Listen With Others

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No 4108 Past and Present, by Emkay – Hello there!

Posted by shirleycurran on 5 November 2010

This was fun. The numpties were expecting greater difficulty after the last few weeks and began by assuming that each word was going to be scrambled. TATTOO, for instance, our first solve, was going to give us a choice of three Ts two Os or an A in that central box. The prospect was daunting. However, tentatively writing the letters and coordinates in the given order soon proved to be the correct method.

From there on, it was plain sailing – or solving and within a couple of hours, we had an almost complete grid. Emkay, of course, joined the long string of Listener compilers who incorporate a little tipple – two even – a nip and a Stengah!

Rather surprisingly, a potential quotation, or parts of it, appeared in two directions. Reading down, we had TITANS and QUOTE, while reading across, we had LOOKS and SQUARE.

MOBILE PHONES, VIVIEN and MERLIN had already appeared, and their secret was quickly revealed by the Internet – completing the quotation, ‘A square of text that looks a little blot, the text not larger than the limbs of fleas’. That, of course, gave us TENNYSON and we could guess at MESSAGES from ‘Herb in hash’.

What was left to do? I wonder how many other solvers enthusiastically filled in the rest of the quotation then were left wondering which had been their extra seven letters that had been needed to complete the quotation. Doh!

I laboriously back-tracked (twice, as the first time I had nine letters) and found THE ELLORHE. After briefly wondering whether Tennyson had been writing about the ETHER, I opted for HELLO THERE!

Thank you Emkay! It was great, for once, not to spend half the weekend struggling and attempting to get my mind round obscure new words and tricks, and this seemed like an inventive new approach to a crossword.

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