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Listener 4300: 22 Across by Calmac

Posted by Dave Hennings on 18 July 2014

Calmac’s last Listener was back in 2011. The subject then was metrical feet (a phrase which probably causes the French apoplexy!). This week, some nice simple definition misprints, an isolated cell to complete, and a place to find.

Listener 4300Off to a good start with 1ac FORDS (‘wadis’ for ‘wades’) and 5ac Rates fancy device for delivering colts (5) TASER, although I wasn’t too sure whether the corrected definition was ‘device for delivering jolts’ or ‘device for delivering volts’! Whichever, TASER was the subject of a recent Inquisitor where I discovered that it stood for Thomas A Swift’s Electronic Rifle. I was surprised then, as I was here, that it isn’t in the hardcopy of Chambers, is in the softcopy version as Taser©, and is in the ODE as taser US trademark.

Having got the first two across, I failed with the third Nick in Perth where sun is hidden in smoke (5). That was hardly surprising, since the misprint could be with ‘nick’ or ‘smoke’ and Perth could be the one up north or the one down south. (It turned out to be CRAIG: neck in Scotland and RA (sun) in CIG (smoke, ie cigarette).)

I tried a few of the downs dangling down from the top line and got them all except 2 Rare northern ruminant that controls gorse (4). This turned out to be a simple (!) two meanings, with ‘gorse’ for ‘horse’, although rein for reindeer was a bit unusual.

I then proceeded with a pass through the rest of the across clues, but they proved to be a bit trickier than I had hoped. However, by the time I finished, the unclued entry in the last column ended PR···P and it seemed that we were dealing with the events that sparked the First World War. Unfortunately, I thought that Princip’s first name was Gustav, so was unable to complete the down entry. It also looked certain that the first column would be FRANZ FERDINAND. Stupidly, I failed to examine the central column… after all, it wasn’t unclued, although it did contain that pesky isolated cell.

I completed most of the bottom half of the grid and then the top half — who said you had to do things in a logical order? I must confess that teasing out the last few clues took a bit longer than I expected given how well the early clues had gone. My favourite of a fine bunch had to be 42dn Stink at Oval: first umpire disallows boundary (six) (5) for STUMP (‘stick’ not ‘stink’; firST UMPire missing the outside six letters), and I’m annoyed that I din’t get it on my first reading of the clue.

And so, the corrected misprints gave Event (yes, a taser is a device for delivering volts) occurred near riverside; highlight twenty-two cells symbolically. I wondered how symbolic things would turn out to be. It was at this point that I read the central column and filled in the missing O to give SARAJEVO, BOSNIA.

Well that was fourteen cells to highlight. I had another eight to find. A bit of googling was required to investigate the exact location of the assassination of FF and his wife. (Princip’s first name had also been revealed as GAVRILO.)

Listener 4300 My EntryI had always thought that it occurred at the bottom of the steps of the city hall, but that was just where they started the ill-fated journey. It transpires that they were shot by the Cumurja Bridge which crosses the River MILJACKA. So there were the remaining eight cells for highlighting, R being the abbreviation mentioned in the preamble, and the J already accounted for in SARAJEVO. Symbolically simply meant in the shape of a cross.

Thanks to Calmac for a fine puzzle: an excellent grid, as well as some excellent clues.

May I also take this opportunity to recommend the recent BBC dramatisation of the run up to the start of hostilities, 37 Days. This had a truly star cast, headed by Ian McDiarmid as Sir Edward Grey. It made chilling viewing.


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