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Listener 4154: Dilwitch’s Downsizing (or Everything Short Except the Time it Took)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 30 Sep 2011

Yet another new setter this week, and a puzzle where we are told everything we need to know before starting. Here we had to reduce entries by dispensing with any repetition of consecutive identical letters or series of letters. I suppose it was a sort of extended Letters Latent. The wordplay led to the downsized grid entries. As it was to turn out, every entry was affected, some visciously so!

12ac GOOROO (GORO) was first followed by 13ac ENNUI (ENUI). And that was it for the acrosses! The down entries started a little bit better: 1dn FREEPORT, 3dn EFFUSIVE, 9dn PRINCESSES (PRINCES), and I thought I was off and running. As often happens, it was actually a crawl! Even comparatively straightforward entries like 11ac ROOFIE seemed to take me ages.

Listener 4154I won’t go into detail about how I solved Dilwitch’s puzzle; there were far too many long periods with nothing being written in the grid, and some of the longer entries (like WAGGA WAGGA, entered as just WAGA) took forever to decode (even though I’m a big Dame Edna fan). All I will do this week is highlight some of the clues which I found particularly entertaining; I think it fair to say that they were all fine with good/excellent surface readings.

38ac OT[T]ER Terrorist (potentially) loses almost every right and it’s involved waterboard? (5)
anag (TERRORIST − two of the three Rs and ITS)
40ac SING[ING][G]AL[L]ERY Balcony for serenading girl in chateau (bit of skirt, not wife)
GAL in WINERY with S for W
3dn EF[F]USIVE Not content with one word, extravagantly use five (8)
5dn TRAPFAL[L] What moves with method in death platform (8)
&lit, compound anagram of TRAPFAL + METHOD giving DEATH PLATFORM
7dn ET[T]LE Target Scottish cockchafer, maybe flying (5)
MAYBEETLE (cockchafer) − MAYBE
10dn NO[NO]NSE[NSE] Unlikely to wear rubbish sample of Lennon’s eyewear (10)
a simple hidden clue: leNONS Eyewear

Listener 4154 My EntryI think that the clues showed a maturity that was amazing in a debut puzzle, especially the outrageous clue 17ac Anglican forms collecting money? Here’s something for a drink (13, two words): SEN (money) in C OF E and CE (two abbreviations for ‘Anglican’), representing COFFEE ESSENCE!

So how long did it take you? For me it was about five hours! Ouch!

4 Responses to “Listener 4154: Dilwitch’s Downsizing (or Everything Short Except the Time it Took)”

  1. erwinch said

    This was not my favourite type of Listener with it having no theme to be discovered. I wonder if the scheme of entry was given away so graphically in the preamble of Dilwitch’s original submission.

  2. linxit said

    Strangy enough I found this one of the easiest to complete this year, one of those rare occasions when I *knew* I’d complete it after reading the preamble, and sure enough I had half of it in on the train home, with a completed grid after a couple of hours.

    Just one bit of wordplay I wasn’t sure of, and I came a cropper on 40ac, having found WINNING-GALLERY in Chambers, then seeing GAL in WINERY I left the rest of the clue unaccounted for. Doh!

  3. Samuel said

    I’m afraid I’m with Erwin here. It was a nice idea, but I like something to look forward to at the end. If there hadn’t been a Waterloo puzzle fairly recently, I would have guessed this was Waterloo using a different pseudonym.

  4. nuoli said

    I would agree with you, Dave, about the length of time that this took to complete and also about the high quality of the clues. I do, however, understand that those who prefer a final step in a puzzle might have felt a little short-changed by this one. If this is a debut puzzle, Dilwitch certainly has a very solid base on which to build!

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