Listen With Others

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Listener 4214: A Noted Performance by Nutmeg …

Posted by Dave Hennings on 23 Nov 2012

… and we had A Spirited Performance from Kruger last week. It seems that this is the year of puzzle pairings: there was Ifor’s Flying Scotsman 4472 followed by Ferret’s British Rail logo; KevGar’s Links followed by Artix’s golf course; and not forgetting Kea’s Scattered which used exactly the same set of letters as Hedge-Sparrow’s Here and There three weeks before. I hoped that the editors didn’t have a trick up their sleeves for the mathematical in two weeks time!

And so, on to Nutmeg’s latest offering. The across entries were normal, thank goodness, but the downs had to be entered in various, unspecified ways. And five entries (one unclued) seemed to have something to do with a historical character who was to found somewhere in the grid.

Listener 4214Not many acrosses were solved to start with unfortunately … a paltry half dozen. Luckily the downs went really well. 1 RAWEST had to cross with 11 SHEEN, 14 ERECTERS and 19 REMARKS. (How fortuitous that half my acrosses were in the top left quadrant.) So RAWEST had to be entered as •SE••R … reversed I’d say. Going back to 15ac which probably began with a W, and I got WELDED. 2dn THRENES (to fit into •HRE•E•) and 3dn HEELS (to fit •EEL•) came next. Perhaps they just had first and last letters swapped, while 4dn UNTRUE (•NTE•R) could possibly have its second half reversed. With 5dn SEEDCAKE going in as SEEDEKAC, the top left was pretty much complete.

A quick glance at 2ac, which began TH•US, and it looked like THOUSAND something. But an even quicker glance at the diagonal revealed everything … there sat THE DUKE and it was almost certainly THE DUKE OF YORK, with his ten THOUSAND MEN lurking in the top row (10 in the preamble was sneakily meant to look like a clue number). And so a very quick PDM this week as the down entries were to be entered in one of three ways: up (reversed), down (normal) and neither up nor down (or, more accurately, half and half).

The rest of the puzzle was finished off reasonably quickly, and the preamble was updated to read:

Listener 4214 My Entry“A historical character appearing in the grid, who could be described as a GRAND OLD MAN perhaps preparing for a BATTLE ROYAL, gave a noted performance along with his 10 THOUSAND MEN.”

The clues were good, and I counted 6 down entries, 6 up, and 10 half and half! I suppose my two favourites were 18ac Flipping hard clue framing answer assigned to fishy light? (8) for EULACHON, and the &lit 20dn What’s lino good for otherwise? (8) for FLOORING.

Thanks to Nutmeg for a fun implementation of a childhood theme, and a nice easy jaunt for me on a Sunday afternoon. All that was left was to fill the rest of the day … now where’s that EV?

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