Listen With Others

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All New from Tiburon

Posted by shirleycurran on 6 May 2011

At first sight, we had three separate issues to contend with in ‘All New from Tiburon’. We were looking for twenty-five misprints that were going to give us a quotation that differed in only one letter from a second quotation; the remaining twenty-one solutions were going to undergo some kind of thematic alteration; there were going to be ambiguities to resolve which would require awareness of the authors of both those quotations.

We found the cluing tough but fair and very slowly  found the misprints. The first six we found produced the correct letter N (is that a record?) so we began to think that Tiburon was having a joke at our expense and that we were going to produce a solid string of Ns – (All New?) but where could that conceivably lead?

Fortunately a D appeared: Malaysia gets tense on brink (Drink!) MAL +T and we were reassured that we were on home territory – yet another nicely oenophilic Listener setter!

We were complaining a couple of weeks ago about a puzzle where the pdms came in the wrong order – where we had the solution all in place before we had worked out the logic of it. Not so this week. We were just reaching the obvious conclusion that the beginnings and endings of words seemed to be staying as they should (REBEC, for example, meshing with B(OVAT)E and E(LEC)T, while the remainders of the words were anagrammed, when, by a lucky guess, we recognised that the quotation was from Aristotle’s Poetics. (And according to Monty Python Aristotle was a b….r for the bottle too, wasn’t he?) ‘A whole is that which has a beginning, a middle and an end’.

The Larkin wasn’t so familiar and we looked for a quotation about ‘a riddle’ before the ODQ gave us Philip Larkin’s classic formula for a novel, ‘A beginning, a muddle and an end’. What a gift to a crossword compiler!

Now that we were sure where we were going, this solving became a real pleasure but it wasn’t easy, and although words like SCOOSH, COTINGA and REBEC fitted into our grid, I am still wondering about their wordplay, and marveling at ICER. Is this the first time a one-word clue (Topper (4)) has fulfilled the function of both definition and wordplay in a Listener crossword? An icer puts topping on a cake and is, therefore, a topper and, of course, there is the other kind of icer who goes around topping people! Brilliant!

We were helped in the completion of our grid by the beautifully symmetrical WHOLE and NOVEL that appeared and resolved a few solving problems for us.

There was still that third aspect of the preamble, ‘Both authors resolve any ambiguities’. This was magic. I was desperately wondering how to fit in CRANKILY and PHILIPPI when the light dawned – Philip Larkin had appeared to resolve ambiguities. Obviously Aristotle had to be lurking in there somewhere – and where else but completing the symmetry in a splendid diagonal!

This was difficult for us but I recognise that it was a model of flawless compiling. Many thanks to Tiburon.

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