Listener 4191: Full Instructions Included by Nudd (or This Should Be Easy Then)
Posted by Dave Hennings on 15 June 2012
This week, we were greeted by a nice short three-line preamble, and one of those was the Chambers reference. Ten answers needed modification, the nature of which was given by ‘instructions’ in other answers. This is only Nudd’s second Listener, his/her first being based on Doctor Dolittle’s pushmi-pullyu.
I didn’t know whether to expect easy clues or tricky ones, but the acrosses yielded only a few answers, so I guessed they were on the tricky side. 15 ROLL-TOP, 17 TEEM, 18 ELITE, 22 ATTORN, 34 ATOP, 37 STIRRUP, 39 AXENIC and 41 DROPLET were pretty straightforward, but then came 42 NICOTINE which only had a 5-letter entry space and meant that I had been remiss in not checking out answer/entry length discrepances earlier. In fact, none of the other acrosses had a difference, but there were seven such down clues. Oh dear, that meant there appeared to be two modifications that did not affect the length of the entry. It sounded as though they could cause problems.
To summarise then: there were two entries that had the same length as their answers, six that were three letters shorter, one that was one letter shorter, one that was four letters shorter and, just to take you out of your comfort zone, one that was one letter longer and one that was two letters longer. Ouch!
I’m sure it was going off to check the answer/entry lengths that meant that I didn’t make the connection between AXENIC and NICOTINE very quickly, even though I solved them within about three minutes of each other.
Luckily for me, 1dn was an easy DRUPE, with the P clashing with the R of ROLL-TOP, and 3dn COL looked like it was the one that gained a letter. 11dn Jazz fan, out of time and maybe improvising at Ronnie Scott’s, fondly embracing… (10) CANOODLING was made easy by my having come across that meaning of ‘noodle’ only a couple of weeks earlier in an EV puzzle. It looked as though LING would go in, but which four of the remaining six letters needed to be dropped.
If only my luck had held out and enabled me to get 21dn JUNKANOO on my first pass through the down clues, I’m sure that I’d have made the link with ‘canoodling’ sooner and the puzzle would have been a bit easier. However, it wasn’t too much later that I got that answer and the penny finally dropped. Other entries came to the rescue, and LOSEL, STIRRUP, and OUSTITI revealed their purpose and just needed to be matched up with the answers they were to affect.
Although it wasn’t quite plain-sailing, everything came together fairly nicely until I tried to resolve 35dn. I don’t know whether it was a deliberate trap to make 34ac easy A bit of a kip precedes work on the summit (4) ATOP. I first came across ‘a bit of a kip’ meaning ‘at’ (a kip is 100 at … currency in Laos) a few years ago, and I apologise to the setter who first used it that I don’t know who you are. Anyway, a relatively easy clue (now) that I slotted in without a moment’s thought. Of course, that meant that 35dn Character in play (Shakespearean) left off old shirt (7) was a very difficult solve if you thought it began TART…! It took quite a long time to realise that 24dn PROTEAN did not have its top rolled to give TROPEAN, but was a normal entry and required ATOP to have its TOP rolled to give APOT, with 35dn PARTLET!
The full list of instructions reads as follows:
|3dn||COL||PUT S IN||COSL|
A fairly easy week, just over two hours in total, but a thoroughly entertaining puzzle from Nudd, so thank you. One of those quirky sorts of crossword that the Listener throws up every now and then to make us appreciate what a fun language English is.