Listen With Others

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A Change of Clothing, by Elgin (A tasty Wensleydale sandwich?)

Posted by shirleycurran on 22 October 2010

Elgin is new to the numpty team but we chuckled at the preamble and immediately suspected that the item of clothing might be TROUSERS. As usual, the south-east corner filled first, but some rather peculiar things happened and gloom descended. BAGMAN, PEPAINT, RABIN, GAMP, DENIALS, CURES, EYES and ESLOIN intersected well with GEARE, RANCES, PAREO and NISSEN but we were left with that peculiar GAAMIUYL that didn’t have much to do with EMMENTAL. Could that be one of the ‘false trails’ whose answers were not to be answered in the grid?

We moved north and similar problems occurred, as we were left with STE?BEN. I remember linguistics classes where we were told that STERBEN was an Anglo-Saxon source of ‘to starve’, which, in the North, is what you can do with cold or hunger – but it isn’t in Chambers. Ah, the Biographical Dictionary produces STEUBEN – another new word I shall have to include in trivial chat this week! We already have NISSEN and ERNEST and now, as we move into the north-west corner we find another proper noun, GUJRAT. Again our big red book doesn’t come to our rescue, as it has GUJARAT and we don’t have the O.E.D. We risk it and JOKER appears as a likely villain. So we begin to suspect that our remaining obscure lights are probably RIDDLER and PENGUIN. Are we in BATMAN and ROBIN country? There is a problem if we are, as we have to opt for a single villain in our highlighting – which of the three ‘usual suspects’?

A complete grid, with one more proper noun REUTER and the head-scratching begins. We hadn’t found our remaining three cheeses (LIMBURG, GOUDA and STILTON) which would have pointed us towards LEGS. Nevertheless, with the PENGUIN as a possible villain and WALLACE appearing if we put TROUSERS at 20d, we had the link with the Emmental cheese (Wallace’s passion for my local cheese, Wensleydale). If we can find GROMIT somewhere, we would have a couple of crime fighters with a single villain.

TROUSERS produces BATMAN and ROBIN but it also produces a problem since DENIALS would have to become DENSALS. Hmmm.

Aha! GROMIT appears heading diagonally north-east if we anagrind the trousers. ROUSTERS will give us DENTALS, together with RUBIN, GASP, CERES, ERES and ESSOIN – and, of course, the usual Listener compiler’s little tipple, supplied, this time, by the BARMAN.  The TROUSERS are now ‘wrong’ and we have operated a ‘Change of Clothing’. (I am sure we could change it to TROUTERS, too, and have a strong prompt that our villain is the PENGUIN – no doubt he would consume lots of trout if he could catch it – but that sort of thinking could run away with us and we’d merit the Joker!)

Tough and challenging, both the grid-fill and the endgame – and we are left with that nagging doubt that we haven’t quite got it right. Thank you Elgin.

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