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Ups and Downs by Llig

Posted by shirleycurran on 29 April 2011

Is this a record? Only three and a half lines of preamble! That was most auspicious for the numpties as there was no room for explanations of invisible ink removing second items of playfair squares that were to be explained in alternate misprints and extra letters in the wordplay and so on. The title, too, was promising, suggesting to us that something was going to go up or down – or both.

Even better, we had only nine extra words to find and across clues were apparently normal. After last week’s struggle to make our solution fit a torus, we were very happy to have something that looked more within our capabilities. There was just one haunting doubt. What were all those references to Handel’s works doing in the clues and even in the solutions (CANNON, ARIA, ARIOSI) Something in Handel, in the Messiah perhaps, about ‘ups’ and ‘downs’?

Solving went full tilt and our suspicions were soon confirmed. ‘Every valley exalted, every mountain and hill made low’ emerged as extra words (roughly a quotation from the Messiah) and suddenly we understood why ‘Oddly steered with tempi becoming eccentric, it gives on the pip’ (DISTEMPER) clearly had to be entered with a T at its head. The Vale of TEMPE had to be exalted.

It was a downhill coast from there as the valleys appeared one by one: GAP moving up in AGAPE, VALE rising in Spenser’s AVALED, RIFT going up in DRIFTER, COL rising in ACOL and RIA heading upwards in ARIA. Should Cañon have gone in there at 7d? (Heavy drum has number in musical round N in CANON – I couldn’t see any way to make that work!) How nicely symmetrical  that six mountains sank to the bottom of the grid, MAN in MANO, TEL in TELSTAR, MESA in MESAIL, OSSA in MOSSAD, ALP in PALPI and PIKE in SPIKERUSH.

That was a most satisfactory conclusion. We enjoyed it, thank you, Llig.

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3 Responses to “Ups and Downs by Llig”

  1. Chris Lancaster said

    I think there are precedents for shorter preambles. Listener 3849, Bengo Drums by Arcturus, had the shortest that I can recall, being only five words long:

    Sir John provides an explanation.

  2. Kea said

    Listener 3391, Pas Si Ton by Kea, had none.

  3. shirleycurran said

    Just what we like, Kea. I imagine the only way to upstage that would be to reduce the length of the title.

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