Listen With Others

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Oh Yes It Does! by BeRo

Posted by shirleycurran on 21 May 2010

It is just a little bit worrying for the Dumbos when the preamble spills onto the second page and reading it alerted us, at once, to the need for those over-used highlighters. Four different types of clue! Fortunately, some of them yielded up their secrets fairly quickly: SÛRETE, BAHRAINI, HESPERIS, ETHEREAL, PANOCHA, OSTIOLE, and ESOTERY. It feels good when we have something in each corner of the grid – we sort of ‘have it surrounded’ and by the end of Friday, we had an almost complete grid. Brilliant – in fact we had thirteen normal clues! Doh!

That wasn’t our only problem. I had misread the preamble (when will I learn?) and was attempting to compose a phrase with three of the clue types – not the initial letters of the normal ones. It looked very odd ‘ANNTLERBL etc. Fortunately, the back part of the ‘Stripey horse (5)’ team took another look at the preamble and pulled us out of that deep hole.

A night’s sleep helped and a fresh look revealed ‘AN INTOLERABLE WRESTLE WITH WORDS AND MEANING’ Great! We know all about that. We’ve been doing it for over a year and a half, ever since we were infected by this Listener bug.

Colour-coding those solutions revealed a lack of three types and an uncomfortable number of normal ones. SCHMOE was certainly not an American, yet the clue began with the A we needed; ‘American of broken home, led by us, see’. We finally teased the A into ‘of’, giving ‘oaf’ – rid of one of our extra normal clues. ETEN provided a similar problem. Again ‘Rodin’s term after his summer one with great statue’ seemed to be normal and the R was what we needed. Ah, but we found ‘statuRe’ – not ‘statue’ at the end of the clue. Sneaky!

The biggest struggle of all was at 28a and 29d. We could see that we needed a fin to give us the E at the end of finE but VANE took some teasing out, ‘Backtracking French lawyer’s not forgotten fine’  (AVocat reversed, before NE). Then, of course, we had NOBLE for the ‘ac(N)e’ at 29d where we had been looking for an acHe. At last our numbers tallied!

T.S.Eliot was one of my set poets at A Level and East Coker is familiar ground to crossword solvers isn’t it? – Indeed, what a spectacular hidden message was lurking on the ground of BeRo’s crossword – ECOKER. However, we still had to sort out something from, ‘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.

Oh Yes It Does!, says BeRo in his title. Is that an injunction to Listener compilers to make their offerings more poetic? It certainly looks as though those are the words that have to fill that little slot below the grid that so often threatens us. ASTONISHMENT! It has just been pointed out to me that all the clues rhyme! My admiration knows no bounds, and my amazement that this was done so subtly that it was not glaringly obvious – at least not to me, and now I see it: …pocket …block it …tea …be …airy …vary …vouch …ouch (Ouch indeed!)

What is left to do? Find some sort of ‘Periphrastic study’. Check in Chambers! Periphrasis = roundabout expression. It has to be symmetrical. There was a fine Dumbo red-herring where a little triangle with a spur spelt RASTIC in two directions but it was clearly not enough. PERI was there too! Was BeRo deliberately misleading us? Aaah! The roundabout EXPRESSION appeared just where it should. If we have learned one thing in our travails, it is, ‘Look in the obvious place! The centre, the diagonals etc.’

Enjoyable (did I say that?) thank you, BeRo!

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2 Responses to “Oh Yes It Does! by BeRo”

  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.

  2. shirley curran said

    Jake, it is good to know that we are useful to someone! Actually writing a blog helps a lot in learning to understand the clues and the way the Listener crosswords work. I sometimes realize something that I hadn’t seen when attempting to solve.

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