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Listener 4084: Oh Yes It Does! by BeRo (or Do the Hokey Coker)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 21 May 2010

Just short of twenty BeRo crosswords since 1990, all but a couple being Listeners (the other two were EVs about ten years ago). The last two Listeners were 3847, Pseudo-clue, and 3987, Fizz Buzz, which was loosely based on the pub quiz game. This puzzle has four types of clue with relevant letters (extra/missing letters in definition, misprints and the initial letter in normal clues). These special letters spell out a phrase from a verse. The preceding line suggests a ten-letter word which has to be identified and highlighted in the grid.

Listener 4084 Prep

It all seems straightforward, and I annotate my copy of the puzzle with the types of clue. I find this useful to avoid having to continually reread the preamble to remind myself of clue types (I read the preamble enough times as it is). This is especially useful if flipping between Listeners, Inquisitors and EVs where there will most likely be a different clueing mechanism going on. I also decide to mark the Set to which each clue belongs. My only question at this point is whether the ‘corrected’ letters in misprints are those that are being corrected or those that have been corrected!

As I start the clues, I find my eyes beginning to glaze over, as is usual when I am faced with more than one (let alone four) different clue type. The only thing is to hope that the subsidiary indications stand out enough for the clue to be solved, and then work out the definition from there. My first pass through the clues yields a reasonably useful number of answers:

Listener 4084 First Pass
13ac ETHEREAL (normal)
34ac REEMERGE (misprint)
35ac ARBOR (missing letter)
4dn TOOM (normal)
5dn ICE AXE (misprint)
6dn Bahraini (normal)
10dn RELIEF (missing letter)
25dn SURETE (normal) … and whatever happened to the old ‘Ignore accents’ in the preamble?!
31dn MERC (misprint)
33dn EMIR (missing letter)

Somewhat strange that none of these is a Set 1 clue type. Anyway, the answers give me a good inroad into the puzzle in pretty much all segments.

The rest of the puzzle is relatively quick, and one of the easier Listeners this year. I don’t think any of the clues are particularly difficult or sneaky, but enjoyable nonetheless. The phrase from the verse is shown to be ‘… an intolerable wrestle with words and meanings’ from TS Eliot’s Four Quartets ‘East Coker’.

In full, and with ‘the’ instead of ‘an’ at the beginning, the verse is:

That was a way of putting it — not very satisfactory:
A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion,
Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle
With words and meanings. The poetry does not matter.

Listener 4084 Almost there

So, THE POETRY DOES NOT MATTER goes below the grid (in fairly scrunched up writing). And what has that to do with the clues? Oh yes … they rhyme … sort of! Did anyone out there spot this before getting to this point?

And finally the ten-letter word. At least we are told it is symmetrically placed, but a couple of minutes looking in the diagonals reveals nothing. A more logical approach however yields fruit. Looking up periphrastic in Chambers reveals roundabout expression under periphrasis. And there in the centre of the grid is:

Listener 4084 Highlight

To my mind, periphrastic sounds like one of the words that Blackadder tries to convince Samuel Pepys that he has left out of his dictionary: ‘I’m anaspeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous to have caused you such pericumbobulation.’

All in all, a very enjoyable puzzle from BeRo and, thankfully, not too difficult a final step.


One Response to “Listener 4084: Oh Yes It Does! by BeRo (or Do the Hokey Coker)”

  1. Jake said

    I rather enjoyed this. Although I didn’t complete it all (due to not fully understanding some cluing, which made me start to doubt my answers), however, the ones I did doubt were correct anyway : ) as your Bero grid looks the same!

    Thanks for the info here.

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