The Bard’s Coupling = Fucking Shakespeare

My working grid for Listener 4406, The Bard's Coupling

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, the blog you can all fell free to leave in droves.

There have been puzzles I have persevered with even when it turns out the theme is one I actively dislike (Pink Floyd, the musical Wicked, the works of Mervyn Peake).  There have been puzzles I have persevered with even when I have figure out the thematic material very early on and the novelty has worn off.

When I saw this puzzle had no setter and used two separate Playfair grids, my first inclination was to bin it immediately and download Pokemon Go. I only did one of those things (I’m level 15 on Pokemon Go now).  Let’s combine two of my least favorite elements in puzzling.  And here’s why…

1 – expecting the solver to work out who the setter is discourages new solvers, who would have to troll through a very long list of setters.  Since there is a loose rule that a setter doesn’t appear twice in the same year, a solver who has been at it less than a year would necessarily have to back in a search.

2 – I’ve made no bones about how much I despise Playfair encoding on here.  There’s an even more important reason why it needs to go – only about three people on the planet can solve the things by hand. I’ve freely admitted that every one I have “solved” has been completed by entering letter pairs into Quninapaulus’ wonderful decoder.

So how many people actually solved this thing on their own, or with minimal correspondence?  When I asked on Times for the Times almost 10 years ago if anyone wanted to try to help me get better at Listeners by comparing notes online, I got a bunch of emails telling me that was against the sport of the puzzle.  I dread to think how many posts there were about this puzzle on the reviled forums.

I tried – I really tried – I solved some clues, I made a list of which letters had to be in the same row or column of the first Playfair.  I started to make tenable anagrams of THE BARD’S COUPLING.  Hours later, I had a bit of a grid, and realized this wasn’t fun anymore. There was no clear path to the ending, and I wanted to do anything else but finish this puzzle.

So congratulations setter, whoever you are. You have created a grid of misery, and inspired me to go catch Pokemons.

2016 tally:  23-2-3

Feel free to tell me that you solved it without using any internet aids and I should be ashamed of myself, and see you next week when Chalicea creates something Latin that hopefully does not have a Playfair.

 

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2 Responses

  1. Of course we used Quinapalus but (read my Listen With Others blog George) I fed in only one letter pair and was given the most likely key word(s), then only tried one wrong setter before getting the correct one since he had to have the vowels EA and no others.It could have been SABRE but KEA was the obvious one.

  2. I read your blog and you just reinforced my sentiments about the puzzle – the last Kea listener was a numerical last November, before that you have to go back to December 2013. Sabre last appeared in October 2015. This was a puzzle written for the three people who enjoy Playfairs, all of whom seem to have commented on it either here or on the Crossword centre. I shall return to sucking on my lemon.

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