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Listener 4169: Seaside Shuffle by Monk (or Two Men Sat in Deckchairs!)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 13 January 2012

There I was, on the Tuesday before the deadline and only just starting Monk’s puzzle. That’s what all the shopping and festivities of Christmas and New Year do to this crossworder. Still, it was chucking it down outside, although still mild for the end of December, so a good day’s solving ahead. Monk’s last Listener was way back in 2003, so no real knowledge of him as such, but I’d tackled the odd standard Saturday cryptic by him, and I was pretty sure they had been tricky. I was thinking that a late start might not have been smart!.

Extra letters in the wordplay were straightforward enough, and transpositions were required in every entry, so perhaps two letters swapped for some reason. The quotation (‘exchange’) was in The Oxford Treasury of Sayings & Quotations, which I don’t possess, so I could see Google coming to the rescue on this one.

Listener 4169I was right with my foreboding about how hard Monk is as a setter. Clues were slow to be solved. After 1½ hours, I had less than a dozen: 13dn PERGOLESI (although I’ve never heard of him), 3dn BAIT, 15ac DENE, 9dn RED BOX, 20ac BORAX, 19dn FARE, 25dn BRED, 23dn ZAGREB, 28ac EDDY and 5ac GROCER … although not necessarily in that order. There were some squares where the letters coincided, but there were a lot of clashes, and I suspected that a simple transposition of two letters in each entry would not work.

After three hours of relatively slow progress, I had the following extra letters:

A L • T H E R I • • • • O T • S • U • • • • I • T • • R • G H •

My brain went into random mode for about two seconds and came up with “All the right notes, but not [necessarily] in the right order” from the famous Morecambe, Wise and Preview sketch in their 1971 Christmas Special (so says Wiki). A nice touch in the preamble to say that the quotation was ‘necessarily’ short.

Thus the four unclued entries, suitably transposed, were ERIC (CRIE) MORECAMBE (MORABEMCE) and ANDRÉ (ANERD) PREVIN (PREVIN). It still took another hour to finish the puzzle, plus another half hour to re-enter the answers into a new blank grid to make sure that everything moved around as required.

As I suspected at the beginning, Monk is a tricky setter. Here are some clues that took some time for me to unravel:

27ac AMEN CORNER Old band instrument cut short in unusual manner
CORNE[T] (instrument, cut short) in MANNER* (the N being the extra letter); they were a rock group from the 60’s who really had only a couple of hits that I recall! I’m sure if it had been clued as ‘part of a round at Augusta’ I’d have got it sooner!
7dn GRECO-ROMAN Clasical memory held by old yeoman missing both daughters
RECORD (memory) in GOODMAN (old yeoman) – 2 Ds (both daughters); O is the extra letter, and I was trying to fit computer ROM in there for a long time
8dn BINNACLE Dump salt on the vacated ship’s housing
BIN (dump) + NACL (salt) + TE (T[H]E vacated); T being the extra letter, and NaCl being the correct formula for salt (I never did get on with Chemistry)
12dn CORNED BEEF Jailbird and hooligan quarrel about rule that’s preserved
CON (jailbird) NED (hooligan) BEEF (row) about R (rule); N is the extra letter; as with 10ac (‘that’s stalked’), I was treating ‘that’s’ as a linkword and looking for an adjective, rather than looking for a thing which can be described as preserved — hmmmm!

Morecambe, Wise, Previn

So, as suspected, a tough-ish puzzle from Monk — a lovely theme, well implemented and bringing back fond memories. I’m sure that the title is a play on the seaside town of Morecambe, rather than Eric’s joke (without its very risqué punchline): There were two old men sat in deckchairs. One man said to the other “It’s nice out isn’t it” ….


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