Listener 4152 Mr Lemon’s Inn Joke (or Who said they don’t have a sense of humour?)
Posted by Dave Hennings on 16 September 2011
Just as there are some setters whose puzzles you dread as soon as you see their name, so there are others where you feel (hope?) you may be in for a slightly easier week. Mr Lemon is among the latter category for me, although his Enigmatic Variation puzzles (under a different pseudonym) can be a lot more tricky. And one day, I know he will buck the trend and cause us a real headache.
Four unclued entries provide a quotation, with its author and a rejoinder to be found in the perimeter. Misprints in clues would provide the unclued perimeter letters. I will admit now that about half an hour into the clues I had been making a note of the correct letters alongside each clue, rather than the misprints. How many times have I done that?! Not that it was particularly important at this stage, since they would only really be needed to verify the perimeter.
Mr Lemon did not let me down; I zipped through the clues pretty quickly. Although there were only 28 of them, the unching was probably fairly higher than normal, what with the unclued entries and the perimeter. So, for example, 12ac URETIC only had the R and the C actually checked by down entries. Perhaps that was why the clues were not difficult, and I finished the grid in one hour twenty minutes. No doubt many of you out there finished it considerably more quickly.
The four unclued entries read: ••PE•T•, F•I•, T••PISSIMUS and •EMO. It looked as though it was a Latin quotation, and, since there was no reference work given for it, it seemed likely that it would be one of those in the back of Chambers. It didn’t take long to find “nemo repente fuit turpissimus“, translated as “no one ever became utterly bad all at once”. This was by Juvenal, a Roman poet in the first and second centuries. His name was in the top left corner of the perimeter, and the rejoinder (rife in the profession concerned) was soon revealed as It takes seven years to become a solicitor. That must be an in-joke — ah, hence the title. Probably used a lot in the Inns of Court — ah, hence the title!
I confirmed that all the unchecked letters matched the misprints and the job was done. As always when completing a Listener at the easy end of the spectrum, I suspected that a stinker was waiting in the wings. We shall see.