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Listener 4105: Out to Work by Charybdis (or Take the Money!)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 15 October 2010

I suppose that I’d have to describe Charybdis as a slightly quirky (in a nice way) setter. His last Listener was 4042, How to Put on a Little Weight with its mixture of astronomy and gastronomy. This puzzle has a somewhat convoluted preamble, including clashing letters, extra letters, an instruction and a deduction. Oh no, a deduction to be made. That always fills me with trepidation as I’m not always good at mental leaps, logical or otherwise. So let’s see what we come up against.

Updated, thanks Erwin.

The across clues are not very forthcoming with a grand total of four: 17 RECALLS, 28 WOE, 46 NUN and 48 ARDS. It’s unfortunate that 6dn isn’t solved yet; it forms part of the ‘figure’ that we are going to end up with according to the preamble. The downs start off very well. 1 BASRA, 3 ALEC, 4 RHEAS, 7 LAPSE and 9 BRETHREN, all nicely down from the top row. Unfortunately, only two more get solved in my first pass through the clues, 20 LAUD and 32 BAILIE. Alas, no clashes yet.

2ac TARP and 6ac SLUMBER. The latter has an extra letter O in the clue, leaving MB in an anagram of RULES. It looks as though removal of the extra letters may leave non-words in the clues, something that I, among others, don’t really like, but hey-ho! 5dn is probably an anagram of moralist after losing a letter, but the letters I’ve already got give P.DLA.. which means that three of them must be clashes. With 16ac APPLE, I finally resolve 6dn SCALLYWAG, and am a bit mystified as to how that could be thematic although it is a figure of some sort I suppose.

Progress is somewhat slow, and the last few clues take a fair bit of unravelling: 23ac QUARRY (Victim came round this diamond mine), which I think is three meanings; 45ac SPIRING which is uninspiring minus unin (union without the O); and 23dn QUIPPISH which is Q (query) plus I(F) in UPPISH (pretentious). Finally, I’m not too keen on Heathcliff’s to not being flagged with a question mark, but all in all the clues are good with some devious extra letters floating around.

So at last we have a completed grid. The clashing letters when added together read JUMPING JACK from top to bottom, the message spelt out by the extra letters in across clues spell OPEN THE BOX, and the extras in the down clues spell MASTER OF NONE. With reflections of the clashing letter squares, there is the shape of a jack jumping, and I deduce (thankfully) that he pops out of the grid when the across instruction is obeyed. This leaves empty squares. Four entries associated with the down phrase can now be identified in the grid: TAR, STEEPLE, QUARTER and LUMBER, all of which can either go before or after JACK. I must admit that I’m not 100% sure about TAR, but there seems nothing else. Finally, SPRING-HEELED is highlighted, which Chambers gives by example in spring-heeled Jack.

A lot of thematic material here, and a very entertaining solve with the Jack finally jumping out of the grid. I hope I’ve got all the highlighting correct. If not, please leave me in my state of ignorance.

I think that’s everything, except to show a still from that ancient 50’s programme Take Your Pick with Michael Miles. Firstly, in the Yes-No interlude, contestants had to avoid using Yes and No for 60 seconds and were rewarded with the princely sum of five bob. That wouldn’t even buy a Mars bar today! A typical exchange:

Michael Miles: Hello, what’s your name?
Mrs Smith: Mrs Smith.
Michael Miles: Mrs Smith?
Mrs Smith: Yes!
GONG!!!

In the main competition, the contestant could win a key which would open a box, but Michael would try and buy it off them for increasing amounts of money. How the audience would enjoy shouting out “Open the Box!!” rather than “Take the Money!!”.

Thanks, Charybdis for helping me to relive a memory from my childhood! Quiz shows haven’t changed though … I still hate them.

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3 Responses to “Listener 4105: Out to Work by Charybdis (or Take the Money!)”

  1. erwinch said

    You are missing the U of PLUG Dave but I am sure that it was present in your entry.

  2. hieronymous said

    thanks for this break-down. i’ve been getting close to finishing quite a few recently, always with a couple of irritating bits missing. here i got everything pretty much except for the bottom right-hand corner

    p.s. shouldn’t 44a (from the clue) be “niefe” rather than “niece”? (i.e. “fine” popping, plus “e” for a happy pill?). the best definition of “niefe” i could find on the internets was “a female serf”, which… well, it doesn’t exactly seem to fit the definition, but i’m not sure that “niece” fits too well either?

    finally, i’ve still got NO idea why 38d was “trend”… guess i should have read “wuthering heights” more closely when i was younger?… oh, right, even as i wrote that last sentence i suddenly got it… t’ rend… *sigh* but then, why does trend=wind?

    oh well, anyway, thanks again

  3. Hi Hieronymous

    I had to trawl my notes … and Chambers for these. “Niece” is a pope or priest’s daughter (eg Pope Innocent) and is NICE (fine) swallowing (popping) E (happy pill); “trend” is vi to turn or wind. I remember “Heathcliff’s to break wind” had me scratching my head for some time too! Hope that helps.

    Dave.

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