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Safari by Nibor

Posted by shirleycurran on 4 July 2014

Nibor 001Nibor! His last one was based on ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’, wasn’t it? I remember that we had some trouble working that out after we had filled our grid. Safari? It sounds more like Africa, this time – “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion …” Too early to speculate. We’d better do a quick run through the clues to get the feel of them and confirm that Nibor retains his place in the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Society.

Of course he does: the first read through identified a couple of boozy clues, “Malt supported by serviceman previously ready for Speyside (4)” (Yes, that was deceptive as with a restored A it gave MaltA on ERK = old Scots coinage) “One who believes he lives with sin of teetotaller (6)” (Deceptive again. This time it wasn’t tetotalling that was a sin; the restored K gave ‘sKin of teetotaller’ =TT, so we had the beautifully constructed  HE + IS in TT giving THEIST).

Still, the completed grid produced yet another alcoholic clue. “GIs, for instance, should be on this vessel (7)” The restored N made this ‘giNs’ (an interesting shift from a cap to a lower case letter there – good to know that it is tolerated these days!) I wonder why the gin was ‘on’, and not ‘in’ the COASTER. Suffice to say that it was there, anyway.

These clues were so elegant and clearly set that I found myself working down the page in order. That’s very different from my usual stab at any clue that looks possible, and by the time the other Numpty retreated from some cementing work in the 35° temperature of the garden, I had the top part of the grid filled and a word that TEA suggested was Saint-Saëns. Of course, with that Safari hint in the title, the theme leapt out at us and I was able to put CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS into 17,9.

Another hour of solving followed, interspersed with happy hoots when another animal or musical theme appeared spelled by its alternate letters in those restored ones. You won’t believe me but even though I had, by now, saved the Wiki list as a favourite, we had almost completed our solve before I realized that Nibor was presenting them in the order in which they appear in Saint-Saëns work: LION, CHICKENS, ONAGERS, TORTOISES, ELEPHANT, KANGAROOS, FISH, DONKEY, CUCKOO, BIRDS, FOSSILS, SWAN and FINALE.

Of course, that realization made it very easy to work out which one was missing, and, sure enough PIANISTS appeared in the diagonal. Nice one, Nibor, thank you!

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