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Innings/Outings by Mohawk

Posted by shirleycurran on 8 February 2013

Our full grid before the final alterations.

Our full grid before the final alterations.

We were living it up in Barcelona at a fabulous party when Innings/Outings by Mohawk appeared on-line at the Times Crossword Club website so we didn’t get our copy until the following morning in a very bedraggled, rain soaked and flimsy edition of The Times that was on sale at an exorbitant price (just a euro added to the already ludicrous international price) in a kiosk in the Plaza de Catalunya. Here’s a whinge. How can those poor souls who are desirous of joining the Crossword Club but repeatedly told that ‘the club is accepting no new adherents at the current time’ be expected to complete complicated crosswords that require changes in the final grid and the recording of three different types of adjustment to answers when they have just that squidgy bit of tatty newspaper? Whinge over.

What a preamble! We guessed cricket (obviously) from the title but clearly that was too obvious. My iPhone with Internet access was stolen on the way in to Barcelona so this really was a cold solve and what an experience! It made me realize how much I depend on Anthony Lewis’s Crossword Compiler programme to sort out anagrams, and on Anne Bradford and, of course, the BRB, (Big Red Book). Naturally we hadn’t packed Brewer either so even when we had worked out that the theme was pub cricket, we were rather at a loss.

But we did get a grid fill from these lovely, fair and generous clues and realized that Mohawk (who is, I believe, a new Listener compiler) had already leapt to the first league of the Listener Compiler tipplers’ club – he even had OENOPHILE as a solution (the word fitted but I confess that I still haven’t understood the wordplay, ‘I help out on circle: opera glasses enable my passion (9)’) OK, I get the bit about glasses enabling his passion, which was confirmed by BEERY lower down, ‘Beg to curb rising anger, like lager louts (5)’ and by a surprising number of potential pub signs – a CAT and RAM to name just one.

Well, we needed Brewer to see which fitted together and to find out what pub cricket was all about. Back home, I consulted the Internet and couldn’t believe my eyes. Did the editors honestly accept a crossword that was about scoring points for the number of ladies’ boobs you men on pub crawls managed to bump into? Well, no, the second entry seemed to confirm those words, A LEG IS A RUN, NO LEG A WICKET and the other numpty remembered a radio broadcast he had once heard about how someone kept the kids quiet on long journeys by playing pub cricket (until one little horror saw the ‘HIVE AND BEES’ and brought the joy to a premature end!)

All that was left to do was to team those words together, according to Brewer possibilities (yes, what an appropriate source of information. I naively thought Brewer’s was a dictionary and eclectic compilation of arcane mythology and obscure information but not a Brewer’s annals).

The final adjusted grid (on a tatty bit of international edition Times)

The final adjusted grid (on a tatty bit of international edition Times)

We had no RAM and CAT but there were STAR and GARTER, SWAN and HARP, BULL and GATE, and ROSE and CROWN playing for the across league and we calculated that they scored 6 for 2 wickets.

The down team seemed to have DOG and DUCK, SHIP and SHOVEL, and BEAR and STAFF scoring a total of 10 for 1 wicket – clearly the winners so far (but what namby pamby Home Counties pubs – a few of our northern Huntsmen, Horses and Hounds would soon sort them out!)

Head-scratching time. We had to alter something to reflect SIX FOR TWO and TEN FOR ONE. TWO and ONE were evident in the grid (just like RED last week) so do we use those?  Scribbling in SIX and TEN revealed only real words with that astonishing XENOPHILE replacing the beery oenophile. One could only smile! What a superb debut! Thank you Mohawk.

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