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Make a Connection by IOA

Posted by shirleycurran on 24 January 2014

make a connection IOA 001The first of the new year and we Numpties like the look of this. There is nothing too daunting in the preamble; no mention of playfair squares and only five clues where an extra letter has to be removed and four down ones where a letter has to be discovered and added. We are looking for ‘works’ by a person (not, I note, an author, so these could be sculpture or films, even art works).

There is that intriguing word DO in the phrase ‘what these works DO (in clue order) represents a well-known work’ and the reassuring ‘without any jumbling’, which suggests that some other form of wordplay is going to be required in order for us to ‘Make a Connection’. No complaints: this is a fair and generous preamble.

A quick read through to make sure that IOA qualifies for the Tipsy Listener Setters Club. Membership assured. There are ‘vessels around’ in the very first clue and these turn out to be bowls (of course, I expected SS). ‘Drake and co[B] or suchlike in sign of hesitation with vessels around (7)’ What a fine first clue with its oblique reference to Drake at Plymouth. (BOWLS round ER giving BOWLERS with the extra B, the first of our required five letters).

I read on and find ‘Consuming less Nuits St Georges, say during slump (6)’ (VIN in SAG giving SAVING) but IOA compensates for the reduced VIN in ‘Concoction of Vladivostok, viz, eclipsing poor slivovitz (5)’ (Subtracting SLIVOVITZ from VIZ VLADIVOSTOK to get VODKA – another fine clue and he/she’s into the hard stuff now!)

Solving, after that, goes unusually fast and in about an hour we have a full grid and the word BOUND appearing from the extra letters. ‘Arab leaves [O]x for example, with a chance of survival (6)’ We had to work backwards from VIABLE, reasoning that AR was being  removed from VARIABLE (X).

‘Mo[U]sey curl on sweetheart’s skin’ (6) gave us S[weethear]T + ROLL. ‘Getting on a gee-gee absorbs [N]one in Vienna (6)’ misled us at first, as we tried to introduce KEIN into AGG but soon realised that we had an extra N here, producing EIN in AGG (AGEING). The D came easily when our grid showed that OFFEND had to be the answer to ‘[D]anger from side and rear (6)’ OFF + END.

We had the usual Numpty red herring as we had noticed an unusually large number of creatures in our grid: CROW, OWL, TIT, DOG, FOX, MAN, for a start, but could Aesop or La Fontaine’s fables be considered ‘a well known work’? Those letters ‘Spell BOUND’ don’t they? Penny drop moment.

Naturally there was a little bit of grid-staring before we found four more Hitchcock ‘works’ but there they were, predictably cryptic but reversed, (REAR WINDOW), defined by example (BIRDS), a number/ letter combination (39 STEPS) and a crosswordese abbreviation (NORTH BY NORTH WEST). All that remained to do was to work out what the LADY was doing there. I have commented before that there are not enough ladies in the crossword world and, true to type, this one, of course, vanishes when her letters are missing from the clues (THE LADY VANISHES). A regretful departure from what was a gentle piece of crossword fun. Many thanks to IOA.

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