Listen With Others

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All Write for The Listener by Mynot

Posted by shirleycurran on 9 May 2014

MynoT 001The hint in the title didn’t pass us by but we had got a long way into our solve before we managed to apply it to this rather unusually shaped grid (Yes, I realize now that the quotation dictated the shape of the grid). The preamble was slightly daunting with warnings that we had to adapt a certain number of ‘clue answers’ and that ‘the same number of other answers (not thematically treated) have ‘clues’ suffering thematic treatment, in one case twice’.

That wasn’t all of it. We were also instructed that we were removing a letter from every entry and entering it in the ‘peripheral cell of the same row or column as the entry, thus disclosing a slightly modified relevant quotation’.

I took a deep breath and scanned the surface readings to see whether MynoT was reserving his place in the Listener Setters’ bar and he seemed to be mildly dubious about it with ‘Drunken Gabrielle emits bile, tossing drink (6)’  We did some subtraction and removed bile from Gabrielle then anagrammed the GAREL to produce LAGER- and wondered what antics we were going to perform to enter that word, so that it didn’t clash with a truncated LENGTHEN at 42ac. (The French no good? In that case extend … (8) LE + NG + THEN)

The realization that we were actually changing words in the clues to homophones came fairly quickly as ‘They may be played by bows or in large numbers, belles (6)’ was obviously OR in TENS and TENORS are musical instruments of the string variety (that are played by BOWS) or BELLS. So we looked for homophones in the clues and found lots: LEMON for LEMAN, RITE for RIGHT, ERNEST for EARNEST, POLL for POLE, LYE for LIE, NOT for KNOT, BRED for BREAD, RACK for WRACK, PHAT for FAT (a bit of a give-away, that one wasn’t it?), TEE for TEA, BARRES for BARS, PRAYS for PRAISE, and WON for ONE (no way a Yorkshire person pronounces those two the same way!)

However, for a northerner who makes an undue fuss about homophones appearing in crosswords (it is so rare that our vowels sound like those of you southerners who make up the majority of setters and solvers) I have to admit that MynoT has done pretty well, as that is the only truly contentious one that I can moan about.

So, good, that meant that we were able to fill lots of our grid and work out some of the letters that had to migrate into the quotation.

Working out how to thematically treat the answers to ‘the same number of clues’ was not so easy. Some, like URN, giving us EARN, TIME leading to THYME, and ISLES giving AISLES appeared at once and, even when I had a full grid, I was still short of a few.

How then, did we have a full grid. Well, that quotation round the perimeter was very kind. FLYTE leading to FLIGHT was the pdm. and we were able to sort out enough quotation letters to know that we were going to TAKE CARE OF something. ‘?AKE CARE OF THE …’ AND THE SENSE WILL TAKE  ?ARE OF ITSELF’ we were told and Google produced the rest. Knowing what letters were migrating into the perimeter gave us the key to our remaining head scratchers and we learned that CHETAH could be spelled with one E, that our composer had to be FAURE and that REMENS are ‘Royal cubits’!

We had to struggle to work out where our last couple of homophone clues were coming from. AFFEAR had gone into the grid as the only word that would fit but now we learned that AFFEER is ‘to reduce to a certain fixed sum’ and we worked out that convoluted word-play ‘How sick leper (person shunned) becomes healed (4)’ (HOW* = WHO  + LEPER less PER = WHOLE, giving us a homophone for HOLE – quite a feat!) The surface reading for that cue worked too!

Two hours of solid workout and a full grid that must have taken many more hours to compile. Many thanks MynoT.

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