A Game of 15 by Glow-worm
Posted by shirleycurran on 10 April 2015
We have just highlighted DOR (well, ROD reversed) and with a wide smile, put DONALD into the space below the grid and it isn’t time to put the dinner into the oven yet – but that isn’t intended as a criticism, this was fun from start to end – so I have decided to write the Numpty blog straight away.
However, I do have one issue. I have carefully scanned the clues and fear that Glow-worm has not renewed his membership of the Listener Setters’ Wine-lovers’ club. We had a fair sprinkling of food (peas, spare rib, mint), a range of people (soldier boys, employees, a young gun, a drab, Versace) and clothing, games etc. but only the last clue suggested that ‘the wine of life is drunk and the mere LEES is left the vault to brag of’.
What a lot was going on in this preamble and grid. We broke it down into four parts. Something had to come out of four clues (and we were lucky when our attack on the obvious long anagrams told us that this was an O.(PATROLMAN came from ‘Plan to roam unsettled AA worker, for one (9)’ No – of course he was not a member of Alcoholics Anonymous!: ADORE was left when we removed mint and that extra O from ‘moderation’ in ‘Very much like what’s sprinkled with mint in moderation (5)’. Redcoats cop criminal soldier-boys (10, two words)’ anagrammed to CADET CORPS with yet another extra O.
We had to add those extra Os to other clues and that was not quite so easy but BOOMERANG gave us the way in. ‘Rabble retreats with anger boiling (9)’ MOB< + ANGER* with an extra O – and, of course, in line with the preamble, there was no definition. OOPS followed (Surgery succeeded – OP + S with another O needed), and obligingly, Glow-worm had placed his four clues symmetrically so we were alerted that 1 and 2 across were to complete our quartet. NO GO and CUDDLY TOY – two more possible outcomes of the game of HOOK A DUCK.
Yes, well placed letters had now told us what we were playing and I was transported mentally to the visiting fair and the pool with the ducks we had to hook onto the end of our rod. But it was usually ‘NO GO’ for me, or a sad little goldfish in a plastic bag that rarely survived the week – no CUDDLY TOY.
But what fun this was! We quickly removed three extra duck definitions from clues before solving (the third of our aims) AMPHIBIAN, AVOID and FABRIC seemed to be redundant, though we hesitated about SET-UP in 21d and TOUR in 14d. A friend has since pointed out that NINTENDO is not the game but the ‘set-up’ or system for the game, so that explains that one, and there was no way I was going to be able to make TOUR into a duck.
We had to find six jumbled ducks and that was easier than we expected with DEER I giving EIDER, CHAP ROD giving POCHARD, IN WE GO producing WIGEON, TALE giving TEAL, LOVES HER unjumbling to SHOVELER and DAMN RAIN giving MANDARIN.
With a full grid, we removed the initial letters of those six beasts from the twelve that had appeared in circles and laughed out loud when DONALD was left. This was as much fun as the children’s game. All that was left was to find the ROD, and, of course, there it was almost in the middle of the grid. What a fine compilation. Many thanks to Glow-worm.
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