Listen With Others

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Warning by Ozzie

Posted by shirleycurran on 15 August 2014

Ozzie initial gridWe didn’t guess what the warning was until almost the end of our solve this week though it became clear fairly early on that we had gaps appearing in the grid. In a way, we were being told that by the instruction that the warning’s ten letters were going to be inserted into our final grid.

Of course, that was some way ahead when we did our initial read through the clues, noticing that Ozzie only just creeps into the Listener Setter Imbibing Fraternity with his ‘large shot’ “Large shot, 50 rupees: no Indian fires without it (7)” (LARGE* + A R). I was mildly tickled though by what he is obviously doing when he is not imbibing – “American dug being occupied (4, two words)” (A + TIT) Hmmm, Ozzie!

Solving was an enjoyable and steady process with (thankfully) no jumbles, no extra or subtracted letters etc., except for ten that it took us a while to identify: it was after we had realized that the warning was MIND THE GAP that we backtracked and found the ten letters in order joining up ten separate pairs of words. I should say found nine of them, the M escaped us until we had completed the puzzle and worked through the first few clues to see ‘The kind of riverMan earl enters later (10)’ giving THE + RAFTER round E(arl).

Miss on ship … gave us MissIon

God I set … gave us God  iNset

With raw Italian food … gave us withDraw

… con rolling budget … gave us conTrolling

… wit in Onassis … gave us witHin

Indian cat ring … gave us Indian catEring

… qua gas … gave us quaGgas

… car pace …gave us carApace

and … car entered … gave us carPentered.

Ozzie must have been delighted to find those lovely original disguises for his message.

Ozzie new barsWe filled our grid putting in bars, even if we had been told to omit all bars in the initial grid, and it was that that indicated to us where the missing ten letters were going to appear. However, a convenient CARRIAGE and PLATFORM also appeared and the penny dropped (somewhere between – with the other Numpty muttering that here was another London-centric compilation – possibly fifty percent of solvers stay clear of London and never hear those mantraistic words on their public transport!)

Full grid: MIND THE GAP inserted and a new task faced us. Respecting 180 degree symmetry, we now had to make 44 entries of the letters in front of us and carefully insert 73 bars. This was quite a task. The singularities that had to be ‘made clear’ (so the warning still applies) were a T and L that obviously had to be deleted or ‘cleared’, leaving two new gaps (I made mine clear yellow!)

It was about my third attempt that produced the correct number of words and bars with two phrases (GAP YEAR and KEY MAN), two place names (IROISE and ADRIA) and three personal names (SITA, ARI and LAING). I found that endgame rather fiddly but, all the same, really appreciated the skill that had gone into the construction of this puzzle and the careful wording of the preamble. Many thanks Ozzie.

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