Listen With Others

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Listener 4132: Ups and Downs by Llig (or Tectonic Plates, Part II)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 29 April 2011

I wrongly stated in my last blog for a Llig puzzle, Atom Smasher that that was his 13th Listener. In fact it was his 16th and this is his 17th. The reason for the mix-up? My Crossword Database only goes back to 1991 and I hadn’t realised that Llig had been such a long-time Listener setter; his first goes back to 1983.

Now that that’s sorted, on with Ups and Downs. I had two concerns after reading the preamble. Firstly the fact that the extra words in nine clues would summarise a quotation. That could mean anything, and may require a mental leap, the thought of which never pleases me. Secondly, there was no reference to ODQ. Hopefully the nine words would be obvious and the mental leap easily made.

After the qualms about the preamble, some good news. Within 30 minutes I had zipped through 15 out of the 23 across clues and 11 of the 23 downs. This must be a record for me. Of course, I also had some squares (four) where the across and down entries clashed. Actually, in hindsight I’m surprised I didn’t have more, given the number of clues I’d solved.

What’s more, I had the following four extra words: valley exalted every mountain. My first thought at this point was The Sound of Music and Climb Every Mountain, but I don’t think the lyrics continued with cross every valley, and anyway it would be the wrong way round. I was lucky that a vague thought I had about the quotation brought biblical references to mind. I didn’t take much notice of RE at school being of atheistic persuasion from a relatively early age, but the title here also helped enormously. That, and the fact that I found valley shall be e. under exalted in ODQ. This led to the Isaiah 40 v1 quotation:

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low.

I had four answers, AVALED, ACOL and ARIA, coming down from the top row, and it fitted with my other entries that the valleys, VALE, COL and RIA, could be elevated to top spot to give VALEAD, COLA and RIAA as entries. Somewhere down the bottom of the grid, probably ending in the bottom row, I expected to find answers where words for mountain would drop down to the bottom. Unfortunately, at this stage, I didn’t have any such answers that fitted this theory. 30dn MOSSAD was the first one to confirm it, and I confidently entered MDOSSA, although I needed Google to confirm that it was a mountain in Greece.

I polished off the remainder of the grid fairly quickly, and was thankful for an easy task after Ten-Four’s Carte Blanche the previous week. So thanks to Llig, and the editors, for that consideration.

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