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Refrain by Dysart, Yo ho ho and a left boot!

Posted by shirleycurran on 2 July 2010

The numpties started very slowly this week with ON THE GO, GERAH, ORE and NORM slotting into place. For two reasons 1 across is my favourite clue of the year (Schnook at the front switching sides, seeing what’s being said) First of all, it is such a superb clue with (D)RIP LEADING doing a spoonerism and becoming LIP-READING. Then the second reason – Suddenly with the help of that initial L, LONG JOHN SILVER emerged from the mental fog. We didn’t even need to consult Google to produce ‘Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest, Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum, Drink and the Devil had done for the rest’. (Yet further proof for me that there is a sort of secret oenophile Listener setter fraternity! When did we last have one without any alcohol?)

We were solving in earnest now, with all those extra letters already in the bag – or treasure chest or whatever –  and soon we were constructing a putative treasure island around the grid. Dysart

Our detours round a putative island

had foreseen this and led us on a few false trails -…  EN ON THE DEAD MAN’S … appeared in the top left hand corner and sent us off on a false SCENT (track, see 31ac) and we had trouble with the CHEST that disappeared in the top right hand corner and a couple of extra HO HOs, but eventually we were able to use the rhyme to help us solve the remaining clues (our usual higgledy piggledy way of going about these things).

We loved the touch of the ‘rum’ BOTTLE OF, that gave us a transformation into LEFT BOOT. With the grid almost complete, we needed Google to provide an ‘alternative title’ and DERELICT seemed to fit with the very few clashes we had spotted.  This is the problem for less able solvers. Frequently, we don’t understand the details of wordplay and are happy when a word like TOY appears because of checked letters (33ac Strike without delay – no charge for axe). Of course, we have to come back to it, to work out that there must be a clash there and that we need an E for DERELICT so the solution has to be TOE – and what complicated wordplay! Strike is TOE (you should see me on the golf course – I know all about toeing!) without delay is AT ONCE, axing NC, with A being the extra letter. PHEW!

We had a similar struggle with SCENA. A fine word that seemed vaguely to fit the definition (31ac Track from early film, one becoming classic finally) but I am learning to look for those replacement and substitution clues. That sneaky word ‘becoming’! And sure enough, we had to take SILENT – I being replaced by C and the L as the extra letter.

The same with LITH/LATH, CHIEL/CHIEF and the immensely complicated wordplay of SALLY LUNN ((R)ALLY + L (liberal) in SUN (warm) + N (saloon finally). In fact, I felt that this week’s wordplay was tough, if rewarding. Not so rewarding, though, as the lovely finish of the LEFT BOOT, though I do wonder whether my island outline crossing itself up near the dead man’s chest is how it ought to be. Perhaps that is the little spur where the Treasure Island gang built the stockade?

Here’s my final list:

Across

1 LIP READING

7 GHIS (clashing with C CLEF from Mac’cle(s)f’ield to provide the C of DERELICT)

10 ON THE GO (clashing with DREST to provide the R of DERELICT)

12 ASCENT

14 DREARILY

15 GERAH

17 ETON

18 TACTION

21 ORE (clashing with the B of CRAB TREE to produce one E of DERELICT)

22 UNSENT

25 TROTH

26 ATONAL

27 COHO

28 NORM

30 ESTATE

31 SCENT (Clashing with the A of ANNEALS to produce the T of DERELICT)

32 LISTEN

33 TOE (Clashing with the Y of ST ANTHONY’S FIRE to produce the E of DERELICT)

36 LYNCHED

38 LITH (clashing with OCTAVIA to give me the I of DERELICT)

40 ALOOF (clashing with the D of DEEP to give me the D of DERELICT)

42 EILEEN

44 FOREVER

45 RAFF (clashing with the L of CHIEL to give me the L of DERELICT)

46 KNOTTY PINE

Down

1 LONG JOHN SILVER

2 IN GEAR

3 RHEA

4 AGRA

5 DREST

6 NARCOTIST

7 C CLEF

8 INSOOTH

9 ST ANTHONY’S FIRE

11 MATINEES

13 CRAB TREE

16 ENTETEE

19 ANNEALS

20 HOOT-TOOT

23 SALLY LUNN

24 ELSINORE

29 OCTAVIA

34 OROGEN

35 CHIEL

37 CLEFT

39 BOOT

41 DEEP

Great fun. Thanks to Dysart.

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2 Responses to “Refrain by Dysart, Yo ho ho and a left boot!”

  1. Jake said

    Hi Shirley,

    This one beat me hands down, I had a handful of clues and that was about it! However I did Inquisitor 1115 (Dysart) and got a few, then purchased ODQ and managed it all – once knowing the theme.

    May-be I didn’t apply myself enough. Now I see the solutions I can see clearly how they work, as often is the case when viewed.

    So thanks for the blog. I like your colourful sketching!

  2. linxit said

    Well, looks like I’ve got one completely right for a change! The last couple of weeks I’ve had silly errors – really annoying to get 1 unchecked letter wrong in a puzzle you’ve spent hours on! My map outline (if that’s what it’s supposed to be) is a lot more angular than the one in the published solution, but it would be very harsh of JG to mark me wrong for that.

    I think you’ve got a good point about the Listener setters secret fraternity – most of the ones I’ve met are very fond of a tipple!

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