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Cruciverbal Creed by Syd Lexis

Posted by shirleycurran on 28 March 2014

Syd Lexis 001It was with consternation that we downloaded yet another crossword by a recently deceased compiler. Surely this series has to come to an end! How appropriate, though, that Syd Lexis should be giving us his cruciverbal creed as his final word.

We dismissed our sad thoughts and began to solve happily (and Syd Lexis set the tone! On my initial scan through the clues he made me wonder whether all our old compiling friends are still enjoying their Listener Setters’ tipple together in a happier setting ground somewhere up above.) ‘Blue, extremely sad, turning to liquor (5)’ he told us – giving an extra D and SMALT. ‘Yeast in Champagne is most basic (6)’, he continued (BAR[M] + EST). There was  a lady drinking with them: ‘Greedy person, old maid holding advantage, maybe begged drink in Argyle (8)’ (HOG + MAY round [V]AN = HOGMANAY) and finally ‘Mouths introduced to punch – sweet drink (5)’ (OR[A] in MAT).

This was not difficult to solve and we soon had the bare bones of a quotation emerging from the extra letters. It was the Internet that filled in the extra letters giving us ‘WE WHO DEAL IN WORDS MUST STRIVE TO KEEP LANGUAGE PURE AND WHOLESOME.’

That fine sentiment, with PURE AND WHOLESOME fitting symmetrically in the centre of the grid,  of course, gave us lots of letters of the unclued lights and, with the help of Mrs Bradford, we were now able to complete PRISTINE, NEAT, WORTHY, ABSOLUTE, SENSIBLE, CHASTE and SPOTLESS, with just a hint of doubt whether our final word was to be MERE or FINE.

Fortunately, we had been given those extra letters for the unchecked entries which confirmed that we needed an I in that word and we worked out that the F?V?L word had to be FAVEL (FL for FLourished with AVES nesting inside it).

What a fine, straight-forward solve that we enjoyed from start to finish.

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