Listen With Others

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Auf Wiedersehen, by Loda

Posted by shirleycurran on 21 January 2011

Bang go my New Year resolutions to kick the habit of solving Listener crosswords, to read a good book on Friday evenings and to quit the blog. I down-loaded Loda’s Auf Wiedersehen just to glance … but a couple of delightful clues caught my eye and I was hooked again.

‘Quickly, say to them inside, “Alastrim” – it’s spread all over Oz’ (8) “Whatever could that be?” I asked the assembled company. We were celebrating Hogmanay at the time and the replies reflected the whisky consumption. “Rabbit excrement?” “Kangaroo dung?” “No, alastrim is some kind of disease – STD?” (no, not the telephone network!) and on it went. Of course, ‘Alastrim’ was the extra word giving two necessary As but VEGEMITE was delightful (VITE round EG and ‘EM).

Equally captivating as a clue (and mildly appropriate for Hogmanay) was ‘Get dry scrumpy in support group at one’s workplace’. Good to see that Loda upholds the oenophile Listener setter tradition – do they reject a crossword that has no healthy slarting of alcohol in the clues or solutions? What do we have here: TT in AA + IN with ‘scrumpy’ as the extra.

It was a steady solve of nicely transparent clues from that point on and the extra words stood out fairly obviously so that we soon had SALLY, NATALIA,  OTTO,  FRAU NOWAK and  FRAULEIN SCHROEDER as well as a ‘man shaving at the window, woman in kimono washing her hair’.

The difficult clues proved to be the ones where two words were clued, together with the extra letter, in a single clue but I eventually teased out, 11ac (B)ELATED 26ac RESIT(E)S 35ac PANDA(R) 10d (L)EAST 15d PART(I) 36d E(N)SILE – giving me BERLIN. A quick visit to Google confirmed that we were in the world of Sally Bowles and Christopher Isherwood’s ‘Goodbye Berlin’. Of course, the quotation was also there, ‘I am a camera with its shutter open …’

All that remained was to move the G of ‘GOODBYE’ into the cell where a clash had appeared (MANIA intersecting with CADI) and to highlight the little camera that had appeared. I suppose the G was intended to represent one of those small square pop-up viewfinders on old-fashioned cameras.

Did I say, ‘All that remained’? Those two letters CI had to move into the centre of the lens. “I see” – well, that’s IC cryptically, isn’t it? They had to appear in ‘thematic order’. Does that mean the cryptic theme – being a camera with an open shutter, so ‘seeing’ (I see) – or the author illustrated in the crossword, Christopher Isherwood? Dilemma! It seems to me that either solution could be defended – but I opted for Mr Isherwood.

Thank you, Loda. A fine, fair start to the year.

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