Listen With Others

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Only Connect Two by The Tall’n

Posted by shirleycurran on 14 November 2014

Only Connect 001An intriguing preamble with three different things that we were going to look for: an unclued word in eight rows ‘that either links, or is the central element of a sequence suggested by the two clued entries in the same row; six down answers that have to be relocated; six pairs of answers that must have certain letters removed to form the word for entry. We have to ‘Only Connect‘ – those significant words from E.M.Forster’s Howards End and the name of the TV show so engagingly hosted by Victoria Coren Mitchell that we watch every Monday evening. It sounds as though the Tall’n is giving us a bit of a tall order.

I console myself by checking that he still qualifies for the Listener Setters’ Imbibers’ Club and have to read almost to the end of clues (that are giving me solutions as I read – a relatively easy set this!) before I find the two reassuring boozy clues: ‘Stand consuming ever more drunk (7)’ [BIER round EER giving BEERIER] and ‘Some repatriates knocked back drink (4)’ [hidden rev.].

A question immediately arises. How are we going to fit that BEERIER and the second answer to 39dn ‘Waste sure to involve local water network (6)’ [SURE* round EA = RESEAU] into five cells. “Well”, one of us jokingly comments, “we could do it if we omitted all the vowels!” “If we what? Eureka!” We know that Chambers includes that incredibly silly interjection BRRR and I suppose we could stretch a point and make an interjection plural ‘BRRRS’. Round four of Only Connect does the missing vowel thing in reverse.  One issue resolved.The Tall’n has cleared up some of the mess that had accumulated in the lower half of our grid as we attempted to fit together all the words that had appeared as solutions.

That lucky find is confirmed when we see CREW and TEE-HEE giving us the astonishing word CRWTH at 40ac, AESOP and AIRY producing SPRY at 44dn, HIYA and OMINOUS giving us HYMNS at 51ac, AITU and YUGAS providing TYGS at 23dn and (this was the last cell we filled) COOEE and AWMOUS giving us CWMS at 40dn.

Solving the clues was not too difficult and we have a full set, with the exception of that AWMOUS, but we have a few worrying holes in our grid and complete nonsense in some areas until we spot what must obviously reflect a further round of Only Connect. We see HANOVER and we have LAN and CASTER somewhere else in the grid. Now we understand why TUARTS was chosen as that rather odd word in 6dn, ‘Wild rats do climb trees (6) [RATS* and  UT rev.] and we put the royal dynasties in order symmetrically down the three centre columns of our grid, relocating six down answers as we do so, to achieve LANCASTER, YORK, TUDORS, STUARTS, ORANGE and HANOVER.

Not really sure what is going on now, I take a clean grid and fill in all the words that have not been affected by these ‘Only Connect’ games and find an almost full grid withjust a couple of gaps between CONSULTO and EROS in row one, and between DINOSAUR and PECK in row two. Can this be what the preamble was telling me? Have I simply to fill those gaps to give a third potential word that is part of the two that are already there?

I have one obvious sequence in ETA/ THETA/ IOTA in row eight but I can’t see real sequences in the other rows where possible words would go. Dilemma. I remember that Listen With Others rule ‘If you are not sure it is right, then it isn’t!’ but see no alternative to entering TOR (giving TOREROS), SAURY (giving RYPECK and opting for LAND, ICON, SET, TRUNK and PAR as the other words that have appeared. This is a disappointing conclusion to our solve as it lacks the polish of the other two moves – and we are probably ‘up the creek without a paddle’, but heigh ho. thank you The Tall’n.

Post script – four days later, long after we had all mailed our entries, a friend sent me this interesting break down of the solution. It corresponds with my final grid and explains things I couldn’t understand:

ROW
CLUED
UNCLUED
CLUED
 
1
CONSUL
TOR
EROS
CONSULTOR / TOREROS
2
DINO
SAURY
PECK
DINOSAUR / RYPECK
3
IDO
LAND
AGENT
IDOLA / LAND-AGENT
4
IND
ICON
CEDED
INDIC / CONCEDED
6
CRAPS
SET
COPY
GAME SET MATCH
8
ETA
THETA
IOTA
9
RAMI
TRUNK
GRUB
BRANCHES TRUNK ROOT
12
MEW
PAR
TERROR
BIRDIE PAR BOGEY

 

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