Listener 4212: Resolution by Raich (or On the Brink…)
Posted by Dave Hennings on 9 November 2012
A stalwart setter appears this week as Raich takes centre-stage. It’s only six months since his last Listener, Claim, with its theme of the 20th anniversary of John Major’s surprise 1992 election win. This week, a drama was being played out, with cells being highlighted and others being moved. This together with the customary Raich message, or in this case messages, meant that there was lots to look out for.
There were two types of clue this week, so not too confusing for the brain. Half were Letters Latent clues where a letter is dropped from the entry however many times it occurs, and half had wordplay leading to an extra letter not entered in the grid. If memory serves me correctly, Raich’s clues to Claim were a breeze. Well they weren’t this week. It seems that he is a setter who can switch between gentle and tricky at the drop of a hat.
Part of the problem was that we were served up some deceptive definitions and a few US words such as ‘basketball player’ for GUARD and ‘awkward position’ for JAC[K]POT. ‘Stuffing’ as a definition of FARCE was certainly new to me, but the pièce de résistance was Meddling male, when everything’s lost, active sensually for the lovely word HEN-HUSSY (SENSUALLY – ALL)* entered as ENUSSY.
In hindsight, there seemed to me a veritable smörgåsbord of countries and foreign places in the clues, including California, Rhode Island, Washington, France, Italy, Sweden, Morocco, Spain, Rome and Paris, not to mention Alloa and Glasgow closer to home.
The two sets of letters (latent and wordplay extras) were being a little bit reluctant to make sense. The LL clues seemed to be starting KHR, and I pretty much needed the whole list of characters to make sense of it. Even seeing a guy named KENNY near the end didn’t cause any pennies to drop. After all, I was still in short trousers when the event was taking place …
Yes .. we had Khrushchev, Castro, Kennedy, Khrushchev having at least two more Hs in his name than I thought! They were the main players in the affair of the Cuban Misile Crisis which nearly led to Armageddon in late October 1962. The highlighting of the locations involved proved easy enough to find, appropriately placed in relation to one grid entry, ATLANTIC OCEAN: USA and CUBA in the west, and USSR in the east.
Finally, where were those pesky MISSILES? Oh yes, in a 2×4 block just below centre in columns 4 and 5 near Cuba, which could be neatly slotted into the blocked off squares in columns 9 and 10 back in Russia. Crisis averted!
So, a timely hark back to the early 1960s when the world was supposedly on the brink of global catastrophe. No doubt secret papers on this would make suitable bedtime reading for President Obama safely ensconsed back in the White House. Given the parlous state of the world today, especially in the Middle East with Iran’s supposed nuclear weapon on the drawing board, who knows whether history will repeat itself. Oh dear, this is getting a bit political. Enough said. (Except for this little tweet from Twitter: Mrs Romney, Console yourself with the fact that you won’t have to move into a smaller house.)
Thanks for the puzzle, Raich.