Listen With Others

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Fruitful Recipe by Dipper,

Posted by shirleycurran on 27 January 2012

Darn it, foiled again! There is substantial stress involved in attempting to solve all 53 Listener Crosswords in a year and hoping to get most of them right (yippee – only 52 this year! One chance fewer of bungling). For the second year running, I decided that a deliberate error in the first (like SOWE SPROUTS!) would kill the Listener demon. Then what appears? Such a gentle puzzle that another couple of hundred potential solvers will be hooked from the start and the old hands can’t kick the habit – not till next week anyway. (Isn’t that what New Year resolutions are all about?)

We couldn’t fill the grid fast enough with not a single moan about the clues. There wasn’t even the usual Listener compiler outpouring of alcohol, just Dipper’s habitual plants, asparagus, fruit, shrubbery, stumps and umbels.

We were briefly flummoxed by ‘Lambs very poor in Arizona wolf up with any local asparagus (7)’ and as, by this time, we had spotted the book title and author, … MANURING, SOWING, PLANTING OF KITCHEN GARDENS by the sixteenth century horticulturalist ROBERT GARDINER, we knew that we were looking for an extra word that began with A. Arizona seemed to stand out. Of course, that was to justify the LOBO< that went before ARY (‘any’ in local parlance) for OBOLARY, since LOBO is US usage.

Our other hiccup was uncertainty about 1ac, ‘Shrill noise, according to Scots, made by most of stuff I installed in Motherwell school (7). We had SCR?IC? and a wonderful range of potential Scottish screeches (skraich and screich being the most viable) but had to be really careful about that wordplay. We decided we were going to put CRA[m] I into SCH and count Motherwell as our extra letter rather than a Scots indicator (sneaky, Mr Dipper).

There was an intriguing clue at 33ac. ‘Heartless Welshman injures terrapin (4)’ I’m no terrapin expert, my expertise stops short at our special variety of fire-bellied toad (not actually toads at all, a different variety, the bombina variegata), at natrix natrix – grass-snakes, newts and the Jura vipers we have in the garden in the heat of the summer. However, EMYS had to be the answer when we removed the R from Emrys, the Welshman.

Why intriguing? Well, can you find Emrys in the 2011 Large Vermilion Volume? Officially, Dipper’s crossword was the first to be using the new Chambers Dictionary. Are the kind editors of the Listener crossword tipping us a wink that we can go on using that lovely list of names that was in the appendices of the previous versions (and not even add a disclaimer to that effect!) I do hope so.

Finished in a little over an hour; almost our record time. The exhortation to SOWE CARRETS (with its quaint spelling) was just where it ought to be to render life easy – right down that diagonal. So thank you Dipper for a gentle opener to 2012. I even had time left to cook dinner and draw a few carrots, with a couple of sprouts thrown in for post-Christmas cheer (well, cheer anyway that I don’t have to smell the horrid things for another year).

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One Response to “Fruitful Recipe by Dipper,”

  1. sethmould said

    Another lovely blog, Shirley.

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