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Listener 4225: Innings/Outings by Mohawk

Posted by Dave Hennings on 8 Feb 2013

This was Mohawk’s first Listener, although my records show he had a trip to the Lake District about four years ago in Magpie. I’m no sportsman, but the title seemed to indicate that we were in for a game of cricket. What’s more, there were three types of clue that each had 11 occurrences, and there are eleven on a side in cricket. There again, this was a Listener, so who knows.

The preamble was daunting: 11 had wordplay missing a letter, 11 had wordplay with an extra letter, 11 had a misprint in the definition, 14 looked like they were normal (with the answers containing thematic information), and the remaining 8 needed altering. It is, of course, important to identify where an answer needs altering before entry in the grid, and where they are altered afterwards. The eight that needed altering were of the latter kind, so there were in fact 22 normal clues. Regardless, it looked as though we couldn’t take anything at face value!

Listener 4225I also hoped that I would find the relevant page in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, confirming the thematic pairs, a bit easier than I found last week’s Phonetic Alphabet page.

I think my first clue should have been 6ac Dog docked twice, like a pointer? (5), which is SHARP, but that had to wait some time before I solved it. 13ac, and I think I’ve said before that moths are, like sport, not an area of my expertise (“What is?” I hear you ask!), and Mrs B needed consulting for TINEA. Next was 14ac KIA-ORA and I wanted 23ac Messenger maybe going after Howard in book (4) to be TOME with a misprint for ‘toward’, but its reference to Howard’S END would also have to wait to be solved correctly. Although the only other across clue I got was SARONG, half a dozen down answers gave me a fair smattering of entries around the grid.

Back to 11ac Passes were a possibility with a change of suit (4), and it began with C. 4-letter passes are nearly always COLS, but how did that work? Not easy, but COULD has D for Diamond changed to S for Spade with U as an extra letter. 10ac Shrewd mortal was •••H, courtesy of 3dn THAW, and with portal for mortal I had ARCH. I initially wondered if the anagram of ‘bald uncle’ at 38ac was descriptive of me: BALL DUNCE. A bit more thinking, and BULL DANCE seemed more likely.

At this point, I had Pub cr… at the start of the message which gave “the game’s name and summary of the rules”. Now the only pub games that I know are Bar Billiards and Fizz Buzz, the latter basically involving … not to put too fine a point on it … getting drunk. Here it looked like we were indeed off for a game of cricket, but I failed to see how that could be played in a pub, let alone be the theme of a Listener crossword.

The clues in this puzzle were of a fine standard, my favourites being:

18ac OENOPHILE I help out on circle: opera glasses enable my passion! (9)
O (circle) + ENO (opera) + (I HELP)*
28ac OWES Is a debtor to take young man’s advice, avoiding G&T (4)
GO WEST – G and T
45ac SARONG Perhaps Mrs Batty’s back-to-front beachwear
NORA’S<, wordplay missing the G
24dn EWES Crones perhaps use hearts in brewed spell
hearts of brEWed spEll, wordplay missing the S

Everything finally became clear once the message was complete:

Pub Cricket; a leg is a run, no leg’s a wicket.

Not that I recall ever playing it in the car, but I had obviously heard it described somewhere … probably in a pub. The game revolves around spotting the names of pubs, and thankfully Brewer obliges with a long entry under Public house signs. Each pub name scores runs equal to the total number of legs that the people and/or animals possess; a pub with no person or animal is a wicket.

So here we had to find 14 entries which, when paired, gave seven pub names. They were:

Across Down
Pub name Score Pub name Score
21ac START and 1ac GARTERED Out 27dn MATESHIP and 12dn SHOVELER Out
35ac ASWAN and 5ac SHARP 2 35dn ABEAR and 20dn [RAGGED] STAFFAGE 4
49ac ROSET and 50ac CROWN CAP Out 38dn DOGMA and 26dn DUCKS 6
39ac BULLDANCE and 46ac AGATEED 4

Listener 4225 My EntryAnd so the final scores were: Across: 6 for 2 and Down: 10 for 1. SIX therefore had to be substituted for the TWO in row 4 and TEN for ONE in column 3.

Great fun, thanks, Mohawk. I just hope that we weren’t supposed to use the RAMI and SCAT or the CARO and ARKED!

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