Listen With Others

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Forlor by Nutmeg

Posted by shirleycurran on 24 May 2013

Nutmeg mobile phones 001Nutmeg! Great! A lady compiler and one we frequently meet in the IQ, EV and Magpie series too. We never find hers easy but we know that they will be fairly set. ‘Forlor…’ Sounds like a quotation from Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale (ironic – ‘the very word is like a bell’ was how Keats continued it – we got our bells later – in  a way). We’ll have to wait and see.

Oh but these clues were tough! IONA went in quickly, ‘Human back on Moon, a hallowed landing place (4)’ (IONA = IO + [M]AN (rev) and, ‘Unnatural conception on island out of control (5)’ AMUCK (A[I] on MUCK). For a moment, we wondered whether Nutmeg was going to provide a whole set of clues on Scottish islands, but it was not to be. SCABIES produced an NZ island ‘Complaint about tree in South Island’ (with the I of Island rather strangely providing the extra I – SCABIES = C + ABIES in S[I]). There wasn’t a lot of Listener setter tippling going on but Nutmeg was obviously being evicted from the pub in ‘Potentially swift announcement: “time” at disorderly local (8)’ (BIRDCALL = BIRD + L[O]CAL* ) What a beautifully deceptive surface reading!

GUANA, JAGIR, ARDEA, HAWKIES – we teased out some tough solutions that were new words to us (as usual, this week’s conversation stoppers “Ha ye caaed the hawkies tae the knowes yet?) and a peculiar set of extra letters was appearing MOTI?BAS…….COTARREGA (We wondered whether we were in another CZOLGOSZ situation!) Stranger still, we were expecting to find ten answers that ‘must be altered before entry into the grid, reflecting a wish of Nutmeg’s which, alas, is likely to remain unfulfilled’. We had a vague suspicion that that was going to be a FORLOR[N HOPE] but didn’t jump to the obvious conclusion at this stage.

Aah! But these years of Listener training paid off. The Numpty who is useless at solving (and was having even more difficulty than usual) glanced at the leading diagonal and saw ‘I’M ON THE TRAIN’! What a find. Suddenly, we realized what we were looking for (and remembered one of those public conversations on the train where a devious worm loudly called his wife, “I’m not going to be able to leave the office till very late so don’t keep dinner for me. Put the kids to bed!” followed by “Darling, I’ve freed myself, will you meet me at the station etc.” No wonder Nutmeg loathes the things!)

Now we saw why TE?? had eluded us. ‘Letter rewritten when short of time not genuine communication (4)’ A PHONE had been thrown out of the solution. (TELEPHONY = LETTE[R] less T* + PHONY with PHONE* – mobile so anagrammed – removed left TELY). This was some compiling! Was Nutmeg going to be able to remove ten ‘mobile’ PHONEs in this way?

The clues that had been resisting us now began to yield and we slowly teased out: A[NOPHE]LINE, STA[NHOPE] PRESS, X[ENOPH]OBE, THI[OPHEN]ES, C[OPENH]AGEN, AL[PENHO]RN, WIT[H OPEN] ARMS, [NEPHO]LOGY and KEEPS [OPEN H]OUSE. I still haven’t understood the word play of that last one and clearly either O would fulfil our purpose.

The constraints must have been massive when Nutmeg was attempting to fit all of those into the grid. We hadn’t finished yet, either. We still had to make sense of that strange message that the extra letters had produced. A few were missing, and, with typical Numpty back-to-frontedness we had our solution so it was purely academic whether we worked it out (or probably was – you can never be sure with the Listener, those letters might say cut your grid into little mobile-phone-shaped pieces and throw it out of the train window). We slept on it.

Morning brought daylight! MOTIF BASED ON GRAN VALS BY FRANCISCO TARREGA. That sound that regularly disturbs our peace in public places was apparently composed by Tarrega, a well-known classical guitarist!

I’ve commented before on how much we learn with every Listener solve. How did Nutmeg know that? Perhaps she’ll honour us with a setter’s blog and we’ll find out.

Many thanks, Nutmeg, that was quite a challenge and great fun!

One Response to “Forlor by Nutmeg”

  1. Dave said

    So that’s what the damn things play – I had assumed it was something composed by a child on a 1980s Stylophone.

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