Listen With Others

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Listener 4249: Play’s Opening by Shark

Posted by Dave Hennings on 26 Jul 2013

This week we had Shark’s second Listener puzzle following on from the excellent 4183 Continental Drift and its outline of Africa. Here we had a preamble with a lot going on, including blank cells, circles, lines and letter changes. Luckily, apart from seven misprints, I could hopefully ignore it all until the endgame. Whether that would be a couple of hours away, or longer, only time would tell…so I had better get on.

Listener 4249With only seven misprints, it seemed sensible to just try and solve every clue as though it were normal. That way I should end up with seven unsolvable clues at the end. (Of course, you and I both know that croswords don’t work like that!)

The acrosses were pretty tough. Only 11 ARABY, 13 LANATE, 14 CANTAR, 43 DONS and 45 SEPTET were solved in the first run thorugh.

The downs were slightly easier with about a dozen solved fairly quickly. These included 23 Forge tine to include stake (4) which shouted out ANTE, ‘tine’ being the misprint for ‘tane’. Only six more to find.

Returning to the acrosss, I tackled the long 11-letter entries at 18 and 32 again. The first was probably I (in) plus an anagram of ‘this cell o[v]a’ and the second an anagram of ‘pictures CE O’. I finally worked out the second as EUROSCEPTIC, but ISOLECITHAL would take a bit longer even though I had it starting with IS.

After this, I made steady progress and the grid was finished in something over two hours. On the way, 29dn Ben Elton’s first to hold my hat (7) as the clue to BICORNE raised a smile, with its misprint of ‘Ben’ for ‘Bin’! I also liked the similarly misleading 27dn Phoenix’s wings underneath to avoid large birds (7), Phoenix relating to the US city rather than the bird (MISS (avoid) + ELS (US wings)). Not to mention 44ac Worthless British explorer hiding in confines of ferry (6) (ROSS (explorer) in confines of DerrY!).

As well as the misprints giving something like infadel, the grid had a couple of holes in the top row, 5ac being PECK, 5dn ILL and 6dn VARIES. It was easy to see that they should become KOPECK, KILL and OVARIES respectively, and KO, and possibly KOP, would be a relevant part of the theme. Now, was the Kop at Arsenal, Everton, Milwall, Tottenham H, or…? You get my drift, I know hardly anything about football. Before attacking Google, I checked Chambers and found that it was at Liverpool’s ground, Anfield. Back of the net!

So now the little circle had to go in the centre of the grid, which is where Kick Off takes place in a football match, and a red line (presumably because that is Liverpool’s home colour) could be drawn to link the letters of ANFIELD in sequence. I was a bit surprised that the ball ended up in a corner rather than somewhere in the goal area.

Finally three thematic markings had to be found and ‘delineated’. Luckily we were told that one ran from the end of the KOP, and PENALTY BOX was soon found. Without that hint, and seeing that it ran from right to left, it might have taken quite some time to find it. A matching one was also required, and changing the letters on the opposite side of the grid revealed a lot of lovely new words, including FIRELESS for ‘firmless’ and CHIEFESS for ‘chiefest’. Finally, I needed Google to show me that the circle in the centre of the pitch is called…the CENTRE CIRCLE!

Listener 4249 My EntryI was somewhat worried that we were required to ‘delineate’ these markings, so I made sure that I used a single line rather than highlight the whole square. I’m sure that wouldn’t be marked wrong, but it made more sense anyway.

Not too difficult a puzzle this time from Shark, but my! what a lot going on. Great fun, thanks.

2 Responses to “Listener 4249: Play’s Opening by Shark”

  1. David Mansell said

    The only problem I had with this puzzle is that in football there is a “penalty area” but not really a “penalty box” : that’s where the sinners sit in rugby (both varieties), ice hockey and no doubt other games. But I did enjoy the puzzle!

  2. gerrym said

    On the contrary, the term penalty box is commonly used for the area on the pitch where Bale, Suarez, (name your own bête noire/ hero) regularly dives/is fouled.

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