Listen With Others

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Listener 4315: Homer by Dysart

Posted by Jaguar on 31 October 2014

By ‘Eck, last week’s was tough! Indeed, in the end I thought that the outside ring was just reading “tides” — which seemed natural enough, as it started in cell 1 — and thinking of “constant as the tides”, I assumed that was enough, and so innocently highlighted the outer ring in the first colour I pulled out. My bad luck that the first think I spotted, “id est”, was the right thing after all. Pink-i.e. … back to square one again, it seems! Or, given this week’s title, “D’Oh!”

Still, at least there’s nothing too hideous in this week’s offering. Dysart has given us normal clues apart from ten, and an apparently artistic final grid awaits with some pieces to be cut out, but the endgame is otherwise something to appreciate rather than fear, with the promise of real words being left behind after a lot of letters being removed. Sounds like it will be fun!


Dysart has quite a distinctive cluing style, I think, with some lovely use of double meanings of words. One elegant example here, I think, is 5dn Grasses gave natural screens for avena (hidden; gAVE NAtural), screens serving as a verb but with that very deceptive surface reading. Or how about 40ac Muslin-like fabric’s certainly not spun in Spanish city, giving Léon from Leno with “no” being spun — a very tough clue to figure out, although the answer was forced. At any rate, it was quite a tough set of clues to work through.

And what of those special clues, then? The first I saw of it, something rather funny was going on in 6dn, which seemed to be “Encrinal” or “Encrinic” from the crossing letters. Once I spotted (urinal – u + en) I’d found my first missing letter, C, and when 14ac followed I realised that the message from the missing letters in wordplay was not going to be ten letters after all. Nice to keep the theme hidden for a bit longer, then!

The rest of the gridfill wasn’t too bad, and when I’d found RIVER MULDE on the bottom, and with 44ac being ([repentanc]e + a lot; term = end = last letter, again very deceptive!) for Zealot, we were firmly in the territory of Colditz, that famous prison camp. So I suppose we were looking for escapees. To Wikipedia, and we find, among many others, Stephens, Reid and Littledale, three of four officers to escape from that castle on October 15th, 1942. And the fourth? Flight Lieutenant Howard Wardle, apparently — and look, there he is too, at the top of the grid in every other cell. Glad it’s not been a tough wordsearch. And we can see that removing his name will leave those “little sticky-out bits” (technical term) at the top of a castle wall. Deleting all those names leaves real words (except, perhaps, that lonely “e” in the bottom left?), and a grid that looks vaguely like a castle. Nice touch! Thanks, Dysart, some fine compilation there!







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