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Listener 4649 Get Weaving By Paddock

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Hagen | 11:17 Sat 06th Mar 2021 | Crosswords
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That was a workout and a half! Despite initial reservations that this was going to be a slog, I really enjoyed it. I'll admit I "solved" most of the across clues by reverse engineering from potential words offered by the choice of letters from the down entries, and hats off to anyone who solves them all in their own right. Great stuff, thanks Paddock.

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That was very hard indeed - the most difficult Listener for quite a while?

Like Hagen, I reverse engineered many of the across clues from the possible words that would fit the grid - but I've now parsed all but one (14ac) to my own satisfaction, and the gridfill is unequivocal about the answers for that one.

Thanks Paddock - a great puzzle

A proper workout - I agree!

Thanks Paddock - that's refreshed synapses other puzzles couldn't reach (to mix a few metaphors). Spotting the theme fairly early was a big help.

I'm happy with the parsing for 14A, but I have a couple of others I'm unsure about. I can't honestly believe there can be alternatives, so I think I'm happy to submit it.
Gosh. Quite tough. Have most of the left half but with some fairly suspect across clues. Some way to go
Superb puzzle, albeit completely impossible without some sort of automated search facility to generate possible solutions to across clues
Spanking good crossword - it had us on the verge of giving up for hours but once progress had been made we were compelled to finish it.

Many thanks Paddock.
A good strenuous trek. One of those where I chipped away at it in small chunks. It was surprising how much the down clues could be used to suggest answers to the across ones - less so vice-versa. Perhaps the only weakness was that, having solved all the across clues, I was left with two down pairs that I didn't need to crack (though I did). And, as a bonus, Google led me on to an aspect of a favourite work I had not considered. A winning puzzle, Paddock! (May I also confess that, at one stage, I considered the theme might be the Matrix films!)
After only solving 3 parts of across clues in my first hour, I was very close to giving up on this one as too hard. I'm glad I didn't. Like others, I found a degree of reverse engineering was required. And guessing the theme and it's implementation very early certainly helped. Once I'd cracked the first half dozen across clues, the rest all came out fairly quickly.

A great idea. Well done Paddock.
My least favorite clue device is "jumbled word order in clues" and this was a prime example of why. You think you're getting a grip on a clue only to realize most of your assumptions cannot be relied upon at all. I think I only solved one across pair cold without having to work backwards from the suggested entries. Most of the down clues were straightforward enough that I knew the answers early on, allowing for that reverse engineering. Unfortunately I thought the endgame somewhat trivial and no real reward for the work it took to get there.
Masochistically rewarding. I reverse engineered the bottom half of the acrosses having done the top half the long way. Thank goodness for the down clues being as they were.

A real tough nut to crack. Now who's going to set one with both sets of across and down clues interwoven?

Thanks, Paddock.
I guessed the theme as soon as I read the preamble, so I knew what to look out for, but it was many hours before I got sight of what I was expecting. The downside of guessing the theme early is that there is no reward at the end for all that slog, and it was a slog. The across clues were fiendish to unravel, in some cases even when I knew both answers. I agree with Flocko in that respect. On more than one occasion I had a wrong answer that was justified by elements in the clue, which ruined my chances of solving the other clue, or a definition that satisfied one answer, only to find I had to split the definition to justify another answer. In several cases the paired clues were clearly designed to confuse and misdirect beyond their interwoven character. There were few concession to compensate for the intrinsic toughness of the presentation.

After more than three hours I had only eight answers, half of which I could not enter. I think I spent at least ten hours in all on the puzzle, possibly as many as twelve, spread over three days, and I can't say I got much enjoyment from it. The only thing that drove me on was a stubborn resistance to admitting defeat (and, of course, the tyranny of the statistics).

In my book a puzzle as tough as this should have an endgame reward that is commensurate with the effort the solver has to put into it. I can think of several Listeners from the past couple of years where that has been the case. The minor change to the grid was a slim reward. Even if I hadn't guessed the theme I would have felt the same.
Sorry, Paddock, not my cup of tea, but I grant you your paired across clues were very deftly interwoven.
Honestly, I haven’t been solving it solidly since Friday teatime, I have stopped occasionally for a bite to eat and a few winks. My brain just couldn’t handle the across clues. I ended up studying Bradford’s for possible synonyms of possible definitions then trying to match them to bits of the clues. Not the intended method I am sure, and not much fun. I think I would have given up had I not opted to submit this year. Mind you I have already erred on at least one puzzle, and that was one that I tested a while ago!

I glanced in here over the weekend to see if it was just me who was struggling and read the positive reviews, which urged me on. I do have a sense of achievement having finished, a bit like climbing a mountain, but, like Scorpius, I would have liked a bigger reward for all that effort.

Hats off to those who solved it in reasonable time. With a bigger brain I’m sure I would have enjoyed it more.
I think the only reason I solved it relatively quickly is because I took one look at the Across clues, thought "don't even go there", and just concentrated on blind-solving the Downs. I got all the ones on the right hand side, and then worked through the possible combinations for definitions.

As a logic puzzle it was very impressive, but I'm struggling to think of what kind of endgame you'd need to improve the solvability of it - much more thematic material, maybe, but the grid looked pretty restrictive as it was.

We're blessed that the Listener has a broad spectrum of settings, and we have to recognise this one for what it was, an awesome technical challenge.
To be fair, I don’t think you can group solvers together and say how we should see a puzzle. I know from comments on my own puzzles that as solvers we have different views as to what constitutes a good puzzle. I had one puzzle that some thought was the best of the year in that publication and others thought was the worst for years! The reason that I like this site is that you get to read what others thought of a puzzle; sometimes it is the same as you and sometimes it isn’t.

With this puzzle, it was only my struggle with the across clues that spoilt my enjoyment. It was a really good theme.
Pleased to have finished and actually grateful that the endgame was so straightforward and helped to confirm a couple of uncertain entries. Whilst the across grid entries were pretty unambiguous I confess I had to loiter on the other side to discover how some of the across clues actually parsed. Even with walkthroughs I still found a couple really tough. Still there has been some moaning that recent puzzles have been too easy...
Coo. Hard. Only just finished, and that's just the grid; two across clues to parse. One of the downs only solved from ALL the letters and looking for words. Yes, there were some across ones that were made over-complex, I felt. But otherwise, a great idea. Liked it.

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