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Seaside Shuffle by Monk

Posted by shirleycurran on 13 January 2012

“Christmas Eve, almost, and last week’s was tough so surely they will give us a gentle thirty-minute romp this week.” I happily downloaded this one and smiled. Just a compact preamble, a mere 32 clues, an unusual reference book required, The Oxford Treasury of Sayings and Quotations, and four unclued lights. Lovely!

There was that mildly disconcerting word ‘transpositions’, but, at least it didn’t say ‘Jumbles’ so we shelved that anxiety. Hmmmm!

It was a partying night anyway so the numpties happily solved a few long clues – ‘Black dog mainly after huge bird that’s stalked (8)’ Well, that has to be B + ROC + COLLI(E) and that will give us an extra L. (At least it wasn’t Brussels Sprouts – Oh dear, that’s tomorrow!) ‘Dog bark, say, lifted tail (9)’ RIND with EG< and BACK gives us RIDGEBACK with an extra N. ‘Poltergeist almost shocking old composer (9)’ That has to be an anagram of PERGOLESI with T extra (I love his Stabat Mater – rather Easter than Christmas, as was the ‘Horse, at first sight rather old, died in festival (8)’ R(ather) O EASTER round D = ROADSTER producing E).

Another easy anagram gave us INDISCRETE,  ‘Homogenous work isn’t recited (10)’ and another spare T. We teased out CORNED BEEF from ‘Jailbird and hooligan quarrel about rule that’s preserved (10, 2 words)’  – producing an N from the CON and NED – and lots of shorter words, and shrugged our shoulders when none of these intersected convincingly with each other. Party time.

It was after midnight when I took another look. We had a vaguely coherent extra letter message: ?LL TH? RI?HT ?OTE?S ?UT NO? IN THE RIGZT ……… (Yes, I know now that BELIZE is both BZ and BH – what useful things we Listener solvers ingest, as well as Monk’s healthy sprinkling of wine. He lived up to the Listener compiler tradition with the SOAVE, the ‘cultivated wine in Belize, and the Chief magistrate drinking a lot of ale – even if the wine bar in 4d stayed closed. There was a surprising presence of dogs too!)

That message was familiar. It was Eric Morecambe’s response to Andre Previn, wasn’t it? It boded ill. I jumped to the flawed post-party conclusion that we had to move do, re, mi etc. to the end of clues, or something like that. The prospect was daunting. ORDER, the last word of the quotation, would give a DO and a RE, but so what? REDOR, DORER, EREDO?

Fortunately light dawned in the morning and I understood that all the letters except ABCDEF and G could stay in their preordained positions, but that every word save one, had to have shifted notes. The one was clearly PREVIN as he had only an E. Grid filling was underway. But what a task! So much for my gentle Christmas treat!

The biggest problem was, of course, the missing clues. It is easy to write all the potential letters, squeezed into each vacant square, and eliminate them as they are used elsewhere in the word, but this system falls down when you haven’t solved a clue. We had several we hadn’t solved. I now know that IBEX has a plural IBICES, that there was a star eighties and nineties football player called BARNES and that AMEN CORNER was a fifties somewhat oxmoronic ‘famous Welsh rock band’. Even ARROGANCE had me stumped for a while – ‘Side’ indeed!

I think DOGBEE was the toughest clue of all, but when I commented to a friend who had finished this one long before me, he said “Well, yes, it was tough, but what do you expect? It is the Listener after all!” Well, I have already told you what I expected – a gentle Christmas treat – so I had to produce my own. Thank you, Monk!

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One Response to “Seaside Shuffle by Monk”

  1. altany said

    altany…

    […]Seaside Shuffle by Monk « Listen With Others[…]…

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