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Listener 4059: Child’s Play by Dysart

Posted by erwinch on 27 November 2009

A relative newcomer with this Dysart’s fourth Listener since 2007, all well received so far.  My favourite had been the second, Mercury’s Whereabouts, and I remember being slightly critical of the last, Songspiel, where two thematic entries in the grid overlapped directly (Bob Dylan and anziani) – at best unorthodox, it was a construction that somewhat marred the puzzle for me.
Child’s Play turned out to be just that, a straightforward crossword and then we got the paintboxes out!  The theme was discovered sooner than I would prefer when asp was found to fit Wife leaves spiteful person in Set 1 and all of Set 2 could be found under ladder in Chambers Crossword Dictionary (it will be a terrible shame if this book is never to be updated).  Only one clue gave any trouble and that was justifying the plural of naos as naoi at 11dn.  It is neither in Chambers nor the OED while Chambers Words (1985) only gives the (anglicised?) plural naoses.  However, Chambers Word Wizard allows both plurals while naoi is found in The New Oxford (1998) and Collins (1998).  I don’t know if S to I constitutes a regular Greek plural but octopi (apparently allowed in US dictionaries) is frowned upon by Chambers and purists.
Misprints in normal clues revealed the instruction:
Delete all but seventy-five thematic letters.
So, all letters in black in my interim grid were to be deleted:
Finally we had the real fun part, the drawing of the key features of the grid components:
I used MS Paint for my artwork and eagerly await Shirley’s hand-drawn version that should be appearing hereabouts.  Although we always go up ladders and down snakes, I didn’t know if the snakes should be drawn with the head above the tail or vice versa.  The Net shows boards with the snakes going either way or both so I used both too.  Usually the descent of each snake is continuous so that the rise at the end of anaconda and racer would not be seen.  This might have confused some solvers but no complaints from me.
So, to sum up, this was probably a bit too lightweight to feature among the favourite Listeners of 2009 but I fancy that there will be very few solvers who will ever forget the week that we were required to draw the Snakes & Ladders board.  Thanks for that Dysart and I appreciate that it must have taken a considerable time to fit everything in without ambiguities, especially the snakes.
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2 Responses to “Listener 4059: Child’s Play by Dysart”

  1. shirley curran said

    A lovely MS Paint job Erwinch; it makes hand-drawn art work obsolete. However, I honestly believe the way you always go (in at the gaping head of the snake) is the only logical way. We used to be terrified of those gaping snake heads and wouldn’t have worried much about the tip of a tail.

  2. Denis Martin said

    Excellent artwork Erwin! Shirley’s got competition now.

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