No 4044 OOOOPPPP by Raich (Listenercoholism)
Posted by shirleycurran on 14 August 2009
“Looks like work to me”, said the other half of the 8 X 8 easy clues team when I presented him with the two down-loaded pages. Indeed, this self-imposed Friday evening torture can be heavy going. It is almost becoming an obsession (PHRENITIS?) – does it dominate the lives of those solvers who have been doing it for years? (Listenercoholism?)
Amazement followed! This grid filled up almost as fast as we could read the clues. GRADGRINDERY, TRANSPLANTING, INEDITED, PATERNALLY intoned the other half of the team and I could barely write fast enough to keep up with his solving. Fairly soon we had ‘HIGHLIGHT’ and ‘LETTERS’ as instructions and ‘TWENTY-NINE’ soon followed.
It is never simple for the team. We squabbled over 44d. Both HAND and CUSHION could be PAD, so which was the definition and where did the D(aughter) come in? In the final stages of our solving, we saw that PAW would produce that elusive W and complete PARKINSON’S LAW. It was that well-concealed K of ‘Knee’s equivalent Saint provided – mounted deer’ (ST + IF + ELK rev.) that prompted the brains of the team to come up with his second comment about work expanding to fill the time available for its completion.
We were rather nonplussed by 33d. TAD, too. ‘Little time on circuit’ (T + A[N]D). It fitted with the intersecting letters but raised that vexed question of the article. I join the camp that would like ‘A little’ to define the noun TAD, as LITTLE seems adjectival. Yes, I heard you – this is all part of the setter’s prerogative to mislead, especially on such a diddy, easy word.
I didn’t like 48ac., but perhaps I haven’t understood the wordplay that has to produce DAY, ‘Not all foolhard[Y] a youthful time of influence’. It seems like a long clue to suggest that the word is hidden. (As, usual, I hope Denis will clarify it!)
‘Sacrament’s good for Catholic Eastern State’ produced a gripe, too. PENANG needed a G(ood) to replace the C(atholic) of PENANCE and we had to use the final E to get TWENTY but there was that odd presence of EASTERN in the clue as a sort of extra.
But we did like it! A completed grid on Friday evening with the whole weekend left for transplanting and gradgrindery and all the work that would expand to fill it.
The final stage was fun. After a vain hunt for words that meant ‘work’ and would cross that central reservation and join the letters that were there, we spotted an ORK and a W and expanded them into lots of WORK. We knew we had to highlight the CONTAINER but, of course, I counted in the contents and, with TIME AVAILABLE that added up to 29. It looked odd.
FOR ITS C with a diagonal leap to OMPLETION was obviously a more satisfactory COMPLETION and I marvelled at the way Raich had managed to squeeze all of those words in. Lovely!
Thank you Raich!