The Numpties are travelling for a month so I was rather full of trepidation about what was going to come up this week when we would have to solve the Listener without that reassuring set of resources – Sabre doing knights moves with encoded jumbled numbers, a carte blanche with no symmetry? No, surely they wouldn’t be so dastardly.
Ah, Charybdis! A familiar Magpie name (not to be confused with Chorybdis except for a recent puzzle where they sneakily co-operated and also starring in a current Inquisitor in the Indie) – he gets everywhere – but to my dismay not the bar. I scan the grid for that reassuring demonstration that Charybdis qualifies for the Listener setters’ wine connoisseur’s elite and find only ‘Give bar a miss unless ordering usages to suit souk? (8)’ A rather clunky surface reading and an even clunkier solution when we decide that it’s an anagram of BAR A MISS, producing ARABISMS.
Postscript – no need for concern. When we had happily worked our way through this generous set of clues, VINEYARD appeared at 26 across, ‘Chateau road [delays] after Marshall blocks way (8) (NEY in VIA + RD).
We solved happily and in a couple of hours had a full grid and only then focused on the preamble; ‘An author appears in 14 cells of the grid. Her book title (three words, also 14 cells) needs to be found in its entirety in the grid.’ THE L-SHAPED RO…?’ What is going on here? Where is the OM? I remember the book by LYNNE REID BANKS and the film and there she is in an L shape. Now what? A few minutes confirming my membership of the grid-starers’ club then that Köchel-365 and Channel4.com in the clues as extra words suddenly make sense.
I joyfully read the letters that follow the thematic character L in every one of those extra words and find DRAW NET. TOTAL AREA IS 34. WRAP TITLE TO MAKE WALLS.
I (the less mathematical Numpty) had to have the concept of a net explained to me – a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional shape that separately indicates each of the faces of the original shape.
In the preamble we were told to ‘outline the eight faces involved.’ Does that mean a single outline round the eight or are we expected to outline each of the eight faces? (Yes, I do realize that I was meant to construct the room ‘in imagination only but I couldn’t resist – this was rather reminiscent of Jago’s origami wren, where we also had a sneaky M turning over to give a W, or of that delightful Christmas snowflake).
I opted for overkill and outlined each of the faces and coloured them individually in the manner of the net of an L-shaped room that Wikipedia provided for me.
Most enjoyable, thank you, Charybdis!