Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

4044: Raich’s Work (or ‘ose and peas?)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 14 August 2009

Raich is a relative newcomer to the setting scene (this is his eighth since mid-2007) and I have enjoyed his puzzles a lot. Although most have had a literary theme, they have also covered John Kennedy, Elvis Presley and the Labour Manifesto of 1983 (!). I seem to recall that he is at the easier end of the Listener scale, which bodes well as I don’t have much time this week. There are extra letters in the wordplay, so hopefully fairly straightforward, but those dozen barred-off cells could prove problematic.

As suspected, the answers come fairly quickly, with well over half of the puzzle completed within an hour, including TRANSPLANTING, GRADGRINDERY (lovely word, courtesy Charles Dickens) and PHRENITIS. Also, 38ac broings back memories of Helen Shapiro, still alive, and best known for Walkin’ Back to Happiness in 1961 … OMG 1961!! Surely I can’t remember that!

Back to the present day, and the puzzle starts grinding to a halt. The top is pretty much finished, RECEIVAL taking a bit of time to unravel (RECE[N]T RIVAL – TR for translator), and STARLIT (RATS! = that’s annoying!, reversed + LI[L]T). 16dn is STEW, with a meaning of fish tanks that I have not come across before (and I suspect I’m just being a little fussy in not liking an extra wordplay letter being the S of a plural). At this stage the extra letters in the acrosses give HIGHLIGHT CONTAINER, and the downs have LETTERS.

Unfortunately the bottom right corner of the grid is proving a bit recalcitrant. ABLATE (A BLA[I](n) + ToE) is tricky, and Little time on circuit, had LAP floating around my head for far too long, rather than AND finally yielding TAD. Stupid three letter words 😉

Eventually the main grid is completed, and the extra letters reveal “Highlight container, twenty-nine letters. Use Parkinson’s law”. Cyril Northcote Parkinson’s law states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion, and there, around the block of barred-off cells is the second half of the “law”. The central block now reads ?W?? ???O ???R ???K, so there appears to be WORK in the second and fourth columns. Given the title, it is now apparent that WORK appears downwards four times, ie expanding to fill the available space.

A good puzzle from Raich which I thoroughly enjoyed. It wasn’t quite as easy as I was expecting, which is fine by me, with some very good clues. And little did I realise that I had less than twenty-four hours to wait before his next offering (in the following day’s EV).

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