Listen With Others

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A Noted Performance by Nutmeg

Posted by shirleycurran on 23 November 2012

We had  the pleasure of a highly amusing puzzle by Nutmeg as the B in the current Magpie and here is Nutmeg again. This was fun. With our first three entries (RAWEST, SHEEN and WELDED) we established that some clues were to be entered upwards. UNTRUE came next and one numpty said, well, that one will go in ‘neither up nor down’. Oh how that early nursery rhyme training comes in useful. Here we are in the Yorkshire Dales (under our first fine layer of snow) and here is our Noble Duke:

Oh the noble Duke of York/ He had ten thousand men,/He marched them up to the top of the hill / And he marched them down again. / And when they were up they were up, / And when they were down they were down, / And when they were only half way up, / They were neither up nor down.

With a couple more clues in place and having established that Nutmeg is a member of the Listener Compiler imbibing fraternity – there were the tipply clues; ‘Abroad Englishman sampled port (4)’ (ADEN hidden) and ‘More gin drunk by one embosomed by Caesar (8, 2 words)’ (MORE GIN I* = IN GREMIO) we were able to fit THE DUKE OF YORK down the leading diagonal. We had already placed his 10 THOUSAND MEN, the BATTLE ROYAL and the GRAND OLD MAN in the grid.

This was fun. We were keeping a record of the solutions that were going up, those that were going down and those that were half up/half down or half down/half up. ‘Approximately equal numbers of each’, said Nutmeg. That was helpful, as we needed no more than six of any one type. We quickly had six normal down clues and 22d couldn’t be a half up half down solution as it had seven letters, so it had to go up, as indeed it did. ‘Carping critic, “cross one” on series (7)’ (ZO + I on LIST = ZOILIST) – Now that’s this week’s new word for me to drop casually into dinner-table conversation. But indeed, I am not a zoilist. We had a wonderful whoop of elation as our grid was filled before dinner and we sent Nutmeg a silent vote of thanks.

We are travelling a long way tomorrow to Doc’s splendid crossword event in Budock Vean and this impeccable but not too difficult Friday evening solve was just what we needed. Many thanks, Nutmeg.

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