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Listener 4272: Bun Fight by Kea

Posted by Dave Hennings on 3 January 2014

It was Kea time again… indeed, it was his second outing this year following on from Listener 4226, Polar, where five words had to be replaced by rhyming synonyms. Here, some (as seems normal these days, we weren’t told how many) had one or two letters removed before entry to make the word or name to be entered. These letters would give thematic items, and letters would need moving around in the completed grid.

Listener 4272I expected the clues to be pretty tough, so was pleasantly surprised to get about ten on my first pass through. Obviously these were at the easier end of the spectrum, and included NORIAS, TEHRAN (THE* + [I]RAN), BASRA (S in ARAB<) and RENNES (BARRENNESS – BARS). There seemed to be an awful lot of geography in Kea’s clues this time. Still, it made a change from the alcoholic fog that Shirley assumes most Listener setters spend their days in.

I’m not too sure how long it took for me to finish the grid, but it was a good four plus hours. Luckily, I was on top of Christmas preparations, so I managed it in only a couple of sessions without shopping distractions. All I’ll do this week is highlight my favourite clue and a few devilish ones… I won’t say which is which!

10ac PANDAR What was mackerel, even if among young salmon? (4)
AND in PAR; mackerel = pimp!
32ac TEAR UP Forcibly remove about 140 ml, dropping kilocalorie for recipe (4, two words)
TEACUP (about 140ml according to C) – C + R
2dn BELDAME Granny Smith made to follow quince (7)
MADE* after BEL; I think ‘smith’ is in the sense of ‘to fashion’
8dn NO CHANCE Tea time being bags? That can’t happen (8, two words)
NONCE (time being) containing CHA (tea)
22dn HATRED Bore receiving what’s just more than due rancour (6)
HAD (bore, past of bear) containing TRE (one more than due, Italian)
31dn TOLSEY Raise a crowd of obedient followers perhaps in exchange for some (4)
(YES LOT)<, ie several yes men

 
Listener 4272 oAnd so, the end game. The letters dropped from answers before entry were as on the right. It didn’t take this Englishman very long to see LAPSANG, which I’d obviously heard of, followed by TWANKAY, which I hadn’t! The remaining letters were ESNRDUP plus either L or S, ie a jumble of PLUNDERS… yes, it needed an L, so TOSE was the entry, not TOLE.

Well that didn’t really help me: two teas and ‘plunders’. I had seen DARTMOUTH lurking in row 4 of the grid, and the BEE-EATERS at 34ac were awfully like ‘beefeaters’, and for some reason I thought of HMS Pinafore and Yeoman of the Guard by Gilbert and Sullivan. Unfortunately the first was set off Portsmouth, and the second in the Tower of London.

Before looking to see whether there were any other words hidden in the grid, I looked up bun fight in Chambers. Voilà! ‘(inf) a tea party’, and we were in Boston Harbour, 1773. A little bit of research revealed that the three ships involved were the Dartmouth, the Beaver and Eleanor. The latter two were to be found in rows 1 and 2 respectively.

Listener 4272 My EntryThe whole shebang was because the colonists objected to the Tea Act of 1773, which they believed violated their right to ‘no taxation without representation’. Here, we had to move every instance of certain letters ‘thematically’ from these names (the ships) to share a cell with another letter. Well the letters were obviously those of TEA, and ‘thematically’ meant ‘overboard’, ie vertically downwards… to the bottom of BOSTON HARBOR (rows 6 and 7), where TXS and RPRSNTION became TAXES and REPRESENTATION, the two things that were linked.

And so, another fine puzzle by Kea came to an end. Or did it?! At this point, solvers were to be divided into five groups:

(a) A lucky escape to those who put the A from DARTMOUTH alongside the H of HARBOR, and the A from BEAVER alongside the X of TAXES, and just sent their solution in
(b) Well done those who put the A from DARTMOUTH alongside the H of HARBOR, and the A from BEAVER alongside the X of TAXES, confirmed the number of non-words, and sent their solution in
(c) “Read the preamble” is the advice to those who put the A from DARTMOUTH alongside the T of TAXES, and the A from BEAVER alongside the R of HARBOR, and sent their solution in
(d) “Believe the preamble” is the advice to those who put the A from DARTMOUTH alongside the T of TAXES, and the A from BEAVER alongside the R of HARBOR, counted the number of non-words, and, thinking the editors had made a mistake (19 non-words should be 18), sent their solution in
(e) Well done those who put the A from DARTMOUTH alongside the T of TAXES, and the A from BEAVER alongside the R of HARBOR, and having read and believed the preamble, counted the number of resulting non-words, and realised that they needed to be in group (b) above.

 
Luckily I fell into group (e), having started off flirting with group (d)! Thanks, Kea.
 

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