Listen With Others

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Contractions, by Hubris

Posted by shirleycurran on 19 November 2010

That short note before the preamble, ‘Hubris (John McGlashan) sadly passed away in August. This is his sixth and final Listener crossword.’ was a sad opening to our Friday challenge. We have only solved one other of Hubris’ crosswords, last year’s puzzle that gave us the House of Commons. We thoroughly enjoyed that one, so we enthusiastically got going on this one.

The title was a giveaway and the second clue we solved showed us where we were going. 30d. ‘Power to act on behalf of another ship’s officer (4)’. After toying with ATTORNEY and MATE, which didn’t seem to have much to do with each other, we hit on MANDATE (M and ATE) and MATE. We were on familiar ground. Last week’s difficult Crossword Club offering used the same theme.

These clues were superbly unambiguous. Within a couple of hours, we had a full grid and ten of our suspects with two sets of wordplay still to suss out – the GATLING and the TEM:

STR (and) ING – STRANDING giving us STRING,

L (in) EAGE – LINEAGE giving us EAGLE

P (in) STRIPED – PIN-STRIPED giving us STRIPPED

IMP (over) ISH – IMPOVERISH giving us IMPISH

B (and) OLERO – BANDOLERO giving BOLERO

SC (and) ENT – SCANDENT giving SCENT (that one taught us a new word – we had to work backwards to find that SCANDENT meant climbing and we wondered about the ‘paper’ trail. I suppose the ‘paper’ was included to make the clue a less obvious suspect).

V (and) ALISE – VANDALISE leading to VALISE

S (and) HOPPER – SANDHOPPER leading to SHOPPER

R (in) SER – RINSER giving us SERR

We knew where our last two had to be since we could understand all the remaining wordplay, but what an exciting moment it was to see that inspired clue ‘T (in) GALING – TINGALING, leading to GATLING’. We were left with just the TEM to work out. Odd, isn’t it how the shortest words can be the most difficult. Then I remembered my old Latin Master’s joy over the word TANDEM – at length – and there it was ‘used by two people!’

What a fine, flawless and gentle puzzle for Hubris’ final one.

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