Listen With Others

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Listener 4277: Rise and Fall by Colleague

Posted by Dave Hennings on 7 February 2014

Remember How to Spell? Well of course you do, you’re a Listener solver. I’m actually referring to Colleague’s last puzzle with its phonetic alphabet theme. The final step was to complete the phrase under the grid, “How to _____”. Except that the required answer was “How to Hotel” which were the pre- and post-1956 words for the letter H. Although I got that one right, quite a few didn’t, and I hoped that Rise and Fall wouldn’t trip me up.

This week, we had an unknown number of clashes to resolve in order to show some thematic characters plus more characters appearing as consecutive letter jumbles in an unknown number of clues. The latter is a rarely used device which I have seen before and, from what I remember, is good fun. The definitions to the unjumbled words were in the down clues.

Listener 42771ac passed me by, but 5ac Broods about, say, $1000 savings (8, two words) was NEST EGGS, so it seemed appropriate to concentrate on the NE corner. 5dn Bench changing partners to irritate informer (6) looked like it was NETTLE, which meant that ‘informer’ was an extra word. 8dn GEANS and 9dn SOIGNEE came next, followed by a flurry of answers, including MILLIE (with a clash), 17ac JESTING and 11dn MAROR clashing with the J of JESTING. These last two could therefore be MAJOR and RESTING. I should have gone back to the MILLIE clash where MILLIE/SORES could become MOLLIE/SIRES, not that my memory of a certain literary work would have helped!

The wordplay at 14ac Religious leader cracking ferocious swimmer (5) had me stumped for ages, thinking that ‘religious’ led to the PI element and RAI needed resolving. It turned out to be PIR (religious leader) + AI (= A1 = cracking, as in very good). I had to smile at 7dn Italian boring fifth-rate celebs could be favouring the cream iced cake (7), although I thought that ‘fifth rate celebs’, even with ‘could be’, for E-LIST deserved either a question or exclamation mark… or at least a Smiley!

23ac Popular Scottish drawers — equal is seen cavorting (6) was my first clue containing a superfluous jumble of letters — ‘ers equal’. It looked like ‘squealer’, but that still didn’t ring any bells!

On to the NW corner, and that was finished fairly quickly, apart from 1ac and 1dn. And it was in this corner, with 18ac Truly dismissing Alan, bowls left to bank (4) — where the extra letters seemed to be ‘lan bowls’ with REALLY – A L = RELY — that all became clear. Snowball was a character in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. And, of course, so were MAJOR and Squealer; even MOLLIE seemed familiar. I felt smug to get the theme reasonably early… although no doubt not as early as some.

Listener 4277 My EntryThe bottom half of the grid proved to be a little less straightforward than the top, but was nevertheless finished reasonably quickly. Napoleon and Benjamin were hidden in the clues at 34ac and 38ac respectively. Back at the top of the grid, Bluebell was jumbled in 1ac, BANJO, which meant that BORER could be solved, thus giving BOXER at 1dn.

I needed to do a bit of research to confirm Bluebell, MINIMUS and MOSES, together with Farmer JONES (in the top row) who was evicted from MANOR Farm (in the bottom row). ANIMAL was of course its replacement.

And so finished a nice entertaining romp from Colleague, and a chance to remember the closing line from Animal Farm:

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

A recent trip into a local bookshop nearly had me buy a copy of the book, but I’d forgotten how short it was! I decided that I would reread 1984 instead… twice as many pages for the same price. I also thought it might set me up nicely for a future Listener.


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