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Listener 4094: Wet Wet Wet by Lato (or A Bit of the Romantic)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 30 Jul 2010

Hindsight, they say, is 20/20, which explains why the preamble and title of Lato’s latest Listener made perfect sense after I’d solved it but didn’t on the Monday morning when I sat down with a blank grid in front of me. In fact my grid was pretty much the same as the expression on my face. There are unclued entries partly defined by extra words, added bits not entered in the grid, three works by the group, unclued, and seven misprints. So, we have a group of six artists (I guess) and three of their works … shouldn’t be too difficult.

Lato is becoming quite a prolific setter, with a lot of IQs (one every 3 months or so) and EVs (every 6 months). His last Listener was last about a year ago, 4047, Cut Out, with its Dickens theme and the requirement to highlight DOOR, being an anagram of DROO(D). I seem to remember the clues were quite tricky, and those in this puzzle proved equally so.

In other words, progress was slow. I think it’s fair to say that Lato’s Listeners are more difficult than those he sets in the other two series as shown by the following examples:

8ac: You mean to say Cowell’s losing money on creation of star? (6) ‘star’ is a misprint for ‘scar’; ULO (sounds like ‘you low’) + SIMON’S (ie Cowell’s) – M (money) – ON. I wouldn’t like to try this clue in about 10 years time when Cowell (hopefully) will be a distant memory … or indeed today if you live in, say, France. (I believe he is known in the USA.)
22ac: Make a border in new garden — had to leave in a bit of lawn (7) anag of [GARDEN – D (had)] + I (in) L (bit of Lawn).

I finally had all the clues resolved, with 8ac (see above) one of the last. The three two-word works by the group seemed to be OLD SALT, LENT LILIES and LA PUCELLE (the one that’s missing its article in Chambers). LENT LILIES are daffodils, and Wordsworth was an obvious candidate. Wiki-ing him, and the entry begins “William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature …”. Linking to Romantic Poetry gives the big six, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Byron, Shelley and Keats. The extra words in clues were beam, braid, song, pig, row and songwriter. The entry in the top left corner, .UDE, seemed to shout out Hey, Jude, and HEY is sort of in Shelley. EXCHANGE suggests WORDS, and BEAM suggests RIDGE. Then everything grinds to a halt. I try all sorts of things to fit the other extra words into the poets, but to no avail. I’d sussed out OLD SALT as being The Ancient Mariner, and La Pucelle is Joan of Arc which Coleridge helped to rewrite but was in fact written by Robert Southey in 1796.

Hmmm … Southey! He’s cropped up a bit in what I’ve read, and there’s HEY with the SOUT of soutache (braid). Reading the first line of the Wiki entry for him gives “an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the so-called ‘Lake Poets'”. And there were three main Lake Poets (Wet Wet Wet), namely Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey.

As I said at the beginning, with hindsight the preamble finally fell beautifully into place. The six extra words are paired as: row (EXCHANGE as an unclued entry) WORDS + pig (TAM unclued) WORTH; songwriter COLE (PORTER) + beam RIDGE (PIECE); braid SOUT (ACHE) + song HEY (JUDE).

I’m sure you don’t want to see my completed grid (Shirley’s will probably do), so here’s a picture of a lovely lake. Thanks for a tough puzzle, Lato. Grrrr!

2 Responses to “Listener 4094: Wet Wet Wet by Lato (or A Bit of the Romantic)”

  1. shirley curran said

    Yes, I (who live in France) can only agree emphatically on your comment (above) on 8ac. Attempting the clue even now was a stumbling block – one of several – for us.

  2. erwinch said

    Yes, the Editor of the Times daily cryptic would certainly not have allowed 8ac for the very reason that it is not timeless. Of course, Simon Cowell may well go on to do something that really justifies his current fame in which case the clue will be perfectly valid – once he is dead.

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