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Listener 4082: Pangrams by Sabre

Posted by erwinch on 7 May 2010

With this his 60th puzzle since July 1970, I wondered if Sabre might be the longest serving Listener setter still active and had a look at the Listener site.  Well not quite, I made him third after Salamanca, May 1970 (50) and Waterloo, October 1963 (23) ignoring the likes of  Rufus, May 1967 (1).  However, there is no doubt that he has become a Listener institution and I retain many memories from such as Wordsquares, Cards and A Paradox, a Paradox.
I do not usually have much to say about clues in these blogs but had some trouble fathoming the wordplay in 17ac:
Without energy, drop a sandal (4) geta – The E moving to replace OUT in GOUTTE + A
Is this an acceptable use of without or am I reading it incorrectly?
I also counted four clues with directly hidden answers, which seemed excessive since they are often giveaways:
10ac [Druse] spy invents krypton shield (4)
14ac Busty girl holding cup (3)
40ac John’s finished a bit of soul-searching (4)
27dn Ghanaian exportwicker boxes (3)
I suppose that it is always difficult to come up with something new for short words like these.  Druse, one of the extra words, complicated 10ac and has two meanings so was good to start with since one meaning is capitalised.  John’s (Bunyan’s) finished was an excellent definition for arch found in Chambers.  Sabre has a knack for winkling out these obscure definitions, things like polled for not, and this one for arch I could not even find supported by the OED.  Ghanaian and three letters instantly suggests Twi to me.  Broadening the definition to West African might have added Ibo or Kru.  Anyway, I thought that I would have a go at clueing the four words but would be surprised if there is anything original here:
[Druse] take in heavens? (4)
Cup upset – Norway winning Finals! (3)
Vault over Mrs Mopp – was it Norman? (4)
Light going for West African (3)
Ghanaian found with Henry (3)
Extra words in seven across clues gave us the definitions for the down pangram:
druse German valley ounce stab character bureau
Finding the down pangram was a good deal easier than first thought.  The lack of vowels meant that we were always going to find words like cwm and rare examples of Q with just one vowel:
vug Fritz cwm lynx jab qoph desk
Finding the across pangram was also fairly straightforward.  Having B, C and D encode the same both across and down made a convenient starting point (lynx/Jynx or qoph/koph for ABCD) followed by Fritz/qursh:
I did not think it immediately clear that an across entry of ABCD should be encoded as JYNX and not vice versa.  I can well see the extant all-corrects literally spending hours checking their entries for this one.  Free of such worries, I rather hurriedly completed the grid so would be pleasantly surprised to find this correct:
So, another splendid Listener from Sabre, a real feat of construction especially if computers were not used.  Perhaps not as difficult as it first looked, given the nature of pangrams, but here’s to the next sixty!

2 Responses to “Listener 4082: Pangrams by Sabre”

  1. Andrew Fisher said

    I parsed GETA as GT around E, + A (GT being an abbreviation for gutta).

  2. erwinch said

    Yes, you are quite correct Andrew.  This illustrates the danger of
    relying on Bradford’s, which does not list gt, and then
    jumping to conclusions.  It is listed under drop in
    Chambers Crossword Dictionary had I but looked.

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