Listen With Others

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No 4042 How to Put On a Little Weight by Charybdis (Midnight snacking)

Posted by shirleycurran on 31 Jul 2009

Hah, this one looks more like a cake than the 0 of some soccer draw – much more my style! And it was! – Charybdis’ How to Put On a Little Weight was almost a cake-walk, but a most enjoyable one. This was our first experience of a Friday finish, as the answers simply slotted into place with the extra words speedily emerging and the quotation soon becoming evident, (though I have to admit that we made a lucky guess at Brillat-Savarin, and the Internet provided the quotation from which we worked backwards – this is still the way the Junior 8 X 8 team usually operates!)

We were intoxicated as the grid continued to fill at a steady pace and a couple of alcoholic ingredients (TAFIA and BACARDI) appeared – rather a boozy savarin, this one! FLUB gave us one of our rare problems. The clue ‘[Civil] boss may be baleful when drunk and full of beer’ was lovely. We took the ale out of baleful and got a rather drunken FLUB which was confirmed by DIFFER, TUAREG and BRILLAT, but it took us a while to realize that Boss was another word for botch. (Another memory ‘post-it’ for the team, – look up all the words of the clue individually when the meaning is not immediately clear).

What superb clues! NOTERS ‘Singers moving [anodyne] number to the beginning – they make records’. Tenors, of course shifting the NO! And that fine northern word ‘Laking’ in ‘[Partying] – laking is essentially similar’. (AKIN).

I had to have the FF of DIFFER explained, ‘Wild ride around [flumes] they made it … and fall out!’ When the FF of ‘fecerunt – they made it’ was clarified for me, I made another memory ‘post it’ – study all those funny little letter combinations that the Listener setters use! We still have so much to learn!

Suffice it to say that with a few hours work, we had a complete grid with a couple of nuts (ALMONDS and a WALNUT) and a bit of fruit (CHERRY and PEACH, though we did expect YEAST in the place of the PEACH – a short detour!) and we anticipated a ferocious end-game. But it was not to be. We thought that centre cell might augment a group of words but a hunt through the potential Gs and Ks soon produced (G)ASTRONOMY. What a fine echo of the quotation ‘The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity than the discovery of a new star’! Certainly, as we approached midnight, we were delighted to find ‘gastronomy’, in the place of ‘astronomy’.

‘Easy’, we said. ‘But wait a minute – what do we highlight?’ ‘Well, there’s a five-letter star – RIGEL – but it isn’t exactly new, it’s been known for millenia. Ah but it is new in the grid. Is that the criterion by which we select the other new and happier discoveries? We have potentially ALE, EWER, REGALE, POORI, SALADS, CHARGER, BOWL and RAKU-BOWL – a dilemma. Then there’s the question of the punctuation – that semi-colon seems to suggest that the words that must be highlighted are only the ‘new and happier disoveries’ that result from each of the other cells of this new discovery – the R, I, E and L.

It is a good thing that the beginner team is not chasing an ‘all correct’ record – we’d be losing sleep over this question. As it is, we highlight the four items that have appeared by combining those letters with words already in the grid – CHARGER, POORI, REGALE and BOWL. And so to bed, just before midnight! Wow.

We loved this one – a rather heady mixture. Thank you Charybdis.

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