Listener 4336: Company Liquidation by Kruger
Posted by Dave Hennings on 27 March 2015
A long-time setter this month, although mainly in other places, this being only his third Listener. His last (no. 4265 Ability) had Dame Rebecca West’s quotation about journalism in the grid. Here, most clues had an extra wordplay letter that spelt out a quotation and its originator.
It didn’t take more than a nanosecond to see that most entry lengths were shorter than their clue lengths. Most were just one letter too short, but half a dozen were several letters too short, 34ac six. There were also five clues where lengths agreed.
The clues were of Kruger’s usual tricky standard… by which I mean I didn’t solve them very quickly. I was lucky to decipher 11ac Baked mixture essentially sizzles with one habanero misused when recipe is lost (8), the letter Z and an anagram less H leading to ZABAIONE. Unfortunately, this was one of the entries which, presumably, didn’t need treating, so I was none the wiser yet. I decided to concentrate on the northeast corner, and 5 DAEDALUS needed to lose one letter. Then — and I was lucky this was so soon — 7 Pass, awful cross, is twice held (8) which was an anagram holding IS twice and SCISSORS looked as though it would need to lose all four letters S to give CIOR.
8 HOWSO and 9 ENDORSE could also be entered without their S, and I wondered what 13-letter word lost six of them for 34ac Confusedly, ambassador no longer with bearing enters between period of persistent attacks (13).
A few minutes later I was solving 4dn Off-key singer or grand instrument player (12) — except ORGAN-GRINDER didn’t have a single mischievous letter at all! I can’t believe that I didn’t see the four-letter GANG in that word straightaway. As it was, I don’t think it held me up very much. It needed HENRY COOPER seeming to lose COOP to fit his entry space to help me make sense of what was going on. There again, it took me a few minutes to make the connection between CO–OP and GANG to realise that the esses all represented the loss of ‘society’ with some S-less answers losing synonyms:
5ac DUTCH GUILDER lost GUILD
12ac HENRY COOPER lost CO-OP
34ac BELEAGUERMENT lost LEAGUE
4dn ORGAN-GRINDER lost GANG
20dn ABANDONMENT lost BAND
Eventually, the quotation was revealed: There is no such thing as society from M Thatcher. Thanks to Kruger for a pretty tough workout… and a somewhat divisive theme, I suspect!