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Listener No 4598: Xword by Waterloo

Posted by Dave Hennings on 3 April 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 April 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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