Listen With Others

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4047: Cut Out by Lato

Posted by dalejo44 on 4 September 2009

[From Dale Johannesen]

I haven’t been doing the Listener for very long, but Lato is familiar from last year: we were to find a set of prime ministers, and a set of fat men. The preamble leaves no doubt I’m looking for another set. There are 15 thematic entries (unclued, I quickly discover), and only 7 words to be taken out of the clues as definitions; the obvious guess is that these match up 2-for-1, with one thematic entry left over, but I can’t be sure yet.

A first pass gets only FAST, with “biscuit” left over, and TACE; each of these has only one clued crossing answer. Not promising, but I am not at my sharpest at 8AM, so I don’t feel all is lost. Can I do anything with “biscuit”? Arrow/root, hard/tack, no obvious anagrams: nope.

Interlude for work.

Nothing to do but go back to the clues. 36 must use MO, and there aren’t many two-letter countries; how about MUKO? No, but MUSO works; again, only one crossing answer. 4 is one of those subtractive anagrams that are so popular; this meaning of UP FOR is unfamiliar, but it’s there in Chambers. 26 certainly looks like G+ONE; does that mean promiscuous? Not that I can see. 16, (A + TURKEY – E) anagrams to AUTARKY. 7 (ending in K) might be STINK (KNIT rev), but I can’t justify that in Chambers. 5 is IN IT, another unfamiliar meaning. 11 looks like S.F..I; the only common word like that is SAFARI, which doesn’t fit. Time for a crawl through Chambers…OK, SIFREI means scrolls, didn’t know that; “If” is a Kipling poem, on=”re”, that all works. And 3 is A(M)IR which is in every other puzzle, or so it seems, how’d I miss that? Then 12 is REGROUP, RE + G(R)O UP; at least I suppose the Royal Engineers are a corps; Chambers doesn’t say so explicitly, but the definition of “corps” fits.

Interlude for food and sleep.

Let’s see, the “unit” in 2 looks like ONE…there’s MONERON, which fits the definition OK, but I don’t see how the wordplay works. 23 is REL+EASE, and 22 is GOVERN. 37 is G+OP+HER, a new meaning for me. 21 must be ENVY, but how does it work? N V homophone I suppose, I don’t care for that. 29a is T+RULY. Those all seem pretty easy, why didn’t I see them yesterday? 29d is T…O; nothing comes to mind, but there can’t be too many words that fit that…and here it is, TIMBO, B(ook) inside OMIT rev, with “school” left over. I suspect this will move faster once I get 32, but ..I..E. is not much to work with, and there are no other clued crossing words…I guess I’m supposed to deduce it from the unclued entries somehow. In 20,6 “bow-warrior” (not in Chambers) is so awkward it’s probably one of those proper name definitions in the back; after a detour through A + VERT, I find it, IVOR, so IVOR+IAN, with “retreat” left over. 34 now looks like …MAN, and here it is, AM(T)MAN. 9 looks like the former name of a country: Edom, Aram, Siam? None seems to work. I stare at 10 a while longer, and the light dawns, PINNACLE. That really should have been easy; oh well, I have it now. Let’s have a look through the SL’s for 7; indeed SLINK=mean, another new meaning. 5a (unclued) is I.I.S.; there can’t be many that match that, and ICIEST seems the only common one. This anagrams nicely to CITIES…not seeing the set yet. 8 must be T+END; I was looking for a double definition, but of course it=T, an old standby. T…ND must be TARAND, a Northern beast of all things; the wordplay stumps me for a bit, but eventually I see R + AN (before) in TAD. And now it’s time for lunch and a bit of a break. Oh yes, reading the preamble more closely indicates my 2-for-1 hypothesis was wrong; the 7 definitions apply only to the “associated” entries, so there’s 7 of those and 8 anagrams.

If 2 really is MONERAN, then 1a is probably UMLAUT (MUTUAL anag), so let’s look for U..R at 1d. I’m expecting “right” to be the R at the end, of course, but it turns out “right” is one of the meanings of USER; so that’s US(H)ER and “conservative” comes out. Nice clue, and I think I can write in UMLAUT now.

Time for a short hike in the local foothills. This isn’t the best time of year; with no rain for several months, things are fairly dry, and a large wildfire on the ocean side of the ridge is making the air very hazy. But I need the walk, and I spend the time trying to see the connection among “biscuit”, “school”, “retreat” and “conservative” and not succeeding. Now, it’s time to finish that upper left corner. SO.M doesn’t seem to work. Perhaps “end up” is AIM rev, yes indeed, MICELLA, and getting UMLAUT and USER the way I did was sheer luck. Now 9 is surely SIAM but how does it work? “are” for “old” could be an adjustment to SIOM, but apparently it isn’t. OH, A inside SIM, an evangelical. Seems totally obvious now.

The lower left still looks pretty empty. 15 is (C)OOPS, so 14 must be FLOOR; that doesn’t have a common anagram, so must be one of the “associated” entries. 24 is TEASE, a homophone, probably with “presenter” out. 27, SH(R)IV+EN, with “day” out. 25, EVIL. 28 must be HOKUM; the wordplay isn’t immediately obvious, but I find HUM=hoax, so H(OK)UM. 35 calls for another hunt through Chambers; CULVERIN doesn’t work, but a bit farther along is CUR+TA+LAX. 17 is SPAR/RE(A)R. 30a looks like TORRID; there’s no common anagram for that, but…the penny drops:
Little DORRIT
A Tale of Two CITIES
Our MUTUAL Friend
32 is “Dickens novel”, SNICKED. The unnumbered down clue just right of center is URGED, for Barnaby RUDGE. The bottom left across is EMBODY, for DOMBEY And Son. I’ve got all of 31 as DALY; I’m not a golfer, but there’s an American golfer named Daly and “daily” homophone works. (But there was a well-known Northern Irish golfer named Daly as well, why not use him? Perhaps “American” is to come out? It doesn’t look promising, but I’ll reserve judgment.)

Time to do something with “biscuit” etc. Is there a kind called Oliver Twist perhaps? No, but there’s a Bath Oliver, so that’s how these work (BATH crosses the T in AUTARKY). 19 should be easy now, and here’s HIT+HE, with “workers” out. The left-center across is SAPPER (Pickwick PAPERS). The down below IVOR is CAMP; that’s Camp David, a “retreat”, and David Copperfield. The down left of center is going to be an anagram of GREAT, as in Expectations, but I don’t know the word: it is TARGE, with GOER at 26 and CARR at 18 (didn’t know either of those either). The remaining clue, 33, must be the abbreviation. Part of = PTO = please turn over? I’m not familiar with that “instruction to reader”, but googling around it looks plausible. Some remaining unclued entries are CHARTER(HOUSE = school) – Bleak House, DIE(HARD = conservative) – Hard Times.

At this point the Supreme Commander stops by to offer the sort of support crossword fanatics are used to (“you haven’t finished that silly thing yet?”). Well, essentially I have, but it’s always the last few words that are trickiest. In any case, I take the rest of the day off and am ready to finish this morning. The lower right corner must be DOOR, so let’s see, in the diagram I have FLOOR, DOOR, MA., and PAR.ONS; the definitions are presenter, day, and workers; novels are Nicholas Nickelby, Edwin Drood, the Old Curiosity Shop, Martin Chuzzlewit, and perhaps A Christmas Carol (some think this too short to qualify as a novel, but it’s very famous, and there doesn’t seem to be an objective definition of how long something must be to qualify.) “SHOP FLOOR” is familiar, something to do with labor unions; indeed, it means “workers” – The Old Curiosity Shop. A bit of googling turns up MARTIN PARSONS, a “presenter” (whatever that means) who seems to be reasonably well known in the UK – Martin Chuzzlewit. One of the remaining entries must be an anagram; I see, it’s DOOR for Edwin DROOD (incomplete, appropriately) and that’s the one to be highlighted. Very nice. That leaves “day” and MA., with Nicholas Nickelby (or perhaps A Christmas Carol). I keep trying to do something with Christmas Day and St. Nicholas, but I can only have one of the novels(?), and it just doesn’t work, so one of the others must be wrong…aha, there’s also a NICHOLAS PARSONS who’s a presenter; he’s got a Wikipedia page and Martin doesn’t, so is presumably better-known, as well. That leaves Martin to go with “day” and MA., and MARTINMAS works. Well, sort of, MAS is in Chambers as a word but not with this meaning; -mas in this sense is a suffix. Still, I think this must be right, and I’m done, with DOOR highlighted at the lower right.

Hmm, I haven’t explained the title; I guess it’s just the definition of SNICKED. Not helpful at all for solving, which I’m sure was the idea.

Most other Listener blogs (except George’s) seem to be written by people who never make mistakes and have to back up. I am not one of those people, and I’ve blogged as I went along, rather than reconstruct at the end, to reduce the temptation to edit out the more embarrassing mistakes. I’m sure that slowed me down, but this did seem more difficult than either of Lato’s puzzles last year, and it actually took me longer than chopping down George Washington’s cherry tree. Hope you enjoyed it.

And I don’t remember who coined the “Supreme Commander” phrase, but thank you. It is worth stealing.

2 Responses to “4047: Cut Out by Lato”

  1. Greetings from he who makes (and made) mistakes. Enjoyed the blog, I got about as far as you did when the penny dropped, but the penny never did.

  2. shirley curran said

    You haven’t been reading the imbecilic 8X8 team’s blogs – we spend hours on our red herrings (but if I didn’t edit out a few of them, you would expire with boredom). Indeed, our solving of this one (below yours) followed almost the same path, with the detour via Christmas. Thoroughly enjoyed your blog.

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