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Posts Tagged ‘Xanthippe’

Escape by Xanthippe

Posted by shirleycurran on 17 Jul 2020

Our first reaction was “What an original grid!” The preamble was original too, promising us riddles that we would need to solve to escape four rooms. We (U) began solving unsure whether those walls could be crossed by our symmetrical solution to the clues but it soon became clear, when BEER crossed one of them, that we could ignore them in our solve and pay attention to them when we were ultimately manoeuvering our way out of the rooms.

BEER? Yes indeed ‘Hoppy drink preferable – Tom’s not teetotal (4)’ gave us BETTER losing TT and producing an extra word ‘Tom’s’, so I need not worry about xanthippe’s retention of his admission ticket to the Listener Setter’s Oenophile Outfit, even if he feels BEER is preferable. Cheers, Xanthippe!

Xanthippe’s clues were all of that fair and generous kind and, as we had the good fortune to solve the four 12-letter ones early on, our grid fill was speedy. ‘Honour promise, don’t fire English weapon (12, three words)’ gave us the amusing KEEP ON (don’t fire) E SWORD.

Equally amusing and so clever was ‘Muddled how to make even 11? (5)’ The answer to that last clue that we solved had ro be ADDLE and we smiled when we realized that if we ADD LE, we convert EVEN to ELEVEN.

We are not very good at finding redundant words in clues. I think we solve too quickly without justifying every word, so that we had some rather incomplete riddles to solve and needed a supper break before we scanned our clues more carefully to get:





I could see that the answer to the last one was CROSSWORD – a self-referential comment on our barred cell grids that aren’t the kind that prisoners are kept in (well, yes, admitted, we do spend some frustrating, head-scratching hours trapped in the things but …) and that led us out of the grid at the bottom cell, so the U could go there (or does he become I or ME?) and that established his starting point in the room above and there he was, pointing us at TOMORROW.

From the start, the other Numpty had been saying “Tom Riddle, he’s in a work with Harry Potter” but I hadn’t taken it on board and CHAMBER OF SECRETS was the last solution to be entered after CANDLE had shown us where it ended. I am told these are familiar children’s riddles that appear on the Internet and of course, there they are. I should have asked a five-year old.

I drew U’s ‘complete’ path, crossing all the cell borders from his original position to his final external cell but was then left with. a nagging doubt. He has escaped, so I imagine we have to remove him from his original position – or have we?

Many thanks to Xanthippe for a different and entertaining puzzle.

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L4613: ‘Escape’ by Xanthippe

Posted by Encota on 17 Jul 2020

Lots of clues contained an extra word, which then needed to be suitably grouped together. This resulted in the following four phrases/riddles:

  • Always coming not arriving
  • Where Tom’s in work with Potter but clay never gets baked
  • Tall when young short when old
  • Barred cells here prisoners don’t enter

And the answers to these, TOMORROW, CHAMBER OF SECRETS, CANDLE and CROSSWORD spelt out the path that allowed the solver (U) to escape from the top NE quadrant and end up exiting the Southern door of the Escape Room complex.

A few of the extra words were quite tough to find but eventually they all dropped out. Thanks Xanthippe!


Tim /Encota

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Listener No 4613: Escape by Xanthippe

Posted by Dave Hennings on 17 Jul 2020

Xanthippe has had a fair few puzzles over the years, dating back to 1997 over at the Independent-that-was. Here we had Listener number 13 from him, last year’s being the one based on the Louis XIV chandelier episode from Only Fools and Horses, and good fun that was.

This week, an escape-the-room mystery faced us with riddles provided by extra words in some of the clues. At first glance, it appeared that each riddle would lead to the sticky-out cell added to each quadrant of the grid, but a second reading of the preamble indicated that there would be a single path starting somewhere and ending in one of the cells. None of that, however, would make any sense until the grid was done.

Solving started at a quick pace with OSSA, BEER, ICES, MARE and ANNA probably going in the top half of the grid. What would end up being 16ac Money for tribesmen with, we hear, set of beliefs (5) was a sneaky clue that I didn’t solve first time through, being CREDO sounding like CREE DOUGH, with being the extra word!

I also failed with the first 12-letter entry 17ac-to-be Potter cut pot plant in station, using middle of sickle for last plant (12, two words) (although it probably ended in (si)CK(le)), but a bit of time on 28ac Women who repay [young] fools holding very odd green earth (12) gave AVENGERESSES — ASSES around (V + GREEN* + E). Phew!

A few more acrosses got pencilled in, and with ODIC, BETCHA, GROWER, PROM and ADRY solved from the downs, the top half could start to be pieced together. Identifying the extra words in clues was sometimes a bit tricky with words like in, with, here and not lurking.

Eventually, everything was slotted together. My favourite clues were probably 5dn I’ll wager doctor [gets] the cab (6) with its straightforward anagram giving BETCHA, and 27dn Leaders from Kirkcaldy estate [don’t] expect lean Glaswegian tough (6) with its unlikely surface reading leading to KEELIE.

And so on to the riddles:

  • Where Tom’s in work with Potter but clay baked never gets
  • Always coming, not arriving
  • Tall when young, short when old
  • Barred cells here prisoners don’t enter

The last one was obviously CROSSWORD to be found in the SE quadrant, and working into the SW corner, we got CANDLE. On first reading, I guessed that the first riddle had a Harry Potter reference, but it took a few minutes to uncover CHAMBER OF SECRETS and then TOMORROW for riddle number 2. And wasn’t it Tom Riddle in one of the Harry Potter books?

Another read of the preamble, and we were told that the solver (U) had to follow the path, and above the T of TOMORROW was the U which then had to move to the extra cell at the bottom of the SE corner, leaving the other three extra cells empty. It would have been nice if one of the definitions of You in Chambers was “the twenty-first letter of the alphabet” as the preamble could then have said “solver (you)”!

Great fun. Thanks, Xanthippe.
PS A riddle I was reminded of this week: How does a deaf woman indicate to a hardware store worker that she wishes to buy a hammer?

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L4559: ‘G’ by Xanthippe

Posted by Encota on 5 Jul 2019

How might one clue the letter G in Wordplay?  A bit of grit, perhaps?  Aha!  A touch of glass – that sounds more like it!

We have seen Trigger’s Broom in thematic crossword-land in recent times, and Only Fools and Horses – written by John Sullivan – appears to be a good source of material, as is shown in this puzzle by Xanthippe from the episode A Touch of Glass.  As successful solvers will already know, it’s the one where Grandad unbolts one Louis XIV chandelier from the floor above, whilst Del Boy and Rodney await below on stepladders, with a blanket outstretched between them, ready to catch this chandelier.  Of course, it’s the other one at the far end of the room that falls.  Available on YouTube, of course (what isn’t?).

As usual I managed to get delayed by some of those short words or abbreviations: pu=pulled up (horse racing), Et.=Ethyl (chemistry), en=nut (printing).  I must find a way to remember some more of those.  All tips welcomed!

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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Listener No 4559: G by Xanthippe

Posted by Dave Hennings on 5 Jul 2019

As I saw that we had Xanthippe this week, I knew that a thoroughy enjoyable puzzle was in the offing. Last year, we had the Bond/Fleming Bourne/Ludlum ambiguity, and before that Adam Smith’s connections.

This week, a preamble that went on and on and on, the important aspect being that thematic items were spelt out by letters dropped from the down clues, with letters needing to be added to the across clues to give us two more items from the scene — whichever scene that would be.

Another week may have found me struggling with what these items were, but luckily not here. The across clues revealed one step ladder, followed by another (step ladder that is) — really?! The down clues gave Bottom, nit, ass, dun, Red Rum and nag.

In fact it was the step ladders that revealed the theme for me. It was just one of those weeks when the brain came good. We were dealing with the chandelier episode from Only Fools and Horses, which is what the down clues gave us, three fools and three horses. A bit of research was needed to find that it was a LOUIS XVI CHANDELIER, weaving its way through the grid from one asterisked square to the other.

The clashes could be resolved at first to give RODNEY (columns 1/2) and DEL (columns 11/12) holding a BLANKET (row 9). Choosing the alternative clashes and having GRANDAD remove the bolt in row 1 sent the chandelier crashing to the ground. John SULLIVAN, the writer, had to go under the grid, with the remaining ten letters of the chandelier going into the bottom row, including two 2-letter words, LI and NE.

Great fun, as expected. Thanks, Xanthippe.

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