA suggested SHEEP MASTER (some sort of shepherd?) or THREEMASTER. Back in male territory, of course! The other Numpty said ‘Ah yes, the Victory – that’s a three master!’ 12d caused us a little more head-scratching. With A-LEVEL, CLENCH, TRUE, SOLANO, LINN and MEDAU in place, we were puzzled but eventually, with another joyous laugh, deciphered the HUR ELISE ONCE anagram and realized that there was no HERO in this LECHEROUS man but a HEROINE (LECHEROINEUS)

In comparison, RESONANT was easy and, with REDAUGHTERANT across the top, we had the grid surrounded.  With another laugh, we quartered it, putting in MATERNOSTER (what a lucky find that anagram REMONSTRATE* must have been!) and SITTINBRIDE (for SITTINGROOM). All we had to do was tidy up those four corners – noticing, sadly, that there wasn’t much Listener compiler tippling going on this week, just a Glasgow grandchild downing a pint, almost, and a topless belle dancing with some sexy implications. Hmmm Wterloo!

Our last laugh came with MASCARA conveniently changing to FEMARA – another lucky find anagram? All great fun and a fine original idea. Thanks to Waterloo.

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