Listen With Others

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Five Dots, by Franc

Posted by shirleycurran on 19 Feb 2010

The ‘Stripey horse (5)’ team has come a long way since our very first attempt at a Listener Crossword. That was in November, 2008 and it was Franc’s ‘Three Rings’. What a pleasure to download another Franc, with the rings reduced in size but increased in number. I remember that ‘Three Rings’ took us a week to complete, though we had guessed the theme fairly early on. This time we had an almost complete grid in a few hours, and that long quotation quickly gave us the theme.

No, we are not suddenly learning to cope. Franc certainly gave us an easy solve this time with those fairly obvious extra words: OATES, LNER, OGILVIE, IDAHO, GWEN, OMANI, ABBA, THAI, WATCHET, DOLLGELLAU and URIDINES.

We didn’t even need the Internet to complete, “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use”, but we were delighted at Franc’s ingenuity in fitting it all so neatly in. Galileo was the culprit – but how?

When we have solving problems, we invariably suspect our understanding of the wordplay. Yet, somehow, this time our problems focused on four areas of the grid. TZIGANY was the likely answer for ‘Gypsy blasted zit’ but where did the GANY go? JUVENAL had to be the satirist, but the wordplay justified only the VENAL. There was some cumfudgery going on here.

The other half of the team, by this time, had his nose in a book but he did mutter, “Well, Galileo discovered the largest four of Jupiter’s moons”. Of course! All that remained was to work out the wordplay in those intersecting spots on the grid.: (JU)VENAL/CHA(PITER), MASS(EUR)/(OPA)CITY, TZI(GANY/SO(MEDE)LE and S(CALL)OP/B(ISTO)URY. The other moon was IO, of course – so I had my five dots.

With immense delight, I inserted the dots and the names in the space below the grid – and slept on it.

Morning dawned and a nagging doubt about IO – then amazement when I realized that we got the I from GALILEI and the O from GALILEO – and that the moons were in the right positions in terms of distance from their planet.

Oh yes, we had our problems. I had DROP for 16ac but no idea how it fitted the wordplay, ‘Nobleman’s charge for drink’. I wonder whether I was alone in that error. Of course I needed DRAP – D(uke) + RAP for ‘charge’.

23ac had me flummoxed too. ‘Ratify losing part of clan’ (SEPTAL losing the PT to give SEAL). The most difficult of all was 43ac. ‘I (love) indigenous broadcast – not badly sung’. Is that what we call a subtractive anagram? Now that I understand the wordplay, I love it too! (Indigenous as an anagram of IODINE and SUNG with that simple I for iodine, as the definition).

Great fun, this one, but with no wrens to construct, art works to forge or cherry trees to chop, my fingers were itching, so my five dots turned into excessively large moons and I brought Galileo in to supervise it all.

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